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April is National School Library Month! This is a special time to celebrate the vital role school libraries play in supporting student learning, and to celebrate our school librarians' knowledge, dedication, and resourcefulness! Celebrating can be as simple as thanking your school librarian or checking out a great book!
More ideas and resources for schoolwide or community-wide celebrations can be found via the American Association of School Librarians website: https://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/slm
Cheers to a great legislative session for Idaho education
By Sherri Ybarra
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Effective collaborations with a wide range of lawmakers, boosted by the energy and ideas of my new Student Advisory Council, made this year’s session of the Idaho Legislature my favorite yet – and a great success for K-12 education.
Highlights include a historic level of investment and newly signed bills that meet my priorities for the session, from improving pay for teachers and school staff to enhancing civics standards and improving early literacy.
One new law increases total early literacy funding from $26 million to $72.8 million, opening up options and opportunities for districts to develop literacy intervention programs that best support their students and meet local needs. That includes offering optional full-day kindergarten, one of my goals for this session. I particularly appreciate that the new law prioritizes services for economically disadvantaged students.
Another of my early literacy objectives was met through a new law to establish statewide dyslexia screening, intervention and teacher training. It is essential to detect and address characteristics of this learning disability early so that all Idaho students are on an even playing field, learning to read so they can read to learn.
This session also brought great news for the hard-working Idaho educators who have soldiered through two years of pandemic disruptions and challenges without losing their passion for education and commitment to their students. They are the epitome of essential workers.
In November, I asked for $1,000 bonuses for our teachers and support staff, and that is happening as we speak. For next school year, classified staff are getting a 7 percent pay boost, and the Legislature fully funded the teachers’ career ladder for fiscal 2023 and provided an additional $36.5 million in educator compensation.
All in all, the state’s investment in public schools is historic -- an increase of more than $256 million from the state general fund appropriated a year ago. That brings next year’s general fund appropriation to $2.3 billion.
Along with much-needed funding, this session brought me a renewed appreciation for our system of government and for the interconnections between its branches. And much of that appreciation came through the eyes of my first Student Advisory Council, 13 students in grades 4 through 12 from every region of the state.
They examined key issues, attended House and Senate Education committee meetings and met with the governor. They conducted mock legislative sessions, and two of them – ninth grader Audrey Harmon of Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene fourth-grader Bridget McNamee – testified at actual legislative hearings, advocating for bills that are now law.
My meetings with the advisory council, along with visits to high school government and history classes across Idaho, inspired my proposal to put statewide emphasis on students’ understanding of civics. The resolution I co-sponsored with legislators drew overwhelming support, and it will guide my department’s efforts to create stand-alone civics standards as part of the regularly scheduled review and revision of Idaho’s social studies content standards.
The goal is to make civics standards – what students are expected to learn at each grade level – easier for educators and parents to access and understand. I plan to do the same thing with the standards for financial literacy, another part of the social studies standards set for review this year – and, like civics, an important part of becoming responsible adults.
Other Idaho content standards – for English language arts, math and science – were thoroughly reviewed and rewritten by educators and other stakeholders over the past two years, and they now will replace the controversial “common core” standards first enacted in 2011. That is thanks to strong support from many Idaho legislators who served on the standards working groups and advocated for the new standards to become law.
That happened last week, and seven lawmakers from both parties and differing points of view gathered with me at the Statehouse to celebrate this achievement. It was a great moment near the end of a session marked by collaboration, cooperation and commitment to education. I am grateful to all who worked with my department to accomplish our shared goals to help Idaho schools and students achieve.
Music education + PE in the Kuna Jt. School District No. 3! Music Teacher Jen Sanders and P.E. Teacher Julia Hames teamed up to teach students a traditional Philippine folk dance called tinikling!
Finish the school year strong! Free, online tutoring is available to students 13+ through Schoolhouse.world! Schoolhouse.world, from the founder of Khan Academy, offers sessions in Pre-algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-calculus, Calculus, Statistics and SAT prep! Get started: https://schoolhouse.world/
Superintendent Sherri Ybarra is a proud partner and supporter in providing this vital service to students: "I’m excited about this opportunity, especially since it comes from a proven source that Idaho teachers and families already trust – Sal Khan, whose Khan Academy provides a wealth of free online classes for millions of students at home and in classrooms throughout Idaho, the nation, and the world,” Supt. Ybarra said.
These two amazing Idaho students spent some of their spring break cleaning up around their school's playground! Great job, guys, and great community spirit!
How did you spend your spring break? Jackson and Milo spent the time picking up garbage from their school playground! Thanks guys!
Round of applause for these two incredible Idaho high school choirs! Vallivue High School's Advanced Women's Choir and Encore, Timberline High School's Choir, performed at the American Choral Directors Association's 2022 Northwest Conference, an event showcasing the best choirs from high schools, colleges, professional/church and community choirs from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming!
"There are only 15 choirs, and only 4 high school choirs selected from all of these states," said Timberline High School Choir Director Sean Kane. "We don't have state championship competitions in the choir world, but this is the closest thing we have for our activity. In athletic terms this would be a state championship level event!"
Congratulations to Encore and Vallivue High School's Advanced Women's Choir, and great work!
Vallivue School District Boise School District
There are 20 spots left for individuals working to support K-12 education to get FREE registration to the Idaho Prevention and Support Conference! Make sure to register by March 31! To receive the free code, complete this short survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScIHjlP20nLf6r03_2IcfMnfNEZIt4tdQy_f54CQlHqod0DKQ/viewform
The Idaho Prevention and Support Conference, an annual event aimed at supporting student health & well-being. This conference is a great opportunity for teachers, counselors, administrators, school resources officers, school nurses, education stakeholders, youth development practitioners, community coalitions, law enforcement, juvenile justice, child welfare professionals, and advocates for youth and parents! More information about the conference is available via the registration link: https://whova.com/portal/registration/preve_202204/
The D.L. Evans Bank Scholarship awards a total of $32,000 to high school seniors in their service areas (Idaho & N. Utah) each year! Sixteen $2,000 scholarships are awarded and students are able to use the funds at any accredited college, university, or trade school located in the United States. Check out the details here (scroll to middle of page): https://www.dlevans.com/students.html
Applications are due April 11th! Students who apply for the D.L. Evans Bank scholarship are also automatically entered in the D.L. Evans Foundation Scholarship, which awards $1,100 to three recipients to use at any accredited college, university, or trade school located in the United States!
Community members in and around Glenns Ferry, Kimberly, and Marsing are invited to join a local screening of "No Letting Go". "No Letting Go" was made in an effort to create community conversations, end the silence caused by blame and shame, build awareness and understanding, and let families know they are not alone when it comes to untreated childhood mental health disorders. The screening will be followed by a Q & A session where attendees can learn more about the Parent Support Network and opportunities for caregivers to receive support locally.
Dates & Locations:
Glenns Ferry, ID Screening: April 5 from 6-8:30 PM
Glenns Ferry Schools Library
639 N Bannock St, Glenns Ferry, ID 83623
Kimberly, ID Screening: April 6 from 6-8:30 PM
Kimberly Middle School Commons
525 Center St E, Kimberly, ID 83341
Marsing, ID Screening: April 11 from 6-8:30 PM
Marsing Joint School District #363 Hub
205 S 8th Ave W, Marsing, ID 83639
The screening and refreshments will be provided by the Idaho AWARE Project. Film and question-and-answer session will be facilitated by the Youth Mental Health Project.
Kimberly School District
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