Idaho Schools

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education Monday released the results of an independent assessment of safety and security at the state’s schools.

This assessment was recommended by a school safety task force assembled in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Matt McCarter oversaw the task force work for the department.

Darin Oswald / The Idaho Statesman

Update 11:35 a.m.: Officials have identified the child who died in an Idaho school bus crash as 11-year-old Daniel Robert Cook.

Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris confirmed the child's identity. She says the boy died of blunt force trauma sustained in Thursday morning's collision, which also injured four children.

The bus was carrying 12 kids to a Kuna elementary school when it collided with a dump truck at a rural intersection. Four children were taken to the hospital with injuries, and the bus driver was taken to a hospital for emotional distress.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s new list of school rankings came out Thursday afternoon. The number of schools receiving the highest rating, five stars, increased from the 2011-2012 school year to the 2012-2013 year. The number of one star schools declined. Nearly 160 schools went up at least one star. The highest concentration of schools continues to be in the four star category.

Adams Elementary School
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.

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.

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.

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.

Grade Map
Champlain.edu

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.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is one of just 10 states that don’t have state-wide pre-kindergarten education. This week our education reporter Adam Cotterell brings us a series on pre-k in Idaho. Adam joined Morning Edition host Scott Graf to preview this week’s reports.

Transcript:

Scott Graf: You’ll be talking about the pre-k debate in Idaho. Are others talking about this issue?   

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Nampa School District voted Tuesday night to eliminate 27 teaching positions next fall. That’s the  latest cost cutting measure to overcome a more than $5 million deficit blamed on accounting errors.

But the state’s third largest school district has a way to go before it reaches a balanced budget next year. Adam Cotterell covers education and has covered Tuesday's  meeting. He talks with Samantha Wright about what’s next for Nampa schools.

Transcript

Wright: Adam I understand it was no ordinary school board meeting.

Thirteen Idaho high school seniors have won the prestigious National Merit Scholarship for 2013. It comes with $2,500 for college and a lot of bragging rights. Most of this year’s winners could get together on their lunch break.

Idaho lawmakers last week decided not to tackle legislation on school security. The state’s Department of Education had supported it, calling it a first step toward making students safer. Improving school security now falls to the Department and its task force.  That group - made up of educators, first responders and law enforcement -started meeting in January.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau have believed for some time that private school enrollment has been on the decline. Now Bureau statistician Stephanie Ewert says they’re sure. Her new report does not say why fewer students are choosing privates schools, but Ewert says the growth of charter schools may have something to do with it. Around the country she found that places where charters grew, private school enrollment got smaller.

Three Idaho school districts and a county have been honored for their websites. The non-profit government transparency organization Sunshine Review gave its annual Sunny Awards to the 247 government websites it deemed most transparent.  

The Boise, Blaine County and Caldwell School Districts made the list. Canyon was the only Idaho county to show up.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s task force for improving education finished its first phase Friday. Now it goes on to phase two, public meetings. Governor Butch Otter asked Idaho’s State Board of Education to create the task force after voters overturned laws to overhaul the state’s education system.

Empty Classroom
Karen Apricot New Orleans / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated 11:30 A.M.: Teachers, administrators and parents in the Nampa School District are likely breathing a sigh of relief. Nearly three quarters of voters said yes to a $4.3 million levy request Tuesday.

School districts across Idaho are asking voters for more money Tuesday through levies. Many districts that are still recovering from years of state budget cuts say they need more help from local residents. The Payette school district, for example, may have to close a small elementary school and send its students to other district schools.  

FaceBook.com/IdahoLeadsProject

Teachers, administrators, students and parents from 49 Idaho school districts gather in Boise Monday night to celebrate success stories in the state’s schools. They are members of the Idaho Leads Project. The project is part of Boise State’s Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies. It focuses on leadership with the goal of “creating high performing schools where all students succeed.”   

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

We’ve been following the budget crisis in the Nampa School District since last summer. That was when the state’s third largest district revealed accounting errors had created a deficit of $4.3 million. That is also the levy amount the district is asking Nampa voters to approve Tuesday.

Since its crisis began the Nampa School District has eliminated most of the substitute teaching budget, furloughed employees, decided to sell off land. But that’s not enough. That’s why fourth grade teacher Carmi Scheller is counting on the levy.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Charter school advocates in Idaho are pushing state lawmakers for money to help pay for facilities. They argue they need the money because they can’t pass levies like traditional districts. Many districts say they need that money even more.  There’s one charter school that’s become a poster child for this debate over school funding.

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