Message from Our Founders
This school was created at the request of parents and community. Everyone involved with this school has a passion to provide an educational opportunity that breaks through traditional education and positively impacts student success.
We believe in high standards, work ethic, and personal accountability for our teachers, administration, parents, and students. Most schools say things similar to that, but we take it a step further. We actually have the courage to do something about it. We believe that accountability and competition are the benchmarks of free market principles. It is very difficult to teach our young people how to be successful capitalists in a system where everybody gets a trophy regardless of performance.
Idaho high schools have increased graduation rates in recent years, and yet an increased number of college freshman are taking remedial math and english courses. So why are they graduating if they don’t have the skills? Because we, as a society, haven’t had the courage to tell parents and students the truth. Our country suffers from a surplus of self-esteem and a deficit of accomplishment. We have attended many conferences and heard parents tell us that they don’t know why their child is struggling. They were straight A students at their last school. We have to tell them, “You’ve been lied to.”
There is no doubt it is easier to tell parents good news, but would you want your doctor to tell you you’re fine if you had cancer? We must have the courage to overcome this, and it can be done. We are paving the way here at STEM Charter Academy.
A good school is a training ground for our economic future. Employers want problem-solvers who persevere when things don’t go smoothly. If young people want to increase their wages, they better learn to increase their skills. We ask too little of our young people. They can accomplish whatever they are willing to work to accomplish. True accomplishment is where actual self-esteem comes from. That is a way of life here at STEM.
Our students want to be challenged and learn that the will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. They understand that failure is one step in the process toward success. Our mission talks about preparing students, through rigorous and relevant content, to be productive and successful citizens by developing a strong work-ethic and the higher-level critical thinking skills needed to solve problems in the real world. All parents want their children to be successful, but STEM parents have the foresight, patience, and grit to actually know what it takes to achieve those things.
We unapologetically protect instructional time. We don’t interrupt instructional time for assemblies or fundraising. We expect good behavior and manners. Every adult in the school shapes the character of our students by the way they talk, their attire, the behaviors they model, and the expectations they have for themselves and their students. Effective character education transforms the culture and life of a school. We don’t have extracurricular sports. Academics is our sport and our students excel. We are an Academy and education is what we do.
Any school can talk about success, but our students demonstrate it. Our students are asked to speak at conferences around the country, they attend space camps, leadership conferences, they compete for and receive scholarships, jobs, and other growth opportunities. 100% of our seniors are college and career ready, Their SAT scores are the highest in the state and 200 points above the national average. Well over half of them will receive two year associates degrees from NIC weeks before they actually graduate from STEM Charter Academy. That’s not talk. That’s results.
We are often asked about replicating this school in other communities throughout the state and country and the answer is always the same. Although our program and delivery model is fantastic, this school is successful because of the people in it. We have a highly motivated and caring staff, a dedicated and strong Board of Directors, a committed and tireless group of parents. All are dedicated to future generations. We are changing the face of education, and you are all part of that change.
Thank you from our hearts.
Scott and Colleen Thomson