Monday, June 23, 2014

Report on Implementation of Idaho Instructional Improvement System (Schoolnet) Pilot

In 2011, Idaho sought funding from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation to purchase and pilot an Instructional Improvement System, including deployment and adoption activities. The vision of the project was teachers would design engaging and imaginative lessons related to curriculum and linked to learning standards, as well as regularly analyze assessment results with easy access to best practices and professional development opportunities based on their student’s outcomes. Schools and districts would publish their progress to parents and engage the community in dialogue about continuous improvement.

For more information please view click here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Register Now for Charter Start 101 Workshop

The Idaho State Department of Education is hosting a Charter Start 101 workshop for parents, educators and others interested in learning more about what it takes to start a public charter school in Idaho on July 21 & 22, 2014 in Boise.

Public charters schools are free public schools that are open to all students. A public charter school gives parents the choice of sending their children to a school that uses innovative methods to provide a quality education in a smaller, more responsive learning environment.

This two-day Charter Start 101 workshop will provide technical assistance for all new charter developers and any individual or group interested in a public school conversion. The workshop is designed to support public charter school developers at all stages – from vision to implementation. 

Workshop attendance is a statutory requirement for all charter developers. This free workshop is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the State Department of Education offices in the Barbara Morgan Conference Room, 650 West State Street, 2nd floor, Boise. Registration starts at 7:45 a.m. All participants will receive a charter start resource guide.

The deadline to register is Tuesday, July15, 2014. No late registrants will be accepted. Space is limited so please register now by completing the registration form and returning to Michelle Clement Taylor, . The registration form is available at

If you need more information, please visit  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Department Announces Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee

The State Department of Education announced today the formation of the Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee.  The committee, comprised of experts in literacy from across the state, will develop recommendations on how to continue to improve Idaho students’ reading proficiency.

"We know that if a student is not reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade, the odds are 1 in 8 that the student will ever read at grade level,” said Superintendent Luna. “Students must learn to read before they can read to learn, which is why I welcome the recommendations the Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee will bring forward to help enhance our efforts."

The 20 member committee includes practitioners in K-12 schools and classroom, representatives of higher education, and representatives of organizations working toward literacy goals.  The practitioners were selected from top-performing schools, according to the Idaho Reading Indicator.  The committee members are:

·         Barbara Dixon, Board Chair, Meadows Valley School District
·         Bobbie Malvini, Kindergarten Teacher, Lakevue Elementary School, Vallivue School District
·         Camille Cureton, Principal, Terreton Elementary, West Jefferson School District
·         Carrie Aguas, Principal, New Plymouth Elementary School, New Plymouth School District
·         Cheryle Dismuke, Clinical Assistant Professor, Boise State University
·         Debbie Bauer, Kindergarten Teacher, Henry’s Fork Elementary School, Fremont School District
·         Dr. Evelyn Johnson, Executive Director, Lee Pesky Learning Center
·         Glen Syzmoniak, Superintendent, McCall-Donnelly School District
·         Hollis Brookover, Vice-President, Idaho Business for Education
·         Jo Beth Morrison, 1st Grade Teacher, Harold B. Lee Elementary School, West Side School District
·         Jolene Taggert, 3rd Grade Teacher, New Plymouth Elementary School, New Plymouth School District
·         LeAnn Simmons, Executive Director, Idaho Voices for Children
·         Lisa Boyd, Principal, Desert Springs Elementary, Vallivue School District
·         Meghan Graham, Special Education Teacher, Sage International School
·         Natalie Nation, Idaho Library Association
·         Representative Julie Van Orden
·         Senator Steven Thayn
·         Stephanie Bailey-White, Read to Me Project Coordinator, Idaho Commission for Libraries
·         To Be Determined, State Board of Education
·         Virginia Herbst, 2nd Grade Teacher, Donnelly Elementary School, McCall-Donnelly School District

The work of the committee will be coordinated by Dr. Marybeth Flachbart, former Deputy Superintendent at the State Department of Education and current President and CEO of the Neuhaus Education Center.

In 2000, the state began an intense focus on literacy through the Idaho Reading Initiative, designed to ensure all children in the State of Idaho master the skills needed to be successful readers.  In 2002, 56.92% of Idaho’s 3rd grade students scored proficient, or at grade level, on the Idaho Reading Indicator.  Today, 73.96% of Idaho’s 3rd grade students scored proficient on the Idaho Reading Indicator. 

The Idaho State Department of Education established the Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee to continue the work of improving reading scores after the Task Force for Improving Education recommended “students demonstrate mastery of literacy before moving on to significant content learning.”  Read the full Task Force recommendation online.   

The first committee meeting will be held June 17, 2014 in the Room EW40 of the Idaho Statehouse.  The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be open to the public and streamed live online via Idaho Public Television’s Legislature Live at

The first meeting will include a discussion of roles and expectations, a presentation on the history of reading initiatives and reading scores in Idaho, and setting of group priorities.

The Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee will meet through 2014 and have recommendation prepared for the 2015 Idaho Legislature.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Requests for Idaho Technology Pilot Grant Funding Soar by 34%

The State Department of Education announced today it received 99 applications for the Idaho Technology Pilot Program.  The applications totaled more than $26 million in requests for funding, amounting to a nearly 34% increase in funding requests from last year.

The Idaho Technology Pilot Program is a competitive grant program.  The goal is for schools to pilot ways that innovative and effective use of technology in elementary and secondary schools can help improve student achievement.  This is the second year the Idaho Legislature has appropriated $3 million in funding for technology pilot projects in K-12 public schools. 

“Since 2007, we have worked to make sure every student has equal access to the best educational opportunities.  The increase in technology grant applications is evidence we need a statewide solution to closing the digital divide,” said Superintendent Luna.  “Pilots must be just the beginning, not the end.  Parents shouldn’t have to hope their child is lucky enough to attend a school that was fortunate enough to receive a grant.”

To be eligible, a pilot project must be designed to improve student academic growth and financial efficiencies throughout an entire school. The project must be scalable to other schools in Idaho and sustainable statewide after the technology pilot period ends. The grant funding for the pilot projects will be for one fiscal year. Local school districts can plan to implement the pilot projects over a one-year or two-year period.

Grant proposals will be blind reviewed by a committee representing educational stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, and representatives of higher education.

Awardees will be announced before the beginning of July, when funding becomes available. 

For more information on the grant application, please visit