IDEAS Academy developed through a process of evolution. Etude High School for the Arts and Academics, a half-day arts-infused program, was founded with a 2006 Charter School Planning Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Since its opening in 2007, the Etude High School for the Arts and Academics evolved into the Etude High School with a focus on creativity and innovation, while still embracing the arts from a new perspective.
In 2009/2010, after consulting with Etude students and parents through focus groups, the Governing Board voted to close Etude and open an entirely new full-day high school in its place. Through this research it was determined that a full-day project-based high school focusing on innovation, design, engineering, sciences, and humanities would best serve our community and students for the 21st Century Creative Economy.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction awarded a new Charter School Planning Grant in 2010 for the creation of IDEAS Academy. The grant was used to develop a hybrid curriculum featuring educational models of integrated content areas, project-based learning, and a combination of facilitator-led online and face-to–face instruction.
IDEAS Academy opened in September 2011, and offers a very diverse curriculum in a small Community of Scholars that allows for a personalized academic experience for every student.