The 15 school districts and public charter schools awarded are: New Plymouth, Sugar-Salem, Meridian, Cassia County, Lake Pend Oreille, Richfield, Minidoka County, Kuna, Buhl, Kimberly, Boundary County, Melba, Lakeland, Coeur d’Alene, and Anser Charter School.
“I am excited to partner with the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation to provide these Students Come First technology grants to help create the 21st Century classroom in every classroom across Idaho,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “With these grants, Idaho teachers now have access to the current, accurate data they need to individualize instruction and raise academic achievement for every child.”
A component of the Idaho System for Education Excellence (ISEE) statewide longitudinal data system, Schoolnet (or ISEE Phase II) is a robust instructional management system. Schoolnet provides Idaho teachers with a single portal through which they can access current student information; track student progress; gain instant feedback on student performance; view and assess student growth; collaborate with other teachers; create, access, and share online lesson plans that meet standards; and access high-quality, standards-aligned digital content from leading education content partners like Discovery Education; all while reducing redundant data entry tasks and minimizing paperwork. Additionally, Schoolnet offers parental access to important student information, such as student growth reports, and allows parents to play a greater, more informed role in their children’s educations.
The state has been working for two years to identify this type of innovative technology that Idaho teachers and school leaders can use to ensure all Idaho students graduate from high school prepared to go on to postsecondary education and the 21st century workforce. The Schoolnet instructional management system was chosen last year after a rigorous selection process conducted by classroom teachers, school administrators, parents, school board trustees, and representatives of the business community.
Because of seed money from the Albertson Foundation, some functions of the instructional management system—such as access to content standards and lesson-planning tools—are currently available in every classroom across the state today. The 15 selected school districts will pilot additional tools that allow teachers to immediately assess students, monitor academic progress, and guide instruction on a daily basis. These tools will be rolled out to all schools statewide in the future.
Superintendent Luna visited several school districts in Idaho to present their grant awards. Here are pictures from that trip and a look at how some of the 15 grantee districts will use their grant funding to promote effective learning in their classrooms.
The Cassia County School District received a $194,600 grant. Cassia is an example of the geographical challenges that schools in our large, rural state face. Superintendent Gaylen Smyer explains: “Our school district is geographically larger than the state of Delaware.” Coordinating and collaborating with its rural schools is a task that will be made easier by Schoolnet. Smyer shared his excitement about the capacity to support high-quality instruction in the Cassia County Joint School District, saying Schoolnet will “allow you, in a very meaningful way, to improve and individualize your instruction.”
The Coeur d’Alene School District received a grant of $249,919.84. District Superintendent Hazel Bauman said the district plans to use its grant money to hire “really good technology teachers,” who will learn the ins and outs of Schoolnet so they can instruct other teachers on how to get the most out of technology use in their classrooms. One teacher expressed excitement that, through Schoolnet, parents will soon be able to pull up student achievement information and stay better informed about how their students are doing. Some students, however, were less excited about the prospect of their parents checking in on their attendance and missing assignments.
Watch Superintendent Bauman Discuss Her District's Plans
Listen to Superintendent Clark Share Her Plans for Grant Use
The Minidoka County School District received a $150,000 grant. In Minidoka, Superintendent Scott Rogers asked his young students whether they “really like the iPads” they received. The answer was obvious from the cheers that erupted. Minidoka plans to hire staff to provide professional development to teachers so they can master the Schoolnet software. Training is already going on at the leadership level in Minidoka and will soon be available for teachers. School Board Chair Brian Duncan was pleased that, for the first time, the district would be able to provide teachers with real-time time data, allowing them to avoid grading stacks of paper and to know instantly how students have done. “We are excited,” said Rogers. “This is going to help us move forward and become a world-class school district.”
Watch School Board Chair Brian Duncan Share About Schoolnet
Here is the full list of grantees and the amount each district received: