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Local teacher brings Idaho to forefront of creative technology

Create Idaho is the only program of its kind in the world (KBOI Staff).

A Treasure Valley teacher is offering students a lot more than 'just another computer class.'

"We need [them] coming in saying, 'I am going to have a high level experience,'" says Dan Armstrong, teacher at Ridgevue High School in Nampa. "If we can get that mental switch to flip, we can do anything with the program."

Dan says it struck him one day that his students did not have all the right tools to succeed.

"They needed more than just, 'I took a photoshop class!" And I thought, no one else is going to get that done for them than their teacher," said Dan.

His vision didn't stop there.

"Then, I thought, if I could do this for my class, I could do this for everybody!"

So, Dan says he went out on a limb and reached out to Adobe.

It just so happened at that very moment, Adobe was looking to get involved with Career Technical Education (CTE).

So, Dan started knocking on some doors to find out how to launch this program.

One day he ran into Rick Kennedy with the Idaho Department of Education.

Rick Kennedy says he was walking out the door after a meeting when Dan came running up to him.

Rick says he told him he was in a hurry, but Dan persisted, "I only need about five minutes."

So, Dan quickly told him his vision of bringing Adobe's creative software to schools throughout Idaho.

Rick immediately brought Dan's idea back to the Department of Ed, only to find out, it was perfect timing.

The Idaho Legislature had just written a bill to support technical certifications. The Department of Ed used part of that funding to buy the Microsoft Imagine Academy and had some money left over. They were able to jump right on board.

So, with a whole lot dedication and a little bit of magic, Create Idaho was born.

"Without that guy knocking on doors, we would not have this," said Rick. "And the effects of this, even though young, are profound."

Today Create Idaho has about 65 shools across the state involved.

It offers students certifications in Adobe. Those students get logins to the Adobe Creative Cloud, which they can access at school or at home.

Louis-Clark State College is also offering college credit to students who get certified.

This is only the program's second year, and so far, more than 700 certifications have been earned by students in Idaho.

Idaho is on track to reach more than 2,000 certifcations by the end of the school year.

It is the only program like it in the world.

Through it all, Dan and his family have been through quite the journey of their own.

If you would like to support the Armstrongs, you can go into any Cap Ed Credit Union Branch and let them know you would like to make a donation.

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