October 2014 CEO Message

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October 27, 2014 Jed Wallace I love visiting charter schools across the state. It energizes me and reignites my passion for making sure every California student gets the education he or she deserves. In my time with CCSA, I've visited over 400 schools. Sounds like a lot, but that doesn't account for even half of our 1,130 schools. I can't wait to say I have been to every charter school across the state!

In the meantime, I'm going to include a few more highlights from my school visits in San Diego in this month's message before moving on to other regions of the state. As you might remember from last month's CEO Message, Thrive and Einstein started the school year off strong. High Tech High in Northern San Diego is also knocking it out of the park, and will open another elementary school later this year. And just a few miles away, Old Town Academy is offering an innovative project-based program and is looking to grow. If you have a few minutes, please check out this video that highlights the school's success with students.

During my recent visits in Southern California, I also spoke to school leaders and parents at Elevate Charter School in San Diego and learned how the school is meeting the unique needs of military families. Empower Charter School, a dual immersion charter in San Diego, is also off to an encouraging start.

And I was honored to attend the Ribbon Cutting for the Classical Academies to celebrate the completed renovations of their new site. The event reminded me how many of our non-classroom based charter schools have facilities needs as pronounced as other charter schools. Watch this video in celebration of their grand opening.

I'm thankful to all of the charter leaders and teachers who share their personal stories with us. Becky Brown is an English teacher at Inspire School of Arts and Science in Chico who is leading efforts to create a network of charter and non-charter educators to share best practices on how best to engage students. Working with her colleagues, she developed a dissemination grant program called EngagED. Becky has already seen a transformation in her own students and she is encouraged by the positive impact EngagED can have on even more students and teachers. Learn more about this fantastic effort at Inspire.

Stories like these need to be shared far and wide to build awareness of and support for the charter movement. I'm sure many of you have your own inspiring personal stories of why you love charters, and how a charter school has positively impacted you, your students, and your communities.

Celebrate the good news of charters and enter the One Movement. Many Voices. Video Contest today! Don't let the words "video contest" intimidate you. All you need is you, your story, and a smartphone. While I'm not entering the contest myself, my family and I made our own video that we wanted to share with you.

By entering the contest, you could be one of three winners to receive a cash prize for yourself and a California Charter School of your choice. Winning videos will be honored at the 22nd Annual California Charter Schools Association Conference in Sacramento, California. Click here for more details on how to enter the contest.

When we make our voices heard, we make an impact.

We ended the 2014 legislative session with 100% success. The Governor signed Assembly Bill 948, our sponsored legislation, into law thus securing safe, reliable school facilities for more charter students. He vetoed Assembly Bill 913, legislation we opposed related to charter school conflict of interest laws. And the Governor vetoed Senate Bill 1263, a bill that would have created new and oppressive facilities barriers for charters.

Many of you wrote letters, made phone calls, held face-to-face meetings with legislators, and publicly shared your testimonies at legislative hearings. In doing so, you helped legislators understand how their decisions directly impact the communities you serve. You helped to secure very important wins for charter students.

Personal stories can motivate others to action. Tell us yours. Enter the OMMV Video Contest before December 15, 2014.


Jed Wallace
President and CEO