The Idaho Public Charter School Commission has approved the proposed Peace Valley Charter School with conditions.

Peace Valley’s leadership will go back before the commission on Dec. 14 to review the conditions and seek a performance certificate, according to the commission’s office.

Peace Valley would be a free, public charter school based on the Waldorf model. The school plans to open for grades K-6 in August in either Boise or Eagle, and then eventually expand to K-8, said Laura Henning, board president of Peace Valley Charter School, Inc.

Peace Valley would be the first Waldorf school in the Treasure Valley, she said. The philosophy, which originated a century ago in Germany and Austria, focuses on the individual development of students and incorporates art and nature into learning, she said. The use of computers and digital devices is limited.

“We need something where we can garden and where we can, you know, have kids out in nature,” Henning previously told the Meridian Press. “It’s not a traditional classroom at all.”

The proposed school is backed by an investor, Giza Development, a construction company in Utah.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Public charter schools operate under the umbrella of local school districts or under a state charter. The Idaho Public Charter School Commission charters 37 of the state’s 52 charter schools, according to the commission’s 2016 annual report.

The state commission approved a charter for another Treasure Valley public charter school, Gem Prep: Meridian, in August.

As of the 2015-16 school year, roughly 20,340 students in Idaho attended a public charter school. Of those, almost 5,000 students were enrolled in a virtual charter school.

There are two state-chartered public schools in the West Ada school district boundaries: North Star Charter School and Compass Public Charter School. Two charter schools operate under the West Ada school district: Meridian Medical Arts Charter High School and Meridian Technical Charter High School.

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