Charter School for At-Risk Kids to Open in Caldwell

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by Andrew Reed, Idaho Education News

A first-of-its-kind charter school is expected to open in Caldwell in the fall of 2019.

Elevate Academy will focus on providing career-technical courses for at-risk students in Caldwell and neighboring communities. The goal is to bridge the gap between education and the work force.

The Idaho Public Charter School Commission voted unanimously to approve the school last week, after hearing opposition from the Caldwell School District.

Leaders of the neighboring Caldwell School District opposed the new charter school, saying they had “serious concerns” Elevate Academy would result in a duplication of services on the taxpayers’ dime and could hamper Caldwell’s ability to recruit teachers to hard-to-fill positions.

Two veteran educators and Caldwell community members, Matt Strong and Monica White, plan to bring education and industry together in a year-round career-technical school, with the goal of helping students graduate as industry-certified professionals. Students will participate in a career track that will prepare them for local industry or higher education. Partnering with local industry, Elevate Academy seeks to create a pipeline of highly-skilled workers that meet local employers’ needs.

“Elevate Academy can become a powerful model for how to provide outstanding and marketable career-technical opportunities for students across the Treasure Valley,” said Terry Ryan, the CEO of Bluum, a Boise-based nonprofit supporting school choice initiatives.

White and Strong resigned from the Caldwell School District in 2017 to focus on launching and running Elevate Academy.

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