SIG Focus: Public Charter Schools

From the August 24, 2016 NACAC Bulletin:

Co-Leaders of the Public Charter Schools Special Interest Group

Crys Latham, Washington Latin Public Charter School (DC)

Sanjay Mitchell, Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School (DC)

​NACAC Special Interest Groups (SIGs) nurture the growing diversity in our association by providing “micro” communities where members can network and add value to their membership experience. These smaller subsets of members are formed for the purpose of knowledge sharing and discussion among members with similar interests whether they are specific subjects, issues or type of institution, or students they serve.

The Public Charter School Special Interest Group is dedicated to building collaborations and sharing best practices among NACAC members who work in and support public charter schools and charter school networks.  We seek to build a community of practitioners and advocate for professional development and policies that assist us with promoting college readiness, access, and success from high school enrollment to college graduation.

The Public Charter School SIG was formed to fulfill a need as the membership of charter school counselors increased in NACAC. Charter schools, more often than not, straddle both the public and private school worlds. While the majority are often public schools, many are overseen or run by entities separate from local public school districts and are afforded the autonomy to create their own curriculum and culture. Subsequently, charter schools were created as a means of providing the option of supplementing or in some cases, replacing a traditional high school experience, when parents or organizations felt their local schools were not meeting their needs.

On account of the autonomy that exists, there sometimes lacks a connective tissue that allows charter school professionals to network, collaborate, and support one another. One goal as a SIG is to provide a place where practitioners in the charter school world can come together to discuss obstacles faced within the local school community, share best practices, exchange ideas, and help to provide support and mentorship. A second goal is to use this platform to spread the word among our burgeoning colleagues about the benefits of membership to both NACAC and the state and regional affiliates. With so many opportunities to learn and grow in the profession, our students will benefit greatly if everyone involved is present and participatory.