Bluum Monthly Newsletter - Jan. 2016

In Education Poverty Does Not Need To Be Destiny

This article originally appeared on Idaho Education News

By Terry Ryan & Angel Gonzalez, Bluum | The needs of Idaho’s K-12 student population are changing. The Gem State is expected to see net growth in lower income households and net declines in households with annual incomes above $50,000. We are also becoming more racially diverse. As we reported in our 2014 study, Shifting Sands: Idaho’s Changing Student Demographics and What it Means for Education, “the state’s student population will undergo significant changes in coming years. Population and household projections indicate that the future school-age population will be increasingly urban, more racially diverse and from lower income households.”

Idaho is projected to see a decrease in the number of households with annual incomes of more than $50,000, and a significant increase in the number of households making less than $50,000 a year by 2019. These numbers are alarming not only for education and educators, but for everyone concerned about Idaho’s future workforce and quality of life. READ MORE

Innovation Spotlight

Interview with Jonathan Dinger
Grace Lutheran School, Pocatello

Bluum is excited to introduce you to the dedicated leaders and high quality schools that we are working with to ensure Idaho's children reach their fullest potential. 

Grace Lutheran School opened its doors to the Pocatello community over 60 years ago. Since then they have delivered on their mission to "promote excellence in education and to nurture each child in an environment of compassion reaching out with the Love of Christ." This year they embark on a vision to expand from pre-K through 8th into grades 9 -12 over the next four years. Pictured here is a "signing day" celebration for their first group of incoming Freshman.

Why did Grace Lutheran decide now is the right time to expand?

Over the last 40 years we've been dreaming of this opportunity. Recently we were approached by leaders of the community who were struggling to recruit and retain professionals who seek high quality private education for high school children. From my research, Pocatello is the only town of 50,000 in ten western states that does not offer a traditional, full-featured private high school to its community. There is a real gap in Pocatello's educational choices for parents of high school age children. A community of this size should cover the whole spectrum of choice. 

How will the Pocatello community benefit from this new high school?

We are a diverse country with a long history of freedom of religion and expression. A Christian family in this town did not have an option to put their high school student in a school where their values would be taught. This expansion makes Pocatello a more attractive community to those looking to relocate or grow their business here. 

Research shows that 250-300 students is the best size for a high school in achievement, engagement, and opportunities beyond the classroom. Being able to offer this smaller school option, we know we are closer to those best practices. Kids will get the personal attention they need - no kid will fall through the cracks here. 

How has Bluum helped as you and Grace Lutheran tackle this expansion? 

In our location as a faith-based, private secondary school it can get a little lonely. To have an advocate, someone who is cheering for us - it's tremendous encouragement. When I call Terry with an idea, he listens; he really wants to hear our ideas and if it is something that would help kids. He is very enthusiastic and passionate. Terry and Bluum have offered us the opportunity to be collaborative in this process and have helped us make connections with the local university and others. Bluum helps make possible things that we could not have done on our own. 

What advice would you give a school leader who is looking to improve academic outcomes?

My mantra, when making any decision, is to ask: "What's best for kids?" Not what's best for the institution, financially, or because of the community or demographics, but really what is best for kids. It's kind of simplistic but can be challenging because it's expensive or out of the box. Everyone in education needs to be asking themselves this - whether they're a teacher, administrator, coach or development officer.

Bluum Supports School Choice

Join The Celebration - January  27, 2016

Bluum is celebrating all of Idaho's schools and programs of choice as part of National School Choice Week. Choice supporters from Public District, Private, Virtual, Religious, Public Charter, Home School, and Magnet Schools will host the big celebration of Idaho's educational options. Help us show how school choice works for Idaho children and families. Let's stand together and celebrate!


January 27th - Noon to 1:00 PM

On the Idaho State Capitol Steps

Boise High School's premier High Expectations Choir will open the celebration of Idaho's education choices. Come hear students and teachers from Idaho Fine Arts Academy, Grace Lutheran, Idaho Virtual Academy, Cole Valley Christian, Compass Charter School, and home school parents. Plus, don't forget to practice your dance moves!


We're Hiring

Office Administrative Assistant

We're committed to ensuring Idaho's children reach their fullest potential by cultivating great leaders and innovative schools. To help us achieve our mission, we're growing our team! We are excited to add an energetic and organized individual who has the ability to respond positively in a quick pace and rapid change while successfully juggling many projects.  

We're looking for an full-time Administrative Assistant to support senior staff and provide general administrative support to the organization. See the full job description here.
Interested? Send a cover letter and resume letting us know why you're the right person to help us grow. Email to Apply.

On The Blog

How Idaho School Choice Helps Us Dream Big For Our Children

Suzanne Metzgar, Bluum
My husband and I have two smart, warm-hearted and beautiful daughters. (Yes, I’m gushing!) While they’re only one grade apart, they’re as different as day and night.

Our oldest daughter loves math, art and music – disciplines that are closely aligned and suit her creative mind. Our youngest is an avid reader, prolific writer and intense debater.

We’re carefully considering their interests and skills as we begin looking at college options. It would be very convenient for us if both of our girls attended the same college, but it wouldn’t provide them with the best opportunities for their futures if that college didn’t complement their talents and career goals.

Latest Activity

Bluum Updates Education Committee on Recent Work

Bluum was among ten education stakeholders and state officials that presented at the inaugural meeting of the Idaho Senate Education Committee. Speakers had the chance to share their work over the past year and update committee members on the initiatives they would be pursuing in the coming year.

Bluum’s presentation focused on our belief that school choice helps families, children and educators achieve more and do better. Bluum’s CEO, Terry Ryan, shared a look at the current Idaho education choice landscape, which included an update on the performance of Idaho’s 49 charter schools, and early investments in charter, public, and private school growth.

Upcoming Event

Charters Under Threat: Panel Discussion by National Experts

Please join us January 27th following the School Choice Week Rally to hear from experts about lessons learned from Washington State.  

Terry Ryan will moderate a panel of charter threat experts on the Washington State Ruling followed by discussion with the audience. Panelists represent the Washington State Charter Schools Association, League of Education Voters, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

This event will share the latest information about legal and political challenges to Washington State charter schools and discuss what this might mean for Idaho's 20,000 students attending charters.

About Bluum

Bluum is a non-profit organization committed to ensuring Idaho’s children reach their fullest potential by cultivating great leaders and innovative schools. Bluum believes that school choice helps families, children and educators achieve more and do better. Bluum works to help Idaho become a national model for how to maximize learning opportunities for children and families. Learn more at or click here to read our introductory blog post.
Copyright © 2016 Bluum, All rights reserved.

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