Anser Charter School

The Anser Story

In the late 1990’s, Darrel Burbank, principal of Garfield Elementary, put out a call to teachers in the school who were interested in exploring the question:

What would a ‘dream’ school look like?

Garfield teachers, staff and parents, along with a handful of BSU education professors working with the multiage classrooms and envisioning a professional development school, attended the first meeting. Their ideas and dreams filled a dozen sheets of chart paper!  Building on their vision, Darrel named the group “The Dream Team” and the mission was to design “The Dream School.”

The dream was briefly halted when the Boise School District denied the team’s proposal, citing a lack of interest at that time in piloting any new concepts. The Superintendent had a clear vision for the district that did not include alternate forms of education.

But this didn’t stop the determined group! The Dream Team began holding meetings off-campus, during non-school hours. The question for The Dream School became, “If not here, then where?”

ServiceWhen Idaho legislators began discussing Charter School Legislation, the Dream Team submitted an application to the Boise School District. Prior to submission, team members spent hours researching charter schools across the nation, collecting information about the strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures of educational and business designs.  This information was combined with the sheets of ideas about the utopian school, and then cross-referenced with a dose of reality in regard to where it could be housed.

Darrel asked that members give what they could, when they could, and as much as they could. The Team was based on shared leadership, shared passion, and a shared vision of what a school could, and would, be. One of Darrel’s favorite sayings was from the movie Paint Your Wagon: “We don’t know where we’re going, but we know we’re on our way!”

In 1998, the Dream School became ANSER Charter School, founded on the lessons from geese. Our school would encourage students, staff, and parents to share the leadership, encourage one another to fly higher, support one another when the going is rough and take responsibility for guiding the flock along new and challenging paths of discovery. Our children would make a difference in the community, discover their self-worth, strive to be better people, become life-long learners and develop the skills needed to excel in the 21st Century.

The Dream Team has evolved over the years, and though its name no longer exists officially, it is kept alive with weekly staff meetings and professional development days, Family Council, the Board, classroom discussions and open communication policies. The Dream School continues to evolve as well, as new students, staff and parents share their dreams and aspirations—and work to make them come true.

History

The Independent School District of Boise approved ANSER’s petition for a charter on September 28, 1998.  Since opening in 1999, we have grown to a thriving 366 students at our current location in Garden City.  Here’s a brief look at our growth highlights:

  • September 7, 1999 –  Opened our  doors to 112 students in a vacant office building in downtown Boise
  • December 1999 –  Moved to a former athletic club (Bronco Elite) on River Street to secure more space
  • September 2001 –  Increased our enrollment to 138 students and added two new classes
  • September 2004 –  Added junior high classes with enrollment increasing to 190 students
  • September 2009 –  Tripled our size to 324 students and moved to our current location in Garden City to meet expansion needs
  • September 2011 – We have 366 students in our 2011-12 school year

Recognition

Anser is an award-winning public charter school.  Listed below are a few recent awards

  • 2011 Designated an Expeditionary Learning Mentor School
  • 2010 Honoree of the Charter Stars Award for Excellence in Innovation from the State of Idaho Department of Education
  • Recipient of the 2010 Governor’s Brightest Star Award
  • Three national certified teachers are in our faculty
  • Recognized by the Character Education Partnership (CEP) as a National School of Character Award Recipient (only 10 schools nationwide receive the honor)
  • Met CEP’s stringent Character Education Quality Standards
  • Boyer Center Best Practices Award