Ohio Charter News will be taking a two week vacation break after today – returning on October 20.
The biggest news
Last week, Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter School, announced that she would leaving the helm of NAPCS in December. “Since I joined the National Alliance,” she wrote in her departure announcement, “the number of students attending charter schools has grown from 2.3 million to 3.7 million. The number of states with charter school laws has expanded to 46. And vitally, annual funding for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP)…has expanded by roughly 75 percent to $440 million.” She added: “Reshaping institutions is difficult work, and I am heartened by the scale and reach of the change we have delivered during my tenure.” Kudos, Nina. You will be missed!
Following that announcement, Nina Rees sat down with Fordham’s Mike Petrilli on the Gadfly Podcast to talk about her 11-year tenure, the ups and downs of charter schools, and the state of the sector today. Essential listening.
In Ohio, it seems that we may be turning a corner when it comes to the perception of charter schools by the general public. Decades of perseverance, growth, success, and community connection can do that, I suppose. For one example: Take a look at this great newspaper coverage of Horizon Science Academy Lorain’s recent International Night. Students and staff showcased their diverse cultures through performances, music, and art. Meanwhile, Horizon Science Academy Youngstown was lauded by local TV news for its participation in a Saturday program that uses kickboxing to help students develop in and out of the classroom. “We’re teaching the kids to push their limits, to do certain things different,” said coach Jason Ray. “If I keep my grades up, then I’m going to be able to go to any high school,” said one eighth-grader in answer to the question of what he’s learning besides how to kickbox. The hard work and perseverance he is demonstrating in class, he says, is “going to lead me out of college with good grades.” Nice!
Speaking of the connection between athletics and education, here’s another great story about the recent grand opening of Springfield Sports Academy. While this coverage highlights the connection between the school and local football phenom Braxton Miller, as others have also done, it’s the comments from school leaders that stand out this time. “They’re going to receive as much, if not more academic time than any traditional public school,” said Accel Schools Executive Vice President Chad Carr. “It’s just that we have streamlined it in such a way that we’re able to incorporate their team sport into the school day.” Nice. Principal Travonna Hunter (also a Springfield native) added: “We’re going to be respectful and ready, we’re going to be authentic, we’re going to be accountable, we’re going to be committed to excellence and really try to show every day that we’re giving our best effort.” Good luck to all for a great rookie year!
Not all the news can be good
Sadly, several school districts in northwest Ohio continue to struggle with properly transporting students nearly two months into the school year. Lots of reasons are put forth in this coverage, with at least part of the blame put on the state’s requirement for districts to transport charter and private school students every day. Not put forth: Any sign of a solution.
Fordham’s Aaron Churchill this week published a look at charter and district report card results for Ohio’s eight largest urban areas. Among his big picture takeaways: Despite some positive outcomes in reading and ELA, there remains much work for all schools to help urban students get up to grade level in all subject areas, and the Progress and Overall ratings available on the report cards appear to be great indicators of quality for school-shopping parents (as well as policymakers and community members) to pay attention to.
Did you know you can have every edition of the Ohio Charter News Weekly sent directly to your Inbox? Subscribe by clicking here.