Empowering Parents vendor applications are open

Companies and individuals interested in offering goods or services on the Empowering Parents online marketplace may now submit an application.

The application window opened Sept. 22, the State Board of Education announced Wednesday.

Empowering Parents is a statewide program that gives eligible parents and guardians grant funds to buy a range of education-related resources and services, from internet connectivity devices and computer hardware and software to instructional materials and tutoring services.

The grants are funded through $50 million in federal coronavirus relief funds appropriated earlier this year by the Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little.

Vendor applicants will need an employer identification number and a description of the services or goods they will provide on the marketplace, the State Board said. Go here for more information, including how to apply.

Over 15,500 people have applied for the grants since the application window opened almost two weeks ago, Wednesday’s news release reads. Eligible families can receive $1,000 per student and up to $3,000 per family. Grants are available to public, private and homeschooled students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Families will be able spend their grant awards in the marketplace in October.

Families can still apply for an Empowering Parents grant here.

Presidential Scholars applications open for students

High school seniors with outstanding academic achievement who will graduate between January and August of 2023 may now apply for the 2022-2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Seniors who scored in the Top 20 in separate male and female categories on either the SAT or the ACT college admissions exams during the last two years are automatically considered for participation, the State Department of Education announced Wednesday. The Presidential Scholars Program will notify these students of their automatic consideration.

State superintendent Sherri Ybarra may also nominate up to 20 other candidates — 10 females and 10 males — based on their outstanding “scholarship, achievements and demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership,” Wednesday’s announcement reads. Students who would like to be considered for a nomination may apply here. Applications close Friday, Nov. 4.

Students in career- and technical-education fields may also apply.

The following items are required to apply:

  • Student name
  • Student, parent and teacher email addresses
  • Students’ home mailing address
  • Name of high school
  • High school mailing address
  • High school CEEB code (click here to find yours)
  • An essay, no longer than 500 words, describing what improvements students would make to some part of the U.S. education system
  • A self-assessment describing personal characteristics, leadership and service activities in school and community, academic achievements and any special challenges overcome while still achieving high school academic success
  • A copy of transcripts
  • A letter of recommendation from a high school counselor, principal or teacher

Students seeking a CTE nomination should note this in the self-assessment portion of the application.

There is also an arts component that’s part of the program that students can apply for here.

SDE approves dyslexia course

Students in Lee Pesky Learning Center’s Pathways to Literacy program work with tutors to improve their reading and writing skills.

The State Department of Education has given the Lee Pesky Learning Center, an Idaho-based education nonprofit, the green light to offer a course that fulfills dyslexia professional development requirement for educators.

Idaho House Bill 731, which went into effect in July, requires the SDE to identify screening tools and intervention practices to check elementary students for characteristics of dyslexia. Elementary instructional staffers and all secondary teachers, administrators and school counselors with an instructional certificate are required to receive this professional development.

One in five people have learning and attention challenges, the National Center on Learning Disabilities says. These include dyslexia — a neurobiological challenge that makes word recognition, fluency, spelling, and decoding more difficult.

The Lee Pesky Learning Center’s dyslexia professional development includes a 15-hour course that meets the law’s requirements, the organization announced Thursday. Courses emphasize the science of reading, features of evidence-based literacy instruction, and various screeners and assessment tools.

“Ensuring that educators receive training on the signs of dyslexia will help with early identification,” Thursday’s announcement reads.

The training course is being offered on Nov. 5 and Dec. 3, with a limit of 30 in-person seats and 90 virtual seats. The online, “self-paced” course will be available by the end of this calendar year. School districts interested in on-site professional development should contact the learning center.

Caldwell students become ‘doctors for a day’

Caldwell High School students earlier this month worked with five doctors from Full Circle Health as part of the school’s Doctor for a Day program.

Students from the school’s Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology and Rehabilitative Sports Medicine classes participated to “learn from real-life medical professionals regarding the lungs and respiratory system,” the district announced Thursday.

Experiencing “how doctors interact with patients and how they interact with the population is beneficial for students,” said participating doctor Sarah Gerrish.

Students rotated between “hands-on” stations to learn physical exam skills, patient interviewing techniques and suturing, Wednesday’s press release said.

The goal: Inspire and encourage students in underrepresented communities to consider medicine or other healthcare careers.

Caldwell’s event reflects one from University of Washington, Gerrish added. “We have used (the university’s) formatting to bring the residents into high schools where there are underrepresented students in medicine to get them excited about healthcare.”

The school is working on getting more sessions set up this year, according to the press release.

Caldwell students participate in their school’s “Doctor for a Day” program.

CEI unveils workforce training center

The College of Eastern Idaho has a new workforce training center set for a partial opening this fall.

Starting in October, the center will provide professional development and enhance career opportunities for CEI students and community members, CEI President Rick Aman announced during ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, EastIdahoNews.com reports.

The facility, located at 101 Technology Drive in Idaho Falls, will help improve the pipeline of needed industry-ready students, Aman said, from plumbing and heavy equipment operation to welding and advanced manufacturing. Classes are set to start next month, but the center won’t be fully operational until February.

The Regional Development Alliance, Inc. donated $727,865.73 in support of the facility. Bonneville County gifted the building that now houses the center to CEI earlier this year, with a condition that it feature workforce training.

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