Khan founder heralds nation’s first statewide pilot in Idaho

February 28, 2013, 3:51 pm

Forty-seven schools and more than 10,000 K-12 students across Idaho will become part of the nation’s first statewide pilot of the Khan Academy–the free, internationally recognized on-line education leader.

Rebooting Idaho Schools Using Khan Academy grantees will collectively receive nearly $1.5 million for training, technology, technical assistance and assessment from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

“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,” says Khan Academy founder and executive director Sal Khan. “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.”

After sorting through more than 75 different traditional, private, enrichment programs and charter school applications, an independent review committee identified schools and programs that demonstrated a motivation for innovation and a passion to implement the Khan Academy’s personalized learning experiences for all students.

Khan Academy is a not-for-profit educational organization started by Khan in 2008. The organization’s mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy’s online materials cover subjects ranging from math and finance to history and art. When it comes to math, Khan Academy offers not only videos, but also practice problems and rich data reports for students and teachers. This enables all students in a class to access material that is appropriate and relevant to their unique learning needs, while teachers use real-time data to figure out how to fill gaps and challenge students at multiple levels.

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 in unique ways 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.”

Khan visited Idaho in 2012 as part of the Ed Sessions speaker series sponsored by the Albertson Foundation. The month prior to Khan’s visit, registered nearly 40,000 users from Idaho. The month after his visit, the number jumped to 55,000 users. Last October, the Foundation sponsored a two-day Khan Academy workshop for Idaho teachers in Boise, drawing more than 200 educators from across the state. After the successful workshop usage on Khan Academy increased by more than 70 percent in the state of Idaho. Due to the success of the workshop, the Foundation and Khan Academy agreed to partner on the pilot.

“In our latest visits to Idaho, we already started to hear success stories,” says Khan. “Teachers told us about students who were able to race ahead while other students took time to finally fill in unique ‘Swiss cheese holes’ or gaps in knowledge from previous years. But we’re also excited about the stories we haven’t heard yet–especially stories from rural and frontier regions where we haven’t been able to visit. There’s a tremendous amount of possibility in these regions where resources have historically been strained.”

NNU will support the implementation of the pilot project through its Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, which is also funded by the Albertson Foundation. NNU is focused on developing blended learning practices in schools through the convergence of sound teaching strategies and technology.

“Over the past two decades, technology has improved rapidly. At the same time, we have seen huge leaps in understanding the process of learning–the pedagogy–for students. Unfortunately, those two themes, technology and pedagogy, have failed to come together until Khan Academy presented an option for moving past that dichotomy,” said Dr. Eric Kellerer, Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at NNU. “This is the time. We stand at the precipice of a generation in which there will be a convergence of the technical with the educational.”

Khan Academy is the world leader in online education, especially in the area of math. With studies showing only 38.8 percent of Idaho students proficient in math on the NAEP, the skills from the blended learning model will be effective for students. All students will take the MAP assessment, and data from the Khan Academy will be closely monitored to determine whether this improves math proficiency.

“We have been nothing short of impressed with teachers and administrators across the state who are willing to innovate, and we are lucky to be partnering with a foundation who is willing to give educators the tools they need to reimagine their classrooms,” says Khan. “Idaho has the students, the schools and the determination to succeed in showing the nation how to innovate within our public education system,” explains Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. “Khan Academy is a demonstration of the learning revolution in Idaho.”

The winning schools and districts include:

Anser Charter School
Buhl School District
Burley Senior High School
Carberry Elementary School
Cassia High School
Castleford School District
Cole Valley Christian Schools – Login to Learning
Cottonwood School District
Crossroads Middle School
Forrest M. Bird Charter Schools
Fruitland Preparatory Academy
Garden Valley Schools
Gooding Joint School District #231
Grace Lutheran School
Heritage Community Charter School
Hillcrest High School
Hope Elementary School
Idaho Department of Correction – Robert Janss School
Indianhead Academy Alternative High School
Jerome Middle/High School: Surround Algebra
Kellogg High School
Lone Star Middle School
Marsing School District
Murtaugh Schools
Nampa Christian Schools
North Gem School District
Notus Jr./Sr. High School
Orofino School District #171
Parma Khan Academy, Parma High School
Post Falls High School
Riverstone International School
Rivervue Academy
St. Joseph’s Catholic School
Vision Charter School
Washington Elementary School
West Middle School

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is a Boise-based, private family foundation committed to limitless learning for all Idahoans. Since 1997, the Foundation has invested more than $500 million to improve education in Idaho. For more information about the Foundation visit

Read what others are saying: 

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Idaho Business Review

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Idaho State Journal

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