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Bluum is a nonprofit organization helping Idaho become a national model for how to maximize learning outcomes for children and families.

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Bluum Exceeds Its Five-Year Charter School Growth Plans

Darren Svan, Idaho Ed News
This story originally appeared on Idaho Ed News

As Bluum awards the last federal grant funds that five years ago kicked off the rapid expansion of charter schools, the organization predicts 2,800 more seats and eight more schools than originally promised. While those results can’t be celebrated until the last six schools are built and the other 22 completed schools finish growing, Bluum expects to fly by their expansion expectations, made to the U.S. Department of Education in 2018. And with a new Department of Education grant application process currently underway, and millions of dollars more of federal grant money up for grabs, Bluum is back to work looking for opportunities, new innovations and partnerships. The organization has not applied yet, but expects to make that decision this spring.

Parent Survey and Focus Group Findings from Idaho’s Empowering Parents Program

Results from the focus groups and survey of Idaho parents who received funding from Idaho’s Empowering Parents grant program. These findings are based on an online survey conducted January 17-26, 2023, with 359 parents who applied for an Empowering Parents grant. The survey work was conducted by the New York City-based FDR Group and funded by the Walton Family Foundation. Bluum was proud to coordinate the efforts on the ground in Idaho. Our hope is that this work helps strengthen support for the Empowering Parents Program while also providing ideas for improvements.

Four Idaho Public Charter Schools Awarded $1.9M in New School Grants

Four Idaho public charter schools have been awarded $1,913,068 in federal funding from Idaho’s Communities of Excellence Federal Charter Schools Program (CSP). This is the seventh and final round of grant awards under the terms of this competitive CSP grant. The grant awards are aimed at increasing the number of high-quality public charter school seats for Idaho families and students.    

These grants will allow the four subgrantee schools to add a total of 1,702 new students. Funding comes from a $22 million U.S. Department of Education grant awarded to Bluum in 2018.   

More kids are having bad days: special education after COVID

By Alan Gottlieb
TIn the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the learning disruptions and isolation it created, schools are seeing extreme behaviors among a wider array of students than ever before – behaviors that used to be seen mostly in students identified as needing special education services for behavioral issues. These behaviors are putting stress on families, educators, and students, and making it more challenging for schools to return to what was once considered a normal learning environment. 

Idaho’s Public Charter Schools Embrace a Culture of Prevention for Students with Behavioral Challenges

By Jennifer Ribordy
To address the challenges, several Idaho public charter schools are leading the way by intentionally working together on the prevention and management of crises level student behaviors. Since September of 2020, these partners have worked with Bluum to demonstrate their commitment to prioritizing student safety by investing time and financial resources into ongoing training focused on building a “culture of prevention” relative to intensive student behaviors.

Introducing Idaho’s Charter Effort to House & Senate Ed Committees

It’s been 25 years since Idaho’s first charter schools opened their doors, yet misunderstandings of this model for public education still exist. This morning, our CEO, Terry Ryan, had the opportunity to share the history and impact of Idaho’s public charter schools on students and families with both the Senate and House Education Committees.

Choice Out West

A new multi-state report, “Choice Out West: Lessons and challenges from Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico,” finds that despite successful expansion and innovation efforts in Idaho’s charter school sector, our state’s rapid population growth is creating not only opportunities but complex challenges in providing quality public school choice seats for K-12 students.

Building For Success in Idaho

Idaho is one of the nation’s fastest growing states. Many of our schools are overcrowded, and our student demographics are changing rapidly. Over the past decade, our state’s overall K-12 enrollment has grown by about 55,000 students, almost 20 percent (10,422 students) of which has been in the state’s public charter schools. With all this growth in student enrollment, public schools in Idaho—both traditional school districts and charter schools—have struggled to keep up with the need for new and expanded school facilities.

To help illuminate the scale of the facility financing inequities in Idaho, and most importantly to offer up solutions, especially for public charter schools, Bluum partnered with the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) to generate this policy brief, Building for Success in Idaho.