Community Blog: The EDge

Boise schools sign on (a little) with SIlverback

An intriguing tech tidbit from this week’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee road show: The Boise School District has chosen a Boise-based company to help track English language learners.

The district will work with Silverback Learning Solutions, a company that markets Mileposts — an instructional improvement system designed to help teachers track student growth and performance, and tailor lesson plans to match. (Here’s a link to an in-depth article on Silverback and Mileposts.)

The Boise district will use Mileposts for its ELL students, district technology administrator David Roberts told legislative budget-writers Monday.

The news is significant for two reasons.

First, it comes after the 2014 Legislature gave school districts $2 million they could use to purchase an instructional improvement system of their choosing. That could be Mileposts, or Schoolnet — a system that has been piloted in dozens of Idaho school districts, funded in part by $21 million in grants from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
Second, it marks a small step by the Boise district into the instructional improvement system controversy. The district stayed out of the Schoolnet pilot, adopting a wait-and-see approach to what has been an uneven rollout.
Mileposts was developed in the Blaine County School District. Silverback’s management team includes two former Idaho district superintendents: retired Blaine County Superintendent Jim Lewis is CEO, and retired Boise superintendent Stan Olson is the company’s director of business development.

Disclosure: Idaho Education News is funded by a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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