A new charter school in Salmon is one of six schools across the state to earn a grant intended to help disadvantaged and rural students.
FernWaters Public Charter School was awarded $133,224 in the second round of grants provided by the Committee of Excellence consortium this year. Charter schools across the state received more than $5 million from the federal Charter School Program grant through the consortium composed of Bluum, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, Idaho Public Charter School Commission and the Idaho State Board of Education.
“These awards will go a long way to ensuring more families have the opportunity to send their child to a high-performing public school of their choice,” Bluum CEO Terry Ryan said in a statement announcing the grants.
Of the schools selected in the most recent round, FernWaters has the smallest capacity. When the school opened in September, it had room for around 60 students in fourth through eighth grades. There are 57 students enrolled and a waiting list.
Kristin Foss, superintendent of FernWaters and one of its six teachers, said the charter school opened to provide a close-knit environment for students that included opportunities that weren’t available at other schools.
“We’re ecstatic. We are just so pleased at the opportunities that this proves for students and their families,” Foss said.
The $133,224 will be used to purchase new textbooks for next year, provide students with computer tablets to supplement their learning and pay for the instruments and salary to pay a teacher for a music program.
The grant will allow for the expansion of the career exploration classes for seventh- and eighth-grade students. FernWaters partners with the Youth Employment Program to give students practice with graphic design, including printing T-shirts. The new funding will allow the school to continue that program and add a weekly welding class.
“Career exploration opportunities are important to help students connect their learning to possible future career pathways. Art and music give students an outlet for personal expression and a socially healthy way to connect with each other,” Foss said.