Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The State Department of Education will award $1.5 million in grants to fund afterschool programs across the state for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.  Grant applications are due January 30, 2015.  

The funding is available through the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which is designed to provide academic enrichment opportunities, art, music, recreation, sports, drug and violence prevention and youth development activities to students during non-school hours.  The State Department of Education currently funds 90 afterschool centers throughout the state, which serve a total of 8,461 Idaho youth daily.

“These programs are dynamic opportunities to enrich what happens during the school day for our students. High-quality afterschool programs provide students the academic, social and career-ready skills they need to succeed at a time during the day when most juvenile delinquency occurs,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “I encourage all Idaho schools to explore this opportunity by attending one of the bidder’s workshops my office is conducting throughout the state.”   

School districts, municipalities, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and private corporations are eligible for these grants.  Successful applicants will receive funding for up to five years. 

Those considering applying for funding are strongly encouraged to attend a Bidder’s Workshop.  The following workshops are open to any interested party: 
  • Friday, November 14: Coeur d’Alene, Coeur d’Alene School District Office, 1400 N Northwood Center Ct. 
  • Monday, November 17: Blackfoot, Blackfoot Performing Arts Center, 870 S Fisher St
  • Tuesday, November 18: Twin Falls, College of Southern Idaho, Student Union Building, Room 247
  • Thursday, November 20: Weiser, Weiser High School, 690 West Indianhead Road, Library
  • Friday, November 21: Boise, State Department of Education, 650 W State St, 2nd Floor 

All workshops, except Blackfoot, will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Blackfoot’s workshop will be from 1 to 5 p.m.

All workshops are free.  To register for the workshops or to view the grant application please visit: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cclc/grants.htm or call (208) 332-6960. 

Participants are expected to download and review the application prior to the workshop. 

For more information please contact Camille McCashland, Program Specialist at (208) 332-6960 or cmccashland@sde.idaho.gov.  

Monday, October 20, 2014


Idaho teachers can apply for up to $30,000 in grants from the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation to fund innovative technology projects. This is the 11th year the Idaho State Department of Education has partnered with CenturyLink to fund classroom technology projects across the state.

“Every year, Idaho’s teachers develop innovative ways to engage students and raise academic achievement through the use of technology. I am proud the Idaho State Department of Education has been able to partner with CenturyLink to provide these grants to Idaho teachers,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.

Last year, 22 teachers applied for grants, with 11 winners selected by a review committee comprised of community members and a CenturyLink representative. The winning teachers’ schools each received a grant to be used by the teachers to purchase technology. For instance, the Middleton School District was awarded $5,000 to purchase 10 iPad minis, a MacBook Pro and a charging cart for a mobile learning lab.  This mobile learning lab will transform and redefine current writing instruction to address the needs and learning styles of 21st century learners.

“With technology now such a normal part of our everyday lives, teachers are constantly finding new and creative ways to use technology in their classrooms,” CenturyLink Idaho Vice President and General Manager Jim Schmit said. “This is a great opportunity for CenturyLink to help by identifying some of those teachers, recognizing them for their innovation, and supporting them with financial assistance to expand their use of technology even further.”

The Idaho State Department of Education is now accepting applications. Teachers have until January 2, 2015 to apply for the grants.

All Pre-K-12 public and private school teachers who teach in a CenturyLink service area are eligible to apply.

CenturyLink service is neither required nor considered in the review of applications.

The Foundation will award more than $1.4 million in grants to support technology in the classroom through its 2014-2015 Teachers and Technology program, offered throughout the company’s service areas in the U.S. 

For more information or to apply, please visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/tech_services/grants_contracts.htm

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Two Idaho teachers who demonstrate the commitment to go above and beyond in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), will be honored at the Idaho Technology Council’s “Idaho’s Hall of Fame and Innovation Awards.” This year’s Industry’s Excellent Educators Dedicated to STEM (INDEEDS) selections goes to two master teachers nominated by their home schools, and then evaluated and granted the recognition by some of Idaho’s top industry leaders.

“Through the INDEEDS Award program, the State of Idaho works with industry partners to recognize teachers who create unique opportunities for students to not only experience the fun and excitement of science and STEM, but also learn how to apply lessons in real-world settings,” said Scott Smith, Idaho State Department of Education’s STEM Coordinator.

The 2014 INDEEDS distinguished teachers are:
Amber McVey, Pepper Ridge Elementary, Boise, ID
Dennis Zattiero, Caldwell High School, Caldwell, ID

The award was initiated by the Office of the Governor in 2000 and was sponsored by a group of industry leaders including the Micron Foundation, Idaho National Laboratory, AECOM -formally URS/Washington Group, Hewlett-Packard, LCF Enterprises, and Idaho Power Company. In 2013, the award presentation was incorporated within the Idaho Technology Council’s Hall of Fame and Innovation Awards event to further spotlight these outstanding educators. With support from the State Department of Education and Office of the State Board of Education, as well as the Discovery Center of Idaho, INDEEDS recognizes teachers for their efforts to link industry and the science, technology, engineering, and math agencies along with businesses of Idaho to the classroom and students.

As a thank you from the sponsors, each recipient is awarded $2,000 with their school receiving an additional $2,000 to use towards STEM initiatives in the school.

For more information, contact Idaho State Department of Education, STEM Coordinator, Scott Smith at SSmith@sde.idaho.gov.


Prairie Elementary school has been officially recognized by the US Department of Education as one of this year’s Blue Ribbon Schools. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna extends his congratulations to Prairie Elementary for being selected.

“I’m proud of all the teachers, administrators, parents, and students who work so hard to make Prairie Elementary a great place to learn,” said Superintendent Luna. “Everyone there is leading by example and helping to set the standard of education in the Gem State.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

Prairie Elementary School has maintained an average of 95 percent of all students who have achieved a ranking of Proficient or Advanced on Idaho’s statewide assessment in reading. In math, they’ve maintained an average of 93 percent Proficient or Advanced over the last five years.  Prairie faces many of the same challenges as other schools across the Gem State with an average of 40-50 percent of students eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch.

Superintendent Luna will visit Prairie Elementary School on Friday, October 16th for an assembly and award announcement celebration. Press is welcome to attend. Prairie Elementary School is located at 907 Lewiston Street in Cottonwood. The assembly is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.

In addition to the national recognition, Prairie Elementary School will also receive a $20,000 award and an additional $5,000 to use towards traveling expenses to the Recognition Ceremony in Washington D.C., on November 10-11, 2014.

For more information about the National Blue Ribbon Program contact Marcia Beckman at 208-332-6953 or mmbeckman@sde.idaho.gov


The State Department of Education will hold a hearing on October 16, 2014 to give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed rules.

The meeting will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Barbara Morgan Conference Room at the Department of Education located at 650 West State Street in Boise.

Teachers, parents, administrators and the public are encouraged to come to the meeting. Topics of the proposed rules include special education funding, physical education, graduation requirements, student data and more. The rules are also available for comment online until October 23rd.


The State Department of Education is seeking 120 Idahoans to review test questions for the spring Idaho Standards Achievement Tests by Smarter Balanced.

Educators, parents, and school board members are encouraged to apply. The review will take place December 15 to December 19. Participants must commit to being in Boise during those dates and available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If the committee does not finish, participants may be asked to return to Boise January 6 to January 8, 2015.

The committee, known as the Bias and Sensitivity Committee, was created by the Idaho Legislature in 2014 through Idaho Code 33-133. The committee consists of a minimum of 30 people from six regions of the state. Each region must be represented by a minimum of two parents of a public school or public charter school student, one teacher, one administrator, and one school board member. Because the committee must review more than 30,000 test questions, 120 people are needed. To apply, please fill out the form here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/BiasAndSensitivity Selected committee members will be reimbursed for their travel at the state rate, teachers will also be reimbursed for substitutes. All participants will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Applications are due by October 30.

Idaho has been one of the governing states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium since its inception in 2010. The new assessment will replace the previous ISAT and is aligned to higher standards in English language arts and math. The test moves beyond multiple choice questions to measure critical thinking skills by having students explain their answers and write essays. Idaho fully field tested the new test in the spring of 2014 and is set to give the operational exam in 2015.

The new test has gone through an extensive bias and sensitivity review as part of test development, but Idahoans will have their own opportunity to review questions. Questions flagged by the committee will be presented to the State Board of Education in January, who will determine whether a test question is included on the operational test. Reviews of the questions will be confidential as is standard procedure for a secure assessment.

For more information, please contact Cathy Salas at 208-332-6909 or csalas@sde.idaho.gov

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Superintendent Luna Calls for 6.9 Percent Increase for Public Schools

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna submitted a budget proposal Tuesday requesting a 6.9 percent increase in state funding for Idaho public schools for the 2015–16 school year.

“We’re meeting our priorities and fulfilling our promises with this budget,” said Superintendent Luna. “This budget proposal follows priorities set forth by Governor Otter’s Taskforce for Improving Education.  We know the most important factor in a child’s education is the quality of the teacher. This budget focuses on improving teacher pay and providing better support for teachers through targeted professional development and access to 21st century learning tools.”

State agencies are required to submit budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year to the Governor’s office by September 1. Because of the Labor Day holiday, agencies were allowed to submit a day later.

The public schools general fund request equals $1,460,700,900, a 6.9 percent increase over fiscal year 2015. Without automatic increases for growth in student population and educators, the budget is a 5.8 percent increase.  

The largest increases in the budget are focused on recommendations from the Governor’s Taskforce for Improving Education to fund a career ladder for teachers, which changes the way teachers are compensated as well as increases in professional development dollars sent to districts and transitioning from a one to one device pilot program to a formula sent directly to all school districts.

Highlights in Superintendent Luna’s budget proposal for the 2015 school year include:
·         More than $23 million for the career ladder
·         An increase in discretionary funding of $10 million
·         $9 million additional  for 21st century classroom technology to create one to one mobile device environments
·         $21.6 million for professional development funding for teachers
·         More than $10 million to restore funds for maintenance and safe and drug free schools

This budget request will now go to the Governor’s office for consideration. According to state statute, the Governor presents a budget recommendation for all of state government to members of the Idaho Legislature in January. Fiscal year 2016 begins July 1, 2015.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Reset of the Star Rating

Recently the Idaho State Board of Education approved a proposed accountability plan for the 2014-2015 school year.

The plan was brought to the Board by the Department of Education. Because Idaho fully field tested the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test in spring 2014 there is not a baseline score to calculate growth for accountability. Therefore Idaho will not publish a summative star for school year 2014-2015, but will publicly report all elements of the Star Rating with the exception of growth.

“This is a reset of the Star Rating system,” said Superintendent Tom Luna. “It’s not a pass on accountability. Schools will still be held accountable for student success through public reporting and meeting school improvement designations.” Luna continued, “Growth is and has been a major part of our accountability system and must continue to be a major part. To calculate star ratings without growth would be akin to No Child Left Behind that we worked so hard to change. By resetting star ratings, we maintain the integrity of the Star Rating system and create a baseline for growth in future years."

Idaho's 5 Star Rating System is based on multiple measures: proficiency, academic growth, graduation rate, SAT scores, and advanced opportunity participation. Growth on the new ISAT will be on a vertical scale, like a yard stick, that allows parents, students, and educators to easily see growth in student achievement year after year.

Students will take the new ISAT in math and English language arts next spring (2015) and will receive their scores. Schools at the end of next year, will have the option to distribute reports that show student growth between the ISAT given in 2013 and the new ISAT given next year (2015). However, because of the difference in the tests, it’s not appropriate for the state to use these growth reports for accountability.

Priority and Focus Schools (the bottom 15 percent in achievement) as well as Rapid and Turnaround Schools will continue to be calculated. These designations have been and will continue to be based on proficiency scores, not growth, so they will continue to be published.

The 2014-2015 accountability plan will be available for public comment. If changes are required, then the Department will bring changes to the Board of Education in October. The plan will then be presented to the US Dept of Education as part of Idaho's accountability plan.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Luna Accepts Position Beginning in 2015

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has accepted a new position with a national non-profit, beginning in early 2015.

Superintendent Luna will serve as vice president of policy, advocacy and research for Project Lead the Way, the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs and teacher training.

"My focus and priority today continues to be the children of Idaho,” said Superintendent Luna. “There are several major initiatives that need continued attention such as teacher quality and pay through a new tiered system of licensure and a well-funded career ladder, technology implementation to increase access throughout Idaho, dual credit opportunities for all high school students and ensuring students are reading proficiently by the time they exit third grade. These are my highest priorities as I finish my second-term as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.”

As vice president of policy, advocacy, and research, Superintendent Luna will oversee a team focused on advancing federal, state, and local policies, as well as research initiatives that support STEM growth across the United States. Superintendent Luna will oversee four regional directors, as well as a team of policy analysts and researchers.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Idaho Technology Pilot Project

The following is a guest post on the State Educational Technology Directors blog by Alex MacDonald, the Director of Instructional Technology at the Idaho State Department of Education. You can read the original post, here
Over the past two years, the Idaho Legislature  has appropriated $6 million to be made available to schools across Idaho for technology pilot projects. The pilot projects, which run for up to two years, are designed to improve student academic growth as well as financial efficiencies through a full integration technology model.
The intent of this grant program is to focus on technology implementation at a single school building that will be scalable to other schools and sustainable statewide after the pilot period. In many situations across Idaho, the state recognizes that school buildings are severely lacking in technology that enhances and maximizes learning opportunities for students and changes instructional practices for educators. In the 21st Century, every student and teacher in every school in Idaho should have access to the necessary technology, tools, and knowledge to create a Next Generation Learning Environment (NxGLE).
Many educators and policy makers struggle with what the NxGLE looks like. This is typically because they are in search of one-size fits all approach, trying to standardize technology integration and searching for a silver bullet. It has become very evident through the 26 pilot projects  that local autonomy is paramount. Educational leaders need to look at the students’ levels to define not what an NxGLE looks like, but what it does. What are the planned knowledge, skills, and learning outcomes?
The first step our pilot school leaders took was to look at the Idaho Core Standards. With this guidance, administrators and teachers worked hand in hand with students, to clearly understand whatstudents need to accomplish learning outcomes, a truly collaborative process. This has sparked a transition over the last few years of teachers becoming facilitators of learning and has enabled them to use of technology to coordinate personalized learning for students. Here are some key phrases of NxGLE descriptions taken from the project proposals, with key ideas bolded.
  • Outstanding knowledge and skills required for success in a globalized working and learning environment.
  • Authentic student voice, which is the deep engagement of students in directing and owning their individual learning.
  • A focus on collaborative learning and critical thinking. Our classrooms will be student-centered, mobile and flexible learning environments focused on academic achievement and social interaction.
  • Students are put at the center of the learning process and are engaged in constructive learning experiences, lessons are vigorous and relevant to the real world and reflect the knowledge and skills needed for success in apost-secondary education or career.
  • Their student-centered inquiries will combine discipline knowledge and research techniques to solve problemspursue new knowledge, build, and create.
With an established vision of the NxGLE, instructional leaders are ready to implement different technologies and tools that support the learning outcomes, objectives, and higher order skills that are paramount for students. Though the Idaho Technology Pilot is not complete, leaders have solidified key philosophies and learned about essential elements within the paradigm shift. Below are several of these general findings:
  • Leadership and fortitude is paramount in success
  • Projects need focused and scaled deployment plan
  • High speed broadband is essential to maximizing the devices and learning resources
  • Technology integration paradigm shift takes several years, not just a summer
  • Technology integration coaches or specialists for job embedded professional development are valuable
  • Recurring teacher collaboration time (weekly or monthly) is essential
  • Successful deployments use a technology integration model, such as the SAMR or TPACK
  • Interoperability with applications and resources is important.
  • Students as support” model for Tier 1 support and training is effective
NxGLE has opened learning opportunities; learning is no longer confined to the four walls of the classroom or the hours of the school day. With technology as the support mechanism of learning and NOT the focal point and teachers facilitating learning, students across Idaho are engaged to excel, similar to other students across the country. How are your districts and teachers enabling the Next Generation Learning Environment?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Student Scores Increase in Critical Reading, Mathematics During 2014 SAT School Day

Scores increased in reading and math for nearly 17,000 Idaho high school juniors who took part in the 2014 SAT School Day last April.

“These results are more evidence that student achievement in Idaho continues to increase and that Idaho’s high school students are moving in the right direction as they prepare to ‘go on’ to postsecondary education.” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. “I’m convinced this trend will continue and excited to see even more students strive as they ‘go on’ into college and their careers.”

On average, compared to previous test results, students scored about two percent better in critical reading and math, but scored two percent less in writing. While the mean score in writing did drop slightly, students made between a five and six percent increase in the skill categories dealing with grammatical relationships and structures. 

The average critical reading score in 2014 was 464, compared to 454 in 2013. In mathematics, the scores increased from 453 to 461. Overall in 2014 the number of students who scored a 700 or better in critical reading increased 33.2 percent.

The biggest score increase from 2013 to 2014 was with critical reading questions dealing with reasoning and inference. These questions challenge students to understand assumptions, suggestions and implications in reading and to draw informed conclusions. Overall, students correctly answered 17.7 percent more questions in that category.

In 2007, the Idaho State Board of Education and Idaho Legislature approved high school graduation requirements starting with the class of 2013 requiring students to complete a college entrance exam such as the SAT. The State of Idaho makes this possible by funding SAT School Day in which all high school juniors can take the SAT or ACCUPLACER exam, paid for by the state.

For more information on Idaho SAT School Day, including results by district, visit www.sde.idaho.gov/site/assessment/CollegeEntranceExam.

Editor’s Note: Please take caution in reading and reporting the data on Idaho SAT School Day versus national results that are released for the ACT and SAT. The Idaho SAT School Day data only measures the results of Idaho high school juniors taking the SAT paid for by the state. The national results for the ACT and SAT measure the results of a cohort of students (sophomores, juniors and seniors) who graduate in a given year and selected to take the SAT or ACT during their high school years.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Idaho Awarded $75,000 Grant to Help Low-Income Students Take Exams

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Idaho $75,552 as part of its efforts to boost college-and career readiness for historically underserved students. The grant will help defray the costs of taking advanced placement tests for low-income students.

“This is an opportunity for students throughout Idaho to excel. This grant, along with Advanced Opportunities programs, such as Fast Forward, offered through the Idaho Department of Education, give students the opportunity to earn college credits in high school,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. “It’s a chance for students to excel without the worry of a financial burden.” 

The grants are used to help pay for low-income students taking approved advanced placement tests administered by the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization and Cambridge International Examinations. By subsidizing test fees for low-income students, the program is intended to encourage students to take advanced placement tests and obtain college credit for high school courses, reducing the time and cost required to complete a postsecondary degree.

Based on the anticipated number of tests to be taken, the grants under the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program are expected to pay all but $18 of the cost of each advanced placement test taken by low-income students.

The Advanced Placement Test Fee program is administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. For additional information on the program visit: www2.ed.gov/programs/apfee/index.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

ISAS Academy Two: Day 7

After a late night practicing their presentations the students were up bright and early to go through another round of practice. The students worked till they were ready and the presentations sounded great.

The students arrived at the event center around ten in the morning and set up their poster presentations. They then received guests and family to talk about the mission to Mars they had planned. Students also reunited with family members after their week long absence from home.

Students present their design mission to their family members. 

The presentation began with a welcome from program director Peter Kavouras and was followed by a buffet. The audience received a preview of the students' time at the Academy through a video and slideshow during their meal.

Next the teams introduced themselves along with their job titles and presented their mission which was done in four parts with each team presenting their portion of the mission. Each presenter was eloquent and thorough with their short speech and communicated to the audience well.

Students present their mission design to the banquet hall.

After the presentations a few special guests including  Dr. Janet Callahan, Assistant Dean of Boise State College of Engineeing. Dr. Tony Roark, Dean of Boise State College of Arts and Sciences, and Corey Morasch of Micron stood and talked about the students' experiences and vision of the program. They communicated to the audience the positive impact the Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Program has on the students and their desire to see it continue.

An audience of family, friends and others from the community join to hear the ISAS presentation.

Michael Brune was then introduced and she in turn introduced each team's teacher-mentor. After making a few remarks on the performance of their team each mentor presented their team members with certificates of achievement. After their team received their certificates one team member on behalf of their team was asked to talk about their experience at the Academy. This may have been the most heartwarming and convincing part of the banquet, for you saw their sincere appreciation for the program.

Teams receive the certificate of achievement. 

The time to say farewell came too quickly. Students and mentors alike felt that the time they had spent together made it hard to part but we will see these students again in the near future.

The Green team takes one last photo together. 

Thank you so much for following these students during their time at the first Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Academy. You can find photos, videos and other media of their time spent at the academy on the Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also find more information on how to get involved with the program as a student or a teacher at our website. And it was our pleasure to bring their story to you all week. Please come back in two weeks to follow the updates for the second academy beginning the 27th.

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and 
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors

Saturday, August 2, 2014

ISAS Academy Two: Day 6

 The students' day began with a presentation from a former ISAS student. Abigail Sevier attended the ISAS Academy it’s very first year, in 2010. She is currently a senior at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. This summer she has an internship at NASA Langley in Virginia. She talked to ISAS scholars about the opportunities ISAS opens up to you.

Abigail Sevier teleconferenced with ISAS students.
 The Boise State University SPHERE (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage Reorient, Experimental Satellites) coordinators talked to ISAS scholars about how they could from a Zero Robotics team. The presenters were a graduate student, Nilab and an undergraduate student, Marina. They and their team are the link between the MIT Zero Robotics Program and high schools and middle schools around the state of Idaho. The challenges for both teams change annually, but always involve programing a spherical robot to accomplish a selected task in space. Winning teams get to send their codes to a SPHERE on the ISS for testing. This year’s challenge is keeping a meteor from hitting earth.
Students had the opportunity to learn about Zero Robotics.
Soon afterwards students had the opportunity to participate in a teleconference with Dan Isla who is a Boise State University graduate and Systems Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Dan Isla worked on the Assembly Test and Launch Operations Team (ATLO) for the Mars Rover Curiosity and talked about the seven minutes of terror landing, the rover's activities on the planet and its instrumentation. Students had their last chance to talk to an expert about their mission before tomorrow's presentations, and they also asked questions about the road to a NASA career including opportunities at BSU and other colleges and high schools in general.

Dan Isla presented to the ISAS scholars, allowing them to ask him many questions.

The students had the opportunity to participate in workshops that provided a hands on approach to different career fields, including: measuring snow, DNA detection, antibiotic development, cryptology, robotics, and metal casting. The students worked with college students, graduate students and professors to complete different experiments in these areas of study. Experiments varied from changing pennies to appear gold, to making alloys, to programing a rover to find water on Mars.

One of the 6 workshops allowed students to mix chemicals to make golden pennies.

ISAS scholars finished the day working hard to meet their morning deadlines. Power-Points and posters were finished, edited, and in the poster’s case, printed. Teams had the opportunity to practice giving their presentations as they well tomorrow at the luncheon. It was rewarding for everyone to see how much they had accomplished this past week at the ISAS academy.

Don't forget to check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for more pictures, videos and other ISAS related posts and media.

Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors

Friday, August 1, 2014

ISAS Academy Two: Day 5

The ISAS students' day began with a tour of the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Boise facilities. HP stands out from other technology companies because they are so broad in specialties. They create many different computers, printers, their accessories and many other technological items, and are constantly researching testing and creating more. This company is also trying to become the world’s cleanest IT company, recycling ink cartridges and any hardware device made by many companies. Boise is loosely known as HP’s inkjet center. HP is strictly a no pictures facility so no inside views will be included in this post.
The entrance to the HP main building.
 Students were able to see how they test their printers to meet global conditions and requirements. This process includes testing different types of paper, inks and the packaging. In the prototype lab students saw 3D printing and scanning machines in action; some scholars got their own hand scanned. Scientists and engineers from different backgrounds sat with the ISAS Academy at lunch, giving students a chance to see more options and possibilities, as well as getting advice for their future. The scholars enjoyed in interactive activities and tours they were able to take part in at Hewlett-Packard.

 Returning to the Boise State University Engineering buildings, the teams got a chance to better discuss all the information they received from the scientists they met at NASA Ames and HP. Mission planning became more intense as students realized the end of the week is soon approaching. A couple of scholars from each team had the opportunity to walk through undergraduate research presentations hosted at Boise State University by the Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research (ICUR). And there they saw undergradate students from across the nation presenting their research using posters similar to the ones students are designing for their final banquet on Saturday.

The final presentation of the day was given by former astronaut Wendy Lawrence. She spoke to the students on the physiological concerns that exist when we spend extended periods in space, concerns such as: radiation that is in space, fluid shifts, that can affect eye vision and psychological factors such as isolation and lack of resources.

The team leads have grown close over the week. They, along with many other students asked Wendy Lawrence for a picture.

After a stressful week students had the opportunity to relax and bowl, play billiards and ping pong. Both former astronauts, Wendy Lawrence and Barbara Morgan played with the scholars. Students enjoyed the relaxation and interaction with these two esteemed women, as they talked with the students in a less formal manner. The break was much appreciated as tomorrow will be another busy day at the Academy.

Wendy Lawrence plays billiards with ISAS students.
Students had the chance to relax and bowl, along with other activities.

Thank you for reading, and as always be sure to check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for more photos and frequent updates during the day. We hope to see you at the banquet on Saturday where the students will be presenting an engaging and impressive final presentation. #ISASacademy

Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and 
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna) 
ISAS Social Media Mentors

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ISAS Academy Two: Day 4

This morning the students again rose early and readied themselves to start their second day at the NASA Ames Research Center. After so many exciting activities yesterday they knew to expect an engaging and informing time during the presentations and tours that would be given. The day did not disappoint.

The sign welcoming ISAS onto NASA Ames.

The morning started off with a presentation from Mark Leon, from the panel last night, as well as from the tour of the robotics yesterday. He talked about his experience building lunar rovers, giving the scholars advice about what they may do with rovers on Mars. Students, during his presentation, also got to control a lunar Mars rover model, driving it around on the floor.

Receiving help from NASA interns, scholars controlled a lunar robot model.

Students then went to visit two human centrifuges. Among other things, these machines study how humans react in conditions of up to 5 g’s, though the centrifuge can go up to 20 g’s. Daniel Morgan explained that one end of the large centrifuge is used for human experiments and the other for non-human ones. Students got the opportunity to sit in the centrifuge chair, take pictures and explore the spinning contraption. The smaller centrifuge used to be human powered, but has since been modified to use an engine. The pedals are still used for experiments studying exercise.

Students sit in the 20 G centrifuge.

The students also visited the Space Shop, where ideas come to life as laser cutters and 3D printers, along with various other machines that cut or shape parts of machines for engineers to compile together. The Space Shop works as an open 3D printing lab where engineers, scientists and other professionals can prototype ideas for products. Alex Mazhari, from last night’s panel of experts, explained how each machine worked and what its purpose was.

Soon after, students were fortunate to with another NASA scientist, Dana Backman who works on SOFIA, a NASA, DRL (the German space agency) joint project. Sophia is a renovated Boing 747 that has been modified to contain a 2.5 meter diameter inferred telescope, the world’s largest movable telescope. Teachers and scientists across the nation and from Germany have the opportunity to perform experiments on a 10 hour flight. Water vapor in our atmosphere blocks inferred light from hitting us on Earth, however getting the telescope up in the stratosphere lets 80% more inferred get through. To them it is just as good as a telescope in space, without all the hassles of space travel, and with more returns to Earth.

Dana Backman speaks to the students.

Students later paid a visit to the Fluid Dynamics Lab, a lab where many testing has been done for both sport companies and the media, including the 2014 soccer world cup ball, and TV’s Mythbusters. They were able to see the "Life Saver" wind tunnel. Here students participated in an experiment that involved the turbulence created by the flowing air rushing against the walls of the wind tunnel. Around the walls the air slows down to a point where the velocity is zero but as you move away from the wall toward the air stream the velocity gradually increases. This allowed the students to listen to a change of pitch in the airflow as they moved a tube near and away from the wall. Also in the Fluid Dynamics Lab, students could see the air flow as neon dye was pushed through a water tank around a replica of the space shuttle.

Students visit the facilities' smaller wind tunnels.

Students visited the Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility for a tour led again by Lisa Grant. This lab is home to a full 747 simulator that sits on six pivoting legs. It gives piolts a chance to practice flying in a motion sensitive environment. They were also able to see an original simulator of a world war two plane made from organ-like air pumps.

Students ask questions about the simulators.

The scholars reluctantly left Ames, however they were excitingly talking about all that they had seen in just two days, and eagerly planning their futures where they might work alongside these and other scientists, engineers and professionals.

We’d like to thank our tour guide, Tom Clausen and Adrianne Wilkinson, and all other professionals at NASA Ames Research Center who took time out of their busy schedules to help and interact with our students. The professionals were all eager and excited about their subject matter, which helped get the students eager and excited. NASA Ames is a memory none of the students will ever forget.

Don't forget to check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for more frequent updates as well as all of the day’s pictures. We hope to see you at the Saturday banquet for the final presentation of the students’ mission plans. #ISASacademy

Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ISAS Academy One: Day 3

The ISAS students got out of bed very early this morning to catch a 7:30 am flight to San Jose, California. From there they traveled to the location of the NASA Ames Research Center. At the Ames Center the students will be able to tour many of the testing facilities and scientific labs that have played a large role in bringing us the technology and scientific exploration known to us today. This is also one of the best opportunities in the academy to gain information in regards to their mission planning with many chances to speak with NASA professionals.  
ISAS Students in front of one of NASA's wind Tunels.

 Students began their experience at NASA Ames at the visitor's center where they saw a model of inside the Space Station, a moon rock along with other NASA related missions in space. They also took an interactive tour of our solar system and beyond given by Don Richey with the IMAX like screen in the visitor center. 

Students got to tour a space shuttle model at the NASA Ames' visitor's center

Students then were able to tour the bioengineering lab with Mark Kliss. This lab is experimenting with recycling and cleaning the air and water on the ISS, along with finding a better way to contain trash and waste. This week's scholars asked questions about how they could apply those technologies on their mission to Mars. Students were able to get a glimpse behind the reasoning and methodology of NASA experiments.

Mark Kliss talks to the red and blue teams about the biology involved in space.
 The Vertical Motion Simulator has the benefit of testing many different light scenarios, such as Space Shuttles, Fighter Jets, Moon Landers and 747s. Guided by Lisa Grant and special guest Karol "Bo" Bobco, the students learned that this particular simulator not only gave pilots and astronauts all of the buttons and view screens of the actual vehicle, but it can also simulate the motion of anything that moves,  depth perception,and even microgravity. This simulator is the only one in the world of its kind and another little know fact is that former astronaut Barbara Morgan, current professor at Boise State University, trained in these simulators.  

Students take a picture with Astronaut Hall of Famer Karol "Bo" Bobco.

Lynn Rothschild presented to our scholars on how to go about finding life on other planets. She recommended that the students first figure out what exactly they are trying to find: intelligent life, bacteria etc, because that dictates how you go about searching. The next step is discovering the limits of life on Earth. Then they would need to discover places similar to Earth out in space, including the extreme habitats here on earth. Finally they might try to create synthetic organisms that could exist in the more extreme space environments to see if it is possible for life to exist.

Talking about her work, Lynn Rothschild presents to the scholars on life off this planet.

NASA Ames Research Center is home to the 80 by 120 wind tunnel, the largest wind tunnel in the world. Bill Warmbrodt presented the students with a very fascinating presentation on this scientific apparatus. He also gave examples of different studies they have conducted, including the Curiosity, 7 minutes of terror parachute. Students appreciated his approach of engaging them with questions and amusing stories. This wind tunnel uses the amount of electricity that it would take to power a city of 225,000 people and can produce wind at 115 miles per hour. It uses hydro-electricity that comes from dams in Big Creek of Nevada and the Snake River of Idaho.

Inside The World's Largest Wind Tunnel.

Students got to visit the First Robotics Lab at Ames. First Robotics is a global competition where participants build robots that have to compete in random teams of three in a different game every year. There are many robotic teams in Idaho and one of our students had even met the tour guide, Mark Leon, at a competition.

Students visit the First Robotic field at the NASA Ames Center.

The final event of the day was a great time for the teams to take advantage of the fact they were on the site of a NASA center walking among elite scientists, engineers and other professionals. A panel of experts, including Mark Leon, Jake Forsberg, Greg Swanson, and Brian Day and two interns named Julia and Lauren brought over a sixty minute question and answer session to the students. Questions were asked such as, "Would a sky crane be an effective landing system?" “Should our drilling operations on Mars be manned or unmanned?”  And, "Should we use the moon as a stepping stone in developmental plans to get to Mars?" To find out about the answers to these questions and to find out what decisions the teams made on the specific details of their missions, be sure to join us for the banquet on Saturday where the teams will present their final reports.

The student's got to pick the brains of these panelists.

ISAS students asked very thoughtful questions, that our panel had fun answering.

Throughout the day these students attract the attention of different NASA professionals working at the research center. Students are often stopped on the street and asked what state they are from and what program they are participating in. Please take some time to visit the ISAS Facebook and Twitter page for more pictures and updates. #ISASacademy

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and

Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)

ISAS Social Media Mentors