Sage charter to expand into vacant mall

Administrators of public charter school Sage International said plans to expand their school into a mostly abandoned mall on ParkCenter Boulevard in Southeast Boise has been approved by city officials and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The school expansion into part of the 83,000-square-foot building will pave the way for Sage to eventually house all its students in grades K-12 and increase its student body population to 1,000. Sage currently serves 550 students in grades K-10. The young students attend school in an office building close to the proposed expansion site, while older students are housed in a downtown facility.

More than 800 student applicants are in a March 17 lottery, seeking admission for the 2015 school year.

Diversified Partners acquired the former mall and CEO Walt Brown said he plans to invest $5-6 million in the building’s renovation. Construction is expected to begin in April and a significant percentage of the student body will be able to move in this September.

“We have looked for a new location for three years and feel this is the ideal location for us,” said Sage Principal Don Keller.

Sage offers an International Baccalaureate curriculum. It has some of the highest reading scores in the state. Click here to see Sage’s demographics and academic and financial information and how it compares to other schools and charters in Idaho.

“Our family couldn’t be happier about Sage expanding across the street,” said Mohammed Bataineh, owner of the nearby restaurant Mazzah. “As parents with children who attend the school, we’re personally excited, but we also think this will be a huge boon for area businesses.”

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Teacher award

Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE) has awarded three, $250 New Classroom Start UP Grants to Idaho teachers. The winners are: Bob McMichael, a high school language arts teacher in Cambridge,  Helen Sauer, from Heritage Academy in Jerome, and to Crystal Davidson, from Heritage Community Charter School in Caldwell.

The award money will be used to buy a Google Chromebook, curriculum and classroom science materials.

NWPE, a non-union professional teacher association, awards teacher scholarships and classroom grants up to $500. All educators are eligible for the awards although NWPE members receive first preference.  The next application deadline is October 1, 2014.