Parents looking to enroll their kids into school for the 2014-2015 school year will have a new charter school option in Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25. The charter school is only going to have two grades, kindergarten and first grade.
The Idaho Distance Education Academy (I-DEA) has been teaching digital learning courses for 10 years out of their office suite in Chubbuck. Now, they are moving into the former Jessie Clark Christian School to accommodate 50 students, 25 in kindergarten and 25 in first grade.
"We've been approved to expand to face-to-face learning as well as online learning,” said Director Jason Bransford. “So we're going to continue to do [online], but what we're going to do is expand and offer some face-to face options for our students as well."
Bransford said this new school will feature blended learning. A blended learning classroom is separated into three different areas. (1) Individual learning, usually done on computers, (2) direct learning, which is done with the instructor and (3) Intervention learning, which is small group and individual tutoring.
Bransford said during a 90-minute block of teaching on a specific subject, the students are rotated through each of areas about every 30 minutes. Bransford said blended learning is focused on challenging students to improve from where they are, even if they are ahead or behind other students.
"They're going to be pushed at their level,” he said. “We just feel like that's so critical. We've done that in the online side of our school for years and we feel that's worked really well."
Bransford said it's important for parents to have options for their kids when picking schools, whether in charter schools, but specifically in public schools.
"Those are great options for a lot of students, but I don't think anybody would argue that those aren't a great fit for every student,” Bransford said. “So what this does is it opens up another option for students that just wasn't available before."
Kindergarten will be enrolled in a half-day week while the first grade classroom will be on a full-day schedule. Bransford said the ultimate goal for the I-DEA Charter School is to expand into a full K-6 grade learning environment.
For any questions or to enroll your students, you can call the I-DEA offices at 208-238-1388. I-DEA will start a lottery if they have more enrollments than seats available.