This story was updated with input from the Boise School District on Friday afternoon.
The Booth Marian Pritchett school for young parents plans to leave the Boise School District and open as a charter school in the fall of 2021.
Marian Pritchett has, for decades, operated as a partnership between the Boise School District and the Salvation Army’s Boise Corps. But moving forward, both agencies plan to offer separate services for pregnant and parenting teens.
The school district plans to transition students currently enrolled at Marian Pritchett to Frank Church alternative high school, where it plans to establish free childcare for parenting teens. Or the teens can opt to continue at the Salvation Army’s West Boise campus. The Salvation Army plans to continue offering childcare, social services and online learning for pregnant and parenting teens until it can launch a charter program in 2021.
“We’re looking at what more we can do to serve this population,” said Lynette Standley, an advisory board member for the Salvation Army Boise Corps. “Everybody is just excited about this opportunity to really expand.”
The move follows a number of changes at the Marian Pritchett school, which both agencies say created challenges for the teens enrolled.
Last year, the school moved from its historic North End campus to a new location in West Boise, supported by a Salvation Army fundraising campaign. But declining enrollment — the school has just 18 students right now — prompted staff cuts and a switch to a hybrid model where students take online classes in a classroom setting.
Students have struggled with the new learning format this year, Standley said. Both the Salvation Army and the Boise School District will pivot back to more traditional education formats for the students.
The Salvation Army plans to open its charter with more teachers, traditional classes, and new options for career technical and workforce development training in 2021. To weather the transition, Marian Pritchett will temporarily lean to the hybrid model — offering online school at the West Boise location for the 2020-21 school year, while continuing childcare and other services.
The Salvation Army hopes to expand the program for students outside of the age range typical for high school students and to reach more youth across the valley.
The Salvation Army plans to convene an “education forum” of community and education leaders this summer to work out their next steps toward establishing a charter.
The Boise School District says that enrolling parenting teens at Frank Church will allow the students to access small, in-person classes and electives like art and career technical programs that the district couldn’t offer at the smaller Marian Pritchett School.
Frank Church also provides career and mental health counseling and the new childcare center will allow parenting teens already enrolled at Frank Church to bring their kids to school as well.
“It’s important for us to be providing equal access to all of the offerings we can, to all of our students,” said Debbie Donovan, an administrator in the Boise School District.