In anticipation of the Idaho Core Standards being first officially taught in schools this fall, districts and the state are ramping up professional development efforts.
For the last two years, the state has worked to familiarize teachers with the new standards by providing professional development around how the new standards align with previous standards, how districts can begin designing local professional development opportunities, and tools and strategies for teacher leaders to re-create professional development opportunities in their own schools. Additionally, 250 master teachers from across Idaho developed sample lesson plans aligned to the new Idaho Core Standards. You can access those lesson plans in Schoolnet now.
More professional development opportunities focusing on the Idaho Core will continue to be provided at the state level to ensure every elementary teacher and every secondary teacher who teaches math or English language arts receives this necessary professional development. Next school year alone, more than $20 million will be spent at the state level to aid teachers in implementing the new standards.
$3.75 million will be used to provide math and English language arts training directly from the state. The State Department of Education has developed a draft plan for the funds that includes expanding existing professional development with the Northwest Inland Writing Project and Boise State Writing Project, curriculum mapping and unit planning, regional trainers, and grants to Institution of Higher Education to offer training to schools. The state is working to convene a focus group of education stakeholders to provide feedback on the draft plan.
Up to $8.4 million of the $21 million appropriate to schools for Excellence in Teaching Awards (differential pay) may be used for professional development to implement the Idaho Core Standards. School districts may choose to use this funding to pay teacher contract days to attend training opportunities.
$5.4 million was shifted from the Fiscal Year 2013 budget after the repeal of Propositions 1, 2, and 3 prohibited that money from being spent on Students Come First initiatives. This money will be distributed to school districts to use on professional development next school year related to the implementation of Idaho Core Standards, the transition to a new assessment (Smarter Balanced), and integration of digital content in the classroom.
$1.5 million is appropriated for Discovery Education and the development of examples of curricular materials and assessments in Schoolnet. These resources will assist teachers with implementation of Idaho Core Standards.
$2.85 million has been granted from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation to support the Idaho Leads Project in their efforts with select districts on the implementation of the Idaho Core Standards.
Are you still in need of professional development around the Idaho Core? There are a host of opportunities available this summer, including the Summer Institute of Next Practices, Argument in the Idaho Core workshop, and Literacy in Science and History/Social Studies workshop. A full listing of current professional development opportunities is posted online at http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/common/workshops.htm.