December 10, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

Idaho superintendent of public instruction Sherri Ybarra had the opportunity to attend the National Summit on Education Reform and speak to Sen. Jim Risch, R - ID, about a new initiative she is hoping to get passed.

The initiative is called Keep Idaho Students Safe, or KISS, and has three prongs.

1. Provide school safety grants.

2. Provide training on emerging school safety trends like cyberbully, alcohol abuse and suicide prevention.

3. Appoint a statewide crisis prevention counselor.

The grants would be formula-based one-time money for schools, districts and local public charter schools. Used to identify, and address, school safety and security needs.

“That could be door locks, that could be cameras, whatever the school districts needs they will have the opportunity to apply for this grant,” Ybarra said.

Ybarra says this would be locally driven.

There has also been a lot of work with the office of safety and security to create an anonymous tip line. This would provide a place where students and others could call and report concerns without worrying about being identified.

The school safety training would help officials identify and solve problems before they become issues.

Ybarra was able to talk with Sen. Risch about the initiative. Ybarra said he is very interested in KISS, especially on training to identify issues.

“He was very supportive,” Ybarra said.

Ybarra also had the opportunity to represent Idaho at the National Summit on Education Reform. Ybarra said she went to see what other states are doing for early learning, pre-kindergarten.

They also were able to see what other states are doing with social-emotional learning. They hope to incorporate that idea into the KISS initiative.

“I know that Idaho is on a great path for our kids,” Ybarra said. “I am very proud to have the opportunity to represent us.