National Charter Schools Week Celebrates Charter Schools Going Above and Beyond to Meet the Needs of Nearly 3.3 Million Students During the Pandemic

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Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) kicks off National Charter Schools Week (NSCW) (May 10-16) celebrating the nearly 7,500 public charter schools and campuses across the nation. NCSW exists to celebrate charter schools, the high-quality, tuition-free public-schools that nearly 3.3 million students across America depend on for an excellent education. During NCSW celebrations we will highlight schools, students, education leaders, policymakers, and advocates that have demonstrated the strength and resilience of the charter school movement as the nation was forced to rapidly transition to a new normal, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public schools have been placed at the center of support and relief efforts and charter schools showed their best selves. By enabling distance learning, providing technology to students, and providing meals and countless other services to the community, charter schools did whatever was needed.

“In the face of this pandemic, the inequities facing America’s most underserved students have never been clearer,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Issues like the homework gap, the digital divide, food insecurity and under-resourced schools are even more prominent now. Charter schools have prioritized not only meeting the academic needs of their students, but the holistic needs of their students’ families and their communities. We applaud their efforts to go above and beyond and stand in solidarity with the estimated five million students who would attend a charter school if one were available to them. As the pandemic continues to spotlight the inequities within our public education system, we hope National Charter Schools Week is a reminder to policymakers that charter schools are a beacon of light for millions of our nation’s students and families.”

This year’s theme, “Above and Beyond”, honors charter schools who have done extraordinary work to serve their students, the families of their students and others in the community during the pandemic.

Monday, May 11: Join Us in National Charter Schools Week Celebrations
Celebrate the great work charter schools are doing in their communities with us online! Check out the NSCW proclamation from the White House and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #CharterSchoolsWeek and #CharterLove to share how charter schools are going above and beyond to serve the needs of students and the larger community. Charter schools are encouraged to use the NCSW 2020 toolkit with turnkey tools that make it easy for charter schools, charter management organizations, and partners to recognize and amplify the great work of charter schools.

Tuesday, May 12: Above and Beyond Awards
The National Alliance is recognizing 10 schools as recipients of our first-ever Above and Beyond Awards. The awards will be given to outstanding charter schools that performed exceptional work for their students and their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, May 13: Charter Schools Lifetime Achievement Award
Join the National Alliance in celebrating one U.S. Senator who will be recognized for a lifetime of efforts to provide a high-quality public school to every child. Stay tuned to learn who the National Alliance’s 2020 Charter Schools Lifetime Achievement Award winner is. Since the award’s inception there have only been two other recipients, Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, former chief of staff to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (2016) and former President Bill Clinton (2011). 

Thursday, May 14: Webinar: A Community-wide Coordinated Response in the Time of Crisis
You are invited to a webinar hosted by the National Alliance, that will recognize this year’s Above and Beyond Award honorees and include a thoughtful discussion about how public schools can partner with one another and serve their communities in times of crisis. The webinar will include remarks by former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and a moderated discussion with education leaders from New Orleans. An open Q&A session will follow.

Friday, May 15: “I Love Charter Schools” Spirit Day
NCSW will conclude with an “I Love Charter Schools” spirit day to wrap up our #CharterLove campaign. Be sure to tag @charteralliance on social media with photos and videos of students, teachers, and charter school advocates showing love for these innovative public schools.

Now in its 20th year, National Charter Schools Week was first declared by President Clinton. Although the growth of public charter schools began under President Clinton, Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump have all continued this national, public commendation of charter schools.