Idaho Education News

Lawmakers received $5 million worth of good news Tuesday morning. The state’s bill for school broadband could come in well below budget.

One reason for the savings: School districts have been able to tap into federally administered dollars that had been cut off during the Idaho Education Network broadband contract dispute.

Idaho Education News

The debate over Idaho Core Standards could be headed to a federal courtroom — with a focus on the tests aligned to the new standards.

On Monday, a group of 10 plaintiffs filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, seeking to “cease implementation” of Idaho’s version of Common Core and throw out the state’s testing contract with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Idaho Education News

Child immunization rates are low in the silver mining community of Wallace, and school district superintendent Bob Ranells is well aware of it.

There is no simple, single explanation.

School nurses are expected to manually load data for every individual student — and, as Ranells puts it, nurses went into their profession to help people, not to sit in front of a computer.

Idaho Education News

As Idaho moves into the realm of mastery-based education, the state is getting unpaid help from a prominent education reform group.

But the Foundation for Excellence in Education — founded by GOP presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — is itself a newcomer to mastery. During a meeting with the State Board of Education in May, a foundation official said the group has not worked with any other states on implementing mastery programs.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Treasure Valley school districts faced with a shortage of special education teachers are turning to alternative routes of certification as they struggle to fill positions.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the shortage has hit West Ada School District, the state's largest district, and Boise School District, one of Idaho's highest-paying districts. Council, a logging town near Boise with only 240 students, has also struggled to find special education teachers.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

On top of the tallest academic building on the Boise State campus sits a large metal dome. It is an observatory that has been at the school for more than 35 years. At one point, the dome was a hive of activity, giving students and the public a chance to peer deep into our solar system. Now it sits mostly empty and unused, after years of neglect.

Andrew Reed / Idaho Education News

Even in a state with high poverty rates, Nampa is a high-poverty district.

In 2014-15, 64 percent of Nampa’s 14,892 students qualified for free or reduced-price school lunch. In five Nampa elementary schools, this percentage topped 80 percent — well above the statewide average of 49 percent.

Boise Education Association

The lawsuit announced Thursday against the Boise School District and the Boise Education Association is as much about opposing perspectives on unions as about the constitutional issues it broaches directly.

Idaho Education News

A scramble to add teachers and staffers in Vallivue, Twin Falls and beyond.

A portable classroom building at Madison Junior High School.

Emergency property tax collections. And perhaps, in Boise, an earlier-than-expected discussion about another building bond issue.

Across many of Idaho’s largest districts, preliminary enrollment numbers are heading upward, and that has short- and long-term implications. In the short term, class sizes will increase. In the long term, taxpayers may be asked to add new facilities.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The conservative watchdog group Idaho Freedom Foundation announced a lawsuit Thursday against the Boise School District and its teachers union, the Boise Education Association. Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman says part of the district’s master labor agreement with the union violates Idaho’s constitution.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

An old school bus, painted blue, pulls up alongside a wooden fence around a sprawling mobile home park in Garden City. It’s the Garden City library’s Bells For Books bus. All day in the summer and in afternoons during the school year, it goes to some of the Treasure Valley’s poorest neighborhoods. The idea is that even though this town, almost entirely surrounded by Boise, is only four miles long it has a lot of kids who can’t get to the library.

Colette Cassinelli / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho public schools have received nearly $16 million after the state auctioned off cabins at Priest Lake.

The Spokesman-Review reports 35 lakefront cabin sites were purchased by the cabin owners for an average of $447,000 each at the Friday auction at the Coeur d'Alene Resort.

The highest-priced parcel in the auction went for $643,000, and the lowest-priced sold for $341,000.

A Boise teacher in her 70's is helping kids learn outside of the classroom in an usual way: with a tablecloth.

Micky Afnan began her career as an educator in 1958. She taught high school, then elementary students.

While teaching the younger children, she recalled a colorful tablecloth her mother made when Afnan was a child. It included a map of the U.S. with the state capitals. Afnan says the cloth helped her memorize all of the capitals in a few months.

Flickr Creative Commons

A Canyon County high school student has been asked to remove a Confederate flag from his truck because administrators worry it is a gang symbol.

KIVI-TV reports that Cossa Academy student Jordan Beattie says he hung the flag from his truck after his girlfriend gave it to him as a gift. His mother Sherry Beattie says when he came to the Wilder school with the flag displayed he was called to the school office.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This academic year marks the first that a remote Idaho school district will make guns available to trained staff members in the event that an active shooter is on the 300-student campus.

KBOI-TV reports Superintendent Greg Alexander says it can take 45 minutes or longer for emergency responders to reach the Garden Valley School District, prompting officials to buy four rifles, put them in gun safes and train a few staff members in how to use them.

Idaho Education News

Idaho’s SAT math scores dropped in April — and it’s potentially a warning sign, according to a top state education official.

The drop in 11th graders’ SAT scores compounds another round of troubling news. This spring, only 30 percent of 10th graders received proficient math scores on Idaho’s new statewide exam, the so-called SBAC test that is aligned to the Common Core standards.

Marcel Pacatte

A year after announcing major changes in the structure and thinking at the university and nearly seven months to the day of President Barack Obama’s visit to campus to highlight the innovation occurring in classrooms and research labs, what’s left to say?

If you’re Boise State President Bob Kustra, and you’re giving your 13th State of the University address to faculty and staff, plenty.

The University of Idaho's College of Law plans to begin offering first-year law classes in Boise starting in 2017.

The Moscow-based law school began offering classes for third-year law students in Boise in 2008, and expanded to second-year students in 2012.

Dean Mark Adams told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that he often gets asked if the college will move all operations to Boise, but that's not the case.

Idaho Education News

Idaho SAT scores dropped slightly in April — and the decrease was most pronounced in math.

Idaho Education News

Linda Clark has spent 37 years working in Meridian-area schools. She has seen the suburban school district mushroom from 9,700 students to an enrollment of nearly 37,000 — with all the pressures and construction demands that come with growth.

But for Clark, the past few weeks have been particularly tumultuous.