We (teachers, administrators, and parents) have created a rigorous learning environment that focuses on the whole child. Focusing on the entire child should not be a ploy to limit standardized testing. Concentrating on the child should build confidence and capacity within your students to where they aren’t anxious about testing; instead, they embrace the challenge. While we are not performing at 100% proficiency in Math & ELA, we have made significant gains. We regularly outperform Riverhead Central School District (our school’s sending district), and our parents appreciate having options other than the traditional public schools.
We pride ourselves in our commitment to diversify organically. The fact that our charter admission is lottery based helps, but presenting parents with a viable option to traditional public schools is the main reason charter schools are in high demand.
We keep the demand for our school high by following three principal tenets: 1) We have worked hard to create a good product for parents. Charter schools compete with traditional public schools and private schools. If your school performs well, families explore the opportunity to attend your school. 2) We embrace and celebrate the heritage of our students. By allowing our students to embrace different cultures through celebration, we’ve seen fewer instances of student unrest. They understand that it is okay to be different. They protect one another. 3) Our teachers are creating a joy factor in the classroom. Our students are excited about learning. Our teachers want to get better. They hunt you down to give them feedback. Teachers implement feedback immediately, and they are fully engaged in the teaching of all of our students.
Parents are tired of being told where to send their children for school. They want options in making informed decisions about K-12 education. Parents don’t want to be school-shamed because they decided to exercise their choices. They want traditional public schools to improve but not at the sake of sacrificing their children. Parents want a voice, and they do not want to feel like they’re the enemy or that contentious relationships exist between parents and school staff. Once all schools start to understand this very notion, we can begin to advance education for students.