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Super Powers Within Reach for Idaho Students

DIRECTOR’S CORNER | ROGER QUARLES

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, J.A. AND KATHRYN ALBERTSON FAMILY FOUNDATION

Four years ago, Sal Khan presented his vision of a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere to a sold out crowd in downtown Boise. He talked about reinventing education and his online learning platform Khan Academy. He captured the imaginations of everyone sitting in the Egyptian Theatre that Wednesday night in May.

Over the course of the next four years, the Albertson Family Foundation and Khan Academy have partnered to accelerate math learning in Idaho. Between 2013-2015, more than 22,000 students and 300 teachers participated in the “Khan Academy in Idaho” pilot program with a goal of improving math achievement in schools. For a time, Idaho was one of the biggest users per capita of Khan Academy in the world! In 2016, we launched LearnStorm Idaho, a nine-week math challenge, which brought nearly 40,000 Idaho 3rd-12th graders and schools together for an online coop-etition for math knowledge and perseverance. The event culminated in a celebration of these extraordinary “mathletes” at Bronco stadium on the Boise State campus.

It is safe to say that Khan Academy has captured the imagination of our state.

Our next “big thing” in partnership with Khan Academy is Summer of Code Idaho.

We know that summer can be a time when young people lose academic skills. Whether you call it summer slide or summer learning loss, kids need to keep learning year-round so they’re ready to advance to new material when school starts, not re-learn material.

We are creating the conditions for a summer of learning gain in Idaho.

Summer of Code is a free, six-week coding opportunity designed for students in grades 2-12 and it’s only happening in Idaho. From June 6 – July 15, Summer of Code Idaho will provide a unique opportunity for students to learn computer programming on Khan Academy with the help of a coach.

Sal Khan calls coding a ‘superpower’. And we agree. Students will work through the Khan Academy Intro to JS course, spending 2-3 hours per week coding. There will be fun challenges, showcases and prizes along the way.

In over 25 libraries and community-based organizations across Idaho — as far north as Moscow and as far east as Idaho Falls — Summer of Code Idaho is taking learning opportunities off the beaten track and into some of the most remote and underserved parts of Idaho.

As a family foundation whose mission is limitless learning for all Idahoans, the Albertson Family Foundation enjoys a shared belief with Khan Academy: given the tools, the opportunity and the desire, you can learn anything no matter who or where you are.