State announces 19 mastery pilots

The state released its list of 19 mastery pilot schools Friday — and there aren’t many surprises.

With only one exception, every school that applied for the mastery pilot program will launch a pilot this fall.

Mastery is one recommendation from Gov. Butch Otter’s education task force from 2013. The concept is moving away from a traditional school attendance model — where students move from grade to grade based on seat time. In mastery, students move more freely from grade to grade based on their command of subject matter.

The 19 pilot projects will share $1 million in state grants.

Nearly half of the pilot schools will be charter or alternative schools. Here’s the list of the pilots:

  • Rocky Mountain Middle School, Bonneville School District.
  • Clark Fork Junior/Senior High School, Lake Pend Oreille School District.
  • Venture High School, Coeur d’Alene.
  • North Valley Academy, a Gooding charter school.
  • Silver Creek Alternative High School, Hailey.
  • American Heritage Charter School, Idaho Falls.
  • Indian Creek and Ross elementary schools, Initial Point Alternative High School, Kuna School District.
  • Meridian Technical Charter High School.
  • The Atlas School, a Middleton alternative high school.
  • Moscow School District.
  • Union High School, a Nampa alternative school.
  • Nampa School District.
  • Meadows Valley School District, New Meadows.
  • Notus School District.
  • Salmon Junior-Senior High School, Salmon School District.
  • Three Creek School District.
  • Rivervue Academy, an alternative middle school in the Vallivue School District.
  • West Ada academies (alternative high schools).
  • Wilder School District, grades K-12.

Only one school that applied in March failed to make the cut: the Pocatello Community Charter School. The school’s application was incomplete, said Jeff Church, a spokesman for state superintendent Sherri Ybarra.

But even with the Pocatello school failing to make the list, Idaho will still have 19 mastery pilots. The American Heritage and North Valley Academy charters filed a joint application, but the State Department of Education split the pilot into two.

“The beauty of a mastery-based education system is that it is rooted in local control and is truly from the ground up,” Ybarra said in a news release. “Local communities, schools, and districts will determine through this effort what is best to meet the needs of their students.”


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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