Star ratings: Charters show improvement

In several key measures, Idaho charter schools improved under the latest round of school “star ratings” released last week.

But not all the news was good.

Here’s a closer look at how Idaho charter schools fared:

Five-star ratings. This is the state’s top ranking for student performance and growth. Eleven charter schools — or 26.1 percent of the state’s 42 charter schools — received five stars. Overall, just 14 percent of Idaho schools received this highest rating.

Charter schools also improved on their own performance from 2011-12, the first year of the star ratings, when only six charters picked up the five-star designation.

Four- and five-star ratings. These, taken together, comprise the state’s top performing schools. Twenty-nine charter schools received four or five stars, or 69 percent of all charter schools. Overall, 59.4 percent of Idaho schools received a four-or five-star rating.

One-star ratings. These are the state’s lowest-rated, struggling schools. And here, the news is mixed.

Four Idaho charter schools, or 9.5 percent of the state’s charter schools, received a one-star rating. Statewide, 3.4 percent of schools received a one-star rating. Put another way, charter schools comprise 6.4 percent of all Idaho schools receiving star ratings — but 18.1 percent of the state’s one-star schools.

However, charter schools did show some signs of improvement. A year ago, seven charter schools received a one-star rating.

Economic factors. Only six of Idaho’s 42 charter schools exceeded the state average for student poverty, based on eligibility for free and reduced lunch programs. And these schools had widely varying results. Two — the North Valley and Victory charter schools — were five-star schools. Another two received four stars: the Idaho Arts and Heritage Community charter schools. Meanwhile, the Heritage Academy and Wings charter schools remained one-star schools.

The scores come as Idaho’s 15-year-old charter school movement faces a transition. Under a new state law, charter schools are now eligible to receive a stipend for buildings — in an attempt to offset facility costs.

And under another new state law, the governance of charter schools is changing. The state’s seven-member Public Charter School Commission is currently made up of a mix of charter school, public school and public representatives. The new law removes those restrictions, giving the governor and legislative leaders free rein in naming appointees.


  • Five stars (11): Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, Coeur d’Alene; Compass Public Charter School, Meridian; Idaho Distance Education Academy, Deary; Liberty Charter School, Nampa; Meridian Medical Arts Charter High School, Meridian; Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian; North Valley Academy, Gooding; Upper Carmen Public Charter School, Carmen; Victory Charter School, Nampa; Vision Charter School, Caldwell; White Pine Charter School, Ammon.
  • Four stars (18): Academy at Roosevelt Center, Pocatello; Anser Charter School, Garden City; Forrest M. Bird Charter School, Sandpoint; Blackfoot Charter Community Learning Center, Blackfoot; Heritage Community Charter School, Caldwell; Idaho Arts Charter School, Nampa; Thomas Jefferson Charter School, Caldwell; Legacy Charter School, Nampa; Monticello Montessori School, Ammon; Moscow Charter School, Moscow; North Star Charter School, Eagle; Palouse Prairie School, Moscow; Payette River Technical Academy, Emmett; Pocatello Community Charter School, Pocatello; Rolling Hills Charter School, Boise; Sage International Charter School, Boise; Taylor’s Crossing Public Charter School, Idaho Falls; Xavier Charter School, Twin Falls.
  • Three stars (7): ARTEC Charter School, Twin Falls; Falcon Ridge Charter School, Kuna; Idaho Science and Technology Charter, Blackfoot; Idaho Virtual Academy, Meridian; Inspire Academics, Boise; Richard McKenna Charter High School, Mountain Home; The Village Charter School, Boise.
  • Two stars (2): Another Choice Virtual Charter School, Nampa; Idaho Connects Online School, Boise.
  • One star (4): Heritage Academy, Jerome; iSucceed Virtual High School, Boise; Kootenai Bridge Academy, Coeur d’Alene; Wings Charter Middle School, Twin Falls.
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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