Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The 38-member Students Come First Technology Task Force today voted unanimously to approve recommendations that will help the state and local school districts successfully implement the technology components of the state’s education reform laws. In total, the Task Force approved 47 recommendations.

“I am impressed with the work of the Task Force. In June, 38 individuals came together with different ideas, attitudes and opinions about education reform in Idaho. After months of study and hard work, we agreed unanimously on the best ways to move the Students Come First laws forward across our state,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “Through these laws and now with these recommendations, we will truly be able to provide equal education opportunities for all Idaho students and the tools and resources Idaho teachers need to raise academic achievement.”

In 2011, Superintendent Luna worked with Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and the Idaho Legislature to pass comprehensive education reform that will make every classroom a 21st Century Classroom, ensure every student has access to a highly effective teacher every year in school, and give parents immediate access to understandable information about their child’s school and district.

Under Senate Bill 1184, Superintendent Luna was charged with chairing a task force to help in implementing the technology components of the Students Come First law. Specifically, this task force was asked to study and develop plans for the one-to-one ratio of mobile computing devices in high schools, the online credit requirement, the necessary professional development for teachers, and other topics determined by the task force chairman.

The Task Force was made up of classroom teachers, parents, principals, superintendents, school board trustees, legislators, business managers, technology directors, and representatives of the business community. Eleven positions on the task force were appointed by educational stakeholder groups as well as the Idaho Legislature and the Office of the Governor.

Here are highlights of the recommendations approved by the Task Force today:

• The state phase in the one-to-one mobile computing devices to one-third of high schools at a time, beginning in Fall 2013. High school teachers will still receive devices in Fall 2012.

• The state procure a laptop as the mobile computing device.

• If local school boards determine the device will be taken home, all schools provide parent trainings multiple times throughout the year. Attendance at one training would be required before the device is taken home.

• The state increase the amount of professional development allowed in school calendars.

• The state require Idaho’s colleges of education to ensure pre-service students learn how to integrate technology in the classroom before becoming teachers.

• The State Department of Education work with local schools and districts to develop and implement an online portal where parents and students can get more information on each online course, including the provider, instructor, quality and performance metrics and parent and student customer ratings.

For more information on the work of the Technology Task Force, including a list of Task Force members, meeting minutes, and a list of recommendations, visit http://www.studentscomefirst.org/technologytaskforce.htm.

Friday, December 9, 2011


You-Jean Cho, a fifth-grade student at Jefferson Elementary School in Boise, has won the 2011 Holiday Card Contest, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced yesterday.
“Congratulations to You-Jean Cho for winning the grand prize this year! Idaho’s annual Holiday Card Contest is a great way to celebrate the importance of arts in education and showcase the great talent of Idaho’s students,” Superintendent Luna said.

Cho’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.

“We are so proud of You-Jean for being selected for this statewide honor,” said Boise Superintendent Don Coberly. “Though she arrived in the United States just last year, she has impressed her Jefferson Elementary School teachers with her talent and dedication to her studies. Her use of artistic perspective and attention to detail are unusual for a student of her age.”

Superintendent Luna also awarded the following grade-level winners across the state:

• Kindergarten: Lydia Frederick, Pioneer Elementary School, Weiser School District

• 1st Grade: Emmitt Brown, Idaho Virtual Academy, Post Falls

• 2nd Grade: Tucker Rhodes, Orchards Elementary School, Lewiston School District

• 3rd Grade: Breanna Nine, McSorley Elementary School, Lewiston School District

• 4th Grade: Sophia Boson, McSorley Elementary School, Lewiston School District

• 5th Grade: Rebecca Hammond, Idaho Virtual Academy, Deary

• 6th Grade: Taytum Allen, New Plymouth Middle School, New Plymouth School District

Congratulations to all the winners! Each student will receive a certificate of recognition. The grand prize winner’s drawing is posted online at http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/media_center/.

For electronic copies of other artwork, please e-mail Melissa McGrath at mrmcgrath@sde.idaho.gov.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sun Valley to host December "Capital for a Day"

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced today that the Blaine County community of Sun Valley will be Idaho’s “Capital for a Day” on Wednesday, December 21st. The event will coincide with the celebration of Sun Valley’s 75th anniversary.

Governor Otter brings State government to Idahoans living outside Boise each month by making a different town in Idaho the state’s “Capital for a Day.” The events provide local residents an all-day opportunity to have open discussions about government issues with Governor Otter, members of his Cabinet and other senior State officials.

The open meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sun Valley Inn, Continental Room. Governor Otter will join Mayor Wayne Willich and other local leaders for a lunch at noon at the same location. The public is encouraged to attend the lunch, which will cost $10 per person.

Officials joining Governor Otter and First Lady Lori Otter at Capital for a Day will include Lieutenant Governor Brad Little; Secretary of State Ben Ysursa; Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna; Brigadier General Bill Shawver, commanding officer of the Idaho Air National Guard and director of the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security; Roger Madsen, director of the Idaho Department of Labor; Dick Armstrong, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare; Bill Deal, director of the Idaho Department of Insurance; Brian Ness, director of the Idaho Transportation Department; Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce; Brent Reinke, director of the Idaho Department of Correction; Gary Spackman, interim director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources; Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho Lottery and the Idaho State Liquor Division; College of Southern Idaho President Jerry Beck; Michael Faison, director of the Idaho Commission on the Arts; and Jim Unsworth, deputy director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Also on hand to help answer questions from residents will be a representative from the State Board of Education and regional representatives from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho State Historical Society, Idaho State Police, Idaho Department of Lands, and the Idaho Division of Building Safety.

“Sun Valley has been synonymous with resort and recreational excellence for 75 years now. We all are proud to be associated not only with the name, but more importantly with the people who make it great,” Governor Otter said. “There is a unique set of challenges associated with a community like Sun Valley. I look forward to hearing the perspective of those who live, work and raise their families here.”