February 2013 Message to Members from Jed Wallace

February 13, 2013

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JedWallaceSmall.jpg We are counting down to the excitement as we are less than a month away from our 20th Conference and Anniversary Celebration!

The conference, to be held March 11 - 14 in San Diego, is destined to be historic as it marks the 20th Anniversary of charter schools in California. The conference brings together the entire charter school community to support one another in achieving excellence in every aspect of running a school. Charter leaders, teachers, parents and supporters will gather to strategize and to share information, whether about how the state budget affects our schools or about how the latest innovations are being brought into our classrooms.

During the past two decades, together we have not only transformed public education but also ushered in an era in which parents and communities can create schools of choice for their children and have greater flexibility and richer learning environments in exchange for added accountability.

We still have challenges to face like funding inequity and facilities issues but through the efforts of parents, students and our thousands of supporters, we have witnessed school growth from 31 charters in 1993 when the law went into effect to 1,065 charters serving more than 484,000 students this year, the most of any state in the nation. Demand continues to increase with tens of thousands of students currently on waiting lists in CA.

And so we believe it is fitting that, as part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we take time to honor the efforts of outstanding leaders from all walks of the charter school experience whose longstanding dedication to our movement has advanced our shared effort to improve educational opportunity for all of California's public school students.

During the conference, we will bestow nine Hart Vision Awards upon charter school stakeholders whose efforts have both benefitted families and students at the school level and helped the charter school movement more broadly. The Association chose to name these awards after Senator Gary Hart in recognition of the great leadership that he showed in securing the passage of California's charter school law in September of 1992.

This year we have also created The Legacy Award - a new category of honor meant to recognize those individuals who have made extraordinary contributions over the two decades of California's charter school movement. Thirty distinguished charter school leaders, advocates and supporters will receive this award during our Anniversary dinner on Tuesday, March 12. Legacy Awardees have shown remarkable persistence and resolve to overcome the great obstacles that have challenged, and continue to challenge charter schools.

Along with nearly 150 workshops to choose from, we will also be hosting special workshops focused on Hands-on Tech Plan Writing and E-Rate Planning, the Public Charter School Grant Program and The Board Member Best Practices Summit. It's not too late - if you have not already done so, please register to join us for what is sure to be an informative and transformative four days.

The greatest strength of the charter school movement is the remarkable group of people who are contributing to it and I look forward to celebrating with you next month in San Diego.

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association

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