California Charter Schools: One Movement. Many Voices.

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September 5, 2014 Welcome back charter leaders,

California charter schools are kicking off the 2014-15 school year with a bang! As one movement with many voices, we are making a big impact with over a half million charter students across the state.

In late August we released our fourth annual Portrait of the Movement, a report that tells the story of what has happened in California's charter school movement over the past five years, why it has happened, and what can be done to ensure continued growth and momentum. Trends highlighted throughout Portrait of the Movement, Five Year Retrospective: A Charter Sector Growing in Numbers and Strength tell us that tens of thousands of students are being educated in better performing charter schools than just five years ago.

Our research shows that even during a time of unprecedented growth and severe funding crisis that disproportionately impacted California's charter schools, academic strengthening can occur. If we can do it here, across the largest charter public school sector in the nation, then it can happen anywhere. We've highlighted the key findings from the report on our website for you and have also provided a fact sheet that you can share with your charter parents and community.

The charter sector continues to gain momentum nationally as well. Complimenting the release of the Portrait of the Movement, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools launched the #TruthAboutCharters campaign to help dispel some of the most common charter school myths. Visit their website for more facts and resources to support you as you help spread the good news about charters.

I am delighted that CCSA's research, recent finding from CREDO, and other national data all continues to point in the same direction - that charter schools are performing incredibly well, especially with historically underserved students, and are improving over time.

But what am I most excited about this fall is the launch of CCSA's One Movement. Many Voices. Video Contest on October 20. I encourage you, our most passionate charter school leaders, to use this video contest as an opportunity to share your most amazing personal stories about California charters schools and the direct impact they are having on students.

Our One Movement. Many Voices. Video Contest is a chance to rally your charter communities - your fellow charter leaders, teachers, parents and students (13 and older) - to participate and submit original and creative two-minute videos that highlight how a California charter school has enriched the lives of students they know. Three winning videos will be honored at the 22nd Annual California Charter Schools Association Conference in Sacramento, March 16 -19, 2015.

There are so many exciting details to share about this contest, including prize money for you and the charter school of your choice. Be sure to visit /ommv for ongoing and up-to-date information.

Now, on to our upcoming Annual Conference. This is our 22nd Annual Charter Schools Conference and it will be held in our State Capitol. We have a superb program in store for you, so if you haven't done so already please register now and join us March 16-19, 2015. This year's theme will showcase the collective of voices who represent the charter school movement in California.

Each day I find out about something new that our charters are doing to improve the overall education landscape. Charters like Summit Public Schools are partnering with districts and traditional public schools not only in California, but around the country to share best practices. We recently profiled Summit Public Schools' model program here.

I am also inspired by charter leaders and communities across the state coming together to open new schools to provide great options for kids. Schools like Albert Einstein Academies which recently celebrated the opening of their new middle school in the Grant Hill neighborhood. Hear from them about what makes their schools unique. And school leaders like Nicole Temple Assisi, Principal and Founder of Thrive Charter School in San Diego, who reminds us in this great new video highlighting her school's ultimate triumph in opening for the 2014 school year, "Don't give up. Keep fighting. It is really important and there are kids waiting for you."

I couldn't agree more. And that is why I continue to fight to give every child in California a great education. I look forward to hearing and seeing why you continue fighting in this year's One Movement. Many Voices. Video Contest.

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association