Idaho ENACT

The kickoff event for Idaho ENACT--Educators Networking About College-Composition Transitions--was held on April 15-17, 2016 at the University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School located in beautiful Ponderosa State Park. 

Context

Public two- and four-year universities in Idaho have responded to the Idaho Legislature’s mandate to eliminate remedial writing courses with an updated first-year writing structure that provides concurrent writing support for students transitioning to college.  Additionally, primary and secondary schools in Idaho are implementing the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessments, all of which contribute to a changing educational landscape in Idaho.  Also, according to the National Information Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, Idaho is in the bottom ten states for people going on and finishing a four-year degree.  Efforts are needed to ensure that Idaho educators are working on the same page to assist students in a successful transition from high school to college-level work.  First-year writing is a common portal to higher education for these students. Fortunately for Idaho, expectations for first-year writing courses have a great deal of coherency around the state and are supported by a strong and active network first-year writing programs at two- and four-year institutions.

Because sustained professional conversations are vital, Idaho ENACTs will encompass three integrated projects that will provide different kinds of opportunities for Idaho English educators to focus on transitions between high school and college writing instruction.  An ENACT Statewide Institute, held April 15-17, 2016, will kickoff the collaboration to familiarize participants with the changing educational landscape.  Since statewide travel to meetings is difficult, two additional structures will sustain this ongoing effort: ENACT Regional Advisory Boards and ENACT District Partnerships.  Both of these structures will leverage connections between geographically located high schools and two-and four-year college writing programs in Idaho.

 ENACT Statewide Institute, Spring 2016. This kickoff event brings together secondary English educators in Idaho and school district administrators with first-year writing faculty and administrators from Idaho public two- and four-year institutions for a two-day institute held in McCall, Idaho at the UI MOSS Center.  The institute will do the following:

  • Familiarize participants with the changing curricular and assessment mandates for secondary English now required by the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
  • Familiarize participants with the current expectations for first-year, college-level writing in the state of Idaho through the English 101+ and GEM requirements related to writing.
  •  Articulate curricular points that bridge the transition between high school and college-level writing
  • Draft assignments and/or activities that could be embedded within both high school English courses and first-year composition programs to facilitate better transition from high school to college-level writing

ENACT Regional Advisory Boards. College writing faculty will collaborate with English/Language arts teachers in area high schools to form regional ENACT Advisory Boards. These boards will meet regularly to share curriculum and explore strategies for enhancing students’ writing instruction. An initial advisory board will be developed in the Boise area; others may develop simultaneously. Alternatively, faculty in other areas of the state can develop advisory boards once a model is in place.  These advisory boards can build upon the existing network of two- and four-year college writing faculty in the state.

ENACT District Partnerships. This effort involves college writing faculty and administrators in more intensive partnerships with specific school districts. Area Writing Projects are often good liaisons for establishing connections to sustain this work. For example, faculty at Boise State are collaborating with Notus High School to develop an ongoing professional development model following that conversation.  These district partnerships will build upon the existing network of the two- and four-year college writing faculty in the state.

 Outcomes

Research has shown that the way to improve student performance is to improve teacher and faculty practice.  The two-day institute will result in a better collaboration between secondary educators and college faculty around the state of Idaho, and will yield instructional materials that will improve the existing instructional experience for students, and will better inform teachers and faculty about the changing writing expectations within our public curriculum.  The advisory boards and district partnerships will ensure a sustainable model for continued collaboration.


ENACT State Planning Team

Becca Anderson, Boise School District

Lauren Connolly, Lewis-Clark State College

Heidi Estrem, Boise State University

Jacob Haeberle, Eastern Idaho Technical College

Diane Kelly-Riley, University of Idaho

Wendie Muñoz, Canyon Ridge High School

Meagan Newberry, College of Western Idaho

Joy Palmer, College of Western Idaho

Gwen Reed, Lake City High School

Brenda Reichenbach, Canyon Ridge High School

Lydia Wilkes, Idaho State University