POST FALLS - The Post Falls School District's learning opportunities have been boosted by two technology-related grants totaling nearly $200,000.
The district received a $150,000 grant from the Idaho State Department Education to hire two curriculum and technology integration specialists.
"These two experts will coordinate efforts to develop units, lesson plans and assessments that align to the Common Core State Standards," said Becky Ford, Post Falls assistant superintendent.
Post Falls High also received a $48,700 grant to set up three math classrooms with technology to help implement the nation's first statewide pilot of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit's free online education program.
"It's a huge deal," said Dena Naccarato, PFHS principal. "The idea of using the technology with live teaching makes it more palatable. We won't be missing the instruction piece with a human (teacher). It will serve a wide range of students."
The Boise-based J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, a private family foundation, provided funding for both grants.
The technology experts funded with the ISDE grant will work on Schoolnet, the statewide Web-based data bank and resource center. The positions, which will serve all of the school district, are for the 2013-14 school year.
"The grant will allow the district to continue to fund building-level Schoolnet experts that operate in a 'train the trainer' model to help their building-level teachers continue to develop and implement technology into the classroom that complements the curriculum," Ford said. "The building-level trainer will provide specific technology trainings at each of their sites."
Regarding the Khan Academy grant, 47 schools and more than 10,000 K-12 students across Idaho will become part of the program.
Rebooting Idaho Schools Using Khan Academy grantees collectively received nearly $1.5 million for training, technology, technical assistance and assessment.
"The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is doing more than bringing technology into Idaho classrooms, they're helping teachers reimagine how learning happens with their students," said Sal Khan, Khan Academy founder and executive director. "The educators who have received these grants were carefully selected because they had a vision of meeting every student's needs with a personalized learning experience."
Although Khan Academy has partnered with more than 40 public, charter and independent schools in California's Bay Area, Idaho's pilot will be the first statewide implementation of the Khan Academy model.
According to Khan, each Idaho pilot school will use Khan Academy resources to suit their needs.
"In Idaho, we hope to see educators using Khan Academy to individualize their instruction," said Khan. "Instead of a one-size-fits-all lesson, teachers will be able to focus their attention on specific students who are struggling while the rest of the class engages with material appropriate for them."