Public Policy-Oriented Charter School Helps One Senior Troubleshoot Societal Ills

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This month, beginning with National Charter Schools Week, we will feature stories from charter school graduates from across the country. Check back every day to see a new student feature in our 30 Days of Grad series.

My name is Taylor Brown, and I am a senior in high school. I have been attending Chavez Schools in Washington, D.C. since the 7th grade. I started out at Chavez Prep which ranges from grades 6-9. During my time there, I learned a lot of new things in a diverse environment. I attended that school until 9th grade. After 9th grade, I transitioned to Cesar Chavez PCS-Capitol Hill where I am currently a senior.

Starting in 9th grade and going through to 12th, all students are required to participate in a public policy project as a requirement for graduation, since Cesar Chavez Schools are focused on public policy. Ninth grade students participate in a Capstone, 10th grade a Community Action Project, 11th grade a Fellowship, and 12th grade a Thesis. As an underclassman, these programs involved creating a lesson to teach younger students in the community and even going to New Orleans to assist in Hurricane Katrina recovery. The upperclassman activities are more focused on college and career readiness.

One of the most influential projects I worked on was the Fellowship internship project where students are assigned to work with an organization to better understand the professional world and public policy. I spent my fellowship at the United States Department of Agriculture with the Early Resolution and Conciliation Division. While working there, I learned about mediation and resolving conflicts within the workplace. This gave me insight into how even in the professional world, people encounter conflict, and that there are professional routes to take to solve these issues.

As I stated earlier, 12th graders are required to participate in the Thesis project, which is a full year class. In Thesis, students choose a public policy problem and propose a solution through a research paper and presentation. My thesis topic is obesity and throughout the year I researched ways to reduce the obesity rates. This class has taught me about the workload I can expect in future college classes and when I give my presentation, it will give me experience in giving lengthy presentations.

With graduation coming up in less than a month, I am very excited but also anxious as the journey to adulthood grows closer. Also, I am transitioning from having all my teachers in one building here at Chavez Schools with lots of personalized support, and I know I won't have that in college.

Overall, attending Chavez Schools has been very influential and a great educational experience. The curriculum taught topics that are dealt with in the professional world that many other high school students are not informed about until they actually enter the professional world. When I attend college, I believe that I will be as prepared as I can be for the work, because while there is no way to be completely prepared, Chavez Schools have helped me socially and academically, and I enjoyed the time I have spent here.

[Click to Tweet] .@chavezschools senior will graduate with workplace experience and public policy background #30DaysofGrad

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