Tamarack Resort to Host Charter School

State-funded school expected to open in fall 2022

BY MAX SILVERSON
for The Star-News

The McCall Community School plans to open in the fall 2022 at Tamarack Resort under a new name as the Mountain Community School. 
Jenny Schon

The school and resort have entered into a letter of intent to move forward in establishing the school. 

“Tamarack Resort is an ideal classroom – and playground – to spark curiosity and inspire our students to learn in an engaging and experiential environment,” Mountain Community School Co-Founder Patrick Berg said

The charter school would serve children in kindergarten through eighth grade. It was first approved by the Idaho Charter School Commission in April, 2019. 

Charter schools are public, state-funded schools that students can attend at no cost. Charter schools are not able to levy taxes or issue bonds. 

“We are excited about exploring this opportunity,” Tamarack Resort President Scott Turlington said. 

“This is a priority for us and something both parties want to continue to work towards a final agreement on,” Turlington said. 

Putting the school campus at Tamarack Resort clears a roadblock for development since the school gained its charter. 

The school first planned to develop a campus on Colorado Street in McCall but acquiring the land and constructing a facility proved too expensive. 

In early 2020, the school sought to locate about two miles south of McCall on Idaho 55.

But that plan stalled after the school did not receive $2 million in grant funding from The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation and the Communities of Excellence Federal Charter School Program due to high costs, school co-founder Jennifer Schon said. 

The school had enrolled 84 students for the fall 2020 semester before funding fell through.

Enrollment capacity in the first year at the Tamarack location is 115 students, Schon said. 

Tamarack Resort “is charging us a very reasonable rate that works within our budget,” she said.

During the initial phase of the project, Tamarack will provide the infrastructure for school facilities with the school remodeling the existing buildings, she said. 

“In the future, Tamarack and MCS have identified a parcel of property along West Mountain Road on the eastern boundary of the resort for the permanent location of the Charter School,” Schon said. 

The parcel is near the location that Tamarack plans to build employee housing for about 500 employees called Lakeside Village. 

Any student in the McCall-Donnelly School District can enter a lottery for enrollment, but the school is not associated with the district. 

The school would teach mastery-based education, in which students progress through subject material as they achieve an acceptable level of understanding. 

Curriculum would be centered around place-based and project-based learning and crafted by what is relevant currently to student interest, Schon said. 

Schon said the school would have five to seven teachers with classes likely to be comprised of multiple grade levels. 

“Our model allows for children to be integrated, so grades are in ever flexible groups that allow children to work on mastery and focus on their interests,” she said. 

The McCall Community School plans to open in the fall 2022 at Tamarack Resort under a new name as the Mountain Community School. 
Jenny Schon

The school and resort have entered into a letter of intent to move forward in establishing the school. 

“Tamarack Resort is an ideal classroom – and playground – to spark curiosity and inspire our students to learn in an engaging and experiential environment,” Mountain Community School Co-Founder Patrick Berg said

The charter school would serve children in kindergarten through eighth grade. It was first approved by the Idaho Charter School Commission in April, 2019. 

Charter schools are public, state-funded schools that students can attend at no cost. Charter schools are not able to levy taxes or issue bonds. 

“We are excited about exploring this opportunity,” Tamarack Resort President Scott Turlington said. 

“This is a priority for us and something both parties want to continue to work towards a final agreement on,” Turlington said. 

Putting the school campus at Tamarack Resort clears a roadblock for development since the school gained its charter. 

The school first planned to develop a campus on Colorado Street in McCall but acquiring the land and constructing a facility proved too expensive. 

In early 2020, the school sought to locate about two miles south of McCall on Idaho 55.

But that plan stalled after the school did not receive $2 million in grant funding from The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation and the Communities of Excellence Federal Charter School Program due to high costs, school co-founder Jennifer Schon said. 

The school had enrolled 84 students for the fall 2020 semester before funding fell through.

Enrollment capacity in the first year at the Tamarack location is 115 students, Schon said. 

Tamarack Resort “is charging us a very reasonable rate that works within our budget,” she said.

During the initial phase of the project, Tamarack will provide the infrastructure for school facilities with the school remodeling the existing buildings, she said. 

“In the future, Tamarack and MCS have identified a parcel of property along West Mountain Road on the eastern boundary of the resort for the permanent location of the Charter School,” Schon said. 

The parcel is near the location that Tamarack plans to build employee housing for about 500 employees called Lakeside Village. 

Any student in the McCall-Donnelly School District can enter a lottery for enrollment, but the school is not associated with the district. 

The school would teach mastery-based education, in which students progress through subject material as they achieve an acceptable level of understanding. 

Curriculum would be centered around place-based and project-based learning and crafted by what is relevant currently to student interest, Schon said. 

Schon said the school would have five to seven teachers with classes likely to be comprised of multiple grade levels. 

“Our model allows for children to be integrated, so grades are in ever flexible groups that allow children to work on mastery and focus on their interests,” she said. 

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