In late February, the Bozeman School Board agreed unanimously to turn Bridger Alternative into Montana’s first Charter School. The school had originally been founded as an alternative program within Bozeman High School to help at risk teens graduate from high school.
Bridger Alternative’s program utilizes a competency model to determine how and when a student graduates. In traditional public schools like Bozeman High School, students complete a minimum number of days to graduate and also need passing grades. Bridger alternative students can earn credits by showing clear mastery of a skill, such as math, physics, English etc, allowing students to move quicker or slower through material when necessary.
Now that the school has grown to 80 students and has six full time faculty, the school board has gone ahead with designating Bridger Alternative as a Charter School. Although no immediate changes will be seen with the designation, eventually the school will be able to offer more performance based courses now that they aren’t tied to a public school and its rules. Currently, students at Bridger Alternative split time between the program traditional classes at Bozeman High. One day, with Charter designation and the ability to offer additional classes, students might be able to take every class at Bridger Alternative.