Education

Jon Rawlinson / Flickr Creative Commons

A national education policy advocacy organization is holding its 3rd annual conference in Boise this week. The agenda is mostly what you’d expect, a lot of speeches, which started Wednesday night and run through Friday. But the conference also features a reality TV twist.

Kimberlee Kruesi / AP

Idaho's top schools chief says she wants a 6.6 percent increase in education spending for 2017, requesting more money for teacher salaries and literacy improvement.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra released her plan Thursday. In it, Idaho's public school funding would bump up $104.7 million more than what lawmakers allocated this year.

AP Photo

As students head back to classrooms across the state this week and next, Governor Butch Otter continues to push his five-year education plan. 

David Erickson / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho school district will hand out nearly 2,000 laptops as the first phase of a personalized learning initiative.

KTVB-TV reports the Nampa School District will issue the Dell Latitude laptops to Columbia High School students this week. The computers can be used at school and at home.

The laptops are part of a three-year, $3.5 million project to modernize classroom technology and curriculum. It will also feature professional development for teachers.

Polymorphic Games Studio / University of Idaho

Students at the University of Idaho are using biology to create a new kind of video game. It uses evolutionary principals to make enemies smarter as they reproduce.

It was a summer project for students in the Polymorphic Games studio: Build a video game based on the biology of evolution. The goal was to make a better video game that teaches biology in the background.

The belief that with hard work, prosperity and success are open to everyone, is at the heart of our national identity. Yet, according to today’s guest, Robert Putnam, the gap between those who have the chance to forge a better future, and those who are being left behind, is getting wider. As a result “our kids,” America’s poorest among them, are experiencing a transformation of American society that comes at a cost to every one of us.

U.S. Dept. of Education / Flickr Creative Commons

This year’s SAT results are out and Idaho high school juniors averaged 1002. If you’re bringing up what you know about SAT scores, maybe trying to remember your own, you may be thinking that’s pretty bad. And last year, when the total possible was 2,400, it would have been. But this is the first year of some big changes to the test and the scoring system. Now, the total possible score is 1,600.

Boise State University, campus
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Treasure Valley students and residents this fall will have an opportunity to take classes from Harvard Business School without leaving Idaho. Boise State University and the famed Ivy League school announced a new partnership Thursday.

Mike Gifford / Flickr Creative Commons

We’ve heard from some southwest Idaho school districts in the last few days about how they’re reacting to new federal guidelines about transgender students. The Obama administration Friday sent a letter to all public schools that take federal money saying the law that bans gender discrimination also applies to transgender students.

Wayan Vota / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration Friday issued new guidelines about transgender students in the nation’s schools. A letter sent to schools firms up already existing policies that the Title IX law banning gender discrimination in schools taking federal money also applies to transgender students in K-12 schools.

Adam Cotterell

In the role of defense attorney, Leah March begins to interrogate her witness. It starts off establishing the basic facts. He says he’s a 42-year-old ranch hand. He lives in Picabo, Idaho. Yes, he knows the plaintiff. He’s actually a high school junior named Eric Wilford and the Basque accent he’s using isn’t real.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Mercury is passing between the Earth and the sun Monday, an event known as a planet transit. It’s an event important to scientists that anyone with a special telescope can watch.

The Physics department at Boise State University is setting up filtered telescopes to watch the event.

Professor Brian Jackson says during the transit, the Earth will be in Mercury’s shadow.

Boise State University

Boise State and Idaho State will hold spring commencement ceremonies Saturday. 

Boise State says 2334 students are eligible for degrees and certificates following the spring semester. All told, about 4,000 students will graduate from Boise State this academic year. 

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

Two Idaho Universities have exemptions from a federal law that bans discrimination against transgender students.

Idaho Education News

Some anecdotes are harrowing.

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.

Idaho Education News

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.

Idaho Education News

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 Education News

Some refugee students at Boise’s Hillside Junior High School remember the schools in their homelands — where teachers hit their students, or where teachers feared being hit by students.

Then there are the refugee students who have spent little time in any classroom.

“You have to learn how to be a student,” said Rita Hogan, a teacher in Boise’s English Language Development program. “And that’s tough, when you’re a seventh-grader, and you’re learning algebra.”

Idaho Education News

Idaho continues to languish well behind its lofty college completion goals, according to a newly released national study.

On top of that, Idaho’s numbers rank No. 46 in the nation.

In 2014, 37.7 percent of Idaho’s adults held a postsecondary degree or certificate, the Lumina Foundation wrote in an annual report on college completion rates. The national completion rate was 45.3 percent.

Tim Lauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Nampa school district will offer full-day, every-day kindergarten classes at some elementary schools in the fall.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that enrollment is open for full-time kindergarten at three Nampa-area schools.

District officials say full-day kindergarten classes will allow teachers to focus on developing social skills and participation as well as the academic lessons shorter schedules focus on.

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