Empowering Parents vendor applications are open


Businesses and individuals interested in offering goods or services on the Empowering Parents online marketplace can now submit an application.

The application window opened on Sept. 22, the state Board of Education announced on Wednesday.

Empowering Parents is a nationwide program that provides grants to eligible parents and guardians to purchase a range of educational resources and services, from Internet connection devices and computer hardware and software to class materials and tutoring services.

The grants are funded by $50 million in federal coronavirus relief funds provided by the Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little earlier this year.

Vendor applicants will need an employer identification number and a description of the services or goods they will be offering in the marketplace, the state board said. Find more information, including how to apply, here.

Over 15,500 people have applied for the grants since the application window opened nearly two weeks ago, Wednesday’s press release said. Eligible families can receive $1,000 per student up to $3,000 per family. Grants are available to public, private, and homeschooled students in Kindergarten through Grade 12.

Families can spend their scholarship awards at the marketplace in October.

Families can still apply for an Empowering Parents Scholarship here.

Applications for Presidential Scholars are open to students

High school seniors with outstanding academic achievements who graduate between January and August 2023 are now eligible to apply to the 2022-2023 US Presidential Scholars Program.

Seniors who have performed “exceptionally well” on either the SAT or ACT college entrance exams in the past two years will automatically be considered for entry, the state Department of Education announced Wednesday. These students include those who have scored in the top 20 in separate male and female categories. The Presidential Scholars Program will notify these students of their automatic consideration.

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State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra may also nominate up to 20 other candidates — 10 women and 10 men — based on their outstanding “scholarship, achievements and demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership,” according to Wednesday’s announcement. Students who would like to be considered for a nomination can apply here. Deadline for applications is Friday November 4th.

Students in vocational and technical fields of study can also apply.

The following items are required for the application. Students seeking a CTE nomination should note this in the self-assessment section of the application, along with:

  • student’s name
  • E-mail addresses of students, parents and teachers
  • home address of the student
  • name of the high school
  • Postal address of the high school
  • High school CEEB code (click here to find yours)
  • An essay, no longer than 500 words, describing what improvements students would make to some part of the US education system.
  • A self-assessment that describes personal attributes, leadership and service activities in school and community, academic achievement, and any special challenges overcome while still achieving academic success in high school
  • A copy of the transcripts
  • A letter of recommendation from a school counselor, principal, or teacher

There is also an artistic component that is part of the program which students can apply for here.

SDE Approves Dyslexia Course

Students in the Lee Pesky Learning Center’s Pathways to Literacy program work with tutors to improve their reading and writing skills.

The State Department of Education has cleared the Lee Pesky Learning Center, an Idaho-based nonprofit educational institution, to offer a course that meets the dyslexia professional development needs of educators.

Idaho House Bill 731, which went into effect in July, requires the SDE to identify screening tools and intervention practices to screen elementary school students for characteristics of dyslexia. Primary school teachers, all secondary school teachers, administrators and school counselors with a teaching diploma are required for this training.

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One in five people have learning and attention problems, says the National Center on Learning Disabilities. This includes dyslexia – a neurobiological challenge that complicates word recognition, fluency, spelling and decoding.

The Lee Pesky Learning Center for Dyslexia professional development includes a 15-hour course that meets legal requirements, the organization announced Thursday. The courses emphasize the science of reading, features of evidence-based literacy teaching, and various screeners and assessment tools.

“Ensuring that educators receive training on the signs of dyslexia will help with early detection,” read Thursday’s announcement.

The training course will be offered on November 5th and December 3rd with a limit of 30 in person places and 90 virtual places. The self-paced online course will be available by the end of this calendar year. School districts interested in local professional development should contact the Learning Center.

Doctors for a day

Caldwell High School students earlier this month worked with five doctors from Full Circle Health as part of the school’s Doctor for a Day program.

Students from the school’s anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and rehabilitating sports medicine classes participated to “learn about the lungs and airways from real medical professionals,” the district said Thursday.

“Giving students just a glimpse of what they will learn, how doctors interact with patients, and how they interact with the population is beneficial to the students,” said attending physician Sarah Gerrish.

The students rotated between “hands-on” stations to learn physical examination skills, patient interviewing techniques and suturing, Wednesday’s news release said.

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The Goal: To inspire and encourage students in underrepresented communities to consider medicine or other healthcare careers.

Caldwell’s event mirrors one at the University of Washington, Gerrish added. “We used their formatting to put residents in high schools, where they are underrepresented medical students, to get them excited about healthcare.

According to the press release, the school is working to set up more sessions this year.

CEI introduces workforce training center

The College of Eastern Idaho has a new workforce training center due to partially open this fall.

Beginning in October, the center will provide professional development and enhance career opportunities for CEI students and community members, CEI President Rick Aman announced Wednesday during the opening ceremony, reports EastIdahoNews.com.

The facility, located at 101 Technology Drive in Idaho Falls, will help advance the pipeline of industrial-grade students needed, Aman said, from plumbing and heavy equipment operations to welding and advanced manufacturing. Classes are due to start next month, but the center won’t be fully operational until February.

The Regional Development Alliance, Inc. donated $727,865.73 to support the facility. Bonneville County donated the building that now houses the center to CEI earlier this year on the condition that it has staff training.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews Associate Editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and the education of students living in poverty. He lives and works in eastern Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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