Six IEA members gave the House and Senate Education Committees a peak behind the curtain during Celebrating Idaho Teachers and Public Education activities at the Capitol Monday. These professional educators from all regions of the state brought various levels of experience, subject matter specializing, and grade level assignments to the table, and legislators were appreciative of their presentations.
IEA President Kari Overall opened each session by reminding legislators about the many and varied roles educators play, their dedication to the profession and their students, and how public schools welcome all students and commit to serving them with whatever resources they have at their disposal. The capitol visits were arranged by the IEA with the generous cooperation of the education committee chairs to ensure that teacher voices are heard in the policy-making process.
Early Career Educators Hannah Henry (Bonneville) and Shelley Hopkins (Kuna) shared stories about their classroom strategies, a desire for smaller classes that would contribute to more individualized instruction, as well as the need for mentoring and support for those new to the profession. Hopkins also pointed out the state of facilities disrepair that is problematic in her classroom at Kuna Middle School, as well as elsewhere around the state.
Karen Lauritzen (Post Falls) walked the committee though some of the challenges and opportunities involved with Idaho’s K-3 literacy initiatives and the potential benefits of the state’s new Idaho Reading Indicator. She also advocated for full-day kindergarten, noting from her own experience the difference it can make in preparing first grade students to hit the ground running and maximize their learning and achievement.
Speaking to the committees as a veteran teacher, Aaron McKinnon (Boise) wowed the committee with his enthusiasm for teaching science, and the need to foster a culture of active learning among students. He touted the concept of project-based learning as something he would like to do even more of in the future. McKinnon also encouraged legislators to protect the time and efforts of teachers, and to continue their own education by staying up to date on education topics and issues.
David Gibson (Twin Falls) spoke to the committees about technology in the classroom, specifically as it relates to music instruction. He pointed out that his district is fortunate to be able to offer music instruction once a week in every elementary school but understands that is not the case in every district. His wish list included more professional development on how to use some of the technology available to teachers, as well as a desire for daily music instruction. “Test scores in all subjects increase 10-12% when music instruction is included in the regular curriculum,” he said.
Crystal Tibbals (Troy) talked about how to get parents more involved in the education process. She shared some strategies that have enabled the Troy School District to increase the participation rate in parent-teacher conferences to nearly 99%.
Committee members appeared very interested in the feedback from IEA members, and gathered for further discussion following the meetings. Clark Corbin has a story for Idaho Education News about the presentations made in the House Education Committee meeting.
Idaho Assessment Task Force Survey
The Idaho Education Association is representing educators on the Idaho Assessment Task Force Work Group. As part of our work we are inviting Idahoans to provide feedback about Idaho’s Assessment System. Please go tohttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SISKAI2017 to share your insight.
The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. The survey will close Friday, February 16, 2018. The results will inform the Task Force’s work to develop recommendations for Idaho’s Comprehensive Assessment System.
Thank you for your participation in this work.