University of Idaho - I Banner
students walk on University of Idaho campus

Visit U of I

Learn about the many reasons the University of Idaho could be a perfect fit for you. Schedule Your Visit

UI Receives $750,000 Grant to Help Improve Idaho Schools

February 10, 2017

University of Idaho researchers will team with six school districts throughout the state to improve student achievement and classroom instruction, thanks to a $750,000 grant from Idaho’s State Board of Education. 

The grant award is part of the first year of a three-year school improvement initiative that aims to help districts strengthen curriculum and instruction; improve educator effectiveness; and use data-driven practices to support students, teachers, administrators and school boards. The Support, Opportunity, Achievement, Revitalization (SOAR) project will investigate and implement district-level improvements at one district in each of the state’s six regions and represents an opportunity to work with school districts holistically for long-term success. 

“The spirit of the grant is to help school districts and I think that’s key,” said Kathy Canfield-Davis, associate professor and Leadership and Counseling department chair in UI’s College of Education. “We feel honored to provide this service for the future of Idaho’s youth.”

Canfield-Davis and College of Education Assistant Professor Davin J. Carr-Chellman in Moscow will partner with Boise State University on some aspects of the project.

Needs assessments for each district will be completed as part of the grant, which will be followed by the development and implementation of comprehensive improvement plans for important success indicators, including rates of graduation, attendance, teacher retention and course completion. The six participating school districts will be selected in the coming weeks.

Improvement plans for the participating districts may include academic support systems, job-embedded professional development, networking, mentoring and/or coaching and using data to drive systemwide decision making. Another goal of the SOAR grant is to facilitate dialogue among districts that are experiencing similar challenges via a collaboration and discourse that can take place both virtually and face to face.

Updates on the individual improvement plans will be reported to the Idaho State Board of Education to help determine if successful measures taken on as part of the grant can be implemented in other districts throughout the state.

Media Contacts:
Kathy Canfield-Davis
Associate Professor and Department Chair, Leadership and Counseling
University of Idaho Coeur d'Alene

Davin J. Carr-Chellman
Assistant Professor
College of Education

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at