By Cydney McFarland
POCATELLO â€” The Pocatello Community Charter School this year became one of only 14 schools in the nation credentialed by EL Education. The school is only the second in Idaho and one of 23 across the United States to be so recognized.
EL Education â€” formerly known as Expeditionary Learning â€” is a K-12 nonprofit group that focuses on raising student achievement though meaningful work and character development that promotes high achievement for students of diverse backgrounds. The program has been used by about 4,000 teachers in 150 schools across 30 states.
To receive the EL Education credentials, schools must demonstrate that their students meet EL Educationâ€™s achievement standards.
Students must have a mastery of knowledge and skills. This is measured by their standardized test scores, according to Pocatello Community Charter School Principal Michael Mendive. They must also show studentsâ€™ character development â€” which is tracked by students and teachers â€” as well as show that students produce high-quality work.
The process takes time because the schools must demonstrate that they are making progress over a period of four to six years.
â€śI donâ€™t know of any school where students enjoy their experience more than at Pocatello Community Charter School,â€ť Mendive said in a press release. â€śWe show that students can enjoy their educational experience while completing high-quality products, working to improve their world and still achieve high marks on standardized tests.â€ť
Nine schools earned their credentials last year, including the Anser Charter School in Boise. Pocatello Community and Anser are the only two charter schools in Idaho to receive EL Education credentials. Only seven other schools in the western United States have received these credentials.