Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families wishes you all the best over the Holiday’s.

We hope that you enjoy your family time and prepare for the upcoming year of 2017!!!!

This edition will be short –part one will be holiday focused  (fun activities to keep your students active) and the second part is a look at the first quarter of 2017 which all Idaho Charter school parents need to be aware of as it will shortly be in the news.

First we will focus on the fun part!  The list below has 11 Fun Winter Break Activities that will keep kids engaged and learning.  You will all have fun and learning---so have fun!!

11 Fun Winter Break Activities

 Ashley MacQuarrie


 December 11, 2014



The holiday season is in full swing, and with it, comes winter vacation, a welcome break in the school year for students and parents. While a few weeks off from the day-to-day schoolwork is important (and well-deserved!) there are lots of fun ways to incorporate learning during the break. Try these fun winter break activities to keep kids engaged and learning throughout the break, without it seeming like a chore.

1. Read holiday books together.

Incorporate reading time into your holiday plans. Try reading favorite holiday books together, or these holiday-themed stories from classic literary characters. If you’re traveling, take some audiobooks along to keep kids engaged on the plane or in the car.

2. Practice writing skills with seasonal writing projects.

Many favorite holiday activities are perfect opportunities to practice writing skills. Have kids write letters to Santa or try these Christmas journaling prompts. If you send a family Christmas letter, invite kids to help write it or have kids express gratitude and get some practice in too, by writing thank you notes for gifts received. Use these activities to brainstorm, practice the writing process, and learn to address letters.

3. Explore your family heritage.

Many families spend the holiday season with extended family near and far. If you’ll be visiting grandparents and other older relatives, it’s a great opportunity to encourage kids to take an interest in learning about their family heritage. Try having kids interview relatives about what life was like when they were growing up and about your family’s cultural heritage. Kids could even create a family history book or family tree with what they learn.

4. Discover the history of winter holidays.

Did you know that many favorite Christmas traditions, from caroling and Christmas trees to decorating with poinsettias, have very long histories? Spend some time learning about the traditions you incorporate into your holidays and about the origins of winter holidays and traditions around the world. Or discover the history of Santa Claus and the Santa Tracker.

5. Create art.

Practice art skills by spending time doing crafts, making ornaments or holiday cards, creating handmade gifts and decorations, or decorating wrapping paper. Find more fun art activities on our Arts Education and Crafts Pinterest boards.

6. Explore science, engineering, technology, and math.

Discover the science of snowflakes, the history of winter inventions, or try a science experiment like this crystal snowflake. With time off from the busy school year, you may also find you have more time for fun activities like LEGO learning activities or home science experiments.

7. Cook up a lesson.

There’s a lot to learn in the kitchen! Try baking Christmas cookies or have kids help prepare your holiday feast.

8. Play educational games.

Turn family game night into a learning opportunity by choosing one of these fun educational board games. You can also keep skills sharp and have fun with free educational games, activities, worksheets, and coloring pages. While kids shouldn’t spend the whole break being couch potatoes, they could do worse than to spend some time playing an educational game like Minecraft.

9. Get outside and play.

Even if it’s cold, staying active year-round is important, and as long as you’re properly bundled up, it can be lots of fun too! Try these easy ways to keep kids active in the winter.

10. Learn a new skill or supplement learning.

Explore robotics or learning to code, or try learning a new language with Duolingo.

Finally, winter break is the perfect time to supplement learning with an online program. Check out our EmbarK12 preschool program, Noodleverse Language Arts, or a World Language course for grades 3–12. The opportunity to learn something new is a perfect holiday gift, as well as a fun winter break activity.


The Second part of this Newsletter is much more serious—because is it advises you as a parent of an Idaho charter school student that the State of Idaho’s Charter School Commission will, in January 2017, begin the first ever Charter School Renewal Process.  Eventually each Charter School will be reviewed and, if found deficient, will be closed. (The March 2017 Renewal schedule.)

Coalition members will need to be actively engaged in this process as it is expected that the Commission staff will suggest that up to 10% of all current Idaho Charters will be shuttered.




“If this year has taught us nothing else, it's that Americans have had just about enough of their betters deciding what's best for them and expecting them to play gratefully along. Reformers might have to start accepting that our greatest point of leverage is to help parents choose wisely, rather than trying to police their choices by means of aggressive accountability schemes.” -Robert Pondiscio, Contributor, U.S. News & World Report, 12/2/16

Dear School Choice Champions-

After last month’s election we commissioned a national poll to gather voter attitudes about high-stakes, standardized testing and what the results of those tests are used for. The results are pretty striking.


• Voters overwhelmingly oppose closing schools based primarily on low standardized test scores

• Voters don’t view high-stakes, standardized testing to be the best measure of school and student success

Yet the education establishment is doubling down on high-stakes testing and using those results to judge your schools and your students. They're wrong. SEND A MESSAGE WITH YOUR DONATION TODAY: Let parents be the judge!

We need accountability systems that focus on individual student growth and improvement. Students shouldn’t be punished just because others in their school may be underperforming.


We will fight for you to have every school choice option available so your child can access the education that works best for them.

Check out all the survey results in this infographic!


Thank you,

Tillie Elvrum

President, is a national alliance of over 60,000 parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children. The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs.  Additionally, we advocate for equal access without restrictions to the school that best suits the individual student’s learning needs.

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