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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Albertson Foundation

‘Super supers’ offer Idaho advice on improving schools, with Ybarra, Jones in audience

Both candidates for Idaho’s schools chief job, Republican Sherri Ybarra and Democrat Jana Jones, were in the audience last night as two nationally known school superintendents spoke in Boise on improving schools, reports Idaho Education News. The “Super Supers” presentation featured former Massachusetts schools chief David Driscoll and former Florida schools chief Eric Smith; former Maryland schools chief Nancy Grasmick also had been scheduled to attend, but canceled because of an injury.

The two, whose talk was sponsored by the Albertson Foundation, said Idaho needs to ensure equality for all kids, stabilize school funding and master teacher evaluations, reports Idaho EdNews reporter Jennifer Swindell; her full report is online here. Both were excited about new Common Core standards and assessments. “You will see for the first time in history, millions and millions being tested on the same level,” Driscoll said. “We will have strong standards and strong assessments and finally we’ll know what we need to work on.” Added Smith, “We’ve got to stay with it.”

‘Super supers’ to speak in Idaho tonight on improving schools

Three of the nation’s top school superintendents will speak in Boise this evening as part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Albertson Foundation and broadcast live online. The event is dubbed “Super Supers: An evening with the nation’s best school leaders,” and will feature former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David Driscoll, former Maryland state schools superintendent Nancy Grasmick, and former Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith. It starts at 7 p.m. at the Linen Building, and is free, though seating will be limited.

Roger Quarles, Albertson Foundation executive director, said, “If ever there was a time for Idaho to stop and learn from our country’s best education leaders, this is it.” Idaho’s school system has been hit hard by budget cuts in recent years; it’s also in a time of transition, with current state Superintendent Tom Luna stepping down at the end of the year, and two candidates, Democrat Jana Jones and Republican Sherri Ybarra, vying to replace him.

Driscoll, Grasmick and Smith all transformed their school systems into some of the highest-performing in the country, Quarles said. The event is part of the Albertson Foundation-sponsored “ED Sessions” series. It will be broadcast online at, and online viewers can participate in the discussion via Twitter and Facebook.

Albertson Foundation threatens to withhold $4.5M in program funding

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is threatening to withhold $4.5 million it's promised to Idaho next year for a computer program to track student progress. The foundation in Boise says the money now won't be paid unless Idaho restores taxpayer funding for teacher professional development — money put in jeopardy when voters rejected public schools chief Tom Luna's Students Come First overhaul Nov. 6. The Albertson Foundation promised $21 million in 2011 for student-performance-monitoring software from SchoolNet Inc., a New York company. According to a letter from the foundation to Idaho budget writers, however, the final $4.5 million won't be paid “unless the professional development funds are secured.” Melissa McGrath, Luna's spokeswoman, said Friday he'll announce a remedy for the potential loss of funding next week.

Albertson Foundation gives $5M to UI, NNU for teacher training on tech

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is giving $5 million to two Idaho universities to better equip and train teachers. The grant announced Monday will be divvied up between the University of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University. The money will be used to create two new centers for innovation and learning. The centers ― scheduled to open early next year ― will focus on developing new teaching methods for incorporating technology in the classroom and studying the latest hardware and software available for teachers and students. University of Idaho President Duane Nellis says he's hopeful the research that emerges will help the state make better choices for bringing technology into classrooms in the future.

The grant actually totals close to $8 million over three years; in the first year, NNU will get $4.6 million, and UI in Moscow will get $983,000. UI then will get subsequent payments in the second and third years of $962,000 and $1.1 million, respectively.

Albertson Foundation gives Idaho schools $21M grant for software program, network

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is giving $25 million to Idaho to help better track student achievement and fulfill its cash commitment to the Idaho Education Network. The investment announced Wednesday includes $21 million to the Idaho Department of Education to pay for software designed to improve the performance of students and teachers. The software is designed and distributed by SchoolNet Inc., a private New York company. Albertson Foundation Executive Director Jamie MacMillan says the SchoolNet tool will improve the way schools monitor real-time student progress and teacher effectiveness in a consistent and timely manner. The grant also covers the remainder of the foundation's $6 million pledge toward the $60 million cost for installing broadband infrastructure statewide for the IEN. The network links public schools, universities and businesses.

Albertson Foundation pledges $20M to get Idaho kids to go on to college

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has announced it’ll put up to $20 million into a big new push to try to get Idaho kids to go on to higher education after high school. That’s a goal that was put front and center by Gov. Butch Otter and a new Education Alliance last week, but that alliance’s new strategy lacked any funding. Here’s what the Albertson Foundation is planning: $11 million in targeted, statewide scholarships “to help Idaho improve college opportunities and increase post-secondary participation and completion”; $6 million to the Idaho Education Network to “increase access to relevant data and increase equal educational opportunities to Idaho stakeholders statewide”; and up to $3 million for an awareness campaign about opportunities beyond high school and for “KnowHow2Go Idaho,” a “support and guidance program that helps turn college dreams into action-oriented goals.”

The foundation’s initiative was praised today by Otter, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna and state Board of Education President Paul Agidius. Idaho ranks 43rd in the nation for students going on to complete a degree, the foundation said. Already, commercials are airing on TV in Idaho encouraging students to continue their education. Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the foundation, said the initiative “combines a thought-provoking messaging and advertising campaign that we hope will capture the attention of students, parents, government, business and other important stakeholders. We are committed to raising awareness and, even more importantly, to converting that awareness into action. We need to better prepare and provide opportunities for Idaho’s kids to GO ON - go on to high-quality jobs; go on to technical training; go on to post-secondary institutions - if we want them to GO ON to a better life.”

The Albertson Foundation is a private family foundation formed by the founders of the Albertson’s grocery chain, dedicated to improving education in Idaho.

CWI gets $7.5M gift from Albertson Foundation

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation announced today that it’s giving $7.5 million to the College of Western Idaho, fulfilling an earlier pledge to give a total of $10 million to Idaho’s newest community college. In December of 2008, the foundation awarded the college $2.5 million for startup costs, scholarships and business planning aimed at increasing community college access. Now, the rest of the pledge has been fulfilled. “Our goal from the start has been to increase access to high quality, affordable, comprehensive community college education in Idaho,” said Jamie MacMillan, the foundation’s executive director. You can read the foundation’s full announcement here.

The Albertson Foundation, formed by the founders of the Albertson’s grocery chain, is a private family foundation dedicated to improving education in Idaho.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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