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New Public Charter School Provides Lifeline for Students With Severe Trauma

by Darren Svan, Idaho Education News

Longtime Payette educator and administrator Rick Hale has been a principal without students  — or a school — for the past year.

That’s all changed.

Through the fall and into spring, Hale watched concrete walkways between buildings poured; dormitories and a gymnasium built; carpets, flooring and sinks installed; a non-scalable security fence erected around the campus perimeter.

And on a recent hot, dusty afternoon, Hale smiled and announced that his classroom whiteboards were going in today.

Hale was hired last summer as education director for a new charter school in Middleton that offers a unique public education model for kids who’ve experienced severe trauma.

“They were looking for someone to build it and lead it,” he said. “It was like it spoke to me.”

The 64-student Promise Academy school will be located on the campus of the Idaho Youth Ranch’s (IYR) new Residential Center for Healing and Resilience, a residential treatment facility — which means 24-hour care — for ages 11-17 experiencing severe mental health and behavioral issues.

The charter school provides intensive treatment while they attend school, all on the same campus. It will serve grades 6-12 and is set to open in the fall with eight students. It is estimated that students will spend six to nine months in the program. 


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