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Dr. Russell Quaglia Dr. Russell Quaglia spoke to staff about Student Voice during the Staff Collaboration Day on Friday, February 17. 100 teachers read the book on Student Voice and joined with students to discuss the book the night before. Students who read the book joined the discussion and met with Dr. Quaglia. One student called the book, "Inspiring." To view more photos go here ( ).

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Meet in Stella Barsotti in the Weekly Sun.

Each week, Jonathan Kane will be profiling a local high-school student. If you know someone you'd like to see featured, e-mail

Read the article here ( ).

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Once again, engaging in the design process, Hemingway GATE students 3rd – 5th grade shared their problem solving abilities with their innovations at the Boise Regional Invent Idaho Competition. On Saturday, January 28th, at the JUMP Center in Boise among 130 other students, they displayed their 3-D models, project boards, and a journal sharing their inventing process. All of their work was amazing with some resulting in judges’ honors.

3rd Place: Lowie Watkins – 4th grade Working Model, McKenzie Giles – 4th Grade Non-Working Model, and Dylan Prabowo - 5th Grade Non-Working Model.

2nd Place: Oliver Mullen – 5th Grade Non-Working Model

1st Place: Audrey Morawitz – 4th Grade Adaptations

Best of Show 1st – 4th Grade: Rya Nichols

Best of Category – Non-Working Models – Teddy Hobbs.

Those students are now invited to compete in the State Finals at the University of Idaho in Moscow on March 3rd.

Showing that they were all “winners,” their projects will be displayed this week in the Hemingway Elementary School’s lobby.

To view more photos go here ( ).

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Blaine County School District earned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service StormReady® recognition. The school district met rigorous recognition requirements for disaster preparedness and severe weather educational activities and were recognized during a ceremony on Thursday, February 16 at the Community Campus. Read the press release here ( ).

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By Kate Wutz

 The excitement is palpable when Wood River Middle School science teacher Jill Clark’s seventh-grade students file into their classroom to see two sets of locked boxes set up on the front lab table. It’s the day before a break, and the kids are already excited, the idea of a new activity sending their energy to new heights.

“I’m so sorry,” Clark tells them. “But I was working on your grades last night, and I must have pushed a button and…I think your grades are locked in these boxes.”

Shortly after she explains the activity, the kids are off, trying to open the boxes and save their grades. Known as “Breakout Boxes,” each is closed with five locks and topped by a smaller box closed with another lock. The students need to work together in teams to solve six different puzzles, each of which will provide a code to open one of the locks.

Engaging mysteries

Correct answers to a crossword puzzle provided a secret word for one lock, and a pop quiz provided another answer. The weights of three different stuffed beanbag animals needed to be added together to open another one of the locks. The code to one lock was written in tiny text on a microscope slide and another was written in invisible ink on a card hidden in the room. And before the students could solve the invisible ink puzzle, they needed to find a key hidden somewhere that would unlock a smaller box that held a UV flashlight—for reading the invisible ink, of course.

The biggest challenge of all? The students need to figure all of this out by themselves. The only direction Clark gives is, “Go!”, though she does offer each team two cards that were each good for what she describes as a “major hint.” She doesn’t tell them the steps they need to take, the items they’re looking for, or even point them in the right direction. She waits for them to figure out, for example, why the microscopes might be out, why she has animals on the scales, and why there are laptops on each table.


The Breakout Boxes are meant to spur creative problem solving, which is exactly why the POWER Foundation sponsored Wood River Middle School’s purchase of four boxes. The POWER Foundation, or PFI, is dedicated to encouraging students to develop interests in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Inherent in most of these disciplines is the ability to think outside the box—so to speak—to problem-solve, and to not only determine what the solution to a complex problem is, but how to clearly define the problem.

And that’s where the boxes come in. Clark says the boxes help her students fully engage in learning, especially the students who can’t easily sit still in class. “One student has such trouble,” she says. “He’s been in disciplinary hearings and in and out of in-school and out-of-school suspension. But when we use the boxes in class, he’s one of the most engaged and active students.”

Putting fun into learning

It works with all of the students, too. On this particular day, some gravitated toward the science crossword puzzle and the pop quiz, while others immediately ran to the front of the room to investigate if the locks were, as one student put it, “legit.” (They were.) Others sat quietly for a moment or two, scanning the room and mentally cataloging clues—a notecard tucked inside the rib cage of a skeleton, for example. But they were all paying undivided attention to the activity.

POWER CEO Bret Moffett also got in on the fun, acting as “Teacher for a Day” with Clark’s classes in February. “It’s important to reach kids where they are,” he says. “By funding the school’s purchase of these boxes, we’re helping them engage and explore in new and exciting ways. Kids learn best when they’re having fun.”

Kate Wutz is a copywriter for Corporate Communications and is located in Hailey.

See more photos here ( ).

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During a public meeting on Wednesday, February 15, four applicants were interviewed by the Board of Trustees for the Zone 5 vacancy. The Trustees selected Kevin Garrison.

Mr. Garrison worked for 30 years in the high tech industry in management and executive management roles. He has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from California Polytechnic State University and an M.B.A. from Boston College. Mr. Garrison’s volunteer service included five years at a Board member for the Hillsborough, CA, Baseball Little League, twelve years of leadership with the Boy Scouts of America and 10 years as a coach with the Hillsborough, CA, AYSO soccer program. In the past year he has served as a soccer coach for the BCRD and a Unit Commissioner for the Snake River Council of Boy Scouts. He and his wife have three adult children.

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Read the Agenda Highlights and Stay Informed

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Student is a "natural leader with an unparalleled sense of fairness and equity." Watch the video to learn more about this great program! Special thanks to the City of Hailey and City of Ketchum for their roles in supporting students to Do The Right Thing ( ).

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What happens when you take 20 high school students and give them each $30 to perpetuate generosity? In November, Wow-Students conducted its first Pay-It-Forward initiative with 11th graders at Wood River High School. Each student was given $30 to use towards an act of kindness for someone other than themselves. Students were asked to document and reflect on their experiences. The results were an inspiring reminder of how good it feels to help others and how thoughtful teenagers are.

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In the past three months the Student Links page has had 21,091 pageviews making it the most visited page so we have added it to the global icons. Global icons are the icons on the right side of every web page that take you to the places you need to go, quickly!
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