Blackfoot High School students break ground on a multi-faceted project, which includes a new CTE center for high schoolers.

The Blackfoot School District will get a $3.3 million boost to fund creation of a career-technical high school.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration approved the district’s application for $3,326,440 to help the Blackfoot Technical Education Center, superintendent Brian Kress announced during a ceremony Tuesday.

The center will be housed in the current Stoddard Elementary School and will  provide CTE courses for students at Blackfoot High School, and for area adults.

Transforming the school is part of a multi-faceted project in the district, which will also see construction of a 450-student elementary school across the street from the Blackfoot High School’s football field, shop space for industrial classes, a new student center at Blackfoot High, a baseball-softball complex, soccer field with lighting and an updated track with new seating.

The district passed a $23.9 million bond issue to fund the projects in March of last year, with 82% voter support.

The grant will elevate the current bond project.

Mountain Home teacher receives VFW Teacher of the Year Award

Lisa Russell, a first-grade teacher at East Elementary, is the recipient of the 2022 Smart/Maher Veterans of Foreign Wars National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. She received the award for her commitment to patriotism and Americanism in the classroom, according to the VFW.

With the proximity of the US Air Force Base in Mountain Home, many of Russell’s students come from military families. As a member of a military family, Russell centers class projects around the events of September 11 and Pearl Harbor, teaching about the monumental moments in US history. She has invited Lorraine Kirkland, a Pearl Harbor attack survivor, to share her first-hand experience with the students.

Russell’s lessons are often hands-on, allowing students to engage with their own community of veterans and military personnel. Her students have prepared poppies and valentines for veterans, and bags of cookies for deployed airmen.

VFW Post 5423 took note of Russell’s creativity and work within the community, nominating her for this year’s award. She will receive a $3000 prize and a plaque recognizing her work. She is also set to be honored at the 123rd VFW Convention in July.

“The strength of our nation depends largely on our success in fostering and growing patriotism among our youth,” said VFW National Commander Fritz Mihelcic. “Teachers like Lisa will ensure a strong America for many generations to come.”

Rathdrum’s Lakeland High crowned state Vocabulary Bowl champion

Lakeland High School recently earned the title of Idaho state champion in the eighth annual Vocabulary Bowl, an online competition designed to improve students’ literacy skills. This was the Rathdrum school’s first win. 

Lakeland students mastered over 37,000 words to win the title, beating out second place East Junior High School of Boise by over 2,500 words. Last year, Lakeland placed second with 29,318 words.  

The Vocabulary Bowl is held every year, with over 33,000 participating K-12 schools across the United States and Canada. The competition spans seven months, between October and April.   

The goal of the Bowl, according to the host Vocabulary.com, is “about motivating all learners to put in the effort, improve their literacy skills, and experience academic success.” 

Record number of Twin Falls seniors earn associate degrees

TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls School District announced this week that a record number of 36 high school seniors earned their associate degrees while also graduating from Canyon Ridge and Twin Falls high schools.

More students than ever are utilizing funding provided by the state to help pay for dual credit courses while in high school. Even though this funding is important to help students get a jump start on their college careers, the district also works to ensure that students receive support with planning and scheduling so that students can reach this milestone.

In order for schools to support these numbers of students receiving college credit in high school, there must be a concerted effort to hire dual credit certified teachers, collaborate with local community colleges, and be intentional about providing information about these possibilities to parents and students early in their academic careers.

“Having this number of students receive college degrees while in high school is an accomplishment to be proud of, not just for the student but also for our school system,” said Twin Falls Superintendent Brady Dickinson. “It takes an immense effort by all involved to have this quantity of students reach this level in their academic career.”

In order for students to be successful at completing an associate degree while in high school they begin planning and taking overload classes early. In most cases, this means planning starts in middle school, Dickinson said.

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