What would a ‘dream’ school look like?
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 local 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?”
When Idaho legislators began discussing Charter School Legislation, the Dream Team submitted an application to the local 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 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 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.
Anser’s petition for a charter was approved on September 28, 1998. Since opening in 1999, we have grown to a thriving 442 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
- Moved to a former athletic club (Bronco Elite) on River Street
- Increased enrollment to 138 students and added two new classes
- Added junior high classes with enrollment increasing to 190 students
- Doubled enrollment to 324 students and moved to our current location in Garden City
- Realigned our grade levels to the current configuration
- Transferred Charter to the Idaho Public Charter School Commission
- Increased enrollment to 442 students and added two new classes in grades 2/3 and 4/5
- Expansion of the current facility to break ground, making room for additional classes and students in Fall 2022
- Expansion complete September 2022
- First day of School September 6th, 2022 in the fully expanded and updated space