Monday, May 29, 2017


As we noted in December, it's the 10-year anniversary of the Boise District's AVID program.Here's a spring update on the program . 

If you are not familiar with AVID, here's a brief description:


AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a program that began in San Diego, California back in the early 70's. Its mission is to "close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society."

When current Owyhee Elementary Principal Dr. Stacie Curry Became principal at Fairmont Junior High via a California district, she shared her experiences with AVID in her home district and asked if she might start a program at Fairmont. 

In the first year, 85 7th and 8th grade Fairmont students enrolled in the program; those 8th graders later became the first AVID graduating class at Capital High School. Today, the AVID program serves over 1300 students, and we have AVID students at every junior high and high school in the Boise District.

What's also encouraging is that other districts are seeing the value of AVID. Vallivue has been at it a while, and the district is just beginning to see its first AVID graduates. Emmett and Mt. Home have fledgling program, and West Ada is getting started with programs for students at Mt. View and Meridian High Schools.


Of course, the proof is in the college-going results, because the goal of AVID is that many students who might not have been college-bound a few years ago not only attend, but show persistence in working toward a degree.

The most recent college-going percentage for the state of Idaho was 52% for the class of 2014.  As you can see from the chart, the Boise District rate for classes of 2011-2016 was 60%, and the AVID rate of college-going was 77%.

As for persistence, 55% of Boise District high school grads in the classes of 2011-16 are either still in college or have graduated. For AVID high school graduates, the percentage is 64%.

If we take a look at only AVID high school graduates who went on to college, 84% are still enrolled in college or have graduated.


AVID students continue to attend mostly in-state colleges, which is to be expected.

In fact, 81% of AVID students attend Boise State University, College of Western Idaho, University of Idaho, Idaho State University, and the College of Idaho. 

However, students from the AVID program continue to find opportunities out of state, as well. With the class of 2016 alone, AVID students are attending the University of Southern California, Baylor University (TX), George Fox University (OR), Northern Arizona University (AZ), and the University of Utah.

Monday, May 8, 2017


In the third part of this series, we'll examine districts' efforts with salaries considering their per-pupil expenditures.

District Efforts with Salaries

We again conducted this analysis using data from the State Department of Education from the 2014-15 school year. We used district financial summaries to calculate average salaries for elementary and secondary teachers and to generate general fund per pupil expenditures for districts with 100 or more full time equivalent staff (FTE).

And once again we omitted Blaine County and McCall-Donnelly from the analysis because their per-pupil expenditures are so much higher than any other large district. However, it's worth pointing out that, while Blaine's average salary is an outlier ($71,622), McCall-Donnelly's average salary ($51,704) is actually lower than that of the Boise District.

For the remainder of the districts, we ran a scattergram comparing the two factors which allowed us to assess the teacher salary efforts of these districts considering their PPE. The results are interesting.

First, it's important to understand two points:

this chart shows salaries and expenditures compared to the Idaho average; we made no attempt herein to compare to other states.
the salaries used in this comparison are base salaries, and do not include any extra pay.

So, general fund per-pupil expenditures and average salaries were positively correlated - that's no surprise. However, when we get down to the district level, we can see some interesting comparisons.

Boise, Lewiston, Teton, Moscow,and Lakeland all fall in the "High PPE/High Average Salary" category. But Lake Pend O'reille has much lower average salaries, even though the district's PPE is high for the state of Idaho.
Madison and Jefferson County are the two lowest PPE districts in the study, and their average salaries are very low, as well. But Preston has low funding and its average salary is about $1500 higher.
Post Falls and West Ada have relatively low funding, but higher average salaries than might be expected.

The Role of Experience

Average experience levels among districts likely vary greatly. For example, Boise's average experience is probably greater than West Ada's, since a relatively high number of West Ada teachers bring their experience to Boise. However, the state of Idaho does not have reliable data in this area. We have asked for a spreadsheet showing experience among district staffs, and will do a post about experience when we receive a good set of data.

Going Forward

Districts have taken different approaches to implementing the Career Ladder distribution formula, as we indicated in the first post in this series. The approaches taken will influence the average salaries in those districts.

For example, the Post Falls District kept its salary schedule after the implementation of the Career Ladder. Here's 2011-12:

And 2015-16:

Post Falls' starting teacher salary increased by $1000 (3%), and their top salary by $2790 (4.8%) between 2011-12 and 2015-16.

However, the West Ada District, seeking to build a fund balance that suffered during the recession, changed its approach and implemented the Career Ladder as its salary schedule for new teachers beginning in 2015-16.

Here's 2011-12, when the district was still called Meridian:

And here is 2015-16, for the West Ada District:

West Ada took a different approach toward salaries, implementing the career ladder as a salary schedule for new teachers beginning on July 31, 2015, and "grandfathering" teachers hired before that date. The salary for beginning teachers improved by $1000, just as it did in Post Falls, and veteran teacher salaries (with master's degree) increased by about $1500. However, the top salary possible for a new teacher hired after July 31, 2015 was $48,303 with a master's degree (this will increase to about $53,500 if the Career Ladder is fully funded in a couple of years). That's considerably lower than the top salary in 2011-12.

Addendum: According to the negotiations chairperson for the West Ada School District, beginning in 2016-17, all district teachers could move to the "legacy" rungs on the district salary schedule, and there are no longer any "grandfathered" teachers in the district. Good news for new teachers in the district!