IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Charter schools in eastern Idaho continue to try and accommodate as many families as possible, despite high waitlist numbers.
Alturas International Academy in Idaho Falls had more than 600 students on its waitlist during last year's lottery. The waitlist continues to be at approximately 400 students 2023-2024 school year.
While the turnaround each year for kids in first through fifth grade is small, charter schools like Alturas remind families the best time to get kids into a charter school is before Kindergarten since more than 100 seats open up each year.
According to Alturas Preparatory Academy Co-Principal Reece Drkula, the school gives a different perspective that allows students to make a difference in the community at a younger age.
"I think they want, you know, parents looking for something different. Students want to feel accomplished in what they're learning and doing," he said. "And I think that our model here at the school really provides that for both families and students and we build such a strong community within the classrooms because of what we do here."
The school reminds families the lottery process starts in January and then the selection happens in April. They encourage families to go ahead and get in the lottery to get on the waitlist, and then when they have openings ,the lottery will select people at random to get enrolled at the school.
"We just encourage parents get on the waitlist because seats randomly do open up throughout the year, but especially come next spring," Co-Principal Dayna Crose said." "That's the time to apply. And then over the summer, those seats will open up and get in the lottery."
While the waitlists remain high each year, the school is doing all it can to accommodate families who want to get their kids into the charter school system. However, charter schools are different in that the learning process is different.
"We've tapped into the way kids learn here at Alturas," Crose said. "The whole premise of our charter is small group instruction at their instruction level and and that means that we don't consider what grade you're in."
Alturas administrators continue to encourage people to apply online and get added to a waitlist, even if they don't get accepted during a certain school year. They also remind parents, siblings have preference when applying for admission.