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Alan Gottlieb

Anser students buddy up to stroll through a nearby park. Photo courtesy of Anser Charter School.

Weighted Student Lottery Strengthens Idaho’s Charter School Pioneer

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by Alan Gottlieb As the 2021-22 school year began, Anser Charter School eighth-grader Sophia Acosta noticed something different about newly enrolled students: More of them looked like her. Sophia, who is Latina, is in her second year at the K-8 charter school in Garden City. She had previously attended district-run public schools in Caldwell and West Ada where a significant portion…

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Andy Johnson in the military

Continued Service: Veterans in Idaho Education

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by Alan Gottlieb While it might be little noticed by most people, military veterans are having a significant impact on K-12 education in Idaho. It seems only fitting on this Veterans Day to pay tribute to those men and women who have chosen to continue their service in classrooms, on boards, and in the public education policy realm. Greg Wilson, Senior…

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New school leaders Becky Smith an Amber Stark stand together

Keeping it in the family

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Upper Carmen Charter School welcomes next generation of leadership by Alan Gottlieb Bluum seeks to develop innovative education leaders in communities throughout the Gem State to ensure children reach their highest potential. In the tiny town of Carmen live two exceptional leaders who founded Upper Carmen Charter School. Jim and Sue Smith have been running the school since 2005, and this…

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Students listen to their teacher

All-Day Kindergarten Pilot Aims to Demonstrate Its Efficacy

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by Alan Gottlieb When Michelle Ball learned last year that she would receive funding through Bluum from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation to expand Idaho Falls-based charter school Alturas International Academy’s kindergarten program from half-day to full-day, she was ecstatic.   As a former kindergarten teacher, she knew how big a difference those extra hours could make in the academic and…

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Students sit at a graduation ceremony wearing their caps and gowns

Resilience: Lessons from 2021 Idaho Graduates

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by Alan Gottlieb A one-word description emerges after speaking with several 2021 Idaho charter high school graduates about the most unusual conclusion to their secondary school careers: resilience. It would be easy for the class of 2021 to feel a collective sense of self-pity. After all, portions of their junior and senior years were disrupted by a global pandemic that…

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An American flag hangs with the edges torn

Civics & Citizenship in American Schools: Teaching Citizens & School Profiles

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Teaching Citizens & School Profiles by Alan Gottlieb Bluum interviewed educators from four very different public charter school networks to get a sense of how they approach teaching civics and history. Those approaches varied significantly, from Democracy Prep’s action-oriented curriculum with an emphasis on real-life experience and current events, to Great Hearts’ close study of American history source material and…

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An American flag hangs with the edges torn

United We Stand: Charter School Educators Offer Competing Perspectives on Educating for Citizenship

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by Alan Gottlieb, with Foreword by Terry Ryan Foreword “Good citizenship is when effective citizens do simple but powerful things on a daily basis that keeps our country strong and free.” – Benjamin Franklin As a Boise-based education nonprofit committed to improving opportunities for Idaho’s families and young people Bluum cares deeply about what is taught in our schools, and…

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Second graders create distance between each other

A COVID-19 Education Case Study: Idaho, Local Control and the Pandemic

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by Alan Gottlieb When it comes to reopening schools for in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic this school year, Idaho has been a study in contrasts. K-12 students in some remote rural districts have been back full face-to-face, masks optional and social distancing not enforced, since the beginning of the school year. In some more urban areas, older students are…

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Three people sitting in front of a window

Cardinal Academy is Tailored to Educate Parenting Teens

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Powerful partnership with The Salvation Army builds on rich history by Alan Gottlieb  Cardinal Academy, a new public charter high school for pregnant and parenting students opening this fall, offers a powerful example of how charter schools can fill voids school districts are unable or unwilling to fill themselves.  In the case of Cardinal Academy, the void was created when…

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How Idaho’s Gem Innovation Schools Are Keeping Learning Going During COVID-19

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by Alan Gottlieb Originally Published on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper Blog on 4-16-2020 In these uncertain days, with many brick-and-mortar schools shuttered indefinitely, one of Idaho’s leaders in online education has moved in a deliberate and intelligent fashion to transition its brick-and-mortar-based students to online learning. That’s because the leaders of Gem Prep, a growing network of three…

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