Idaho Schools

School Safety
9:28 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Most Idaho Schools Are Too Easy To Walk Into, Safety Report Finds

Boise elementary students wait for the bus
Credit 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.

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Idaho News
9:32 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Update: 11-Year-Old Boy Killed In Idaho School Bus Crash

Credit 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.

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School Rankings
5:04 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

More Five Star And Fewer One Star Schools In Idaho’s New Ranking

The blue ring represents the 2011/2012 school year.
Credit 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.

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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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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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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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Pre-K Education
6:59 am
Tue June 4, 2013

State Of Idaho Lags On Preschool, Districts Lead

In 2008 the Boise State Public Policy Center asked Idahoans for their opinions on early childhood issues including this question.
Credit 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.


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

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Nampa School District
4:22 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

What’s Next For Nampa Schools After Superintendent Resigns, Teacher Postions Cut

Nampa elementary students
Credit 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.


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

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National Merit Scholarships
6:25 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Most Idaho National Merit Scholars Go To School In Boise Or Eagle

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.

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School Security
9:44 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Idaho School Security Task Force Has Work Cut Out For It

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.

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Private Schools
5:16 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Private School Enrollment Down Nationally But Not In Idaho

This life-sized statue of Jesus in the Bishop Kelly lobby underscores the fact that it is a private religious school. Nationally private school enrollment is shrinking, especially in Catholic schools. Boise's Bishop Kelly High School is growing. A school spokesperson says BK's advantage is an emphasis on spirituality unavailable in public schools, both charter and traditional.
Credit 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.

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Government Transparency
3:48 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Four Idaho Websites Get National Award For Government Transparency

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.

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Education Improvement Task Force
4:57 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Idaho Education Task Force Plans Statewide Tour

Task Force members work on goals at first meeting
Credit 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.

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School Levies
4:52 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Nampa Voters Agree To Multimillion Dollar School Levy

Credit 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.

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11:08 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Idaho School Districts Ask Voters For More Money

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.  

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Idaho Leads Project
5:44 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Idaho Leads Project Celebrates What’s Going Right In The State’s Schools

Rodger Quarles at an Idaho Leads Project event in Gooding

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.”   

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Nampa Budget Crisis
10:50 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Nampa Voters Asked To Bail Out School District

Credit 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.

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Charter Schools
10:44 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Idaho Charter Schools Ask For More Money, Traditional Districts Say “What About Us?”

Cindy Hoovel took charge of DaVinci Charter School (then called Garden City Community School) in 2007, its second year. In her first year the school paid all its debts and started a reserve fund. She says she will start looking for a new job.
Credit 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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