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New charter school in Boise will serve pregnant teens

The school's executive director says this new school will fill a void in the community.

BOISE, Idaho — A new charter school in Boise is now enrolling students for the fall semester, but this school is a little bit different than other charter schools around the Treasure Valley.

Cardinal Academy is focused on serving pregnant and parentings teens.

Executive Director Emily Bergstrom says this school will fill a void in the community that was created when the Boise School District decided to close the Marian Pritchett School, a school for teen mothers that had served Idaho for 55 years.

She believes that the needs of pregnant and parenting students are unique to those of a typical alternative school.

"These students need a place that feels like a community. They need to be a part of something," Bergstrom said.

Thanks to generous support from the community, Salvation Army, Boise School District and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, this school is a now a reality.

Cardinal Academy will lease space from The Salvation Army at its new Booth Campus at 9492 W. Emerald Street in Boise. Bergstrom says they will provide an excellent education with small classes and caring teachers. Career-technical courses give students job skills in addition to the opportunity to earn a high school diploma.

And perhaps, most importantly, students will receive pregnancy and parenting education and support.

"We want to make life better for these kids," Bergstrom said.

They will also have a full-time licensed social worker who will provide case management. And they provide on-site childcare, two healthy meals a day, plus access to a store and food pantry.

In addition, they are partnering with Family Medicine Residency of Idaho for an on-site medical clinic and a mental health provider for on-site mental health counseling. Transportation to and from campus will be provided for students living in Ada and Canyon counties.

The school will serve moms and dads ages 14-21. There is room for up to 120 students, which is more than double what the Marian Pritchett School could serve. Bergstrom says they are currently accepting new students. Classes start up in September.

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