$50 million in grants for Idaho families will become available in September - East Idaho News

$50 million in grants for Idaho families will become available in September

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IDAHO FALLS (IdahoEdNews.org) — Grant applications for Idaho families hoping for financial aid for educational resources will be available starting mid-September, the State Board of Education announced last week.

Created earlier this year by Gov. Brad Little and the Legislature, the $50 million Empowering Parents grant program is modeled after the Strong Families, Strong Students program administered in 2020 by the state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Eligible families may tap into the new round of funding to buy education-related items from an online marketplace, from computer hardware and software and instructional materials to tutoring services.

“We know that there are thousands of students throughout our state who experienced learning loss as a result of the pandemic disruption,” Board President Kurt Liebich said.

The program provides $1,000 per student and up to $3,000 per family. K-12 students attending public schools, private schools or homeschools are all eligible.

Grants will be prioritized for households earning $60,000 per year or less, then for households earning up to $75,000 per year. If funds are still available, the program will then be available to all other eligible families.

The state will contract with Primary Class, Inc. to create the a grant application portal and the online marketplace, the State Board said. Under that agreement’s terms, the application portal will launch within 30 days, making the process available to parents around mid-September.

Go here to sign up for updates.

K-12 organizations partner to improve internet access

Four Idaho education groups are partnering to improve broadband infrastructure throughout Idaho in order to provide better access to education.

A major part of the program is an internet speed-testing campaign, Imagine Idaho announced Monday on behalf of the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Education Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators, who are also joining the effort.

The state of Idaho will use the data collected from the campaign to apply for federal funding for broadband projects.

The speed test is available here, and Imagine Idaho stressed that all information gathered all be “confidential.” The campaign concludes on Sept. 15, 2022.

“While school leaders have worked diligently since the start of the pandemic to expand access to broadband and infrastructure, the digital divide and homework gap are still very much present in Idaho,” said Jason Knopp, ISBA President. “We have reimagined the way students learn in ways that will bring lasting impact.”

$500,000 for ‘educational entrepreneurs’ up for grabs

A $500,000 grant for “education entrepreneurs” in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest is now up for grabs.

VELA Education Fund — a national nonprofit that supports student, parent, educator and community education entrepreneurs — on Monday announced the program aimed at creating nontraditional educational opportunities, including homeschool co-ops and micro-schools.

Micro grant applications for up to $10,000 in funding are now available for programs based in Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, the organization announced.

“We’ve seen strong interest in the Pacific Northwest in permission-less innovation, and we’re excited to be able to launch this initiative to support families and educators who are reimagining education,” said VELA President Meredith Olson.

The grant application is available here, where interested applicants can also take an “eligibility quiz” to see if they qualify.

VELA has awarded more than 1,600 totaling more than $16.5 million grants nationwide since launching publicly in August 2020, the organization said.

Idaho Falls schools earn ‘high reliability’ certifications

Seven schools in the Idaho Falls School District have earned certifications aimed at creating “safe, supporting and collaborative schools.”

The certifications, molded after Marzano’s High Reliability Schools Framework, help schools transform into organizations that that “proactive steps to ensure student success,” the district announced Monday.

The framework includes five “levels” of measured success that schools must demonstrate:

  1. Safe, supportive and collaborative culture
  2. Effective teaching in every classroom
  3. Guaranteed and viable curriculum
  4. Standards-referenced reporting
  5. Competency-based education

Schools that certified for the first level of success include:

  • Linden Park Elementary School
  • Edgemont Elementary School
  • Ethel Boyes Elementary School
  • Sunnyside Elementary School
  • Compass Academy
  • Idaho Falls High School.

Temple View Elementary School, which earned Level 1 certification last spring, certified for levels 2 and 3 this time around, the district said.

Here are some examples of what schools did to earn their Level 1 certifications:

  • Linden Park re-emphasizing school-wide expectations throughout the year, and reinforced “good behavior” with positive-behavior referrals to students and congratulatory calls to parents.
  • Ethel Boyes recognized students through positive office referrals.
  • Edeemont celebrated student successes by handing out “leadership tickets” and letting students participate in morning announcements.
  • Compass Academy held regular meetings with students to gather feedback and recommendations.
  • Idaho Falls High School created Hope Squad, a group of students “committed to building a positive culture and to ensuring all students feel connected to school.”

This article was originally posted on IdahoEdNews.org on Aug. 26, 2022.