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New school will put Madison students on fast track

REXBURG, Idaho - Madison School District announced Tuesday that it would open a special kind of high school.

The Madison Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)/Early College High School will be on the campus of Madison High School.

"At the request of the school board, the district and high school administration have been exploring expanded and enhanced learning opportunities at the high school level for the past year," Board Chairman Kevin Howell said in an email to parents. "The board has given the green light to move ahead with the project."

The school will be developed using individual career pathway plans for each student who chooses to enroll. Students, with parental involvement, will be able to choose one of the following models:

– Early College High School with the goal of receiving an associate degree before graduating.

– A traditional high school education at Madison High School.

– A career readiness pathway for professional /technical courses that in the beginning focus on three areas – health care, technology and energy, and welding and fabrication.

The professional/technology courses, which will lead to certifications and/or a college degree, will be expanded over time.

"We are working hard to develop post-secondary partnerships, including Brigham Young University-Idaho and Eastern Idaho Technical College," Superintendent Geoffrey Thomas says. "We also will be working with business and industry to develop mentoring and internship opportunities."

Thomas said the district is working to apply for "two large potential grants that can fast-track this process."

The board and superintendent also announced that Madison High School Principal Rodger Hampton will be tapped to lead the new school. "We value his experience and expertise," Thomas says. "He will be a valuable asset to this new project and he is excited to take on the challenge."

An in-district search will be conducted to replace Hampton as the Madison High School principal.

In a recent survey of students in Madison Junior High and Madison High School, 38 percent of the 1,500 students surveyed said they would be interested in working toward an associate degree while in high school and an additional 30 percent said they would be interested in choosing a professional/technical career. A survey of parents showed that 49 percent of parents would be interested in the Madison STEM/Early College High School.

Check this site for more details Wednesday.

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