Tuesday, May 26, 2015


In January, 2009, Hidden Springs Charter School's (HSCS) Board of Trustees asked the Boise School District to take over operation of the school beginning in the 2009-10 school year, owing to financial difficulties at the charter school. After the Hidden Springs Board declared bankruptcy, the Boise District bought the school building and its contents from the Bank of America for $3.5 million in January, 2010, and invested over $500,000 in repairs and upgrades to the building.

Over the past six school years, enrollment at Hidden Springs Elementary has dipped about 70 students, as the school has become a true "neighborhood school".

During the same period, open enrollment has dropped from 84 to 41, and out-of-district open enrollment has declined from 41 to 4. Most out-of-district open enrollment into Hidden Springs Charter School had been from Eagle, a community in the Meridian (now West Ada) School District.

Some in the Hidden Springs community feared that a Boise District takeover might mean "lower standards" which would lead to declining academic performance among Hidden Springs students. However, the District retained the Harbor Method, which had been a staple of the charter school, and maintained the curriculum of the school, which was oriented around the standards followed by all elementary schools in the District, in order to facilitate a seamless transfer to junior high school.

In fact, Hidden Springs has remained a high achieving school since its integration into the Boise School District. Most of the excellent staff at the school remained teaching at Hidden Springs, and strong community involvement continued in the neighborhood.

On the "old ISAT", used before the SBAC became the new measure of proficiency in 2015, high levels of proficiency were common in schools across the state of Idaho. Hidden Springs' proficiency rates were exceptionally high, and over 95% of students were typically proficient in any given year. This continued after the transition of HSCS to Hidden Springs Elementary School.

At the time, we used percentages of "Advanced" ISAT performance as the barometer for success at District schools. Here are the percentages of Hidden Springs students scoring in the Advanced range in Reading and Math before the transition, and after.

On the Reading subtest, of the ISAT, the percentage of Hidden Springs students scoring in the Advanced category was higher in every year after the transition from charter school to District elementary school than it was prior to the transition..

On the Math subtest, of the ISAT, the percentage of Hidden Springs students scoring in the Advanced category was higher in every year after the transition from charter school to District elementary school than it was the year prior to the transition, and about the same in 09-10, 10-11, and 11-12 as it was in 07-08.

The smooth transition from charter to elementary school was the result of diligence and patience on the part of Boise District trustees and administrators, the staff at Hidden Springs, and members of the community. We continue to value the relationships built over time in the neighborhood, and look forward to a strong continued partnership.