Hope you all had a fun and relaxing July 4th weekend. Here is the latest charter news we've been keeping up on.
Jason Zwara, who joined the NECSN team as a Policy Fellow earlier this year, has joined us full-time as our New York Policy Manager!
Jason previously served as Executive Director of Buffalo ReformEd, a non-profit committed to school improvement, and also serves as a Trustee at South Buffalo Charter School. Jason has a solid understanding of charter issues across the state and the importance of supporting and increasing the number of high-quality charter schools in New York.
On the Blog
We shared an excellent guest post from Lisa DiGaudio, the Founding Principal of New Dawn Charter High School in Brooklyn, on fair accountability measures for all students. Lisa asks: Whatever happened to the true meaning of “no child left behind?”
Last week we launched our latest series, Heroes in the Classroom! This is our nod to the teachers doing tremendously hard work, day in and day out. They don't get enough praise for their dedication, so we will be using this series as a platform to show our gratitude for all they are doing to make a difference.
Our first hero is Latarri Sample, a social studies teacher at Invictus Preparatory Charter School in Brooklyn who shows his students that anything is possible with a great education.
And over on Youtube hear Mr. Sample talk about his approach to teaching:Read more
Here is the latest charter news we've been keeping up on.
Fun times is Albany last week as a group of students from ROADS Charter High School came up to tour the Capitol with Jill Shahen and Andrea Rogers! It was a great day for a civics lesson!
And yesterday our Western NY Advocacy Manger Duncan Kirkwood was part of South Buffalo Charter School's career day, teaching kids about work in advocacy and education reform!
And shoutout to Jeremiah Grace and Jill presenting at the National Charter Schools Conference in Nashville this week!
On the Blog
Our celebration of 20 years of Connecticut charter schools continues. We just wrapped up our 20 Graduates in 20 Days series with Raven Joseph, a Highville Charter School grad who puts others first.
Also, you can take a trip down memory lane and see the story of Connecticut charters, including what lawmakers had to say before the state's charter bill was passed.
As we continue to reflect on the past 20 years of chartering in CT, NECSN CT State Director Jeremiah Grace sat down for a conversation with Alex Johnston of Impact for Education, Liz Cox of Common Ground High School and Bruce Ravage of Park City Prep Charter School. It's all part of our latest episode of The Grade podcast! Enjoy!Read more
New York's legislative session finally came to an end. Despite an expected finish on Thursday, the excitement at the capitol carried on through the wee hours of Saturday morning. Charters received a new bit of flexibility in the final deal.
The end-of-session agreement extending mayoral control in NYC included a provision that will allow charters the opportunity to apply to another authorizer for oversight and monitoring. However, the application period is limited to one-year from the effective date of the law.
That wraps up a very successful session for all of New York's charter schools. NECSN NY State Director Andrea Rogers said:
"From the victories in the state budget, to the end-of-session policy change, charter schools across the state are winners this year. Charter schools statewide received a desperately needed funding increase because leaders agreed that they should invest in schools that are working in every region.
"Flexibility is in the DNA of charter schools. The end-of-session legislation that allows the transfer of authorizer oversight is an example of this being worked into state policy."
You can read our full statement on the end of session here.
We continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Connecticut charter schools! Today we shared a statement featuring Commissioner of Education Dianna R. Wentzell, who said:
"Charter schools are an important part of the public school landscape in Connecticut and of the overall vision of creating equity and excellence in education. We value school choice as a way to give parents options when finding a school that meets their family’s unique needs and as a way to inspire innovation in education."
Bruce Ravage, who led Norwalk’s Side by Side Charter School from 2002-2005 before founding Park City Prep Charter School in 2006, where he is currently executive director, said:
"It has been gratifying to see bipartisan support in the legislature and from both the current and former governor, who have recognized the importance of the work charters have done to help close the achievement gap. I am confident that the success of our students is compelling enough evidence of our worth to enable the charter school movement to continue to grow in the years to come."
Read our full statement here.
We have also launched a wonderful, comprehensive timeline of charter news and developments from the last two decades. Check it out!
If you happen to find yourself in Nashville next week for the National Charter Schools Conference, hosted by our friends at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, go see our very own Jill Shahen present!
Jill is part of two Operations sessions on Monday, June 27th:
Driving Performance Through Strategic Budgeting (11:15-12:30)
Charter schools often receive less money than other public schools, usually don't get facility financing, and the cost of benefits keeps rising. All of these factors affect the allocation of resources toward the academic programs. Hear what your leadership and board need to concentrate on through strategic budgeting to ensure your school is able to drive performance and strive for excellence! Participants will learn the basics of beginning a strategic budget planning process.
Three Phases of New Schools: Application, Pre-Opening, and First Year (2:30-5:00; This was named a top 10 session at last year's National Conference!)
Applying to open a charter school? Chartered but not yet open? In the first year of the charter term? If so, this session is for you! During this roundtable session, expert presenters will move from group to group discussing best practices, common missteps, and mistakes. They will provide honest conversation and feedback from a variety of perspectives, including finance, academics, governance, communications, and media.
Make sure you stop by and watch Jill make us proud as always! Click here for more information on the conference and sessions.
On the Blog
Our 20 Graduates in 20 Days series continues! Meet Anabell, an Achievement First Amistad grad:Read more
Here is the latest charter news we've been keeping up on.
On the Blog
The latest episode of our incredible podcast, The Grade, is up! Kyle Rosenkrans wrapped up his tenure as the Northeast Charter Schools Network CEO last Friday, but before he left he sat down with us to reflect on his time here and talk about what's next and why this work is so important.
Our 20 Graduates in 20 Days series continues! We have highlighted some awesome Connecticut charter grads so far, and today we shared the story of Keiry Gutierrez from Path Academy. Keiry's story is incredible. This young woman possesses strength and determination in the face of incredible odds. From El Salvador to a CT charter school -- her story is worth reading!
And you can read the rest of these amazing stories here.Read more
Twenty years ago on June 4, 1996, Governor John Roland signed the law establishing public charter schools in the state of Connecticut. That is 20 years of changing lives and building better futures. We will be celebrating 20 years of Connecticut charters all year, and we've already gotten the festivities underway.
"Twenty years in, public charter schools have led the charge toward closing Connecticut’s achievement gap. They have offered a high quality education in our most challenging districts, and have shown consistently that all children, regardless of the color of their skin or how much money their parents make, can graduate high school prepared to succeed in college or a career.
"We can and must build on that progress."
We've also started a new series - 20 Graduates in 20 Days. For the first 20 days of June we are profiling a different Connecticut charter school graduate each day.
And if you're in Newark this Thursday, see Jeremiah speak the Education Pioneers panel on the importance of black men in education!
Last week we celebrated Proof Point Day, recognizing some of our first generation college graduates! We took to social media to share a quote from NECSN CEO Kyle Rosenkrans:
And our Connecticut Advocacy Manager Jose Alfaro also shared what Proof Point Day means to him!Read more
Here's the latest charter news we've been keeping up on.Read more
Connecticut has a budget! The deal reached last week will ensure that all of Connecticut's public charter schools have the funding promised for their growth. NECSN CT State Director Jeremiah Grace said:
"We are thankful that public charter school students are ensured they will have a seat in their school next year and were spared devastating cuts. There are thousands of families across Connecticut who can now breathe a sigh of relief."
But there is still much work to be done to fix Connecticut's flawed school funding system and ensure all children are treated equally. You can read our full statement on the budget here, and you can thank your state lawmakers for supporting charter schools by clicking here.
Nationally recognized educator Dr. Steve Perry delivered the keynote address at the Buffalo Public Schools Parent Assembly and Summit on Friday. The teachers union and their cohorts turned up the heat and even tried to cancel his appearance. In the face of this opposition, we fought hard to make sure the need for more quality options in Buffalo has not been lost in the media.
NECSN Western NY Advocacy Manager Duncan Kirkwood had a letter in the Buffalo News showing his support for Dr. Perry, saying:
"Perry is a nationally recognized educator with a record of achievement and insights to share. Every graduate from his Hartford, Conn., school goes to college. Unlike Buffalo, Perry has done incredible work educating poor, minority children."
You can read the full letter here.
And in POLITICO New York, our NY State Director Andrea Rogers showed her support, saying:
"Dr. Perry's goal is to inspire parents and educators to demand more for their children and community. He speaks frankly about the urgent need to improve schools -- particularly when poor, minority families are the ones suffering the most from educational neglect."
You can read the full article here.Read more
Last week we celebrated National Charter Schools Week! NECSN CEO Kyle Rosenkrans reflected on over 20 years of chartering and the need for fair funding, saying:
"The charter school movement has learned many lessons over two-plus decades, but perhaps none as urgent as the need to fix the way we fund charter schools and make laws more equitable for children. And to do that, we have to challenge a premise on which charters were founded."
You can read the full piece on Education Post now.
Connecticut's 2016 legislative session came to a close on Wednesday night, but the General Assembly did not agree on an updated budget. They will be back for a special session this Thursday, and we will keep you updated with any new developments.
Speaking of charter school funding, NECSN Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace took to the CT Mirror to talk Connecticut school funding inequity and how it affects charter schools:
"We have a moral obligation to treat all children fairly, and that means funding education based on students and their learning needs rather than based on the type of school they attend or who has the most friends at the Capitol in Hartford."
You can read the full piece here.
And this Friday evening, nationally recognized educator Dr. Steve Perry will be in Buffalo as the keynote speaker at the 2016 Parent Assembly and Summit! Not satisfied with their recent school board election victories, the teachers unions are trying to silence Dr. Perry's voice and get the event cancelled.
This is a critical moment for the city to stand up and support people like Dr. Perry who are unafraid to speak truth to power and have tough conversations about the urgent need to improve Buffalo schools so that every child can get a great education. Come show your support!
The talk is being held at McKinley High School on Friday, May 13, 2016 from 5:30-8:00pm. Check out the flyer below.Read more
Here's the latest charter news that we've been keeping up on.
Bridgeport parent Kesheonia Kirkland wants to open an autism-focused charter school, and asks for the state to open a Request for Proposals for new charter schools.
At Breakthrough Academy we will offer a quality education that meets the needs of students in grades seven through twelve.
There is a strong demand in Bridgeport for a person-centered program that gives autistic students the social, independent living and vocational skills they need to not only obtain a high school diploma but to also have a successful future.
In New York, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown declared April 22 Elmwood Village Charter School Day!
And Assemblyman Sean Ryan stopped by Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School!
It is National Charter Schools Week! Raise awareness and share some of the great work of your schools by using the hashtag #CharterSchoolsWeek on social media!
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nina Rees wrote a great op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, saying, "Charters have the potential to revolutionize American education—but they will need support to do so."
The National Alliance also released a new study showing parent demand for charters. Check out the results here.Read more