Charter Schools what? Really? Why should I care?

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It has been a minute since my latest blog. I had to go and support a friend who lost her husband this past weekend. Our daughters have been best friends since they were in the second grade. Two families bonded due to the fact that both of their children had learning disabilities. The girls are now 16 years old and while distance has separated them, they are still supportive to one another in school and life. Also, during my visit, I interviewed a mother of five. She and her spouse have four sons who are in middle school up to high school. She has a few that are in Charter Schools in Davidson County which is Nashville, TN.

I ask this mother Mrs. Kenyatta Churchwell why she preferred Charter schools over non Charter schools. Mrs. Churchwell is a relative of mine. Our family “The Churchwell’s” owns the well-known Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School in Nashville, TN. This school is the exact education model that she wanted her sons to receive. For this reason, she chose all Charter schools. Mrs. Churchwell stated that the charter schools provided a nontraditional learning. She said they truly exemplified the meaning of “no child left behind”. Now, “no child left behind” does not mean in the charter schools that one must pass the student even if they did not master the course. “No child left behind” in the charter school world means that the teachers will set one’s sights on the children who are not at mastery level and do whatever it takes by any means necessary, so that they do not fail.

I ask Mrs. Churchwell about the language used in the charter schools about college. She explained that the schools promote a natural transition to college. The teachers teach the children that college is an attainable goal. She also loves that they allow Open door policy. Open door policy means you can come in any of your child’s classes and see what is being taught. In my opinion I think that is absolutely awesome! In our conversation/interview, she named a lot of other supportive reasons. Since I am so long-winded, I will not drag you on my journey. I will list the other positive reasons a parent should consider charter schools.

  • Charter schools require every parent to have some form of involvement in your child’s education. Working a job is not an excuse. Each parent must volunteer at the school; the positive to that policy is they have created times after you as the parent gets off work.
  • The Principals and Teachers support the students outside the classroom in their extracurricular activities.
  • Homework is given daily to keep what has been taught
  • Instead of In-school suspension, they have study hall detention. In study hall extra help is given and children are allowed to catch up on make-up work or subjects that required more teacher help.
  • Within the charter schools there are more multi-cultural teachers and the presence of the leadership in male teachers
  • One great incentive to obey in school and make the middle to top grades is “The Paycheck”. Yes, you heard me right, the children earn a paycheck. The students can use their paycheck in the schools’ store. The store has food items, electronics, educational items, and college paraphernalia.  With the paycheck students can earn a day to wear their favorite college shirt that they purchased from the bookstore. I wanted to go back to school just for the paycheck:-).
  • The purpose of “The Paycheck” is to teach the students the value of the dollar. Children who have struggled with mathematics have higher grades in math because they are handling their paycheck. The paycheck also teaches the students how to save and balance their funds received.
  • As it relates to T-CAP, charter schools test other than just the “common core standards”. They actually have test that helps the student keep up with their own progress. Which takes me to the next point called “MAP”.
  • M-A-P stands for Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) which creates a personalized assessment experience by adapting to each student’s learning level. In my last blog, I spoke about each child learning at their own level. Every child learns at a different pace and has different learning styles.
  • M-A-P measures the student’s weakness and strengths. The impact is that it sets expectations for the students to know where they are going in every subject.
  • Lastly, charter schools are rigorous; the students are in school longer, they have fewer days out, but the positive is more instructional time from teachers.

Wow, I wish they used charter school methods when my daughter began grade school. I truly believe she could have benefited from this type of structure. However, in my upcoming blogs, I will tell you the story of her journey from Davidson County school system to Henry County.

That’s all folks:-)