A new year means new New Year's resolutions. We all want to get fit, maximize productivity, and shake bad habits. This past year was a challenging one in our personal lives and for education, and it was not exactly conducive to achieving goals or being productive.
All the more reason why it's important to start 2021 with new priorities and goals—and stick to them.
To get you started, the Program Committee for the 2021 National Charter Schools Conference put together their top resolutions for educators, school leaders, advocates, and parents to inspire you as you do the difficult work of designing a new learning landscape.
Build Stronger Alliances
"My resolution is to build stronger alliances with organizations committed to fighting poverty with a track record of success. Our students’ future success is closely connected to a host of factors outside of our schools. If we wish to pull our students out of poverty, we need to better connect our efforts with those of other groups and build stronger support systems for our families."
President & CEO
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Focus on Thriving
"Let's face it: 2020 was one of the most challenging years for schools. In 2021, I'm encouraging schools to move to 'thrive mode' versus 'survive mode.' The silver lining of 2020 is we have disrupted many of the ways we have always done things in school. Disruption is the first step in innovation.
Where can we all covert our new survival skills into thriving skills for 2021? Some great examples of thriving might be more flexible scheduling, more effective use of technology, and greater parental involvement in our schools."
Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives
ASU Prep Digital
Get Back to Your Why
"The Diverse Charter Schools Coalition's theme in 2021 is 'Interrupting Inequity.' I would encourage every school, teacher, and organization to take up that challenge. We should work on being the instigator by being present, hands-on, and remembering why we're doing this work."
Diverse Charter Schools Coalition
Deepen Support for the Network of Black, Brown, and Indigenous Leaders
"This year marks a new chapter in our country’s leadership, which comes with a tremendous sense of relief and hope for many of the students and families charter schools serve. That hope comes with a responsibility to not only mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, but actually address the ongoing and long-term impact of inequities that were exacerbated by the pandemic. My resolution is to deepen support for the network of Black, Brown, and indigenous leaders committed to community-centered charter schools and further amplify the ways this work reimages education equity."
Chief Executive Officer
National Charter Collaborative
Showcase What is Possible
"In 2021, I resolve to continue supporting our charter school leaders and teachers on the frontlines of this pandemic. Charter schools across the country are showing what is possible when the status quo is challenged.
Schools like Zeta in New York City, led by Emily Kim, actively fight to ensure their kids can come to school safely. Or others like Kairos Academies in St. Louis, led by Gavin Schiffres, continue to raise the bar for student learning and engagement. I'm inspired by schools like Digital Pioneers Academy in D.C., led by Mashea Ashton, that demonstrate kids can be known, loved, and respected even through distance learning despite challenging circumstances.
My hope is that we stop, take note, and recognize where these standout examples exist across the country. That we thank the leaders and teachers who bring their all every day, and that we continue to hold up examples of what is possible."
Chief People Officer
NewSchools Venture Fund
Seek Answers to Hard Questions
"Last year's events disrupted every aspect of teaching and learning. Heading into 2021, remember that uncertainty grows opportunity and trailblazing is often lonely. I resolve to work tirelessly to seek answers to the hard questions, and ensure my instruction values my scholars and their families’ voices and is rooted in equitable literacy practices and opportunities. Above all, fun, laughter, and all that is good about being in kindergarten."
Kansas City Virtual Academy, Kansas City Public Schools
Radically Reimagine Who Creates Charter Schools
"In 2020, many opponents of charter schools made broad-sided attacks on charter schools based on well-worn tropes that have never been or are no longer true. All of the criticisms neglected to speak to the high support these schools receive from the majority of communities these schools serve—and serve well by all non-partisan and data-based research: Black and Brown families in urban areas.
As we enter a new year, I encourage institutions within the Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American communities to create charter schools within their communities, especially education provider organizations like historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and education supporting membership organizations such as the National PanHellenic Council."
Ronald C. Rice
Senior Director of Government Relations
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Strengthen Parent Engagement
"While we all slowly transition back to in-person learning, we must use the challenges we faced during remote learning to strengthen our parent engagement. In 2021, let’s personalize communication!
We became more aware of the various circumstances and backgrounds of our families during the pandemic. Many schools struggled to reach and engage with 100% of their students. We must focus on customizing and expanding the various delivery methods and tools to communicate with our families. Parents are our partners in education. We have to communicate with them effectively!"
Founding Director of Operations
Amplify the Voices in Your Community
"My resolution is to ensure every parent, member of the IDEA Public Schools community, and charter schools nationwide have a voice with our elected officials. Parents, teachers, students, staff, and alumni are experiencing the changes and challenges of pandemic learning firsthand and have new perspectives on what we need to ensure every child has access to an equitable, excellent, and inclusive education."
Vice President of Public Affairs and Advocacy
IDEA Public Schools
With the COVID-19 pandemic still uncertain and the reckoning of race and privilege in our country ongoing, it can be difficult to be optimistic. We hope these resolutions give you hope for education and help create a blueprint for a successful new year.
Sindy Pierre-Noel is the senior manager of programs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Learn more about the National Charter Schools Conference!