By Sarah Meskin
Idaho-based public charter school network, Gem Innovation Schools is in the running for a substantial $1 million dollar award for excellence.
The Yass Prize is dedicated to recognizing and championing the best-in-class educational organizations from across the United States. Rooted in four main principles (Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding, Permissionless), the Yass Prize is committed to guiding policy changes and driving positive outcomes for all children.
CEO of Gem Innovation Schools, Jason Bransford, has created a network of 10 charter schools throughout Idaho, from traditional in-person learning, online learning, to their newest option for families, learning societies. Gem Innovation Schools’ transformational work has earned the organization a spot in the Yass Prize semi-finals, which has “already been an excellent experience.”
“At the October convening in Cleveland, we were able to hear from incredible leaders in the field and learn about some of the most creative solutions in the country to persistent challenges in education,” recalls Bransford.
“If we are chosen to advance as a finalist or the grand prize winner, we would utilize the additional award money to support the start-up costs of Learning Societies,” Bransford says.
Gem Innovation Schools has made large strides to change the education landscape throughout the state of Idaho, providing learning options to students that were not there before.
Bransford details the impact of the Learning Societies.
“We have already seen an incredible, transformational impact on students in Learning Societies. As just one proof point, when we opened our first Learning Societies at the start of the 2022-23 school year, only 18% of Learning Society students had proficient literacy skills. However, by the end of the school year, that number was at 58%”.
An award of this magnitude would undoubtedly open doors to serve a larger student population within the Learning Societies in the near future. As a close partner of Gem Innovation Schools over ten years we are proud of their great work for Idaho and our children. We wish them the best of luck!