October 18, 2018 – Orlando, FL – The 2018 Florida Charter School Conference brought together the teachers, school leaders, governing board members and stakeholders that make the charter school movement in Florida one of the best in the country. Our schools are helping students make impressive academic gains, closing the achievement gap, and raising graduation rates. More importantly, charter schools are providing families with quality education options while helping improve Florida’s overall education ranking. According to Quality Counts 2018, Florida outperformed the nation in every measure of achievement gains, poverty gap and Advanced Placement; ranked 2nd for improvement in both grade 4th reading and mathematics; and ranked 3rd for improvement in grade 8 reading.
The Florida Charter School Alliance (FCSA) was a proud sponsor of the 3-day conference. Ralph Arza, Director of Governmental Affairs, spoke at the closing session. He shared recent polling data with attendees that shows that a majority of voters — especially African American and Hispanic voters — support charter schools, and are more inclined to vote for a candidate that supports charter schools. Slides from Arza’s presentation can be seen here: Voters asked about charter schools, candidates. FCSA Executive Director Lynn Norman-Teck led a breakout session entitled Lifting Enrollment: How to use advertising, social media and public relations to reach potential parents. Click here to learn more about that presentation.
We were inspired Joy Prescott’s speech at the opening reception. The 2019 Teacher of the Year, Ms. Prescott is the first charter school teacher in Florida to received that recognition. She talked about the importance of social and emotional learning in children’s overall development, and urged all teachers to implement activities within instruction to specifically help students develop healthy emotional and interpersonal skills. Ms. Prescott is a teacher at Pemayetv Emahakv, a Seminole Tribe Charter School in Glades County. The school’s education service provider is Charter School Associates.
During the conference, the FCSA team staffed a booth in the Exhibit Hall. This gave us an opportunity to speak with attendees from throughout the state. A big thank you to our Marketplace partners Office Depot and Florida Teachers for donating door prizes; and Shane Wingo from Lanier Upshaw for staffing the booth with us. Lanier Upshaw recently helped Miami Community Charter, a FCSA member school, implement a quality and affordable employee benefits program at their school. Towards the end of day two, the FCSA booth became a mini recording studio when the Academic Media team recorded a couple of podcasts from the exhibit hall floor. Stay tuned for more about that initiative. In the meantime, you can listen to the FCSA podcast, Providing Choice, wherever you get your podcasts.
Our team also attended a number of breakout sessions including informational panels about ESE services, legislative changes affecting charter schools, ESSA updates, school grades, and more. We also got a chance to mingle with friends and colleagues at the opening reception; and were treated to wonderful performances by the students from Pemayetv Emahakv and LLT Academy. Check out a few photos from the Florida Charter School Conference below.
We ended day two by hosting the Academica Media team who interviewed several principals for their podcast. Stay tuned for more information about that. If you’re interested in podcasts, check out the FCSA podcast, Providing Choice, wherever you listen to podcasts.
About FCSA: The FCSA team works year-round to help individual schools succeed, while also advocating for Florida’s charter school movement at the state and district level. We are particularly proud of the work we did in 2017-18 that helped Miami Community Charter and Glades Academy with turn-around efforts.