What is the name of the school and when would it open?
Gem Prep: Nampa. It’s planned to open in August 2016.
Who is behind the school?
Jason Bradford, CEO of Idaho Distance Education Academy, an 11-year-old online charter school with about 625 students in grades K-12 throughout Idaho.
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Where would the school be located?
Bransford said the school doesn’t have a specific location. It is looking on Madison Street, at a local church and other sites.
How many students would attend?
The school would open with 252 students in kindergarten through fourth grade and add students up to 12th grade with an enrollment of 582 by 2023, according to the application.
How is this school different from Idaho Distance Education Academy?
Gem Prep would mix online and face-to-face instruction. About a third of the time would be spent in online instruction. “We are focused on individualized instruction and encouraging advancement at the student’s own pace,” Bransford wrote in his application to the district.
Why is Bransford doing this?
Idaho Distance Education Academy’s experience with online instruction as students work at home via computer is that family structures don’t always support that approach. In some cases, a family may have a neat area where students work; others may have a dining room table with stuff piled three feet high. “It’s a variable based on home dynamics,” Bransford said.
How would the school be structured?
The school would have the same board of directors as the nonprofit Idaho Distance Education Academy. The two schools would share staff. But each would have different charters.
Hasn’t Bransford brought this charter school to the trustees before?
Yes, last August. Bransford said Monday there were concerns about the school’s lack of a firm commitment to provide food and transportation for students. Bransford began discussions with the Idaho Public Charter School Commission about the state commission becoming the authorizing agency for the charter. But those talks have since returned to Nampa School District. Bransford said the school would provide transportation and meals.
Where can I find out more?
Nampa School District board of trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the district office, 619 S. Canyon St., Nampa, to consider the application. A trustee work session, where no action will be taken, begins at 6:30 p.m.