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Bluum Together is a podcast cultivating education leadership, innovation, and impact, one conversation at a time.

Join us as we learn from visionary leaders, passionate educators, and inspiring change-makers who are dedicated to transforming the landscape of K-12 education. We’ll explore innovative ideas, share inspiring stories, and uncover strategies that drive meaningful change throughout Idaho and beyond.


In her groundbreaking podcast, Sold a Story, award-winning investigative education journalist Emily Hanford has uncovered profound insights on how children are learning to read. Or in far too many cases, NOT learning to read. In this episode, Emily highlights some of her findings from schools across the country, and how educators, parents, and policymakers can lead the change to implement effective, evidence-based reading instruction.

Reading consultant and teacher trainer Marybeth Flachbart has deep experience supporting education leaders at the national, state, and local level in literacy and school improvement. In this episode, Marybeth breaks down how to use a structured literacy approach and the importance of identifying learner profiles as part of the success strategy to improve reading instruction.

As a former teacher, dyslexia specialist, district leader, and education expert, Rosie Santana shares her experience helping multilingual students develop their language skills. In this episode, Rosie discusses the importance of embracing multilingual learners, understanding the English language development program, and fostering a sense of belonging for these students.

Long-standing educators Jason Lords and Nicky Pack from the Bonneville School District discuss their strategies to improve reading instruction and student success. They highlight the district’s focus on professional learning communities (PLCs) and the use of data, particularly Lexile scores, to set goals for student reading proficiency.

Principal Anthony Haskett open MOSAICS Public School in Autumn of 2020. He quickly realized that a global pandemic was not their only challenge. The reading curriculum they had chosen was clearly not giving teachers and students what they needed to be successful. Learn from Anthony, and Director of learning and culture Debbie Foster, about how they transitioned to teaching tools they call their “Smokin’ hot core.”

After a leadership change during their second year of operation (mid-COVID), a rural charter school discovered their approach to teaching reading was ineffective. Learn from Executive Director and Army veteran Andy Johnson, and Principal Darci Stelzner, as they share their strategy for leading a major change toward effective reading instruction at Sage International School of Middleton.

Kindergarten teachers Sally Peterson and Shantel Allen discuss successful reading instruction at Thirkill Elementary in Soda Springs, highlighting the Phonics First program while stressing the importance of community support amid challenges. The conversation also touches on the need for additional resources, including behavioral specialists. Whitney Berger (Title Intervention Specialist) and Rod Worthington (school principal) later join to explore Thirkill’s reading intervention strategies, the Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI), and the Leader in Me program. Emphasis comes on professional learning communities (PLCs), led by Whitney, addressing curriculum, teaching strategies, and student needs.

Sam Wadsworth, a 4th-grade teacher and Curriculum Director at North Gem School District in Bancroft, Idaho, stresses the significance of repeated readings for text fluency. He explores the school’s transition to a literature-based program, emphasizing phonics for effective reading. Challenges, such as the need for more trained teachers, are recognized, while the benefits of a tight-knit community are underscored. The school’s approach centers on care, professionalism, and a dedicated commitment to positively influencing students’ lives.


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