Friday, June 13, 2014

Department Announces Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee

The State Department of Education announced today the formation of the Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee.  The committee, comprised of experts in literacy from across the state, will develop recommendations on how to continue to improve Idaho students’ reading proficiency.

"We know that if a student is not reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade, the odds are 1 in 8 that the student will ever read at grade level,” said Superintendent Luna. “Students must learn to read before they can read to learn, which is why I welcome the recommendations the Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee will bring forward to help enhance our efforts."

The 20 member committee includes practitioners in K-12 schools and classroom, representatives of higher education, and representatives of organizations working toward literacy goals.  The practitioners were selected from top-performing schools, according to the Idaho Reading Indicator.  The committee members are:

·         Barbara Dixon, Board Chair, Meadows Valley School District
·         Bobbie Malvini, Kindergarten Teacher, Lakevue Elementary School, Vallivue School District
·         Camille Cureton, Principal, Terreton Elementary, West Jefferson School District
·         Carrie Aguas, Principal, New Plymouth Elementary School, New Plymouth School District
·         Cheryle Dismuke, Clinical Assistant Professor, Boise State University
·         Debbie Bauer, Kindergarten Teacher, Henry’s Fork Elementary School, Fremont School District
·         Dr. Evelyn Johnson, Executive Director, Lee Pesky Learning Center
·         Glen Syzmoniak, Superintendent, McCall-Donnelly School District
·         Hollis Brookover, Vice-President, Idaho Business for Education
·         Jo Beth Morrison, 1st Grade Teacher, Harold B. Lee Elementary School, West Side School District
·         Jolene Taggert, 3rd Grade Teacher, New Plymouth Elementary School, New Plymouth School District
·         LeAnn Simmons, Executive Director, Idaho Voices for Children
·         Lisa Boyd, Principal, Desert Springs Elementary, Vallivue School District
·         Meghan Graham, Special Education Teacher, Sage International School
·         Natalie Nation, Idaho Library Association
·         Representative Julie Van Orden
·         Senator Steven Thayn
·         Stephanie Bailey-White, Read to Me Project Coordinator, Idaho Commission for Libraries
·         To Be Determined, State Board of Education
·         Virginia Herbst, 2nd Grade Teacher, Donnelly Elementary School, McCall-Donnelly School District

The work of the committee will be coordinated by Dr. Marybeth Flachbart, former Deputy Superintendent at the State Department of Education and current President and CEO of the Neuhaus Education Center.

In 2000, the state began an intense focus on literacy through the Idaho Reading Initiative, designed to ensure all children in the State of Idaho master the skills needed to be successful readers.  In 2002, 56.92% of Idaho’s 3rd grade students scored proficient, or at grade level, on the Idaho Reading Indicator.  Today, 73.96% of Idaho’s 3rd grade students scored proficient on the Idaho Reading Indicator. 

The Idaho State Department of Education established the Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee to continue the work of improving reading scores after the Task Force for Improving Education recommended “students demonstrate mastery of literacy before moving on to significant content learning.”  Read the full Task Force recommendation online.   

The first committee meeting will be held June 17, 2014 in the Room EW40 of the Idaho Statehouse.  The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be open to the public and streamed live online via Idaho Public Television’s Legislature Live at

The first meeting will include a discussion of roles and expectations, a presentation on the history of reading initiatives and reading scores in Idaho, and setting of group priorities.

The Idaho Literacy Technical Advisory Committee will meet through 2014 and have recommendation prepared for the 2015 Idaho Legislature.

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