8:35 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Why Poverty Matters In Idaho School Rankings

Adams Elementary is on Boise's historic Warm Springs Avenue. It was ranked as a 5 star school last year.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education releases its list today of school rankings for the 2012-2013 school year. It’s based on a five star system the state began last year.

Five star schools are considered high performing. Those at the bottom have to follow an improvement plan under state scrutiny. In last year’s rating list there was something most one star schools had in common: poverty. Take Boise’s Hawthorne Elementary where Beverly Boyd is principal.

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4:02 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Federal Jury Sides With Idaho Schools In Special Ed Lawsuit

A federal jury has sided with two Idaho school districts in a lawsuit brought by the family of a teen with Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

The jury deliberated about 6½ hours Friday before reaching the verdict in favor of the Boise and Meridian school districts, and U.S. District Judge Candy Dale issued an order officially dismissing the lawsuit on Wednesday.

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School Lunch
5:57 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Chobani Picked To Lead Greek Yogurt Pilot Project In Idaho Schools

The USDA awarded Chobani with a contract for a pilot program to bring Greek yogurt to school lunch programs in Idaho and three other states.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

New York based Greek yogurt maker Chobani has been chosen to lead a new pilot program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That program will feature the high protein yogurt in school lunches starting this school year.

Idaho, along with Arizona, New York and Tennessee will participate to see how cost effective it will be to offer this yogurt as a meat substitute for school meals.  If the test is successful, Greek yogurt could become a permanent fixture of the school lunch program across the U.S.  

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Charter Schools
8:58 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Struggling Charter School’s Appeal To Idaho Board Of Education Likely Won’t Be Considered

North Star Charter School in Eagle has appealed the move by the Meridian School District to revoke its charter to the State Board of Education. But that appeal may be premature. It’s the latest move in what has become, to all parties, a maze of shifting and difficult to understand state law.

Meridian started the process of revocation last month saying the school it authorized 10 years ago is not financially stable. But the district has not actually revoked the document that allows North Star to operate.

Spokesman Eric Exline says the district can’t do that.

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7:44 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Idaho Signs Contract For High School Wi-Fi Amid Storm Of Criticism

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Luna.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education signed a contract Wednesday for $2.1 million a year with Tennessee-based company Education Networks of America (ENA) to provide Wi-Fi internet access to the state’s high schools. But that came after a day of criticism around the decision.

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Wi-Fi Contract
7:04 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Idaho Lawmakers Surprised By School Wi-Fi Plan

Some Idaho lawmakers are upset by State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna's announcement that a $2.1 million annual statewide Wi-Fi network contract will run for up to 15 years — without prior legislative budget approval.

Luna's office said Wednesday Education Networks of America won the contract to equip as many as 340 Idaho high schools with the wireless Internet technology. Nine companies submitted bids. ENA's came in under the $2.25 million set aside by the 2013 Legislature for next year.

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Charter Schools
2:34 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

North Star Charter Appeals Meridian's Move To Close It

The night sky spinning around the north star
Credit Gadget_Guru / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's largest school district, Meridian, wants to revoke the charter of North Star Charter School in Eagle. North Star has filed an appeal to Idaho's State Board of Education according to Idaho Education News.

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Teachers' Union
1:17 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Idaho Teachers’ Union Sees Big Membership Decline

Union membership among Idaho teachers has dropped sharply in recent years. Idaho Education News reports a 14.3 percent decline in Idaho Education Association (IEA) membership between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years. That is compared to a 3.6 percent drop nationally.

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Charter Schools
2:54 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Closing North Star Charter Could Be A Boon, Or Burden, To Idaho’s Largest School District

Stephanie Zimmerman plans to home-school her kids that went to North Star last year. The chance the school could close after the start of the school year is part of the reason. She also opposes the Common Core standards Idaho will adopt this school year.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

One of Idaho’s largest charter schools might not survive the next school year. North Star Charter in Eagle has struggled financially because of a building loan it can’t pay back.

The Meridian School District, which granted its charter, plans to revoke it. If that happens, the school could shut down.

That concerns mother of eight Stephanie Zimmerman. Five of her kids have attended North Star.

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Financial Literacy
3:49 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Report: Idaho Gets Top Marks Teaching Financial Literacy


Idaho is doing better than most states when it comes to teaching financial literacy. Vermont’s Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy graded the 50 states on efforts to produce high school graduates that know how to do things like save for retirement and buy a house.

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Nasa Rover
12:01 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

New NASA-Built Rover Back At Boise State After It Survives Greenland Test

BSU grad students Gabriel Trisca and Mark Robertson spent a month with Grover in Greenland
Gabriel Trisca and Mark Robertson

A roving robot recently returned from a trip to Greenland.  In the cold (-22 Fahrenheit) and windy (30 mph gusts) environment, the tough little rover was put through its paces. 

Two Boise State graduate students, Gabriel Trisca, computer science, and Mark Robertson, geophysics, spent a month with the rover on the frozen landscape.  The robot, which is as tall as a person, uses a radar system, developed by Boise State geosciences assistant professor Hans-Peter Marshall.

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Higher Education
9:46 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Idaho High School Students Get A Taste Of College Life

Shaleeni came to Idaho from her native Fiji. She has a list of colleges she's applying for and wants to double major in computer science and business.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

About 120 high school students are staying in the Boise State dorms, taking classes, and eating in the student union. And that’s going on at more than 900 other campuses across the country including at Idaho State and University of Idaho.

It’s part of a program to help kids from low-income families prepare for college. It’s called Upward Bound, and is part of the federal TRiO programs. Even though the program has been around for nearly 50 years, high school students are learning new technology during their summer at Boise State.

The Class

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University of Idaho
9:09 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Burnett Burns Midnight Oil As Interim University of Idaho President

Don and Karen Burnett.
Credit University of Idaho

University of Idaho Interim President Don Burnett has been burning the midnight oil since taking over the leadership of the university from Duane Nellis. He’s had a full schedule since his first day on the job on June 1.

Drop Don Burnett a line and with his schedule he’s apt to answer you at almost any time, including at 10 p.m. on a Saturday. His work schedule has been full in his first several weeks on the job traveling inside and outside of Idaho, meeting the university’s constituents.

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Higher Education
3:13 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

University Of Idaho Proposes Building A New President's Mansion

The University of Idaho's president's mansion.
Credit Glenn Mosley

The University of Idaho wants to demolish the school president's residence and build a new one to help attract a new leader.

The university will seek approval from the Idaho State Board of Education next month to start planning and design for a new presidential mansion.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports university officials say they want to build a new home costing up to $2 million in the same location by the end of next summer.

The presidential search committee plans on working with the UI Foundation to help fund it.

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11:16 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Southern Idaho School District Loses 20 Percent Of Its Teachers

Credit DerekBruff / Flickr Creative Commons

A school district in southwestern Idaho that is reeling from budget problems has lost 20 percent of its teachers in the last few months.

Nampa School District Superintendent Pete Koehler said during a board meeting Tuesday that 151 teachers have left since the end of the school year — far more than the usual 5 percent annual turnover rate.

The district has suffered a series of financial blows starting last year, when officials discovered almost $3 million in one-time budget money had been counted twice.

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9:59 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Idaho Teacher Cleared By State Ethics Panel For Letting Kids Draw On Classmates' Faces

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The south Idaho teacher who made national headlines for allowing students to draw on each other’s faces with permanent markers, will keep her job.

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Teacher Contracts
2:33 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Idaho’s Biggest School District Ends Negotiations, Imposes Teacher Contract Terms

Luke Franklin, Meridian Education Association President
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Meridian School board voted Monday to end contract negotiations with the Meridian Education Association (MEA.) The Idaho Statesman reports the district will issue teacher contracts based on its last offer.

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Education Technology
4:48 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

11 Idaho Schools To Share $3 Million For Technology Pilot Projects

Shelby Harris uses Khan Academy and her Google Chromebooks for what's sometimes called a flipped classroom. Students get part of their instruction online so she can spend most of her time working with individuals or small groups.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education has announced 11 schools will share $3 million for technology pilot projects.

Eighty-one schools applied for the grants. The requests totaled nearly $20 million.

Here are the schools that get the money and what they plan to do with it.

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Nampa Financial Crisis
5:57 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Nampa Teachers Likely To Get 14 Furlough Days But Negotiations Aren't Done

Things like class size that could impact students and teachers, like those in this Nampa elementary class, could still be negotiated.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Nampa School District and its teachers’ union, the Nampa Education Association (NEA), could not reach an agreement Friday on next year’s contract terms. But the district will still send teachers their contracts. State law requires that contracts go out by July 1. However, they will be incomplete.

The state’s third largest district has been embroiled in a budget crisis since last summer. The district says it needs to trim more than $3 million through this labor agreement.

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Charter Schools
1:58 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Meridian School District Wants To Pull The Charter Of Financially Troubled North Star School

The Meridian School District wants to revoke the charter of one of the state’s biggest charter schools according to Idaho Education News. North Star Charter in Eagle has more than 900 students and has received national recognition for academic rigor.

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