Educational Issues in Idaho
By Shane Pratt, MSEd., School Administrator at Rolling Hills Public Charter School
Not many people can rightfully claim to have #SchoolChoice. School of Choice is held every January, the goal is to shine a positive spotlight on effective educational options for children. Idaho supports educational school of choice for parents at the local and national level.
What is School of Choice? School choice means letting parents choose the best education environments for their individual children. These options include:
• Traditional public schools
• Public charter schools
• Public magnet schools
• Private schools
• Online learning
Why School choice? Kids are unique and learn in different ways. Parents have the power to choose and provide the educational environment for their children to receive a challenging, motivating, and effective education. As a result, student achievement increases. When children are in an environment that supports their learning style, better outcomes are the result, both mentally and physically.
School Choice allows parents and families the freedom to choose the method of education that will work best for their children. It allows for meaningful decisions regarding how and where their children will receive their education, whether in the public system or not. It is based on the idea that all children do not learn the same way and may have different needs, interests, or strengths to develop. Finding a school that meets your child’s needs is critical to the academic success for your child.
Here is what kids say about school of choice for their school, “my parents chose this school for me because I needed to not get lost in the crowd.”
Some Public Charter Schools focus on Personalized Learning, others on STEM, or Montessori styles of learning. Each is unique and visiting these schools is a must to make the best decision. Call the schools for setting up a tour. Many Schools of Choice operate with open enrollment, but may have a lottery system to fill the seats at the school, based on demand. Usually these lotteries take place in February to April, prior to the next school year. There is open enrollment and dual enrollment options for your child.
New opportunities are opening up for Idaho families to choose from, with on-line or virtual schools, private schools, and homeschooling. The on-line schools or virtual schools have specialized curriculum to meet the needs of your child. Contact the school’s office and speak with a representative to gain understanding of the programs they offer. It just might meet your expectations.
Idaho has support for parents with School of Choice coordinators to help parents navigate the educational landscape. http://www.sde.idaho.gov/school-choice/ Michelle Clement-Taylor works out of the State Department of Education and can be contacted by email [email protected] In addition, Suzanne Metzger is the coordinator with BLUUM, email [email protected] School of Choice is a National movement to better the learning opportunities for ALL students. Idaho law makers and educational policy makers support School of Choice for all parents in Idaho.