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10 Grade Math = 238 = 41 percentile nationally While we as Teton County residents continued from A4 cannot change the expectations of the Idaho State Department of Education, that my actual weight should be closer to we can set our own local expectations. 25 to 30 pounds. Do we really want to be ranked this low I spoke to a supervisor who said the nationally? Will changing to a fourscales were recently checked by the day school week increase our students’ state.  The weight measurement did not likelihood of meeting or even exceeding affect me, as I didn’t owe anything for this low standard of Idaho-defined the recycling.  However, an obvious proficiency? How will our students be discrepancy in actual weight versus the able to compete nationally for jobs once scale weight might result in some people they graduate from our local school paying too much.   system? Next spring, I plan to weigh all my Most educators agree that the most recycled materials in advance, to see productive minutes of the day for in-class if it calibrates with the scale at the instruction are in the morning. With a dump.  Something was wrong with the four-day school week, we automatically scale on Tuesday.  That’s my point. eliminate 20 percent of our most valuable learning time. TSD #401 teachers do a John Siverd remarkable job with the resources that they Alta  are given. Let’s not take away 20 percent of the most important instructional time Crunching the numbers available to them. Support our teachers and the district’s mission to “provide a As our school board deliberates the safe and exceptional learning environment move from a five-day to a four-day school where career and college readiness are the week, here are some local details that I academic cornerstones of a relevant and believe should be considered: progressive education.” Encourage your school board • Forty-nine percent of our students representative to support the five-day qualify for Free and Reduced school week. Lunch, making us a Title 1 school Please attend the school board district. This means that TSD #401 meetings. They are always on the second receives additional federal funding Monday of the month beginning at 7 p.m., intended to provide supplemental location on Main Street at the district instruction for economically office. disadvantaged students. • The correlation between poverty Nola Bredal and academic achievement is Former TSD #401 School Board strong. “Children raised in Trustee poverty rarely choose to behave differently, but they are faced daily Very blessed with overwhelming challenges that affluent children never have Our sons Andy and Jim Berkenfield to confront, and their brains have grew up on the east coast in a comfortable adapted to suboptimal conditions in New York suburban neighborhood, but ways that undermine good school most of their childhood years were spent in performance.” France. When John and I moved to Santa • Time students spend learning needs Fe, New Mexico in 1989, we left both sons to meet the needs of the students, behind. Andy was just beginning his career not the convenience of the adults. in advertising, and Jim was still in college. Andy’s path led to San Francisco. Jim’s To define proficiency, the Idaho path eventually led him to the Teton Valley. Department of Education considers the In the years since, you may have seen Jim following ISAT scores the baseline for and wife Sue’s prize winning furniture proficiency in Reading and Math: 3rd Grade pieces at the Western Design Conference, Reading = 192, 3rd Grade Math = 190, 10th seen his photography exhibits, heard Sue Grade Reading = 220, and 10th Grade Math sing at jazz gigs, gone fishing with Jim, or = 238. started your day getting coffee from him at To give these numbers some context, Coffee on the Fly in Driggs. I am using the national percentile This past week Jim sold Coffee on the rankings from the nonprofit NWEA MAP Fly, which he has owned since 2009, and assessment. Over 8 million students in the I know he will miss his morning visits USA take the NWEA MAP assessment, with all of you. His life path has had many including students in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, branches, and he has decided it is time to Fremont County, Rexburg, Pocatello, follow just one and focus on expanding his Shelley, Boise and more. According to furniture business. this metric, TSD #401 students scoring We hear from Jim almost daily by “Proficient” on the ISAT are in the phone or e-mail, and almost every day he following national percentile rankings. relates a wildlife sighting. Whether it is a 3rd Grade Reading = 192 = 30th hawk, eagle, owl, osprey, moose, buffalo, percentile nationally bear, or elk, there is always a special touch 3rd Grade Math = 190 = 16th percentile of excitement in his voice. A few years nationally ago, Jim decided he wanted to provide his 10th Grade Reading = 220 = 29th family with natural meat and learned to percentile nationally hunt with bow and rifle. He taught himself

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VALLEY CITIZEN • November 13, 2013 • A13 how they can apply those concepts in the the skills many of you, who have real world. grown up in the Valley, learned from your They will master skills like the ability parents or grandparents. Last week Jim to analyze information, draw conclusions, told us about his latest elk hunt. He said it think critically, and express their thoughts was “his dream back-country elk hunting in writing as well as orally. These are all experience,” but in the telling I came to skills that employers need from employees understand it was the most personally in the 21st Century workplace – no matter challenging event of his life. That is Jim’s story to tell, not mine; the employer or the job. but I was amazed by his adventure, and it Some people have voiced concerns with caused me to look back to understand how the implementation of the Standards. Let’s a child of mine came to make to his home address those. in the Tetons and to achieve such outdoors A few have said this state-led effort skills. I searched my memory to find the will lead to a national curriculum. But beginnings of his love for fishing and the Idaho law prevents this: Idaho Code 33natural world. I know that he was hooked 512 specifically outlines that curriculum on fishing when, at four, he caught his first adoption is up to the locally elected school fish on a piece of cheese tied to a string board. This is how it was in the past under on the coast of France. I think his love state academic standards, and this is how of the outdoors began with his first Boy it remains today. While the state adopts Scout camping trip when we returned to standards – or goals for what each child the States. should know and be able to do – the local While still in college his cousin Scott, school board determines how teachers will a search-and-rescue ranger in Grand help students meet these standards, through Teton National Park, invited Jim and a locally adopted curriculum or textbooks. his roommate to come to Jackson Hole. If anyone wants to change it, they have to Within a week of preparation, he had go through the Legislature first. them on top of the Grand. This taste of the In fact, under these new Standards, Tetons brought Jim back to Jackson Hole teachers and school administrators say the after graduation where he waited tables, new Idaho Core Standards give them more worked at the Orvis store, and become a local control over how to teach and what knowledgeable fly-fishing guide on the students will learn, not less. Lori Bargman, rivers in the Greater Yellowstone area. Sue a Second Grade teacher in Mountain soon came west to join him and, except Home, said, “Looking at the new Core for a few years away in San Francisco and Standards has helped me to focus my Boston where she received her graduate teaching on specific skills and to better degree in cabinetry, they have lived within assess my students’ progress.” sight of the Tetons. Even when living away Some have claimed that the state should from here, they returned each year for slow down because the Standards were Jim’s guide seasons. In 2003 they settled “rushed through.” Yet, Idaho is three years permanently in the Teton Valley. into a six-year process of development It was these beginnings that helped my and implementation. In 2009, Idaho son recognize the special quality of life in Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom the shadow of the Tetons. Jim and Sue are Luna and other state school chiefs came raising our grandchildren in a land of great together and created a state-led effort beauty, where they can have the thrill of to develop these Standards. The state counting hawks on their way home, seeing voluntarily chose to adopt them in 2011 a moose, hearing the howl of a wolf, even after nearly a year of public comment startling an owl family at night. I think and feedback. Idaho’s schools have been of all the world’s children who will never preparing to implement the standards for see these mountains or their wildlife, and the past two years, and it will be another know that ours are very blessed. two years before the state administers the first test measuring students against Barbara Berkenfield these new, higher standards. Clearly, Santa Fe, New Mexico our adoption and implementation of the standards has been a phased-in, transparent approach. An open letter to Idaho legislatures Several parents have voiced concerns about the collection of data. While these Since we adjourned last spring much concerns are not related to the Standards has been said about the Idaho Core in any way, we share these concerns. Standards. As chairs of the Senate and Today, the state is not sharing any House Education Committees, we are strong advocates for staying the course and personally identifiable data with the federal government. However, we want to make continuing to fully implement the Idaho sure this does not occur in the future. Core Standards for the following reasons. That’s why Senator Goedde is working The Idaho Core Standards are critical in on a bill that would prohibit the State making sure every child is prepared for Department of Education from sharing success after high school. individual student data in the future. First and foremost, the Idaho Core Superintendent Luna is fully supportive of Standards raise the bar on what our this legislation. students learn in math and English. In the end, the Idaho Core Standards These Standards are higher than Idaho’s will give parents the peace of mind they previous standards. If a student masters have been seeking for years: the comfort these standards, we know they will be that when their child walks across that prepared for college, community college, stage and earns that high school diploma, it professional-technical education, the means they are truly ready to go on. workforce – or whatever career path they For these reasons, the Idaho Core choose to pursue. Standards have earned widespread Idaho’s previous standards were not support, not just from us, but from every preparing our students for life after high education, child advocacy and business school. We have proof: While more than group in the state. Member organizations 80 percent of students were performing as diverse as the Idaho Association of at grade level in core subject areas in Commerce and Industry and the Idaho K-12 education, nearly half of those Education Association have stepped same students would be required to forward to voice their support. The take remedial courses just three months Governor’s Task Force for Improving later once they got to college or into the Education also offered its strong workforce. endorsement for the full implementation As a result, it is not surprising that only one out of four of those students ultimately of the Standards. As the chairs of the House and Senate ends up graduating with a certificate or degree. They become frustrated with being Education Committees, we urge you to stay the course. We have raised our forced to take remedial courses and often academic standards in Idaho and increased drop out. expectations for every student to make sure This is unacceptable. As a state, they graduate from high school prepared we have to break this cycle and give to be successful. Now is not the time to go every child the opportunity to pursue a meaningful job and career. It has to start in backwards. our K-12 public schools. Senator John Goedde, R-Coeur The Idaho Core Standards will help d’Alene, is chair of the Senate Education address this challenge. These Standards Committee and Representative Reed move our education system away from rote DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, is chair of the learning and memorization to a system where students learn concepts as well as House Education Committee.

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