The first Idaho Community Schools Conference was hosted in January of 2017. Initially planned as a small workshop of 30 people to create awareness around Idaho’s emerging Community School movement, interest grew quickly and soon 80 people requested to attend the event. The event was moved to a new venue to accommodate 80 participants and was a huge success in its first year. A half day event hosted by United Way of Treasure Valley staff members, the event included local Community School Coordinators, Administrators, and service provider partners who shared their stories about the Community School strategy. The event was a huge success and garnered much new momentum for the Idaho Community School movement.
Due to its success, participants requested the event be hosted again in January of 2018. In its second year, the conference was titled the Idaho Community School Power Up Conference, and José Munoz (Director of the Coalition for Community Schools) was invited to be the keynote speaker. The day long conference included local practitioners sharing their stories and the event was virtually broadcasted to the entire state so participants outside of southern Idaho could engage. Each year since it’s launch, the Idaho Community School Conference has had between 80-120 participants made up of Community School Coordinators, school professionals and administrators interested in starting Community Schools, service providers and community based organizations, community members and advocates, as well as local elected officials. Each year the conference has grown, and engaged national Community School experts including Tauheedah Jackson (formerly with the Coalition for Community Schools), Abe Fernandez (National Center for Community Schools), Donnie Hale (Coalition for Community Schools), and Jim Grim (IUPUI) alongside local practitioners. Since the launch of the Idaho Coalition for Community Schools in 2019 (facilitated by the United Way of Treasure Valley), the conference has been a collaborative effort of coalition partners and included separate tracks for those just learning about the strategy and those more experienced in Community Schools.
Promotion of the event has continued to grow statewide due to a strong partnership with the Idaho State Department of Education who have continued to promote this event to a larger audience of schools. The event has had sponsors to keep the financial burden minimal, the conference was free for many years and in recent years has only been minimal. Professional development credit has been offered through a partnership with a local university, and many participants have been grateful for this option to learn about Community Schools while also meeting the requirements of their state licensure.
This event sparked the development of a monthly learning exchange for Idaho Community School professionals, which has been happening regularly since the 2nd year of the conference. Inception of the Idaho Coalition for Community Schools also began as an idea at this conference. It has helped generate momentum, ignite excitement, and create awareness for Community Schools throughout the state of Idaho.
The Idaho Coalition for Community Schools is a network partner of the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information on the Idaho Community School Conference, please contact ICCS@unitedwaytv.org
Idaho Community Schools Conference, 2019