Totally Boise Blog


What to Consider When Choosing A Treasure Valley High School

Last updated September 23, 2021 by Dani Hansen

High school is one of the most formative years of a person's life. Here in the Treasure Valley, there are a ton of unique options that will help you or your high schooler find their perfect fit.

Why Choose Traditional Public High Schools?

The Boise area has two primary school districts, West Ada and the Boise School District. In these two major school districts, there are 12 traditional public schools options for high schoolers. What is the benefit to a traditional high school, you may ask? There are a few things to consider when planning your teenager's high school experience:

  • Cost: You can't beat the affordability of a public high school.
  • Availability: Public schools must accommodate all youth within the district; therefore, you don't have to worry about waitlists. It also means they cannot reject a child for poor academic performance.
  • Diversity: Public school provides exposure to all students within the district. It gives students the opportunity to work beside peers of other income levels, cultures, religions, and disabilities.
  • Extra Opportunities: Because public schools are long-standing, they have many additional programs that other private or charter schools may be unable to access. This includes academic opportunities like advanced classes, clubs like art, DECA or theater, and athletics!
  • Special Needs Services: Traditional Public Schools have to provide equal opportunity for each student legally. Because of this, traditional public high schools have to provide counseling, special education, speech therapy, and other accommodating services!

High Schools in the Boise & Meridian Area:

Boise School District

  • Boise High School
  • Borah High School
  • Capital High School
  • Frank Church High School
  • Timberline High School

West Ada School District

  • Centennial High School
  • Eagle High School
  • Meridian High School
  • Mountain View High School
  • Owyhee High School
  • Rocky Mountain High School

High Schools in the Nampa, Caldwel & Middleton Area:

Nampa School District

  • Columbia High School
  • Nampa High School
  • Skyview High School

Middleton School District

  • Middleton High School

Caldwell School District

  • Caldwell High School
  • Canyon Springs High School
Why Choose Public Charter High Schools?

Why Choose Public Charter High Schools?

Idaho has its fair share of public charter schools. The difference between a public charter and a traditional public school is that charters are typically tailored to be more flexible, accommodate alternative learning methods, and provide a variety of support to certain populations of students. There is limited capacity, so typically, you do have to apply to attend a charter school. For example, Meridian has one charter school modeled to expand student's experience in technology - Meridian Technical Charter High School, and Boise has a charter school that helps accommodate teen parents - Cardinal Academy. Both charter schools have the same academic requirements provided by the State of Idaho but are customized to be more flexible based on the students' needs. Here are a few aspects to consider when selecting one of the 13 charter schools in the Treasure Valley:

  • Cost: Charter schools are funded through the same avenues as traditional high schools; therefore, there is no cost to the student to attend.
  • Flexibility: Because conventional high schools have a board of directors that are a direct reflection of the state, and charter schools have an independent board, charter schools tend to have more flexibility in curriculum, scheduling, and teaching styles despite being held to the same academic standards of a traditional public school.
  • Suited for Interests and Needs: Not all students have the same learning style, life situation, or interests. Because a charter school is more flexible, they tend to be more innovative in their teaching methods and are better suited to fit the individual students' wants and needs.
  • College Prep: Often, charter schools equally mimic the independent and advanced learning style of a college or university. This can make a student's transition to secondary school easier.
  • Traditional Public School Access: Traditional Public Schools typically have extracurricular activities like sports that public charter school students are still able to take advantage of within their district.

Charter Schools in the Treasure Valley:

  • Another Choice Virtual Charter School - Nampa - Grades K - 12
  • Cardinal Academy Charter School - Boise - Grades 9-12
  • Compass Public Charter School - Meridian - Grades K-12
  • Elevate Academy - Caldwell - Grades 6-10
  • Gem Prep - Meridian - Grades K-10
  • Gem Prep - Nampa - Grades K-10
  • Heritage Community Charter School - Caldwell - Grades K-12
  • Idaho Fine Arts Academy - Eagle - Grades 6-12
  • Idaho Arts Charter School - Nampa - Grades K-12
  • Idaho Technical Career Academy - Meridian - Grades 9-12
  • Inspire Connections Academy - Boise - Grades K-12
  • Liberty Charter School - Nampa - Grades K-12
  • Meridian Charter High School - Meridian - Grades 9-12
  • Meridian Medical Arts Charter H.S. - Meridian - Grades 9-12
  • Meridian Technical Charter School - Meridian - Grades 9-12
  • North Star Charter School - Meridian - Grades K-12
  • Pathways in Education - Nampa - Grades 9-12
  • Payette River Technical Academy - Emmett - Grades 9-12
  • Project Impact STEM Academy - Kuna - Grades K-10
  • Renaissance High School - Meridian - Grades 9-12
  • Richard McKenna Charter H. S. - Mountain Home - Grades 9-12
  • Sage International School of Boise - Boise - Grades K- 12
  • Thomas Jefferson Charter School - Caldwell - Grades K-12
  • Victory Charter School - Nampa - Grades K-12
  • Vision Charter School - Caldwell - Grades K-12

Why Choose Private High Schools?

Not everyone has the ability to attend a private school, but there are many advantages if you have the opportunity. Although most private schools are religious-based, they also provide a more intimate schooling experience. There are 28 private schools in Boise alone. Many of these schools have financial assistance available to accommodate students of all income levels. Here are some things to consider investing in private school education:

  • Personal Values: Private schools are typically focused on academic growth as well as personal development.
  • Strong Community: Private schools typically see a low turnover rate in students and teachers. If you are looking for a school that prioritizes relationship building and personal growth in the long term, a private school is a great option.
  • Smaller Class Sizes: Typically, private schools have smaller class sizes with a more consistent student and teacher base.
  • Academic Standard: Often, private schools hold a high standard of education than public schools. Private schools tend to have more rigorous curricula and require students to maintain a higher grade-point average to keep their status as a student.

Some Private Schools in the Treasure Valley:

  • Riverstone International School
  • The Ambrose School - Christian
  • Bishop Kelly High School - Catholic
  • Cole Valley Christian Schools - Christian
  • Foothills School of Arts & Sciences
  • Hall Institute for the Arts
Why Choose Home & Hybrid High Schools

Why Choose Home & Hybrid High Schools

Homeschooling isn't what it used to be. Many families have turned to homeschool in the last couple of years due to the new COVID environment. Although homeschooling can take a little more self-motivation or parent assistance, it has many advantages. With online and in-person hybrid options, there is still an opportunity to be social. This is what you should be thinking about when considering homeschooling or hybrid high schools:

  • Pace: Homeschooling allows students to learn at their own pace and explore more individual interests. Students won't feel overwhelmed or distracted by the pace or learning habits of their peers.
  • Exploration: Homeschooling allows students to dive deep into their interests without the influence or judgment of fellow students.
  • No Drama: Many students find it hard to learn in a typical school environment because of their peers. If a student isn't “fitting in,” it can often create an unnecessary distraction from their education and feed their anxiety - homeschooling avoids this altogether!
  • Flexibility: You can't beat the flexibility of homeschooling. Students work at their own pace on their own time, allowing them to explore other interests or pursue jobs and internship opportunities. Parents and students also get to choose their curriculum.
  • Social Programs: If a student doesn't want to lose too much of the social aspect of public school, there are many social and support groups available in the State of Idaho to help facilitate new friendships, innovative learning techniques, and enrichment opportunities.

Enrichment Programs for Teens

We are lucky to have so many excellent educational enrichment programs in the Treasure Valley for younger students. An enrichment program is a course outside of a student's curriculum that continues to enhance a student's knowledge. These programs can be broad like a summer refresher course, or they can be specific to a student's interests. Here are some of the fun enrichment programs we have in the Treasure Valley:

  • iCode Boise: iCode Boise is an excellent opportunity for students to further their technological understanding in a fun and interactive environment.
  • Everwild Forrest School: Although Everwild Forrest School is tailored for a younger audience, they have community programs that may appeal to outdoorsy students.
  • ZooTeen Program: Zoo Boise has a really fun and educational teen program that inspires teens across Idaho to increase and share their knowledge of animals, conservation, and the environment.

In the Treasure Valley, between Ada and Canyon County, there are 11 school districts, each one with different learning experiences. We want to know where you or your children attend high school, and what works best with your lifestyle!




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