May 12-18, 2019 is National Charter Schools Week and this year’s theme is: Charter Schools Are… because each charter school is unique and we all have our own definition of what charter schools mean to us.
Charter Schools Are…
The open-ended nature of the theme reiterates the diversity found within the charter sector. As I look at our portfolio of 39 schools across the state, I am impressed with the diversity of models CSI schools offer their communities. Within Colorado Springs alone, CSI school models include classical, early college, Waldorf, and military. Across the state, CSI schools offer 14 unique educational models.
The National Charter Schools Week theme also reiterates that charter schools mean different things to different people. As a parent, I have fully embraced educational choice. In the early years of charter schools in Colorado, I discovered a charter school that would have been a great fit for my children. However, the school had a very long waitlist so it was highly doubtful that my children would receive the “golden ticket.” So with the help of a dedicated group of parents, we founded our own charter school, Platte River Academy. That school served my children, and a vast amount of other children, very well. The school is now in its 21st year and continues to be a successful school that is an integral part of the community. I’m truly thankful for the great education that my children received from that school and, more importantly, for the lifelong relationships that were formed during our time with that amazing community. Without a doubt, charter schools are uniquely special.
While we may have our own definitions of what charter schools are, there are also facts that are true for all charter schools. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of opposition to charter schools, much of it based on misinformation. Let’s reiterate the facts:
- Charter schools are tuition-free public schools.
- Charter schools are open to all students.
- Charter schools are held accountable through a variety of mechanisms, including the community, the local charter board, and the authorizer’s board.
As we celebrate National Charter Schools Week, please consider the ways you can share the facts about charter schools and the positive stories about your school. Here are a few resources to help you do so:
- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has a variety of templates for engaging the community in this celebration: https://www.publiccharters.org/what-you-can-do/celebrate-national-charter-schools-week
- The Colorado League of Charter Schools, in conjunction with Rally, a communications firm and national partner, recently held a webinar on pitching powerful media stories in conjunction with National Charter Schools Week. View it here: https://vimeo.com/user5503442/review/331099862/62b88d2577
- As always, share your stories with CSI so that we can share them with the wider charter community.