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					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
 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

No education stories posted online today.


No education stories posted online today.


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

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

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.


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

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
Mills may be contacted at 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

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 or (208) 743-9600, ext. 275.


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
  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
  Board member Laird Stone said the board previously planned to drop the test for
  “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
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
  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.


Partnership could help Arrowrock International School

Deal with the Boise School District could help keep the private school for the gifted stay
By Anne Wallace Allen -
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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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.



Vailas calls celebration a time to tout this wonderful institution’

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

  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
  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.


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.
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

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

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

"We want to start the kids as early as possible," Browning said.