About Palouse Prairie’s mission, education model

We are writing in response to a recent reference to Palouse Prairie Charter School in Stephanie Kane’s editorial (Daily News, Dec. 20) about mastery-based learning. We want to clarify misconceptions and shed some light on our educational model.

PPCS is a free, public charter school, open to any K-8 student in Idaho. We are very proud of our compassionate, thoughtful, inquiring learners, but we do not select our students by application. Each year, we conduct an open enrollment lottery based on the process established in Idaho code. Remaining seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. As a result, our student demographics are similar to those of the Moscow School District.

As a public charter school, PPCS is funded per-pupil by the state, but we are not eligible to receive funds raised through bond levies. On average, PPCS operates on approximately $5,000 less per student than a Moscow School District school. Nevertheless, we are currently ranked as one of the highest performing schools in Idaho.

We agree that our learning model of EL Education (formerly called Expeditionary Learning) supports our success. Fortunately, EL makes available free, open-source curricula to all teachers nationwide, and many schools that are not part of the EL Education network use these resources, available at www.eleducation.org.

PPCS provides teachers with ongoing, intensive professional development to support research-based practices, including curriculum development, strategies to engage students in hands-on learning and inquiry, and standards-based grading/mastery-based learning instructional practices.

We welcome interest in Palouse Prairie Charter School We have openings in some grades including kindergarten and middle school. For more information about our approach or to schedule a tour, please contact the school at office@palouseprairieschool.org. Information about our spring enrollment lottery will be available at www.palouseprairieschool.org in January.

Jeneille Branen,

PPCS executive director

Amy Ball,

PPCS board chairwoman

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Gifts for our children

Amidst the seasonal hype of “buy, buy, buy,” I begin to wonder: “When I, and billions of others around our planet, give material gifts to those we love, where do those gifts end their lives?” The short answer is landfills and other places where waste is deposited, out of sight, out of mind.

Or is it? Since the mid-20th century, concern has been growing about accumulating trash, just like those mountains of discards.

I wonder about my three children, their spouses, their 10 children, some with spouses, and subsequent children living or soon to be born – I think about what gifts I’m leaving them, about what I can do to gift them a better world.

My grandfather was born in 1850, when soot blanketed London. Things change. As I’ve aged, I’ve realized time passes with increasing swiftness. I don’t have much left. But my kids and their descendants will have to deal with those piles of discarded gifts and with unpredictable consequences of global warming.

For 25 years nearly 200 nations have convened annually to seek collaborative solutions to climate change. For the first time, the US was not involved this year. Yet Congress is engaged. A bipartisan bill, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, would introduce a graduated fee on carbon to reduce emissions. Fees would be used for “carbon dividends,” to be returned to citizens. Google the bill, then encourage your Representative – Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA05) or Russ Fulcher (ID01) -- to support it. Or work with the Palouse chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby to garner local support.

For future generations’ climate relief, we’ve got to resume leadership with the EICDA and to continue collaborating with all the world’s nations to control carbon emissions and reverse global warming. Our kids, their kids, all kids depend on us.

Pete Haug

Colfax

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