Idaho State Department of Education

Idaho State Department of Education


A brand new chapter and a whole year of opportunities to learn and grow! Happy New Year, Idaho!

Ryder Koch, a senior at Post Falls High School, donated money from his own small business this holiday season to help give bicycles to those in need! Ryder started a small videography business in 2017 - this year he sold crewnecks featuring his brand logo and ended up raising $500 to donate to the Lake City Bicycle Collective. The executive director of the nonprofit, Tom Morgan, said the donation will supply around 20 bikes to those in need. Great job, Ryder!
Bridget McNamee, a member of Supt. Ybarra's Student Advisory Council, and her sister Lillian, a member of the CDA Schools' Elementary Student Advisory Group, are using their influence to raise awareness around dyslexia and increase access to resources for students with dyslexia! The issue is very near and dear to the sisters' hearts - Lillian has dyslexia. These two young Idahoans are making a big difference locally and at the state level - great work!
Beautiful wintry shot of the State Capitol Building! Be safe out there, Idaho!
Deary Junior-Senior High School is using federal pandemic relief dollars to fund a tutoring program staffed mostly by students! The program is being implemented to address pandemic-related learning loss, which schools across Idaho and the nation continue to grapple with. This new program has significantly reduced failing grades according to Kendrick Jared (Whitepine Joint School District Superintendent and Deary High School Principal) and the tutors (predominantly students) get paid for their work in the program!

Read more in this Lewiston Tribune article:
Superintendent Sherri Ybarra is quoted in this Education Week article, saying, "We want to make sure we are connecting parents and students and teachers with the right tools and the right resources to get them the help that they need. I don’t think there is any other way to talk about this. It is not a blue issue. It is not a red issue.”
Opportunity for educators! The Idaho Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) is hosting a virtual webinar on Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia with Dr. Kim Zeydel on January 18, 2022 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm MT! The webinar is free to ICTM members and $10 for non-members. Sign up at
Congratulations to the four teachers honored with the Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching this year, Mike Brushafer from Canyon Springs High School in the Caldwell School District; James LeDoux from Renaissance High School in the West Ada School District; Jake Miller from North Junior High in the Boise School District; and Lisa Sterling from Hillside Junior High in the Boise School District!

This is an honor awarded every year by the Boise State University College of Education and the Lee Pesky Learning Center to recognize extraordinary teachers who ignite a fire in their students at some point to become a teacher themselves!

Each awardee was surprised in their classroom and presented with a plaque by their principal. The award includes $2,000 for each teacher and $500 for their school. The winners were nominated by a graduating senior in the Boise State College of Education - seniors choose those who have inspired them to seek their own careers in education!

Read more:
Join our team! We are seeking a highly qualified candidate to serve as Human Resource Officer (Human Resource Director). Recruitment closes Jan. 5; apply here:

The principal function of this position is to plan, develop, and administer a comprehensive human resource program for the SDE. The incumbent provides human resource management consultation, input on employee actions, and provides agency-wide human resource support. The position develops and administers SDE policies and procedures on employee hiring, training, and supervision, and performs related work. The position may directly supervise subordinate positions. As a secondary function, this position coordinates facilities management and agency-wide security measures, and provides related information to executive management and staff. This position also serves as the agency’s coordinator and representative for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires government agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. This is a full time position serving under an appointment of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Please see the job posting with more details on the position responsibilities and qualifications.
8-year-old J getting his Christmas wish of playing on a basketball team❤

J showed up to last week's basketball game to watch with his family, but was surprised with a jersey before joining the Madison Varsity Basketball team on the court! Head on over to the Madison School District #321 page to see video, and get ready for the happy tears☺
Merry Christmas from Superintendent Ybarra and all of us here at the State Dept. of Education!

We want to give another big "congratulations" to the student winners of our Holiday Art Contest, overall winner Oliver Hedrick, Kindergarten winner Alyse Arial, first-grade winner Sri Avanthika, second-grade winner Alayna Belnap, third-grade winner Liam Clifford, fourth-grade winner Sam Green, and sixth-grade winner Birklee Burtenshaw! Oliver's artwork was printed on our holiday card and all of the art is on our website!
Our office is closed today, Dec. 23, and tomorrow, Dec. 24! We'll be back on Monday, Dec. 27th! Merry Christmas!

We at the State Department of Education are determined to create a customer-driven education system

Operating as usual

Timeline photos 02/03/2023

Join our team! The State Department of Education is seeking candidates to fill the position of Broadband Program Coordinator. Apply by Feb. 22 here:

The Broadband Program Coordinator functions as a liaison to school districts regarding broadband reimbursement, support, and analysis of current broadband usage. This position reviews broadband invoices and contracts, makes recommendations related to broadband services, and processes reimbursements for these services. The Broadband Coordinator works in tandem with the E-Rate Coordinator, and collaborates with the technology department, Idaho Commission for Libraries, and the Education Opportunity Resource Committee

Photos from Idaho STEM Action Center's post 02/03/2023

Governor Brad Little officially proclaimed February as STEM Matters Month at a kickoff event hosted by our friends at the Idaho STEM Action Center! Superintendent Debbie Critchfield attended the event and met some of the students in attendance, including “Team Tators”, the FIRST Robotics team from Boise School District’s Treasure Valley Math and Science Center. In 2022, Team Tators won 2nd place in their division at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston! Superintendent Critchfield is pictured with Team Tators and their 2022 World Championship robot!

Over the past eight years, STEM Matters has morphed from a one-day celebration at the Capitol into a statewide observance during the month of February. Learn more about STEM education opportunities in Idaho on the Idaho STEM Action Center website:

FRC 2122 Team Tators

Timeline photos 02/02/2023

School choice is about providing the best learning environment for each student! Michelle Clement Taylor, the State Department of Education's School Choice Coordinator, is speaking to the House and Senate Education Committees today about the extensive list of school choice options in Idaho. There are many public school choice options available at no cost to families. These include charter schools, magnet schools, online schools, and alternative schools, along with offerings within school districts like flexible schedules, CTE programs, and Advanced Opportunities. Open enrollment and the option to dually enroll a student in both traditional and nontraditional settings further expand opportunities for families to customize their students' educational journey. Non-public options like homeschool and private school are also available in Idaho, and are not regulated by the state. Learn more about school choice in Idaho on our website:

Photos from Idaho State Department of Education's post 02/02/2023

Superintendent Debbie Critchfield has had the opportunity to network with Boise State University students twice in the past week! On Friday, she spoke with educators and aspiring administrators participating in BSU's Executive Educational Leadership program seminar at the Capitol! The program prepares candidates for Idaho Superintendent Certification and central office leadership positions. On Monday night, the superintendent spoke at Bronco Connect, a networking event for BSU student-athletes. These were great opportunities for Superintendent Critchfield to meet Idaho's rising leaders and professionals!

Hillview Elementary principal collects 600 books for school library 02/02/2023

Hillview Elementary principal collects 600 books for school library

In honor of her 50th birthday, Hillview Elementary School Principal Elisa Saffle asked her friends and family to celebrate by donating books to the students at her Ammon school rather than giving her gifts! Saffle wanted to donate at least 50 books, but ended up with more than 600, along with $800 in cash donations! Principal Saffle says she was floored by the outpouring of love and support from the community. It's truly inspiring to see the community come together to support students and educators!

Hillview Elementary principal collects 600 books for school library In honor of her 50th birthday, Hillview Elementary School Principal Elisa Saffle asked family, friends, community members and anyone who would listen to celebrate not by giving her gifts but

Timeline photos 02/01/2023

Follow Idaho Division of Career Technical Education for CTE information and highlights! Learn more about Idaho CTE here:

February is CTE Month®! This annual public awareness campaign celebrates the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country. All month long, we'll be sharing tools, resources, and success stories on Facebook. LinkedIn and Twitter, so follow us, share how much you love CTE on your own accounts, and raise awareness of the importance of CTE for our students and economy!

Timeline photos 02/01/2023

February is Career Technical Education (CTE) Month, the perfect time to recognize the importance of CTE and to highlight its successes! One of Superintendent Debbie Critchfield's priorities for the 2023 legislative season is increasing CTE opportunities for K-12 students across the state. Today, she shared her vision for CTE with the House and Senate Education Committees. The goal is to increase state funding for CTE so districts have greater ability to bring these programs into their schools. CTE programs help students explore a greater variety of career options with hands-on instruction. In some cases, students graduate high school ready to start working in high-paying careers immediately.

Timeline photos 02/01/2023

Scholarship Opportunity! The scholarship from the Idaho Latino Scholarship Foundation is open to high school students in Idaho (or postsecondary students attending an institution in Idaho for undergraduate studies) who are of Hispanic/Latino descent. Apply by midnight on March 1:

Timeline photos 02/01/2023

"We’ve survived all 169 days of January and we're moving closer to spring! I'm participating in the Blue Cross of Idaho Steps for Schools Challenge during the month of February. While I'm tracking my steps, I invite you to do it with me! On March 1, send your February step total to [email protected] and we'll see which teacher or admin walked the most steps. I'll come to that school and we'll celebrate with a walk! Join me!" - Superintendent Debbie Critchfield

Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health

Idaho’s New School Chief Lays Out Her Bold Plan to Change ‘Literally Everything’ 02/01/2023

Idaho’s New School Chief Lays Out Her Bold Plan to Change ‘Literally Everything’

In a recent interview with The 74, a national news organization covering America's education system, Debbie Critchfield outlined her vision for K-12 education as Idaho's new Superintendent of Public Instruction. The superintendent is working to improve literacy and dyslexia support, increase workforce preparedness, and bring innovative practices from charter schools into traditional schools!

Idaho’s New School Chief Lays Out Her Bold Plan to Change ‘Literally Everything’ Debbie Critchfield’s vision for K-12 education: Improved literacy, workforce preparedness, learning from ‘incredible’ charter schools & more

2 secretaries retiring after nearly 30 years at the same school get a Feel Good Friday surprise - East Idaho News 01/31/2023

2 secretaries retiring after nearly 30 years at the same school get a Feel Good Friday surprise - East Idaho News

Laurel Trimble and Georgann Roberts, the head secretaries at Rocky Mountain Middle School in Idaho Falls, are retiring after nearly 30 years of working together at the same school! The pair was nominated by member of the community to receive a "Feel Good Friday" surprise from The nomination said, "these women have given dedicated service to many students and staff through the years. They are kind, hard working, up-lifting women who always see the good in others. They deserve to be recognized for their many years of service in education." Laurel and Georgann were surprised with flowers, chocolates, and gift cards in celebration of their retirement. Congratulations and thank you for all you’ve done for Rocky Mountain students!

Bonneville School District 93 Rocky Mountain Middle School, Idaho Falls

2 secretaries retiring after nearly 30 years at the same school get a Feel Good Friday surprise - East Idaho News and Ashley in Idaho Falls and Pocatello are partnering to honor people in our community for Feel Good Friday. Every week, we surprise someone deserving of special recognition. We recently received an email about two secretaries at a local school who have spent decades working toget...

Fill | Supporting Science Educators for Administrators and Instructional Coaches- Registration 01/31/2023

Fill | Supporting Science Educators for Administrators and Instructional Coaches- Registration

Register now for "Supporting Science Educators", a free online professional development opportunity for administrators, instructional coaches and anyone who supports K-12 science teachers! Participants will explore the Idaho Content Standards in science and engage with strategies to observe, coach and evaluate science instruction. This 6-week, asynchronous course is offered by our Idaho Science Coaches and starts Feb. 13. Register here:

Fill | Supporting Science Educators for Administrators and Instructional Coaches- Registration All work is asynchronous. Feb. 13-April 9th. 

Timeline photos 01/31/2023

The State Department of Education is now accepting nominations for our state's top teaching honor, Idaho Teacher of the Year! ANYONE can make a nomination, so please take a moment to nominate a special teacher using the form on our website:

“I am so excited for this opportunity to get to know more about Idaho’s most dedicated, passionate and effective teachers,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Debbie Critchfield said. “I encourage anyone with a talented teacher in mind to please take a moment to put their name in the running for this enormous honor.”

Nominations are due March 20, and the award program is open to public school teachers teaching any subject at any grade level in any part of the state of Idaho. All nominated teachers will be notified and will have until May 8 to submit their application for the honor. A selection committee will review each application, and the winning teacher will be announced in the fall semester.

The 2023 Teacher of the Year, Karen Lauritzen was selected from approximately 350 nominees. Lauritzen has taught at Treaty Rock Elementary School in Post Falls since 2012 and has served on the school’s behavioral leadership teams, providing focused professional development to both the school and district staff. She was chosen as the Treaty Rock Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 2021. Other recent winners include: 2022 Teacher of the Year Todd Knight, a science and engineering teacher at Crossroads Middle School in Meridian; 2021 Teacher of the Year Jorge Pulliero, a dual immersion Spanish teacher at Wood River Middle School in Hailey; and 2020 Teacher of the Year Stacie Lawler, a health and physical education teacher at Timberlake Junior High School in Spirit Lake.

The 2024 Idaho Teacher of the Year will receive a cash award and travel across Idaho talking with other teachers, legislators and policymakers about education in the state. They will also serve as Idaho’s nominee...

Timeline photos 01/30/2023

Superintendent Debbie Critchfield visited Idaho Arts Charter School last week, meeting students and staff at the Nampa school! Parents founded the school to offer high quality college preparation with a focus on the arts. Since opening in 2005, Idaho Arts Charter School has expanded several times to accommodate increased enrollment. The superintendent enjoyed seeing several arts-centered classes in action!

Timeline photos 01/30/2023

Council School District Superintendent Clete Edmunson and Elementary Principal Jenny Seubert are in Boise today talking about the tremendous things happening in their district. The two appeared in front of the House Education Committee and Chair this morning to discuss the academic turnaround taking place in Council, where student achievement has gone from the bottom five in the state to the top five! Edmunson detailed the steps the district has implemented to achieve its goal of being "the best small school in the state of Idaho". View the superintendent’s committee handout – which documents the progress in visual form - here:

Superintendent Edmunson (right) and Principal Seubert (left) are pictured here with House Education Committee Chair Julie Yamamoto (middle). Edmunson and Seubert will share their district's successes with the Senate Education Committee this afternoon.

Council Lumberjacks

Timeline photos 01/30/2023

Call for high school student artists! The Western Governors' Association is now accepting submissions for the 2023 "Celebrate the West" art competition and Idaho students are invited to participate! Celebrate the West is a regional art competition that challenges high school students to create works inspired by their state. Details:

To enter the competition, students must be enrolled in grades 9-12 and submit a digital copy of their artwork using the digital entry form on the website linked above. Submissions must be made by April 30, 2023. Students are encouraged to think about what the West means to them, what it means to call the West home, what they have learned about its complex past, and what they imagine its future may look like.

The Western Governors' Association's panel of art experts will select one finalist from each state and territory. State winners will receive $200 and compete for overall first ($1,500), second ($750), and third place ($500) awards at the regional level, as well as a People's Choice award.

Idaho Commission on the Arts Governor Brad Little Idaho Art Education Association

Photos from Idaho State Department of Education's post 01/29/2023

Superintendent Debbie Critchfield and State Department of Education staff joined 230+ educators for the annual IABE (Idaho Association for Bilingual Educators) Conference in Nampa Friday! The superintendent welcomed attendees with opening remarks, and our team members delivered breakout sessions alongside other subject matter experts. Educators from all corners of the state gathered to work towards greater success for Idaho's multilingual learners!

Photos from Idaho State Department of Education's post 01/28/2023

Superintendent Debbie Critchfield has been busy discussing the State Department of Education’s K-12 public school budget request, which was presented to legislative budget writers on Wednesday! The superintendent's budget request totals $2.5 billion for Idaho K-12 schools and includes additional funding for career technical education programs, increased pay for teachers and school support staff, increased literacy and dyslexia support, and enhanced support for parent engagement. Learn more here:

Timeline photos 01/28/2023

Superintendent Debbie Critchfield met the crew of the Navy’s USS Idaho this week! Sailors assigned to the submarine spent Wednesday at the Capitol meeting with lawmakers and other elected officials. The USS Idaho (SSN 799) is under construction in Groton, CT and is the fifth Navy vessel named for the state of Idaho. It is scheduled to be commissioned into active duty in 2025.

Learn more about the USS Idaho here:

Timeline photos 01/27/2023

In recognition of National School Choice Week, we are highlighting our School Choice Coordinator, Michelle Clement Taylor! Michelle is the Department of Education’s foremost expert in all the school choice options available to Idaho parents and students, including charter schools, magnet schools, alternative schools, private schools, homeschool, and more. Michelle has worked in the department for over thirteen years. She previously worked at Micron while serving on the Meridian Technical Charter High School Board. Michelle taught 13 years in Utah before moving to the Treasure Valley!

Learn more about school choice in Idaho:


The 2022 edition of the Idaho State Board of Education’s publication “The Facts” is posted on the Board’s website:

The publication features the latest data on several initiatives for high school students such as the Direct Admissions program, dual credit participation and the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship.


The 2022 edition of the Idaho State Board of Education’s publication “The Facts” is posted on the Board’s website:

The Facts is published annually and includes data and information about Idaho’s public higher education institutions including enrollment trends, budget information and graduation rates.

Full details here:

Timeline photos 01/27/2023

Idaho teachers: we need mentors for our Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars (ISAS) program! We are searching for certified Idaho science, technology, engineering, or mathematics teachers to serve as Teacher Mentors during each of two weeklong summer academies for ISAS students. Selected teachers will receive a $3,000 stipend. Find out more and apply here by Feb. 26:

ISAS is a competitive program administered by the Idaho State Department of Education that inspires high school juniors to explore degrees and careers in STEM fields through a NASA-developed online course. After completing the online course, the top 80 ISAS students are invited to a 7-day summer academy held at Boise State University and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. During the summer academies, two separate groups of student scholars will work in teams with Idaho STEM professionals and NASA engineers to develop a simulated mission to Mars. Teacher mentors will be needed for each ISAS summer academy. The first runs July 9-15, 2023, and the second from July 23-29.

Photos from Idaho State Department of Education's post 01/27/2023

Karen Lauritzen, Idaho's 2023 Teacher of the Year, traveled from Post Falls to Boise last week to meet with legislators, support her fellow teachers, and elevate education in Idaho! Karen spent the day in House and Senate Education Committee meetings, then emceed a dinner event for lawmakers attended by Governor Brad Little, Lt. Governor Scott Bedke, House Education Chair Julie Yamamoto, and Senate Education Chair Dave Lent, among others.

Karen is a teacher at Treaty Rock Elementary and was chosen in September from among 13 finalists to serve as a spokesperson and representative for Idaho educators as Teacher of the Year. Learn more here:

Photo credit: Karen Lauritzen, Vallivue Education Association, Post Falls Education Association

Photos from Idaho State Department of Education's post 01/26/2023

On Monday, dozens of Idaho students, wearing their FFA jackets and proudly representing their local chapter, gathered in Boise for the annual Gem State Leadership Conference! Superintendent Debbie Critchfield joined these passionate learners at their FFA legislative luncheon and at the Capitol! The students’ dedication to leadership and career success is an inspiration!

FFA is a youth leadership organization for students studying agriculture, food and natural resources. Student involvement includes opportunities for premier leadership, personal growth and future success with agriculture and natural resources as the vehicle. Learn more about Idaho FFA:

Idaho FFA Association

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650 W. State St
Boise, ID

Opening Hours

Monday 8am - 5pm
Tuesday 8am - 5pm
Wednesday 8am - 5pm
Thursday 8am - 5pm
Friday 8am - 5pm

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