Monday morning news roundup

Legislators, educators and parents have been invited to participate in the first Idaho Reading and Literacy Summit, which aims to improve students’ reading skills.

The Nov. 15 event includes a series of panel discussions about policy initiatives, the reasons for Idaho students struggling with literacy and best teaching practices.

Some of the speakers scheduled to attend include. Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Ralph Smith of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reading specialist Louisa Moats and several college professors from across the state.

The event is set to run from 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Nov. 15, at Boise State University’s Student Union Building.

There is no cost to attend the summit, but interested attendees are asked to register for the event online.

Disclosure: One of the event’s sponsors, Don’t Fail Idaho receives funding from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which also funds Idaho Education News.

New elementary nearly ready in Idaho Falls

There is no school this week at Dora Erickson Elementary in Idaho Falls as students and teachers prepare to move into their new school building.

Idaho Falls School DistrictThe new construction project is part of a $53 million bond issue that 78 percent of Idaho Falls School District patrons approved in March 2012. The entire project calls for replacing four of the district’s oldest elementary schools, updating Idaho Falls High School and upgrading the HVAC and electrical systems at Compass Academy.

Dora Erickson’s will be the first of the four elementary projects to be completed. Teachers and students plan to resume classes at the new building Monday, Nov. 4 after weather delayed construction and prevented an earlier opening.

The second new elementary school, Ethel Boyes, is scheduled to open by December, while district officials are targeting a fall 2014 opening for the new Edgemont and Longfellow elementary schools.

Features of the new Dora Erickson building include:

  • 71,000 square feet of building space, up from 43,000 square feet at the old school.
  • 29 classrooms, each with about 1,000 square feet of space.
  • Wall-mounted interactive smart projectors, interactive white boards and audio systems in each classroom.
  • A building-wide WiFi network that will support at least one wireless device per student.

Licensure committee meets today

Members of the new Tiered Licensure Technical Advisory Committee will hold their first meeting this afternoon at the Statehouse.

The 13-member committee is set to review recommendations from Gov. Butch Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education, set goals to be covered over the next five months and study tiered licensure systems used in other states.

Check back with Idaho Education News later on Monday for full coverage of the meeting.

Federal lands committee meets today

The busy day at the Statehouse kicks off with a 9 a.m. meeting of the Federal Lands Interim Committee.

The committee, which met for the first time Aug.9, is studying the feasibility of a state takeover of certain federal lands in Idaho.

Committee members are scheduled to hear testimony from a variety of stakeholder groups, including tribal leaders, sportsmen, environmentalists and agriculture groups.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a non-binding resolution that calls for 5 percent of the proceeds from any federal lands transfer to be directed to the state’s Public School Endowment Fund. The remaining 95 percent of money would go to paying down the federal debt, according to the resolution.