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Eye On Boise

More changes announced at state Department of Education

More staff changes are being announced at the state Department of Education, where Lisa Colon is being promoted to director of teacher certification and the professional standards commission. Colon is currently the department’s educator effectiveness coordinator; she’ll replace Taylor Raney, who announced in March that he’ll be leaving this summer to accept a position with the University of Idaho as an associate professor and director of teacher education.

Colon holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Idaho plus administrator, elementary and secondary credentials; she taught middle school for eight years and served as an elementary school administrator for seven years; you can read the department’s full announcement here.

Last week, the department announced that Technology Director Will Goodman will leave at the end of June to return to the Mountain Home School District; he’ll be replaced by another promotion; Chris Campbell currently a regional education technology coordinator for the department and former director of technology for the Genesee Joint School District for seven years. 

In other recent news from Superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s shop, the department announced last week that it’ll significantly reduce data reporting requirements for school districts under unpopular ISEE, or Idaho System for Educational Excellence, data reporting program. Of 566 separate data elements that previously were required, 111 were eliminated entirely for being “unnecessary, redundant or derivable from other sources,” and another 115 were eliminated from ISEE reports because the state collects them from other sources. More changes still are in store, reports Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News; his full report is online here.

Also, the department last week announced it’s issuing a Request for Proposals for firms to provide Microsoft IT Academy products and services for up to 253 public schools and 145 public libraries in Idaho; the move comes in response to SB 1189, the central services portion of the public schools budget for next year, which appropriated up to $1 million in one-time dedicated funds for technology education and IT certifications for students and faculty that “prepare students for college, careers or the workplace.” There’s more info here.

The department also has put out a call for teachers, principals and superintendents from throughout the state to serve on a new Mastery-Based Education Committee, to help the state plan its move, recommended as part of the governor’s education improvement task force’s 20 recommendations, from advancing students through school based on seat time to a system based on their mastery of content. Legislation that passed this year charged the department to conduct a statewide awareness campaign to promote understanding and interest in the move; establish a committee of educators to identify roadblocks and possible solutions; and help launch an incubator program to try the idea out. Ybarra said, “This is taking a prudent, ground-up approach in assessing the possibility of a mastery-based system in Idaho. The bottom line is we want to do what is best for kids; if the committee’s results show that this change would be best for kids, then let’s keep moving down that path to an Idaho solution.” There’s more info here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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