Michelle Ball is an educator in Idaho Falls for more than forty years and has a strong passion for education. Twenty-two of those years were spent teaching in a multi-age classroom where the model for Alturas International Academy was developed by researching and continually incorporating best practices in education. She has been married to her husband, Doug for over forty years and they enjoy a life of cross country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, running, and biking. They are the proud parents of three children, Conrad, Rebecca, and Patrick and the family was even more enhanced by their spouses, Melissa, Tim, and Priya. Her three grandchildren, Jameson, Gavin, and Emma Michelle have been a joy beyond words in her life. Their dogs, Ellie and Rosie, love to go on all their sport adventures and enhance their life every day. Her family is an immense support in her life.
- Our Model
- Alturas International Academy has a unique model that has built a strong community for our students to learn in an environment that is safe and engaging. Even though we are an International Baccalaureate World School and it incorporates our philosophy, it is the model of small group instruction at instructional levels in a safe, collaborative, engaging environment that has created a strong community for educational success. What an amazing journey it is to be a co-founder of Alturas International Academy. I am beyond grateful for the incredible community of people whose work, dedication, and dreams created a school that empowers students to achieve at their highest potential and make a difference in the world they live in. It takes a village to create a strong educational community and what a village we have. Every decision we make at Alturas is centered around what is best for students to achieve at their highest potential and support the community they learn in. Students are empowered to realize that their success is determined by their own fortitude and their own work ethic and we as educators are accountable to give them the tools and confidence to be responsible for their learning. As a culture we work to embrace that learning is a right and a privilege. We want our students to go forward without limits, to understand and use their gifts to create a better world. We want every single one of our students to be the very best they can be and to understand that life and learning is full of challenges and it is the struggles that help us grow, find, understand and appreciate our talents and use education to build a better, more understanding and respectful world.
- Creating Communites
- Our teachers will affirm the right to be different and the need for members of different cultures to respect one another as well as find our commonality. As educators, we enlighten our students that differences in viewpoints and culture are to be appreciated and analyzed rather than judged and feared. The Academy seeks to support, educate, and inspire every student to think critically and collaboratively, value learning, and recognize their common humanity and shared stewardship of the planet. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, our students are inspired to be lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and global citizens. We have a profound understanding that humans are natural inquirers, they want to learn and explore in an environment that is safe and engaging. We are developing growth mindsets in our students where they embrace the struggle and understand that the struggle is part of the journey and brings tremendous growth.
- How Studnets Learn
- Teaching is student centered and curriculum is focused on imparting knowledge as well as teaching students to be caring, principled, reflective, balanced, open minded, inquirers, risk takers and thinkers. Children deserve to be taught at their instructional levels to achieve an education that is rigorous and engaging. When students are taught at instructional levels, they can reach their highest potential of learning as well as being leaders and strong mentors. We believe that categorizing students by grade levels limits their ability to reach their highest potential. Students constantly collaborate with partners and group members. They are taught the importance of taking ownership of their own education and supporting their classmates. Through small group learning the students foster analytical and critical thinking skills and explore real life world problems where every member of the group contributes. They collaborate, question, and discover the world around them. In classrooms, the teacher primarily acts as a facilitator/trainer to help students become independent, collaborative learners. Our teachers teach with our students, not at them. They never sit down throughout the day as they are constantly engaged with their students. They go from one instructional group to another fluidly as students independently take responsibility and guide their learning. Emphasis is placed on the classroom as a collaborative, safe, and supportive community. In the end, what students and teachers believe about themselves as learners is especially important in this process. Individuals who believe their talents can be developed through challenging work, good strategies, and input from others have a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset is essential in this model and understanding that making mistakes, respecting, and analyzing others’ opinion is part of the learning process. Teaching excellence is gained through engagement and collaboration and developing the 21st Century skills of communication, collaboration, critical and creative thinking.
- Our Mission and Vision
- Our program inspires to make learning relevant, teach through disciplines, develop higher-level thinking skills, promote teamwork as a process, and incorporate technology as a learning tool. In the end, our commitment to our vision is unwavering. Our mission statement strongly reflects our goals and achievements. Alturas International Academy promotes academic distinction, while empowering students to be principled and intellectual leaders as they explore, create, investigate, and analyze in a safe, engaged, collaborative environment that inspires them to make a genuine difference in their local and global community.