It takes a village

It's back to school week and for some of our charter schools, it’s also the start of the year in a new school building. Booker T. Washington Academy (BTWA) in New Haven is one of the newest charter schools in Connecticut. It opened in 2014 amid a host of challenges many new charters face, including finding a permanent home. The school has a new place to call home now in the former New Haven Academy building on State Street.

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 This past week, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to connect with the kids at the new BTWA location and it truly reinvigorated us in the work we do. 

With a new building, and a new group of students entering for their first year at BTWA, I started thinking about ways to make that first day back memorable. At NECSN, we believe that it takes a village to raise children to be their best selves. As a part of that vision, we were inspired to act and create a positive environment where young people can see that their village is invested in them, and that they have a support network of strong leaders that they can call on.

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To that end, we decided to form a back to school greeting line to make sure the scholars started their year with positivity, encouragement, and warmth. We were a small group of men from the community including: social entrepreneur and best-selling author Carl “The Young ExeKutive” Michael, ConnCAN’s Communications Director Byron McCauley, community member and Wells Fargo Banker Carlos Chaparro, and NECSN’s CT crew.

Regardless of our small size, we were excited and vocal. So we sang, clapped, and danced to welcome and honor the lives of the children.

We wanted to show our scholars that we aren’t just fighting for them at the State Capitol or in local Board of Education meetings. Our fight goes beyond the suit and tie, and directly into the lives of the children that we represent. We want to know the faces of the children that we fight for day in and day out. We live for the smiles of our scholars because they are imprinted in our minds and hearts as we fight for funding equity, high quality public school options, and racial justice.

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We hope we made their day even a fraction as satisfying as they made ours – and here’s to a great year back to school!

Photo credit - ConnCAN

Jose is the Connecticut Advocacy Manager with the Northeast Charter Schools Network.
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It takes a village
It takes a village
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