CCSA Kicks-Off 20th Anniversary Celebrations At The San Carlos Charter Learning Center

September 19, 2012

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012 marked the first day of school for the students at the San Carlos Charter Learning Center, but when they walked into school, they found more than just typical classes. Students were treated to a bit of history on the charter schools movement, as CCSA officially kicked-off the 20th Anniversary of California Charter Schools with a news conference and celebration. Former California Assemblyman Ted Lempert, CCSA Board Member Dr. Don Shalvey, Summit Public School CEO and founder Diane Tavenner, San Carlos School Board member Beth Hunkapiller and SCLC School Director Chris Mahoney, joined CCSA president and CEO Jed Wallace to reflect on the history of the charter movement thus far, and the opportunity and challenges that lie ahead.

"The San Carlos Learning Center was a gift and inspiration from this community," said Dr. Shalvey. "Charter schools gave teachers and parents a license to dream, and compared to 20 years ago, we now see more common ground than battleground."

The attendees also included some of the founding families of the San Carlos Charter Learning Center, including alumni Robin Lerche, who was in 4th grade when the charter opened in 1993. Check out a video of Robin and her parents, and hear them talk about the charter movement's birth in San Carlos 20 years ago.

San Carlos Charter Learning Center 8th-grader Alex Fine opened the news conference with a compelling speech on why he likes his charter school, and how it challenges him as a student and an individual. The articulate 13 year-old credited the school's project-based curriculum, teacher commitment and teamwork for inspiring him and his friends to open their own company, Harvix which is a search engine for students who need information for projects.

"The teachers give every single student individual attention that is lacking at other schools, and that keeps me challenged and excited," said Fine. "It really is such a different and nurturing environment." Former Assemblymember Lempert, author of the law that expanded charter schools in California in 1997, is a long San Carlos resident, and remembers the fight in the Legislature for charter schools, and how they have evolved.

"There are 6 1/2 million children in California and we need every single one of them. We need to make sure every single child reaches their full potential, and charter schools are showing that every single child needs a good education," said Lempert, who now heads Children Now.

San Carlos Charter Learning Center director Chris Mahoney talked about the importance of the working relationship between charter schools and districts, particularly during precarious times.

You can read the Press Release of the 20th Anniversary Kick-Off and also view the full news conference.

Also check out some of the news media coverage on the 20th Anniversary Kick-Off:

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