About Us

Pregnant and parenting students benefit from a values-driven school culture that empowers them to be lifelong learners who are engage in civic pursuits, and contribute to their community.  

Located within The Salvation Army’s recently completed Booth Campus, Cardinal Academy is a free, public charter school which offers a flexible, personalized academic program for expectant and parenting students in 9-12th grade, ages 14-21. Students don’t have to choose between working to support their new family and earning their high school diploma. The school also guides students in exploring post-secondary career and college opportunities so they can support their growing family. 

We empower

pregnant and parenting students up to the age of 21 to complete their high school education.

We provide

a caring, non-judgmental learning environment where students can become self-sustaining members of their community and local economy.

We promise

to cultivate a school community in which all voices and contributions are worthy and valued.

A Powerful Partnership

To help students navigate the challenges of young parenthood, The Salvation Army’s Booth Program for Young Parents builds on nearly 100 years of history serving pregnant and parenting teens in the Gem State. The program wraps students in social support – providing two meals a day, on-site childcare, an Incentive Store, social work case management, pregnancy and parenting education, and life skills education.

Our Founders

Cardinal Academy was founded by veteran academic and career counselor, Emily Bergstrom, and veteran educator, Deborah Hedden-Nicely, who have almost 30 years combined experience with pregnant and parenting teens and young adults in Boise.


“I was scared and alone when I found out at 15 years old that I was pregnant. So many people called me names and I lost my ‘friends.’ I tried to hide my pregnancy for so long, but people finally started staring. I went to a private school and all I got was whispers, to the point I wasn’t going to school. I dropped out and my whole family was disappointed. I just cried everyday not knowing what to do. I then found out about this teen mom school. I felt so welcomed and all of the teen moms were so excited to talk to me and tell me their stories.” 

Louree Ortiz, Former Student


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