Positively Impacting Something Larger Than Us

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November 10, 2011 I feel appreciative of the amazing people I have met in the charter school movement ... full of passion and high energy, doing all that they can to positively impact a student, a family, and a community. I am well aware that those positive impacts are happening in all sorts of educational environments, traditional public schools, public charters and private schools. But there is something special and entrepreneurial when you experience a dynamic charter school first hand. You often notice right away, the culture, the excitement and energy feel different then other schools. You feel that something exciting is always happening there. You see it in the students, the staff and the administration. I believe it is always comes down to leadership, the leadership a student displays among other students. The leadership a teacher exhibits to his or her students and the leadership the school leaders provide in paving a path for their school.

The entrepreneurial piece comes from imagining your ideal school then pursuing it with all the energy, know-how and experience that you and your colleagues have. I heard someone mention that developing a charter school is like beginning with a blank slate of what you hope for in a school. You embrace the vision and mission and fill in the blanks with the help of the brightest like-minded people you can surround yourself with. You want to provide an environment that allows all people connected with the school the believability that you can do anything with a well thought out plan and resources to make it happen.

Charters often look so different from one another and yes that is a good thing if you don't limit yourself. I visited a charter school that was situated on a university campus designed by a famous architect and what a beautiful school it is. When you are a part of developing a school like that or a part of running it, you know that it will be in existence long after you've left and positively impacting who know how many students and families. Who knows what lies ahead for those we positively impact and what impact those individuals will have on the rest of the world.

John Madrid
Regional Director, Central Valley