This past year continued to be challenging for schools and educators in the midst of a pandemic. The National Alliance responded to the needs of educators by creating year-round content to help answer pressing questions, engage audiences, and address hot topics. We also held our annual National Charter Schools Conference virtually with a focus on mental health, innovation, and engagement.
With only so many hours in the day, there is a lot of great content that you might have missed along the way. Thankfully, we’ve posted a number of these resources online so you can catch up on-demand now.
In this post, we’ve gathered some of the favorite sessions and best webinars of 2021:
1. Keynote Session: Supported, Seen, and Safe: What Students and Teachers Need in the Wake of COVID-19
If the overlapping traumas of the past year have shown us anything, it’s that student well-being is just as important as academic learning. Building on that resilience and ensuring that students feel seen, known, supported, and safe are key to charting a successful year ahead.
In this keynote session at the 2021 National Charter Schools Conference, Dr. Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, joins Vanessa Rodriguez, interim CEO for Citizens of the World Charter Schools, to discuss how schools can apply findings from the science of relationships to meet the needs of both educators and students alike, better support student well-being and accelerate learning.
2. Webinar: A Continued Dialogue on Teaching Critical Race Theory in Schools
After a successful session at the 2021 National Charter Schools Conference, we brought back Ian Rowe, founder of Vertex Partnership Academies and resident fellow at AEI, along with Sharif El-Mekki, founder and CEO at the Center for Black Educator Development, to go deeper on the issue of teaching Critical Race Theory in schools.
In this special 90-minute recorded webinar, the National Alliance provided an update on state-level legislative activity, followed by a thoughtful discussion with Ian and Sharif. The two educators and advocates on different sides of the debate discussed ways to support teachers and leaders who are grappling with this controversial and nuanced issue every day.
3. Session: Teacher Retention During Crisis
Have you struggled to prioritize teacher retention during this period of crisis? Are you wondering how to take meaningful action on teacher retention with limited staff capacity? In this conference session, we explored concrete strategies and resources to support your teacher retention efforts, always but in particular during times of crisis
4. Webinar: Voting with their Feet: A State-level Analysis of Public School Enrollment Trends
We had a lot of questions after we published our report with compiled data on enrollment for district and charter schools for the 2020-21 school year. What we found surprised everyone! Enrollment at charter schools increased significantly over the last year compared to district enrollment for most states.
This recorded webinar provides a deep dive into the data and trends and what this means for the future of public education from the advocacy, research, school-level, and parent perspective. The summary? Families are voting with their feet as they seek out more options and better quality in public education for their children.
5. Session: Teaching While Traumatized
The work is in the building—where the kids are. When teachers returned to the classroom, what returned with them? They were traumatized too. School may feel like a powder keg of emotional triggers as we all engage in "recovery." Schools paid deliberate attention to mental health services for our students, yet teachers are the single most crucial component of returning to normal (new normal). Please don't leave them out. We'll show you how.
6. Webinar: Black Excellence: Partnerships Between Public Charter Schools and the National Pan-Hellenic Council
Since their respective founding, the fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (affectionately known as the Divine 9) have had Black educational achievement and success as the foundation of their very existence. In that spirit, many members of these organizations have started and currently run high-quality public charter schools that are closing the achievement gap within their respective communities.
Hear how the historically Black fraternities and sororities can better support charter schools by creating their own schools and advocating for them alongside parents and students with school leaders leading the way.
7. Webinar: The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief and School Purchasing
The federal government allocated nearly $123 billion for PreK-12 education resources through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, part of the American Rescue Plan Act. The stimulus package allows for a broad range of uses for the dollars, from addressing learning loss to providing services to support student mental health to purchasing PPE and software.
But what does this once-in-a-generation influx of cash mean operationally for your school? In this recorded webinar, led by the National Alliance, and supported by Success Academy Charter Schools and Amazon Business, we provide perspectives to your most pressing questions, from understanding the nuances of the bill to spending and tracking your funds to outlining best practices.
8. Session: State Legislative Activity Round-Up
During the 2021 state legislative sessions, charter school supporters achieved several notable wins by advancing positive charter school bills and stopping or mitigating anti-charter school legislation. At the same time, we continued to see damaging charter school bills gain a foothold in a handful of states. What are the implications of these wins and losses for 2022? Learn more in this recorded session from the 2021 National Charter Schools Conference.
There are so many more great sessions and content available and we encourage you to check them out on our website. We’re also looking forward to our first in-person event in over two years—save the date for the 2022 National Charter Schools Conference in Washington, D.C., June 19-22!
Patricia Guidetti is the senior director of programs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Read more from the National Alliance's series of year-end blog posts for 2021: