Senator Kehoe visits O'Farrell Community School

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October 28, 2011 Senator Kehoe came out for a visit to O'Farrell Community School last week. Jon Dean, the chief education officer, took the opportunity to invite other charter leaders out to meet their legislator, so there was a small group of about a dozen charter leaders representing six different charters.

Senator Kehoe was very engaged with the students and staff. She asked many questions and interacted with the students asking about their work. She was impressed with the charter's band and glad that they were still teaching music.

After a tour of the charter, we stopped in the library for a chat and we were able to tell Senator Kehoe our stories. America's Finest Charter talked about the challenges of opening a new charter school and the lack of money available to do so. Iftin High School talked about their facility struggles and Arroyo Paseo highlighted their diverse population, who have many needs that Arroyo Paseo is trying to meet and is showing progress. Darnall brought up the idea of local authorizers and how it would be extremely helpful to the charter movement to have someone other than districts approving charters. O'Farrell shared their wonderful SAY program which supports many families and students at their school, as well as talked about their growth plans.

Overall, it was a great meeting in which the Senator heard about our successes and struggles and got to see a charter school in action.

We hope other charters will take opportunities to invite their local legislators to their sites. Hearing about charter issues and actually seeing them in action are two different things. Visits are powerful ways to share our message. Check out the Legislative Advocacy Toolkit for tips and information about how to get them out for a visit.

Lisa Berlanga
Regional Director