Idaho Digital Learning goes to Washington DC

Dr. Cheryl Charlton and Dr. Sherawn Reberry take the podium at the White House
Dr. Cheryl Charlton and Dr. Sherawn Reberry take the podium at the White House

Idaho Digital Learning was invited to the Professional Learning Partner event with in Washington, DC because of the impact the organization is beginning to have on the implementation of computer science. Dr. Sherawn Reberry was invited to sit on a panel during the White House visit to discuss the regional implementation of computer science. Dr. Reberry takes a moment to answer a few questions about the event.

What did you do at the event?

We were able to listen to industry, government and education officials discuss computer science and the acceptance of computer science as foundational concepts for all content areas. We had the privilege of also meeting with Congressman Mike Simpson’s Education Liaison Solara Linehan. We were able to share the collaborative work being completed in Idaho around computer science.

Why was Idaho Digital Learning selected to attend?

Idaho Digital Learning is the Professional Learning Partner for the State of Idaho. We have been involved in collaboration and partnership with for the past three years. Idaho was the first state wide partnership for implementation.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about other programs?

Rural areas are prevalent throughout the United States. Other Professional Partners are working to design programs such as ours and there are opportunities to collaborate and share resources. We were excited to hear that Idaho was the first state to implement a hybrid model of delivering portions of this professional development for teachers and online courses for students. We are excited that we are working in partnership with to increase these offerings.

How do you feel this will benefit computer science in our state and nationally? is sharing with Idaho and the nation the importance of students having a computer science background. Just as students understand the importance of chlorophyll to plant life, it’s just as important for students to understand how computers work. These different efforts are assisting in the understanding of the importance of computer science as a foundational course. Computer Science concepts can be integrated directly with current curriculum.   

Are there any fun facts you want to share?

Computer Science is officially accepted as part of STEM.

Is there anything else you want to tell the Idaho education community about this experience?

It takes all of us to move forward. Computer Science fundamentals is important for a 21st Century Education. Partnerships are important — work together in collaboration so that our students are the beneficiaries of the outcomes, ultimately creating a pipeline so that Idaho’s pipeline is aligned from K – 12 education to post-secondary education to industry.

Attending iNACOL Symposium 2015

By Jeff Simmons

Idaho Digital Learning's presentation at iNACOL Symposium 2015
Idaho Digital Learning’s presentation at iNACOL Symposium 2015

I recently had a chance to attend the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium. This event is an annual gathering of educators from around the world working in the field of online learning. “Online learning” includes those working in blended learning environments, fully online environments, and everything in between.

It’s impressive to see the size of this conference each year. It is inspiring to see the number of committed, innovative educators working each day to provide high quality learning experiences that our students deserve. There is innovation happening all over the globe at the classroom level, school level, district level, and even state level.
I’m proud of Idaho Digital Learning’s leadership in the field of online learning. Idaho Digital Learning has provided capacity as Idaho’s state virtual school since 2002. During that time, our small virtual school has grown and has continued to provide greater choice, flexibility, and services for Idaho public schools. Idaho Digital Learning has continued to stay on the leading edge of technology and learning.
Dr. Sherawn Reberry, Director of Education Programs, and Niki Walker, Professional Development Manager, co-presented a blended learning session at this year’s iNACOL event with blended learning educators from two other states. Over 200 participants turned out for the session! This is a great complement to the quality provided by Idaho Digital Learning’s Professional Development Team through our Blended Learning Program.
It has been an honor to serve the state and grow along with this organization for the past 13 years. I am excited to see the growth of online learning and other innovative educational opportunities for students around our great state. We look forward to continuing to partner with our public schools to provide Idaho students with a first class, 21st Century education.