All students benefit from "gifted" techniques.
The most frustrating aspect of "gifted" education is limited public school funding, which requires students to test in the upper 1% of an age cohort to participate in accelerated or advanced activities. We believe that all students are more actively engaged and perform at higher levels when offered challenging work.
North Fork School teachers challenge all students with advanced techniques and cutting-edge pedagogy. Our students continuously work at the edges of their capabilities, discovering daily that they can complete assignments they thought were "impossible" at the beginning of each year.
Our classes range in size from two to twelve students -- while the larger class size is more diverse, with a variety of ideas and perspectives, our location in a small rural community in McCall, Idaho restricts the number of families who are willing to put personal resources into education. Our online options allow students to join our classes from larger metropolitan areas, where families understand the need for an intimate, guided educational experience.
“What a nice surprise to find North Fork when we moved from Salt Lake City to McCall!
The academic quality and teaching expertise provided through this small school is impressive and we feel we cannot afford to compromise our daughter's education and her future. You guys are great and I am so glad you are in our little town!!!”
— Valerie Billmire, parent of Tess, class of 2020
Rather than simply high-achieving students, we accept all students who choose to work hard and commit to the extra academic challenge of our classes. Average students who work hard and do what we ask each year often do better in our programs, and stay for more years, than do the "gifted" students who are used to receiving "A"s for any work they turn in at a more traditional school.
“My Middlebury College professor told me that NFS techniques were cutting-edge pedagogy. When I explained our class processes, he could not believe that we had been so lucky to attend a small school with advanced research-based academic techniques in our rural Idaho town.”
— Erin Pittenger Blackadar, Esquire, Boise, ID.
North Fork/MDHS ’03; Middlebury College ' 07; University of Idaho College of Law ’12
The North Fork School offers families the value of an academic, college-prep, private education at a fraction of the cost of full-time private day school. The unique structure of our schedule -- and our accreditation by AdvancED -- allows students to fully participate in their public schools, replacing only one or two periods with North Fork classes.
Over the past 23 years, we have noticed that this small change -- accelerating the expectations and course load in just one or two classes, along with personal guidance by teachers in a small class -- provides benefits across all the courses students take, even in their public school classes.
That they can also be full-time students in their local public schools, participating in all the benefits of social activities, strong public school teachers, and extra-curricular and sports programs, provides a positive outcome for everyone involved.
"Our schools work well together. Like MDHS, the North Fork School is fully accredited by AdvancED; its learners seamlessly blend North Fork academics with the benefits of being fully enrolled in district schools. North Fork students are MDSD students. Our symbiotic relationship enhances academic success in McCall."
—Anonymous administrator, McCall-Donnelly School District
Engaging everyone In a small class, teachers guide and coach students. Every student comes prepared, as students lead discussions with their own insights and debate their unique viewpoints. Tests are Blue Book type essay and short answer exams; even on quizzes, North Fork teachers never ask students to simply memorize and repeat answers from class lectures.