As we all get used to writing ‘20’ now that the new year has begun, it’s hard for me not to get excited about NCSC20! This summer will mark the 20th anniversary of the National Charter Schools Conference—and that feels like a big deal
It’s been wonderful to watch both the charter school movement and the conference grow over the course of the past 20 years. Since the National Alliance took ownership of the National Charter Schools Conference in 2005, the charter movement has seen a great deal of change:
- Six states, Puerto Rico, and Guam have passed charter schools laws
- Nearly 3.2 million students are being served in charter schools
- The number of schools has tripled in the past 10 years to over 6,800
The National Charter Schools Conference has evolved into the premier professional development conference for charter school professionals, from a small but mighty hundred individuals gathered in Washington, D.C. in 2000, to an anticipated 5,000+ in Orlando, FL. The conference has hosted impressive keynote speakers, from Geoffrey Canada and Bryan Stevenson, to Marian Wright Edelman and Bill Gates. The NCSC mainstage has also seen every sitting Secretary of Education (including John B. King and Betsy DeVos), many of whom have shared important policy updates and bipartisan support for the charter school movement. The quality of the breakout sessions consistently improves each year and we work hard to increase the quality and diversity of the presenters.
But more important than our speakers, the National Charter Schools Conference would not mark 20 years of success without our inspiring attendees who join each year—with about 25% of our attendees joining us for more than FIVE conferences! It is our hope that in 2020 our attendees know how much we value and appreciate the work that they do and are Empowered to Change Lives, something they do on a daily basis with the students in their care.
Angela Christophe is the producer of the National Charter Schools Conference at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
It took me three long years to get it passed by our local school board, even as I taught in the same district amid powerful interests aimed at defeating the charter proposal. We stand for creativity, teaching for thinking, empowering teachers to write their own curricula, as well as power for parents and students based upon real school wide democracy. The charter is so successful that it then opened the doors for other similar charters in our county, as well as a model nationally. I had on the original Bd of Directors both Drs. E. Paul Torrance & Mary Compton, respectively the major founders of The Creativity & Middle School Movements. Torrance at his 1999 Annual Creativity Conference actually introduced me as the new leader of education, honestly, although I hardly see it at all, in the end it is the model I created that is the leader, and not I.