Odyssey Charter School in Idaho Falls will find out if it will keep its charter Thursday. The Idaho Public Charter School Commission issued a letter of intent in June to revoke the school’s charter if it did not receive its accreditation by the state-regulated deadline. The school has since filed an appeal and started its first day of school Tuesday.
“We have about 80 or 90 students here today and we even had people waiting at our doorsteps this morning to register,” said Principal Travis Jensen.
Jensen said he is optimistic about Thursday’s decision. He said if the school is able to keep its charter, then accreditation should come soon after.
"We've got a really strong board. We've got good teachers. We've got a strong parent base. We know what we need to do to reach that candidacy accreditation,” said Jensen. "It can happen really quickly, by the end of October and hopefully by the end of the school year we can reach full accreditation.”
Although the school is optimistic, Jensen said enrollment is down from last year when the school first opened. Last school year the Odyssey Charter only taught grades 6-10. Many parents pulled their high school students to attend a traditional public school, but many schools can’t transfer the credits due to the lack of accreditation. Many school districts throughout the great Idaho Falls area have since added stipulations to their transfer credit policy for students who attended the charter school during the 2013-14 school year.
"The overall goal is really to try to help those students,” said Idaho Falls School District 91 Rep. Margaret Wimborne. “We feel like they've really been caught in the middle and we want to try and help them provide with some options."
The policy will allow credits earned with a B or higher to be applied to one of the 17 elective credits high school students have to earn to graduate. Courses taken at the charter school don't have to be repeated while attending a high school within the district, but the student needs to substitute those required courses with a higher level course.
For Example: A student that completed Algebra at the charter school with a B or better as a 9th grader would be eligible to take geometry as a 10th grader, Algebra II as a 11th grader, and Trig/pre-calculus as a senior to meet the three year mathematics core course requirements for graduation.
For more information or questions concerning District 91’s transfer requirements call 525-7519. Parents are also urged to check with their zoning district for questions about transfers.