This FAQ page answers common questions about Forge International School and charter schools in general.Please contact us by emailing info@forgeintl.org if you have questions regarding these FAQs, information on our website, or any topics we did not cover.

Forge International is a free, K-12, public charter school authorized by the Idaho Public Charter School Commission. Forge International is not a part of the Middleton School District. Please click the links below for important information regarding what it means to be a public charter school in Idaho.

For more information on Forge International School, visit the Idaho State Department of Education's site on Forge's Report card. 

CHARTER SCHOOLS - General Information

The following links provide general information about Idaho charter schools:

  • Click here for the Idaho Department of Education's Charter School Page.
  • Click here to go to the Idaho Public Charter School Commission's (PCSC) web site.
  • Click here to go to Idaho's Public Charter School statute.
  • Click here to go to Idaho's Administrative Rules Governing Public Charter Schools.

Why does Idaho include charter schools within its public school system?
Charter schools are public schools and are intended to expand and enhance public education options in Idaho for students, teachers, families and the community by offering innovative education models that do not otherwise exist in the traditional public school system. In short, charter schools are designed to be different and to provide clear education choices - a charter school should not look, feel, and teach like area traditional public schools.  

When the Idaho Legislature enacted Idaho's charter school laws in 1998, they offered the following reasons for creating public charter schools: (1) To improve student learning; (2) To increase learning opportunities for all students, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for students; (3) To include the use of different and innovative teaching methods; (4) To utilize virtual distance learning and on-line learning; (5) To create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site; (6) To provide parents and students with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system; and (7) To hold the schools established under this chapter accountable for meeting measurable student educational standards.

What does the word 'charter' refer to in 'Charter School'?
A 'charter' is a document that a school submits to the State Board of Education (Idaho Charter Commission) seeking 'authorization' to become a publicly funded school of choice. The charter document explains exactly what that school will offer - it explains the school's purpose and mission, size, curriculum, grade levels, growth plan, etc.  In other words, it informs families what they are 'choosing' when they consider attending that school. 

When a charter school is proposed and goes through the authorization process, it must define what it is going to offer that is otherwise not offered by area district schools.  If the charter is approved or 'authorized', the State gives the founding Board and Executive Director the autonomy and funding to build the best school they can in accordance with the charter.  The school's funding and continued existence are tied to delivering on their charter commitments. If the board and leadership stray from their charter (aka mission drift), the school will lose its funding and will, in all likelihood, close. Because the charter defines the unique opportunities the school offers, families understand the choice they are making by attending that school.  

How are charter schools (such as Forge International) different than traditional public school and districts?
Charter schools in our area exist to offer educational 'choices' that differ from what the traditional districts offer to public school students. Charters are not intended to mimic large, traditional school districts and do not have the 'economies of scale' (financially or personnel-wise) to offer everything a traditional school district can offer - they are meant to be different. 

FORGE INTERNATIONAL - Charter, Mission, Curriculum

Where can I find Forge International's Charter document?
You can find Forge International's Charter on our web site by clicking the 'About' link and then clicking the Our Charter link.

What makes Forge International innovative and different  from area traditional public schools?  
4-Day Week for Students (Mon-Thurs):  Students attend Forge International School Monday-Thursday each week.  When our students are at home on Fridays, our teachers are at work collaborating, discussing students, conducting research, preparing for the next week, and innovating.  We refer to these as our Professional Development Fridays and believe that providing our educators with a student-free day each week when they can grow and learn is one of the key elements that makes Forge International unique and great.

K-12th School with 13-year International Curriculum Scope and Sequence:  Providing students with a carefully coordinated and structured K-12 curriculum scope and sequence makes Forge International School unique. Transitions between elementary, middle and high school are seamless for our students - we don't have 'get up to speed' or 'getting to know each other' time with these transitions. We know our students and they know us and our culture.

Culture - Social/Emotional - Forge International uses restorative practices to engage students in care and remediation of relationships within the learning environment. An emphasis is placed on repairing harm when essential agreements of the community are broken. 

Assessment For Learning v. Traditional Grading:  Forge utilizes a standards-based approach to student assessment. Forge does not issue traditional A-F or 4.0 scale grades.  Forge tracks student learning using an "Assessment for Learning" model (AFL).  AFL is designed to continually challenge students and to give a wider range of feedback to students on their performance.

Why locate all three schools (elementary, middle, and high school) at one location?
There are academic, culture, community, and financial benefits to having a "Unified K-12 Campus." Having our entire staff, administration, and student population together at a single location facilitates the transition of students between schools (elementary, middle and high), allows for constant collaboration throughout our entire staff, strengthens student-teacher relationships, increases mentoring and service opportunities for students, and reduces duplicate staffing, services, IT, phones, etc.  - every dollar we save on these items is additional money we can spend educating our students.  Finally, having a Unified Campus will help our leadership ensure our K-12 curriculum scope and sequence is being effectively delivered throughout our schools and that our culture (social and emotional learning) is consistently infused throughout your student's career with Forge International. Our team can only grow stronger by being together with each other and all of our students every day.

What is the affiliation between Forge International and Sage International?
Forge and Sage are two distinctly separate local education agencies governed by a single Board of Directors. Forge International has been modeled after the success of the Sage International School of Boise, but will serve the unique needs of its community as its own school. This affiliation allows for contracting shared experience and governance which proves to make both schools stronger, thus ensuring successful implementation of our high-quality educational programming. All Forge International budgets and funds are completely separate from Sage International.
What is your curriculum? This is a challenging question to answer and perhaps even more challenging to understand as it is a complex issue. As a public school, Forge International is required to teach Idaho Core State Standards. How we teach them can look very different than a traditional school. Will there be a playground? Currently, in the plans, there is room for a playground, but there were not enough funds in the construction budget to develop that part of the property. Forge International values play as a significant part of raising well-rounded children. The development of a natural playground will be a priority in working with the PTO. We will engage members of the school community in the planning, fundraising, and installation. What will recess look like? Each elementary grade level will have three twenty-minute: one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon, and one attached to lunchtime. Again, Forge International values play as a part of raising well-rounded children. There will be some days that breaks will be held indoors due to inclimate weather (extreme cold temperature or lightening), but by and large, students should come prepared to get some fresh air, rain or shine. Are parent volunteers allowed? Yes, please! Running a school takes a community and the more parents we have to assist with tasks throughout the school, the more efficient our staff can be. Is volunteering required if my students attend Forge? Absolutely not. Forge International values the work that you put in outside of school to provide the necessities for your families. Give what you can, but Forge International will never make attendance contingent upon it. Why is there a tuition cost for kindergarten? Currently, the State of Idaho provides funding for only a half day of kindergarten. Like other public full-day kindergarten programs, the additional costs associated with providing an extended kindergarten is met by program participants. The Forge International extended day program has a program fee of $260.00 per month September through June. Unless otherwise arranged, those families accepting enrollment offered during our lottery process commit to the full-day program. Financial assistance is available, contact the school office to request an application. How do we apply for tuition assistance for kindergarten? The first step is to accept your enrollment offer and complete the enrollment paperwork. Approximately one month after the lottery tuition assistance applications will be made available online. What will busing look like? We are bidding contracts for buses now. In the first year, Forge will offer three bus routes across our attendance zone. Once the contract had been finalized, we will make applications for transportation available so we can work with the bus company to design routes. Charter school busing looks different from traditional busing in that many stops are for an entire “community” within a set radius, rather than stopping at every subdivision on the road. This allows us to streamline the process to maximize time since our bus routes extend out into the furthest reaches of our boundaries. What are the school hours? Forge will operate school days Monday through Thursday for students. School will start at 8:30am for all grades. Grades K-3 will release at 3:50pm. For 2019-20 only, grades 4-5 will release at 4:05pm. In future years, all elementary grades will release at 3:50pm and secondary grades (6-12) will release at 4:05pm.
What can we expect for homework? Forge International will not send home weekly packets of traditional homework. We believe in the concept of individual practice. Each child’s teacher will work with parents to offer individual practice to help close gaps if students are behind, or inspire students if they need an additional challenge. As students progress through the system, the academic requirements will increase at the secondary level and it is more likely to see individual practice or project completion come home. Will there be clubs? Yes. Many of our clubs are organized and facilitated through parent volunteers. If you are interested in starting a club, more information will come out closer to the start of school. Will there be athletics? Yes. Forge International is planning to offer a variety of sanctioned athletic programs and club sports. It is important to understand that not all sports may be offered at Forge, but in conjunction with your local school district. Every attempt will be made to work with the school community to determine implementation timelines and facility needs for each sport. What is the role of the Board of Directors? The Board oversees the governance of the school and ensures that all policies and procedures are followed by school employees and that the school manages its finances in accordance with state regulation. Our Board has a variety of different background skills and capacities. The Board of Directors is responsible for hiring the Executive Director, who oversees each campus-based leadership team. What can we expect from school security? Operating a safe school is a major priority for the Board of Directors and Forge leadership team. While we do not discuss specifics to ensure fidelity in our safety and security planning, be assured that plans have been developed and appropriate staff has been trained accordingly. Parents can expect to check-in at the office to obtain a visitor’s pass prior to admittance to the school for any reason. For major functions (ie first day, programs, class parties, etc.) parents can expect to still check-in, however, there may be an alternate process to help the office manage the volume of parents. Parents will be notified as much as possible prior to these events on what to expect. Please remember that our job is to keep each of your children safe while they’re at school, and we ask all of the adults to set a positive example on following procedures. What should parents expect if their child is not meeting expectations? The first thing to expect is communication from the classroom teacher. There are a variety of intervention options that the school team can explore based on the recommendation from the teacher. Our number one goal is that all students grow in academics and social-emotional development. Each student really is investigated on a case-by-case basis. What can parents expect if their child is advanced? Again, this is a case-by-case situation. The first place to start is with the classroom teacher. As an inquiry-based school, we encourage students to dive deep into their learning rather than simply skip ahead. Our ultimate goal is to help educate well-rounded students based on their individual interests and developmentally appropriate placements.

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