This year, we have many reasons to thank IDOC's educators

Graphic: Teacher appreciation week with Jay quote

They say if you can read this, thank a teacher.

They could probably also say that when lunch was served on time over the past year at Idaho State Correctional Center, thank a teacher for that, too.

“One thing I can tell you about our teachers here is when the pandemic hit, they weren't home, they were here. And if they weren't in class teaching, they were in the cafeteria prepping the next meal,” says ISCC Warden Jay Christensen. “They were here to support any way they could. They had a smile on their face, and I just can't say how much I appreciate all of them for their service this past year.”

Hear more from Warden Christensen about the education staff here.

You'll hear similar stories from other wardens. Teachers and education staff statewide stepped up during the hardest days of the pandemic and cheerfully took on extra duties. 

What’s more, the teachers and education staff helped students stay focused on their educational goals despite class schedules being thrown into disarray by Covid restrictions. So far this year, dozens of GED degrees and thousands of certificates [see list below] have been awarded to residents.

This year for National Teacher Appreciation Week, we have many reason to thank a teacher -- and all of the department's education staff.

#Teacher Appreciation

#TeamIDOC

Story published: 05/04/2021

For Fiscal Year 2021, as of April 15, here are selected education class numbers from all Robert Janss Schools with the following “completions”:

  • GEDs – 123
  • Administrative Services – 12
  • CPR – 69
  • Computer Literacy – 1102
  • Education/Career Planning – 895
  • Electrical Wiring – 4
  • NCCER Core – 37
  • Personal Learning – 83
  • Pre-Release – 1225
  • Welding 1 - 25

They're not done yet: IDOC educators are still innovating and improvising

By Ted Oparnico, IDOC Education Program Director

With COVID protocols still in place, most sites are under a cohort model of instruction and limiting classes to approximately six students at a time, while maintaining proper PPE and cleaning procedures. 

Some sites have actually added classes to accommodate the students and have testing happening. 

Depending on the site, teachers are meeting with up to eight or even 12 groups per week on alternating days in order to cover all tiers. 

In cases of quarantining, sites have the opportunity to extend class times for other groups, conducting TABE assessments, continuing Pre-Release classes, and work on other projects. 

About half of the sites have installed an ‘education channel’ to help facilitate instructional content on a rotating schedule.  Additionally, there has been an integration of the JPay email system that residents can utilize to contact staff for education inquiries. 

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