BLACKFOOT — Bingham Academy, a new public charter high school, will open in August 2014 in Blackfoot. It will be located in the corner of Riverside Plaza that had formerly been the home of the Plaza Twin Theater, Bradbury College and Blackfoot Bookstore.
Doug Owen has been hired as the principal.
"I've always wanted the opportunity to open a new school; to put it all together," said Owen. "This is a really good bonus.
"I've always wanted the opportunity to hire a new faculty; to hire a complete staff," he said.
Explaining charter schools, Owen said, "Charter schools are public schools. They are designed with specific goals in mind.
"The goal of Bingham Academy is in its title: College and Career Readiness," he said.
"We will be advising students to help them tailor their classes for college and/or career readiness," said Owen. "We want to help students to meet their college and career goals.
"We will be taking sampling along the way to help students be prepared in the fields in which they are interested," he said.
One testing sample is the Armed Services Vocational Career Battery (ASVAB) that is given in the students' junior year. ASVAB is administered by the military so it is free.
Other instruments are available to investigate students' interests, Owen said.
"The state has also made moves so students can have dual enrollment and get high school and college credit," he said.
Bingham Academy will also emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum. The school will meet all Idaho state standards.
Bingham Academy will start with only freshmen and sophomore classes in 2014. Classes for juniors will be added in 2015; seniors in 2016.
In looking for faculty, if teachers are certified in more than one area, "that would be a big bonus," said Owen. "We would welcome people with masters and dual certification."
Positions to be filled include English, math, science, Professional Technical Education, social studies, music, Special Education and Distance Education Coordinator.
The Idaho Public Charter School Commission approved the charter for Bingham Academy in April 2013.
Because the charter school was approved last April, "it was too late to open this fall but early enough to get a good run for the following year," Owen said.
Raised in Mesa, Ariz., Owen has been in education for 24 years. He has been a principal in Idaho for 15 years—four years in Salmon, three years in Skyline for three years, two years in Moscow and the past six years in Soda Springs.
Owen and his wife, Patti, have six adult children—three boys and three girls—and six grandchildren with grandchild number seven due around Christmas.
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