Tuesday, February 22, 2011 From the Coeur d’Alene Press No education stories posted online today. From the Idaho Spokesman-Review No education stories posted online today. From the Moscow Daily News (password required) Moscow High School staff, students struggle with former student's suicide OUR VIEW: NCLB defeats its purpose in regard to Eclipse program (Editorial) From the Lewiston Tribune (password required) UI freshman faces deportation after 15 years in U.S. Kendrick-Juliaetta voters OK school bond From the Idaho-Press Tribune, Nampa Interim Ed Board director resigns Boise State sets enrollment record From the Idaho Statesman, Boise Partnership could help Arrowrock International School From the Twin Falls Times-News Fed up with fall tests Burley High locked down for false alarm From the Idaho State Journal PRESIDENT’S PRE•INVESTITURE FETE GALA EVENT ISU enrollment administrator hired 12th president at Idaho State embodies vision for the school’s future (Editorial) From the Idaho Falls Post Register (password required) Idaho axes some student achievement tests FROM THE COEUR D’ALENE PRESS No education stories posted online today. FROM THE IDAHO SPOKESMAN-REVIEW No education stories posted online today. FROM THE MOSCOW DAILY NEWS (PASSWORD REQUIRED) Moscow High School staff, students struggle with former student's suicide Staff report Thursday, September 13, 2007 - Page Updated at 12:00:00 AM Crisis assistance team members were made available for Moscow High School students Wednesday following the suicide of 2007 MHS graduate and University of Idaho freshman Forrest Blakesley. Blakesley's body was discovered around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday in Mountain View Park, Moscow Assistant Police Chief David Duke said. His body was discovered by a friend. Police believe Blakesley shot himself around midnight. "We were informed by the Moscow Police Department early (Wednesday) morning, and police confirmed that it was a suicide," Moscow High School Principal Bob Celebrezze said. "Students and staff are really distressed over this tragedy." Celebrezze said the crisis assistance team was called in and counselors helped students and staff deal with Blakesley's death. "We had a large group of crisis team members working at different sites," he said. The crisis assistance team also was made available for former Moscow High School students. A staff meeting took place Wednesday to determine how to announce the situation to the student body, Celebrezze said. "Each individual teacher reviewed clear and accurate information to their individual classes so that no rumors were to be had," he said. Celebrezze said Blakesley "was a very social and active member of our student body." "He was well-liked by all students, outgoing and fun to be around," he said. "He was a respectful, courteous young man who was also active on the men's soccer team." Celebrezze said Blakesley attended a volleyball match the night before his suicide. "He was very friendly," he said. OUR VIEW: NCLB defeats its purpose in regard to Eclipse program (Editorial) By Doug Bauer, for the editorial board Thursday, September 13, 2007 - Page Updated at 12:00:00 AM Every child in this country is entitled to the best K-12 education possible, and the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted in 2002 to ensure just that. However, not all students fit a standard mold. That is why alternative-education programs were put in place, many long before NCLB ever was introduced. Such was the case in Pullman, where the Eclipse program was established in 1993 so students who failed to succeed in a traditional setting didn't get "left behind." Fourteen years later, the Pullman School District has put the program on hold due to increased state and federal requirements. Eleven students were effectively displaced, and the district had to come up with other means to provide them with an adequate education. Most of the problems stem from NCLB requirements that school districts employ "highly qualified teachers" for each subject. NCLB requires teachers to have a bachelor's degree, a state certification or license, and prove they know the subject they teach. In May, 15 students graduated from Eclipse. All of them were taught by a single teacher - a teacher who was adept at providing an education for students who might otherwise go without. Since it would be impossible for a lone teacher to be "highly qualified" in so many subjects, and since NCLB provides no monetary means to meet its mandates, Pullman had to abandon the program altogether until a viable alternative can be found. Not every student who seeks an alternative education does so because they cut up in class, became pregnant, played hooky or failed to fit in. Some have lost family members and been forced to work while continuing their educations. Some have learning disabilities that made them lag behind their peers in some areas, and others simply slipped through the cracks in the system. Whatever the reason, being forced to shelve a program that has proven successful for alternative-education students is contrary to NCLB's intended purpose. FROM THE LEWISTON TRIBUNE (PASSWORD REQUIRED) UI freshman faces deportation after 15 years in U.S. Fraternity brothers stand behind student whose illegal status has caught up to him By Joel Mills Friday, September 14, 2007 MOSCOW - From all outward appearances and achievements, Luis Olivares is an all- American kind of guy. The problem is, he isn't an American. Olivares said he remembers the night he was smuggled across the Mexican border as if it were a dream. Now, the would-be University of Idaho freshman is facing a nightmare. "When I was a kid, I didn't know anything," Olivares, 18, said Thursday about his status as an illegal alien. His grandparents Paula Carrillo and Rafael Medina, farm workers with legal status in the U.S., paid human traffickers called "coyotes" $4,000 to smuggle him and his mother across the Arizona border when he was only 3. That night, there was a trail through the dark to a wall that seemed huge to him at the time. He was boosted over and then taken to a safe house in Nogales he suspected was a drug house. "It smelled horrible inside." Then it was straight to Washington, where his grandparents lived. Olivares said his illegal status has finally caught up with him. He was an excellent student where he lived in Royal City, Wash., earning a 3.9 grade point average in high school. In pursuit of his American dream, he applied and was accepted at UI and enrolled in business courses. He pledged at the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity, and was embraced with open arms by his new brothers. But through it all, a fearful and somewhat ashamed Olivares was keeping his secret. When his application for student aid was turned down, he could keep it no longer. With no money to pay for school or housing, he turned to his fraternity brothers. "He came in front of chapter (meeting) Monday, and told us he wasn't going to be able to stay," said Rob Tarver, 19, the fraternity brother who has become Olivares' strongest advocate. "He's really intelligent, social and athletic; the kind of guys fraternities look for." When Olivares broke the news he was probably going to have to leave the country, "My stomach literally did a 360," Tarver said. "I felt like I was going to throw up." So Tarver, whose has many family members in the legal profession, went to work. He's called several attorneys, contacted the UI Law School's immigration clinic and even sent a letter Thursday to Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter to ask for help. But so far all they've found are dead ends. Olivares' grandparents petitioned to get him and his mother resident alien status, - green cards - in 1992. But he said bureaucratic paralysis kept delaying the process. He does concede, however, he should have started working on his immigration status much earlier. But the shame involved with being an illegal alien kept him scared enough to keep his secret. "I knew immigration was controversial," he said. "But I do feel that I should have told them (his fraternity brothers and others) earlier on." Moscow immigration attorney Mike Cherasia said Olivares' situation is common, but he might have to stay in Mexico for several years before he is allowed to return legally. But there may be some hope for people like Olivares in the future, Cherasia said. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act introduced in the U.S. Congress was designed for people in Olivares' shoes. It would provide a path to citizenship for illegal students who were brought across the border as minors. Its passage has proven difficult, however. Pasco's Tom Roach, who said he is the only attorney in eastern Washington who exclusively practices immigration law, said he's had dozens of cases just like Olivares.' Roach said he would probably be better off staying in Washington and going to a junior college he can afford out-of-pocket and wait for the DREAM Act to pass. But that isn't likely to happen until 2009, and then only if Democrats maintain control of congress and win the presidency, he said. If Olivares does go back to Mexico, he will essentially be alone. His family lives in the U.S., and he hasn't seen his father since he was 2. But he said he isn't too afraid, since he has accomplished so much on his own. And he should be able to get a decent job because he is bilingual, he said. The most painful thing will be leaving the fraternity, he said, where he's grown to love and respect the members who have been working to help him stay at the UI and get his degree. --- Mills may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 883-0564. Kendrick-Juliaetta voters OK school bond Facilities measure receives 69 percent approval By Jodi Walker Friday, September 14, 2007 Kendrick-Juliatetta School District voters approved a $2.36 million facilities bond Thursday with 69 percent of those turning out voting in favor. Idaho law requires 66.7 percent approval for facilities bond elections to be favorable. "We are very happy, the board, the committee, everyone," Superintendent Clark Adamson said Thursday night after the ballots were counted. Tax rates will not increase because of a bond being retired this year and moving money from a current plant facilities bond. The bond will allow the district to remodel the gymnasium and locker rooms as well as construct two classrooms for the junior high. Voters at Cameron had the highest approval rate, with 75 percent voting in favor. Clearwater County voters at Southwick showed 47 percent approval. Kendrick had 74 percent approval and Juliaetta, 64 percent. Voter turnout was 33 percent of the 1,039 registered voters in the district, with 220 yes votes and 100 no votes. Adamson said the board, committee and architect will now decide what portions of the project will be completed with the money. It is certain the bond will pay for only the shell of the classrooms. A plant facilities bond, to be renewed next year, will pay for the interior to be completed. The goal is to get the seventh and eighth grades into the same building. Now, the eighth grade is housed at Kendrick High School. The seventh grade is located at the elementary school in Juliaetta and is bussed to Kendrick each afternoon so students can take elective courses. The district also needs to address life safety issues in its gymnasium, Adamson said. Seating and locker rooms do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Also, the ceiling in the gym is 16 feet and will be raised with passage of this bond. Seating capacity in the gym will be expanded from 375 to 500. The plant facilities bond next year will be reduced to $49,000, half of what it was when last approved. The other half of the money was applied to the facilities bond to allow for the higher bond amount but stable tax rates. --- Walker may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 743-9600, ext. 275. FROM THE IDAHO-PRESS TRIBUNE, NAMPA Interim Ed Board director resigns EDUCATION: McGee will return to governor’s office; Some achievement tests cut The Associated Press BOISE — The interim executive director of the State Board of Education has resigned as the agency struggles with financial woes. Karen McGee, the state board’s interim executive director since May, resigned from her $108,000-per-year position on Wednesday as the board was making decisions on cost-cutting measures. The Education Board voted to eliminate the winter round of Idaho Standards Achievement Test for third- through ninth-graders at public schools for at least three years. The board also voted Wednesday to end second-grade standardized testing at an emergency session to discuss its contract with Minnesota-based Data Recognition Corp., which administers the test. McGee said she could do a better job helping the board from the governor’s office and that she plans to return to her job there advising the governor on education, work force and health and welfare issues. The board ended some testing because it doesn’t have state money to pay for all the exams. The board wound up with a $1 million shortfall after state lawmakers chose not to fund the testing. Jean Lovelace, principal at Boise’s Whitney Elementary School, said eliminating the test for second graders was a good move. “They’re too little to sit at a computer,” said Lovelace. She said the winter tests for the older grades tied up computers for two weeks. Students in third through 10th grade will still take the fall and spring tests. The fall tests are scheduled to begin Monday. The changes will save about $2.4 million, the board said, and allow it to stay within its budget. Board member Laird Stone said the board previously planned to drop the test for second-graders. “That had been pulled after a discussion with (Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna) before any other stuff came up,” Stone said. He said the board was preparing to search for a permanent director, meanwhile naming Mike Rush as acting executive director. Rush heads the Division of Professional Technical Education. Boise State sets enrollment record EDUCATION: Increase to more than 19,500 students represents largest growth in four years Idaho Press-Tribune staff BOISE — Boise State University set the state record for enrollment this fall with 19,540 students. The 3.5 percent increase in enrollment is the university’s largest in four years. This is the 10th time in the past 11 years that Boise State has set a record for enrollment at Idaho higher education institutions. Last year, BSU had 18,876 students. Equally important, says Boise State President Bob Kustra, is the fact the university is attracting not only more students, but also better students — a trend that is shown in the profile of the incoming freshman class. Kustra notes that while the freshman class of 2,280 is a record, it is also one of the most academically talented groups to enter Boise State as indicated by: n The addition of 12 National Merit finalists (an increase of 300 percent over last year) who received a renewable full tuition scholarship and an annual $2,500 stipend. n An inaugural class of 28 Presidential Civic Leadership Scholars — recipients of a new scholarship award ranging from $1,500 to full tuition and fees renewable for four years offered to high-achieving Idaho residents who have experience in and a commitment to civic leadership. n The recognition of 33 Boise State Capital Scholars — recipients of a $1,000 renewable scholarship acknowledging Idaho’s outstanding high school juniors who were in the top 10 percent of their class and scored within the top 10 percent of a national standardized test. The 33 recipients represent an 83 percent increase in Capitol Scholars from the previous year. n A composite ACT score that surpassed the previous year’s entering freshman class and exceeded the national and Idaho average scores. n The students’ average high school GPA of 3.30, an increase from last year’s number. FROM THE IDAHO STATESMAN, BOISE Partnership could help Arrowrock International School Deal with the Boise School District could help keep the private school for the gifted stay open. By Anne Wallace Allen - email@example.com Edition Date: 09/14/07 A partnership with the Boise School District could use state money to keep classes going at Arrowrock International School, a private school for gifted students where enrollment dropped sharply just as classes were starting this month. Superintendent Stan Olson said Wednesday he has met with Arrowrock founder Holmes Lundt to talk about incorporating the school into the district while allowing it to continue using its current curriculum. The unusual structure would allow some of Arrowrock's expenses to be paid with the money that the state gives the district for each pupil in the public schools. Arrowrock had about 50 children enrolled last year. After parents started raising questions about the school's finances and future, many families removed their children, and parents say there are now just about a dozen children at the school. Lundt reassured parents last week that he was working on a plan to strengthen the school, which has annual tuition of $6,750. Lundt was not available Wednesday to comment for this story, but Olson said that plan would allow Arrowrock to keep operating either at its current location in southeast Boise or in a Boise School District building. Arrowrock, founded in 2003, is a school for gifted students; children must take an IQ test for admission. Boise School District has its own gifted and talented program, known as GATE. Olson said Arrowrock children can't simply be absorbed into GATE; it's full, with a waiting list, and Arrowrock has a separate curriculum that its founder and parents want to retain. A more typical avenue for a specialized school to join the district is through a charter. So far, the Boise district has authorized two: Anser and Hidden Springs. But the charter process takes several months, and Arrowrock is struggling with finances and doesn't have time for that process, said Olson. A partnership would be complicated. One example: Arrowrock allows 4-year-olds at its program, while state law prevents Idaho school districts from offering services to children younger than 5. Olson said the district is studying whether the state would allow the 4-year-olds' families to pay tuition to continue at Arrowrock if it joined the district, and he has had a preliminary discussion with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. Olson said he expects the plan with Arrowrock to be ready by the end of this month. "The hope is that we would be able to work with the Lundts, work with the families, work with our board, work with our staff, and give the district a real opportunity to look at it for potential addition to the GATE continuum." If all the details can be worked out, said Olson, eventually Arrowrock will be part of the district, much like the new Montessori program at Liberty Elementary School, or the Treasure Valley Math and Science Center. Arrowrock parents have said it's important to them that Arrowrock's four teachers continue with the school. "We think that the teachers are essential to the delivery of the program," Olson said, but "the numbers of students will determine, obviously, the revenue. ...And the revenue will determine the number of teachers we'd be able to tie to the program. "We may not have enough students, even with a combination of tuition and (the state per- pupil allotment) to have all four, so that's another thing that's being discussed." Laura Louis, who has a child at Arrowrock, said she would support the partnership because it would provide money for things Arrowrock can't offer such as music and physical education, while retaining what Arrowrock does offer. "It allows each kid to advance at their own level, to accelerate in the areas that they're very good at," she said. Olson said he and the Lundts have long talked about joining forces somehow. Olson has been asked to submit a formal proposal to the district board of trustees within two weeks, said trustee Nancy Gregory. "We'd love to be able to include them in our program offerings," Gregory said. Anne Wallace Allen: 377-6433 FROM THE TWIN FALLS TIMES-NEWS Fed up with fall tests Petition asks state board to nix fall ISAT By Nate Poppino Times-News writer While the Idaho State Board of Education met Wednesday afternoon to consider dropping the winter round of ISAT testing, teachers at Filer Middle School were creating a different proposal. A petition created by the teachers asks the state board, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and the Legislature to make the fall ISAT test voluntary, allowing each school in the state to decide separately whether the test - required by the state but not the federal government - is worth doing. The fall test, the petition states, ties up school computer labs and disrupts the education process for up to four weeks, the time allotted for each school to finish the testing. The petition was sent out Wednesday over a state e-mail list for school principals, just a few days before this fall's round of testing begins Monday. Filer Middle School Principal Greg Lanting said Thursday morning he's found plenty of support for the measure - one note from a Coeur d'Alene school said the staff would owe Filer teachers a huge debt if the petition works. Students know the spring test - which federal progress benchmarks are measured by - is the more important one, Lanting said, and his school already bases its data on that test for that reason. "To us, it's just a waste of money," he said. "I think almost every one of my teachers signed it." That support statewide may not include all of south-central Idaho. Several principals contacted Thursday said they've found ways to work around the testing schedule and think the fall test provides valuable information to chart growth. Bill Brulotte, principal of Perrine Elementary School in Twin Falls, said the school uses the fall data to assess what teachers need to do for low- and high-end students. Though he hadn't seen the petition - it probably got caught in the district's spam filter, he said - he understands the lab complaint, as the test ties up Perrine's lone lab for three or four weeks. Pat Manning, principal of Raft River High School in Malta, said the fall test provides needed practice - and the school, which holds seventh- through 12th-grade students, can get all of them through during their computer lab's prep time. Dan Pagoaga, principal of the Shoshone Elementary School, said his thoughts on the test would depend on how valid rumored changes to the federal No Child Left Behind Act are. If the rumors are true, he said, adequate yearly progress would be measured by growth rather than just proficiency levels, meaning the fall test could be necessary. His school, one of the smaller in the area, can get through the test in four days. "If it is a test that measures growth fall-to-spring, then we'll need the fall test," he said. "If it's spring-to-spring, I wouldn't mind doing away with it." Lanting said teachers could possibly have the petition ready by the next regular state board meeting, scheduled for Oct. 11 and 12 in Lewiston, hopefully with about 2,000 signatures attached. But it's unknown what kind of reception the petition will get. The state board in April allowed a request by school districts in American Falls, Caldwell, Meridian, Mountain Home and Nampa to waive the fall test in favor of their own fall growth tests. But Twin Falls board member Laird Stone said he'd wait to comment on the new proposal until he saw a copy of the petition. State Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, said though she'd love to see the Legislature act on the idea, school officials would have to have a good argument for it to work. "That may have a good chance," said Pence, a former teacher who sits on the House Education Committee. "But they've got to have the facts and figures to back it up." Nate Poppino can be reached at 735-3237 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Burley High locked down for false alarm Student had stock of muzzleloader By Sven Berg For the Times-News BURLEY - A false alarm at Burley High School Thursday at about 10 a.m. led to a lockdown of the entire campus, as officers from Cassia County Sheriff's Department, Rupert Police Department, Heyburn Pol-ice Department and Idaho State Police responded to reports of a student entering the school with a firearm. Less than an hour later, officers and school officials located the student and determined he did not have a gun in his possession. Cassia County Under-sheriff Cary Bristol said the student was carrying the stock of a muzzleloading rifle as he entered the school, prompting a bus driver who saw him to alert the school's bus garage, which then notified the Sheriff's Department. "It was a good sighting by the school bus driver. They should be commended for that," he said. Bristol said the student was identified by a check of the registered owner of the car he was seen exiting. Cassia Joint School District Superintendent Gaylen Smyer said the student had taken the stock to school for use in a project, which was not approved. After the incident was called in to the Sheriff's Department, students were kept in their classrooms and away from doors and windows, Smyer said. "The police responded. I can't commend them enough for their response time and the way they handled themselves," Smyer said. "It turned out to be a drill but it was real life for the longest time." Principal Jodie Mills said after the lockdown ended, students' parents were allowed at the school to see their children and make sure they were safe. She applauded students, staff and police for their handling of the incident. "In these situations you can't be too careful," she said. Sven Berg is a staff writer for the South Idaho Press. FROM THE IDAHO STATE JOURNAL PRESIDENT’S PRE•INVESTITURE FETE GALA EVENT Vailas calls celebration a time to tout this wonderful institution’ BY ADAM CHAMBERS email@example.com POCATELLO — It was Arthur Vailas’ idea to wait more than a year for his investiture as the 12th president of Idaho State University. I wanted to give the university some time to make sure they still wanted me around,” Vailas quipped. At the Inaugural Gala Performance on Thursday at the Stephens Performing Arts Center, ISU faculty, students, notables and well-wishers all let Vailas know he was, indeed, welcome by giving him a standing ovation. Following the audience’s reception, Scott Anderson, ISU professor of music and choral activities and the event’s master of ceremonies, outlined the performances to come and officially welcomed the new president. “Tonight, we make that formal beginning,” Anderson said. “Let’s have a beginning with a good time.” The celebration included music from Portneuf Brass, Trio Lyrique and the ISU Chamber Choir. The university’s theater and dance programs also performed with excerpts from the plays “The Country Wife,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Lost in Yonkers,” “Sleuth,” and “Pippin.” Despite his spot in the guest of honor seat, Vailas said the night wasn’t about him, rather it was a time to display the positive aspects of the university. “This is a celebration of the university. It’s a celebration of leadership at the university and it’s a time to tout this wonderful institution,” he said. “People that have come from all over the country get to see this campus and its facilities, and they get to see a great community here in Pocatello.” Vailas became president of ISU in July 2006. He came to Idaho State from the University of Houston, where he held the dual role of vice president for research and intellectual property development, and vice chancellor for research of the University of Houston System. His formal investiture is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at Holt Arena. ISU enrollment administrator hired Experienced manager comes to Idaho State from the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay BY CASEY SANTEE firstname.lastname@example.org POCATELLO — Idaho State University has filled a new position intended to help the university beef up its enrollment. Steven Neiheisel, who obtained a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Ohio State University, started prior to the start of the school year as associate provost for enrollment management. ISU announced his hiring in a press release sent Thursday. Neiheisel brings 20 years of experience in enrollment management to the job. He comes to ISU from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he worked as assistant dean of enrollment management. Before that, he worked at Eastern Washington University and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Neiheisel has taken over a university that saw a 4.2 percent gain in enrollment this year, following a 9 percent decline during the previous year. Enrollment numbers released after the first 10 days of classes this semester show an increase in total students from 12,676 to 13,208. “It’s very encouraging to come in and see enrollment up when I got here,” Neiheisel said. “Obviously, there were some difficult times. My challenge is making sure (the growth is) broadbased and sustainable.” Robert Wharton, ISU provost and vice president of academic affairs, said Neiheisel’s experience will greatly benefit the university. He said the recent enrollment gain was a step in the right direction, but having Neiheisel on board will help ensure the that growth becomes a long-term trend. “ISU is extremely fortunate to have someone with Dr. Neiheisel’s talent and experience on our senior staff,” Wharton said. “We have a number of enrollment challenges, and I think he is going to help us to meet our enrollment goals in the future. He has a track record of success.” Following last year’s enrollment slide, Wharton and other administrators organized an enrollment task force to investigate the causes and possible solutions. The task force, headed by accounting professor Robert Picard, determined that a decade of rising tuition at ISU combined with student incentive packages offered by universities in neighboring states, were the primary reasons for last year’s decline. In addition, the former Ricks College in Rexburg was renamed BYU-Idaho a few years ago and converted from a two-year to a four-year school, which has lured some current and prospective students away from ISU. The enrollment task force was disbanded last semester after its final report to the administration. In his position, Neiheisel will be responsible for fulfilling duties formerly assigned to Jennifer Fisher, who was ISU’s vice president of academic affairs and was transferred to be the interim director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History. An additional head count that determines ISU’s funding will be done on the last day of class, in mid-December. 12th president at Idaho State embodies vision for the school’s future (Editorial) Since its inception in 1902 as the Academy of Idaho, Idaho State University has seen leaders with visions of taking Pocatello’s higher education to the next level. Today, our newest president, Dr. Arthur Vailas, is continuing the legacy. He’s officially stepping into the shoes of men who first worked to expand the “finishing” school, then to make the two-year school into a four-year college, and eventually, in 1963, a university in name. He follows men who personally helped students find jobs so the university would stay open during the Great Depression, and others who brought new disciplines and buildings to Pocatello. And Vailas has a big dream of his own — he wants to bring a medical education program to Idaho, enlisting physicians and hospitals throughout the state. He is dedicated to making ISU a premier research institution, not just in the health care field, but for business leaders, chemists, mathematicians and sociologists. With his track record, anything’s possible. He’s worked in physiology, agriculture and education. He’s known for his ability to collaborate with other organizations. During his time as vice chancellor for research at the University of Houston, he helped increase research productivity by 400 percent. Today, Vailas will be officially inaugurated as Idaho State University’s 12th president. Representatives from more than 50 universities across the country are in Pocatello to participate in the formal procession. More than 70 university presidents are sending formal greetings. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter will give an official welcome. ISU students and the community will officially welcome Vailas after his first year. Afterward, the university is hosting an all-community barbecue to celebrate. It’s fitting that the community officially welcome Vailas as well, because his presence is important not just to those who work and study on campus. Idaho State University belongs not just to the students, faculty and staff, but to the community. When businesses look at places to locate, they assess the quality of higher education. People want to live in a community where research and learning thrive. We all benefit from a university that can provide breakthroughs in health care and technology, and everyone benefits from a well-educated workforce. ISU’s success is Pocatello’s success, and its occasional stumbles are ours as well. We’re grateful to have a leader with a vision to see the university and the community to the next level. FROM THE IDAHO FALLS POST REGISTER (PASSWORD REQUIRED) Idaho axes some student achievement tests - In a cost-cutting move, the state won't give ISATs to second-graders and will scale back the tests in grades three through 10. By SONJA DECATO email@example.com Local educators aren't shedding any tears over the State Board of Education's decision to stop making second-graders take the Idaho Standards Achievement Test. The board cut the second-grade test Wednesday in an attempt to balance its budget, which was in the red. It also ordered the end of winter ISAT testing for grades three through 10 for at least three years. The moves are expected to help save the board $2.4 million. Some worry that not testing second-graders will affect third-grade test scores, which help determine whether Idaho is hitting benchmarks set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. But local educators say they don't need the ISAT to know where their second-graders need extra help and are relieved not to be testing them. "There is excessive testing for these little guys. It's just too much," said Jeanne Johnson, principal of A.H. Bush Elementary School. She is confident that even without the ISAT, her teachers will know how to help students. As it stands, second-graders already take the Idaho Reading Indicator three times a year and regular classroom tests. "Teachers know what's going on in their classroom," Johnson said. The state board amended its multiyear contract with the Data Recognition Corp. after the state Division of Financial Management ordered it to. The letter told the board to terminate the voluntary testing portion because it lacked the money to pay for it. The ISAT must be given annually to third- and 10th-graders to comply with federal law, but testing other grades is voluntary. The state board on Wednesday also considered cutting ninth-grade ISAT testing to save money but decided against it. Board spokesman Mark Browning said since the 10th-grade ISAT determines whether a student can graduate, the board wasn't comfortable with students skipping a year right before that important test. Browning said part of the problem was the contract with Data Recognition Corp. contained a lot of additional costs they weren't accustomed to looking for. These moves, he said, will put the office back on solid financial footing. Once the contract is completed, the board might decide to reinstate the test for the second grade. "We want to start the kids as early as possible," Browning said.