By Terry Ryan and Suzanne Metzgar
We’ve created this Parents Guide Idaho’s School And Learning Choices to empower parents! We want to provide a resource that defines your options and offers ideas for how best to take advantage of these for your child(ren). We believe that providing information about Idaho’s many — and growing — learning options can help parents make better choices for their families.
We’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to visit many schools across the Gem State – public district, public magnet, public charter, alternative, private, parochial and online. No matter the school type or the location, one common theme we’ve found in every school is parents who want the very best opportunities for their children.
Because there’s no one school that’s going to be “good” for every student or family, we’ve also created an online tool to help parents make an active choice based on whether a school is high quality, and also whether it is a good fit for your child and family. You can find our Choosing a School Guide on our website.
Of the 321,056 or so Idaho K-12 students, approximately 20 percent attend a school of choice rather than their traditional neighborhood school. More than 11,000 Idaho students are on wait lists for public magnet and public charter schools.
In coming years, Idaho is set to grow more school options; including public Innovation Schools, an independent “unschool” in Boise, at least two new parochial schools and several new public charters schools. Added to the expanding list of school options available to parents and children are a growing number of course choices, dual-credit opportunities and other alternative learning options that go well beyond the traditional offerings of brick-and-mortar classrooms. Students across the state are taking a variety of courses through Khan Academy and even gaining credits through online programs like the Idaho Digital Learning Academy.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
We believe that K-12 education should provide personalized opportunities to meet the needs, interests and skills of individual students so that they can grow and succeed in college and beyond. We are so grateful to live and work in a state where families have an expanding number of options to choose the learning opportunities that best fit their child’s needs. This guide – and our online Choosing a School Guide – is written to help parents navigate these choices so you can connect your child to what works best for him or her.