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Great Public Schools Criteria for Idaho

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.

Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Idaho.

Readiness to Learn

Full-day Kindergarten:

Quality Conditions

Maximum Class Size.
The state board of education supports the efforts made by the Idaho Legislature to lower class size. Significant progress has been made in grades 1 through 3. The state board of education believes that class sizes in grades 4 through 6 are too high. Districts are encouraged to lower all class sizes as funds become available. Each district will develop personnel policies and procedures to implement the educational program of the district. The policies and procedures will address representation in each of the following personnel areas, as appropriate to student enrollment and the needs of each attendance area. Districts should strive to achieve ratios consistent with state class size ratio goals. 
IDAPA 08.02.02 (110)

Classroom Discipline. In the absence of any statute or rule or regulation of the board of trustees, any teacher employed by a school district shall have the right to direct how and when each pupil shall attend to his appropriate duties, and the manner in which a pupil shall demean himself while in attendance at the school. It is the duty of a teacher to carry out the rules and regulations of the board of trustees in controlling and maintaining discipline, and a teacher shall have the power to adopt any reasonable rule or regulation to control and maintain discipline in, and otherwise govern, the classroom, not inconsistent with any statute or rule or regulation of the board of trustees. 
Idaho Code §33-1224

School Safety. Idaho has a creative approach to raising additional money: Idaho uses income taxes imposed on lottery winnings to help fund the Idaho Safe and Drug Free Schools Program.

Recruitment and Retention

Idaho has state policies that support financial incentives for teachers, hard to staff schools, paraprofessional/teaching assistants to become certified teachers, alternative routes to certification, and teacher workload.  In addition, there are policies supporting maximum class size, classroom discipline, requirements for tenure, teacher recognition, and license reciprocity with other states.

For Paraprofessional/Teaching Assistants to Become Certified Teachers: The purpose of the Para-Educator to Teacher Alternative route to teacher certification is to encourage qualified paraeducators employed in Idaho classrooms to become certificated teachers. The alternative route preparation program must be completed within five calendar years from the date of admission to the program. 
IDAPA 08.02.02 (046)

Alternative Routes to Certification: These alternative routes to certification are all effective July 1, 2006. The purpose of this program is to provide an alternative for individuals to become certificated teachers in Idaho without following a standard teacher education program. Individuals who are currently employed as paraeducators, individuals who are currently certificated to teach but who are in need of emergency certification in another area and individuals with strong subject matter background but limited experience with educational methodology shall follow the alternate certification requirements.

Requirements for Tenure: During the third full year of continuous employment by the same school district, including any specially chartered district, each certificated employee and each school nurse and school librarian shall be evaluated for a renewable contract and shall, upon having been offered a contract for the next ensuing year, having given notice of acceptance of renewal and upon signing a contract for a fourth full year, be placed on a renewable contract status with said school district.
Idaho Code §33-515

Teacher Recognition Programs or Policies: Idaho's Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the districts' nominees by selection committee representing the state's education agencies and lawmakers. Each district may nominate one teacher. Idaho's Teacher of the Year is also the state nominee for National Teacher of the Year, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers and sponsored by Scholastic Inc.
DOE Teacher of the Year

License Reciprocity with Other States: Idaho participates in the Interstate Agreement of Qualification of Education Personnel. This agreement applies equally to teachers entering Idaho from another compact-member state and to teachers entering another compact-member state from Idaho. The compact applies to classroom teachers only. Trades and industries teachers are not covered by the agreement. 
IDAPA 08.02.02 (090)
Idaho Code §33-4101

Parental Involvement

History of Initiative.
Idaho's Statewide Family Literacy Initiative Cabinet was formed in the Spring of 2000 by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Marilyn Howard. The goal of this initiative was to increase collaboration between family literacy providers and to promote best practices across the state. With state level representatives from Idaho's State Department of Education, Adult Basic Education/ G.E.D. Administration, Head Start, and the Idaho State Library, the initial work began, including seeking input and collaboration from a large number of highly interested stakeholders committed to improving family literacy practices across our state.

Additional representative stakeholders (see below) came together to plan and implement a Statewide Family Literacy Initiative consistent with the Even Start (Title I, Part B) purpose of improving educational opportunities to low-income families most in need. Idaho receives the minimum allocation in Federal funds for at-risk populations (Title 1-A, Title 1-B Even Start, and Title 1-C Migrant). As such, the Cabinet realized early on that resources were limited. It was decided that the Idaho Statewide Family Literacy Initiative could be extended by "growing" programs that were already in existence. By building capacity, sharing resources and "piggybacking" on well established, research based programs such as Even Start, Head Start, Title 1-A Schoolwide programs, Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration sites, and childcare facilities using "Parents As Teachers," the Initiative would be able to reach more people and facilitate consistent indicators of program quality.

The members of the Idaho Statewide Family Literacy Initiative Cabinet (referred to as The Cabinet) set forth a four pronged approach that was believed would strengthen and expand family literacy services in Idaho. This approach will help compensate for challenges and build on our state's strengths.

The Goals:

The project is designed to make systemic changes in family literacy efforts within the state by linking Cabinet members and their individual efforts to one another. Together, they developed indicators of program quality (with research and validation from the field), maintain measures of success, build communication networks, and expand their knowledge banks through collaboration and shared professional development.

The immediate intended result of this project is the building of collaboration and common vision among stakeholders and adopting common indicators of program quality.

The long-term expectation is to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by identifying and linking those programs that provide educational opportunities and parenting education focused on becoming full partners in their child's academic learning.

The Family Literacy Cabinet is the "action arm" of the Idaho Statewide Family Literacy Initiative. Formal leadership of the committee resides in the State Title 1-B (Even Start) Office under the direction of Program Coordinator, Valerie Aker. With leadership from Dr. Howard, the Family Literacy Cabinet assumes responsibility for developing and implementing indicators of quality performance and programs, assessing present practices, identifying options, implementing collaborative efforts, evaluating next steps, committing funds and resources, ensuring delivery of said funds and resources, evaluating implementation and results, forming additional partnerships, and continuing to improve and coordinate the delivery of literacy services for low-income families with young children.

Idaho State Department of Education