Coeur d'Alene -

From the outside, the Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy hardly fits the prototype for a school that consistently ranks among the best in the state.

Started in 1999 in a converted plant nursery building, the school later expanded into a building that once served as a warehouse for a commercial cleaning service.

More than 700 students take courses that focus on college prep. Students wear uniforms and must take two years of Latin to graduate.

Principal Dan Nicklay says the curriculum is rigorous and not built for every student.

As a public school, the academy receives tax dollars and must accept all types of students. But there's no big rush of applicants who want to challenge themselves academically. The waiting list of about 100 is much smaller than at some of the other nearly 50 charter schools in Idaho.