A few years ago, refugee students were encouraged to take part in a quilting project, creating a square depicting their home country. Aiham Taliv, a refugee from Iraq, prepared an illustration of his village — while, overhead, a helicopter opened fire. The quilt, including Taliv’s illustration, went on public display.
“We’re wanting (the community) to understand what their kids’ lives were like. … But it’s also a healing process for these kids,” said Bill Brulotte, the local school district’s federal programs director.
Twin Falls’ refugee program brings together students from diverse backgrounds. It does the same with teachers.
The district’s co-teaching model groups “the content police and the language police,” said Kimberly Allen, an instructional coach at Twin Falls’ Canyon Ridge High School. A subject expert — such as a math teacher — works alongside a colleague who specializes in working with English language learners.
“We’ve jokingly called them arranged marriages,” said Allen.
In terms of geography and culture, Twin Falls can scarcely be farther removed from Afghanistan or Iran, Burma or Nepal.
Yet in schools such as Twin Falls’ Lincoln Elementary School, in a portable building abutting a blacktop playground, newly arrived refugee students begin their long and stark transition to American schools.
Idaho’s child immunization rates improved in 2015, reaching a five-year high.
And Department of Health and Welfare officials don’t know what to make of the numbers yet.
In 2015, 86.7 percent of Idaho students were considered “adequately immunized,” according to Health and Welfare spreadsheets obtained this week by Idaho Education News. The 2014 figure was 85.6 percent.
A report tracking $16.7 million in teacher “leadership premiums” — compiled by the State Department of Education and presented to two legislative committees — is fraught with math errors.
The report came under some harsh scrutiny in the House Education Committee Thursday morning. A State Department of Education official acknowledged the errors in the report, but said it was impractical to doublecheck the schools’ math.
The Idaho Supreme Court sided with a district judge Tuesday, voiding the contract for the Idaho Education Network broadband project.
The court’s unanimous ruling could have $25 million worth of implications for the state — and its taxpayers. Idaho could be forced to write off or give back federally administered fees that were supposed to offset the costs of the high school Internet system.
A year ago at this time, a STEM Action Center wasn’t even so much as a proposal.
Angela Hemingway was working with the State Department of Education. She was “deep in the weeds” of assessment and accountability issues, and the idea of a STEM center wasn’t really on her mind.
In 2016, the brand-new STEM Action Center could get a big cash infusion from the Legislature. Hemingway, the center’s executive director, is fielding questions from lawmakers about how the money would be used.
Idaho has one of the nation’s strongest teacher evaluation policies, according to a national report issued Tuesday.
Idaho requires annual teacher evaluations, a national “best practice,” says the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. The group also gave Idaho conditional praise for using student achievement as a teacher evaluation metric.