Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Know an Excellent Math or Science Teacher? Nominate Them for the Presidential Award!

Do you know an excellent math or science teacher in Idaho? Nominate them for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching – the highest recognition a K-12 math or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

Nominations are now being accepted online for secondary math and science teachers in grades 7-12.

Enacted by Congress in 1983, the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year. Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions.

The teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.

Recipients of the award receive the following:
  • A citation signed by the President of the United States.
  • A paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
This year, the eligibility requirements have been updated slightly. Here are the requirements for nominating a teacher this year:
  • Teach mathematics or science at the 7-12th grade level in a public or private school.
  • Hold at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Be a full-time employee of the school or school district as determined by state and district policies, and teach K-12 students at least 50% of the time.
  • Have at least 5 years of full-time, K-12 mathematics or science teaching experience prior to 2010-2011 academic school year. 
  • Teach in one of the 50 states or the four U.S. jurisdictions. The jurisdictions are Washington, DC; Puerto Rico; Department of Defense Schools; and the U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Not have received the PAEMST award at the national level in any prior competition or category.
Go online to nominate an Idaho teacher for this prestigious award today! You can also see a list of prior Presidential Awards recipients from the State of Idaho.

~ Melissa M.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Superintendent Luna Named President-Elect of Chief State School Officers

Idaho’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has been named President-Elect of the Council of Chief State School Officers, a national group that represents state superintendents and education commissioners across the country.

Superintendent Luna will serve as President-Elect of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) through November 2011 and then take over as President of the organization.

“It is an honor to be chosen by my peers to serve at the national level,” Superintendent Luna said. “I am looking forward to playing an instrumental role in shaping the future of public education across Idaho and our nation in the coming years as we work on reauthorizing No Child Left Behind and other critical issues.”

As Idaho’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Luna has helped raise student achievement across Idaho.  In 2007, just 26 percent of Idaho schools met the state’s high academic goals, known as Adequate Yearly Progress. Now, 62 percent of schools are meeting this goal.

“Tom has a record of success working on behalf of the children in Idaho, and he is a trusted voice among chief state school officers.  I am pleased Tom will continue to serve on the board of directors,” said CCSSO Executive Director Gene Wilhoit. “States are committed to continuing to lead the education reform discussion in this country and the members of the CCSSO Board of Directors are prepared help guide that effort.”

Superintendent Luna has served on the Board of Directors for CCSSO since 2009.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks members’ consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

~ Melissa M. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Give the Gift of Education this Holiday Season

The Office of the State Board of Education sent a reminder this week that you can give the gift of education this holiday season by donating to the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship.

It’s simple. While planning your charitable giving for this season and the coming year, be sure to check the box on your Idaho State Tax Return designating a portion of your refund to the Opportunity Scholarship.

Your donation will help hundreds of your fellow Idahoans in their pursuit for a better life.

~ Melissa M.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mackay Student Wins Holiday Card Contest

Kali Gamett, a sixth-grade student at Mackay Elementary School, has won the 2010 Holiday Card Contest, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced today.

“The annual Holiday Card Contest is a great way to celebrate the importance of arts in education and showcase the great talent of students across Idaho,” Superintendent Luna said. “Congratulations to Kali Gamett for winning the grand prize in the 2010 Holiday Card Contest. We received hundreds of entries this year, and her drawing of winter scenes stood out for its creativity and color.”

Kali Gamett's winning 2010 Holiday Card Contest entry.

Gamett’s artwork will be featured on the State Department of Education’s holiday greeting cards this year, which are sent to schools, districts and others across the state. She will also receive a certificate and copies of the greeting card to share with her friends and family members.

Superintendent Luna also awarded the following grade-level winners across the state:
  • Kindergarten: Ashlynn Skinner, Centennial Elementary School, Lewiston
  • 1st grade: Sierra Kelley, Centennial Elementary School, Lewiston
  • 2nd grade: Hailey Skinner, Centennial Elementary School, Lewiston
  • 3rd grade: Paige Larsen, Mackay Elementary School, Mackay
  • 4th grade: Paul Sonnen, Prairie Elementary School, Cottonwood
  • 5th grade: Madison Frisbie, Whitman Elementary School, Lewiston
  • 6th grade: Kali Gamett, Mackay Elementary School, Mackay (also the Grand Prize winner)
Congratulations to all the winners!  Each student will receive a certificate of recognition.

~ Melissa M.

Idaho Virtual Academy Class Wins Idaho Math Cup

Lisa Frost’s math class at Idaho Virtual Academy has won the second annual Idaho Math Cup, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced today.

“I am so proud of the students at Idaho Virtual Academy and all students who participated in the Idaho Math Cup this year. Through the Idaho Math Initiative, we are seeing more and more students solving complex math problems and raising their academic achievement in math every year,” Superintendent Luna said.

The Idaho Math Cup is a math contest sponsored by Apangea Learning, a web-based supplemental math instruction program that is part of the Idaho Math Initiative.  As part of the statewide Math Initiative, Apangea provides additional assistance to students who struggle in math as well as advanced opportunities to those students who excel.

During the Idaho Math Cup contest, students across Idaho competed with one another to see who could solve the most complex math problems over Apangea during a four-week period.  Students statewide spent more than 23,000 hours in class and at home in the evenings and on the weekends solving complex math problems during the competition.

The 18 students in Lisa Frost’s class at Idaho Virtual Academy took home the Idaho Math Cup in the end.  They spent 633 hours solving more than 3,000 math problems. The class had a 93 percent pass rate on the math problems they tackled during the competition.

Because of their hard work, Frost and each student in her class will receive a Family Activity Pack, which includes gift cards for dinner and a movie.  Dustin Theile, a student in Frost’s class, also was awarded the Class MVP for completing and passing nearly 200 sections of math content during the four-week period.  He will receive a Nintendo Wii gaming system.

Superintendent Luna hands out awards to Lisa Frost's class at Idaho Virtual Academy.

In addition to Frost’s class, seven other students across Idaho have been awarded their choice of an iPod Touch, $200 gift card or a Nintendo Wii for their achievements during the Idaho Math Cup.  Here is the list of the Regional Champions in the Idaho Math Cup:
  • Spencer Hunt, Webster Elementary School, Lewiston
  • Abby Rusner, Wendell Middle School, Wendell
  • Tammay Shetye, White Pine Elementary School, Boise
  • Kaci Fields, Mountain View Middle School, Blackfoot
  • Allison Duffin, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d’Alene
  • Adam Ping, Franklin Middle School, Pocatello
  • Brittany Grigg, Hawthorne Middle School, Pocatello
~ Melissa M.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Superintendent Luna Urges Attorney General to Stop Legal Battle on Cottage Sites

Here is Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna’s reaction to the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday regarding the Land Board’s decision on cottage site lease rates.

“At this point, what is best for kids is to stop spending precious tax dollars on attorneys in this case. As I said before, if the Attorney General thinks the current cottage site lease rates are unconstitutional, then as a fellow member of the Land Board he needs to put a motion on the table that he believes is constitutional and let the Board debate it in a public forum. We've already spent too many tax dollars on this matter and going to district court without first putting a proposal on the table will just continue to cost taxpayers, and ultimately schoolchildren, dollars that are need elsewhere.”

Read the full Associated Press story about the case.

~ Melissa M.