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National Charter Schools Week Celebrates Education’s Change Makers

Week-long celebrations honor the educators, families, leaders, and community members who are opening doors of opportunity through high-quality charter schools. Celebrations come on the heels of the first-ever charter school teacher named National Teacher of the Year and charter school named the Top Public High School in America.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) joins families, schools, and communities across the country in celebrating National Charter Schools Week, May 1-5, 2017. As part of its week-long celebrations, the National Alliance will shine a spotlight on charter change makers: the educators, families, leaders, and community members who make charter schools possible – and in doing so, make so much more possible for students. National Charter Schools Week celebrations include:

Monday, May 1: 2017 Broad Prize Finalists Announced.
The $250,000 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools is awarded annually to the charter management organization (CMO) that has the best academic outcomes, particularly for low-income students and students of color. This year’s three finalists have been chosen from among 39 of the country’s largest CMOs by a review board of national education experts, including former Education Secretary John King.

 Tuesday, May 2: Briefing on Capitol Hill Brings Together Top Education Experts.
“Charter Public Schools: Providing Educational, Economic, and Community Development in Urban America” will explore how charter schools can help support educational achievement and community centered development in urban areas. 

Wednesday, May 3: Charter Champions Event Honors Federal, State, and Local Elected Officials.
Following the decade-long tradition, 19 leaders from all levels and branches of government will be recognized for their efforts to provide better educational options for the families they represent.

Thursday, May 4: Charter School Hall of Fame Inductees Announced.
The Charter School Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and organizations for their innovation, long-term commitment, and pioneering efforts in the growth of charter schools. The three 2017 honorees will join 32 esteemed inductees since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 2007.

Friday, May 5: College Signing Day Celebrates Accomplishments of Graduating Students.
Charter schools across the country will join the Reach Higher initiative in celebrating the accomplishments of local students and their commitment to higher education. Look for #CharterSchoolsWeek #CollegeSigningDay and #ReachHigher on social media.

2017 has been a record-breaking year for charter schools, with national charter school enrollment surpassing three million students for the first time. In March, Kentucky became the 44th state – in addition to Washington, D.C. – to pass a charter school law. Charter schools in the Bluegrass State will soon join more than 6,900 charter schools across the country in delivering high-quality, public educational options to families.

In April, Sydney Chaffee of Boston’s Codman Academy Charter Public School became the first charter school teacher named National Teacher of the Year. She is joined by two other State Teachers of the Year, Nikos Giannopoulos of Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Rhode Island, and
Abdul Wright of Best Academy – a Harvest Network charter school – in Minnesota.

Also in April, an Arizona public charter school was named the top public school in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Nine of the rankings’ top 10 schools are charter schools and magnet schools – and ultimately these public schools of choice comprise 60 percent of the rankings’ top 100 schools. One reason public schools of choice are being recognized is because of the emphasis they place on college readiness and college-level courses. In other words, they hold all students to high expectations.

“Charter schools are the result of communities coming together to create new opportunities for their children – from the leaders who open charter schools and the students who attend them, to the families that choose to join the school community and the policymakers who advocate on their behalf,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance. “The individuals who contribute to the charter school movement are true change makers, lending their innovation, dedication, and expertise to create educational environments that benefit the students in their lives and across the country. This National Charter Schools Week, we are thrilled to recognize these individuals and their contributions to empowering students through educational options.”

Charter schools are independently-run, tuition-free public schools that are open to all students. Founded more than 25 years ago, they are operated independent of the traditional school district – but in addition to the being held to the same accountability standards as all public schools, charter schools have performance targets that they must meet in order to stay open. With more autonomy to provide flexibility to school leaders and teachers, charter schools generate innovative and individualized-learning environments that meet the unique needs of their school community and foster student achievement. A 2016 nationally representative survey from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools found that parental support for charter schools is strong across the country. Nearly 80 percent of parents of school-aged children support allowing parents to choose which public schools their child should attend – and more than 70 percent of parents surveyed favor having a charter school open in their neighborhood.

This demand continues to grow as charter schools continue to raise the bar for what’s possible—and what should be expected—in public education. Numerous independent research studies have found that students in charter schools do better than their district school peers. The Center for Research on Educational Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low-income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center for Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college, and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

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About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.