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School enters Follett Challenge with diversity

BLACKFOOT, Idaho - Mountain View Middle School in Blackfoot is competing against other schools across the nation to showcase its learning techniques.

The students and staff decided their ESL program was a great example of 21st century teaching skills. Instead of a traditional ESL classroom full of only ESL students, the school's ESL specialist, Kendra Cox, worked to introduce these students into a normal class setting with native speakers.

"They get more interaction with one-on-one native speakers, and it really helps them to have more practice time. The students are forced to understand because not everyone around them speaks Spanish," she said.

Cox worked alongside librarian Teresa Martinson, who thought the new approach would be a great focal point for their submission into the Follett Challenge.

Each school is judged on its ability to incorporate a new-age learning process that includes skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and adaptability. Martinson said implementing these skills effectively can become really expensive and essentially impossible without funding.

"We are not able to keep up with some of the technology, such as ebooks and stuff like that for students who are behind in reading in writing," said Martinson. "The students would be able to take advantage of that and just whatever other needs the classes may have."

To view the schools' video and to vote, go to The top 10 schools will win up to $5,000. The grand prize is $60,000.  

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