October 2017 CEO Message

October 1, 2017

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Welcome back to another school year! We hope you were able to rest and recalibrate over the summer as we begin an exciting and critical time in California charter school history. This year, CCSA is excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the California Charter Schools Act of 1992, legislation that sparked a movement transforming the lives of students and unlocking their academic potential. To celebrate, we reflect on our movement's recent accomplishments and reaffirm our commitment to the students and families we serve.

These 25 years have been a period of incredible growth and momentum for California's charter schools. Whether it's growing to serve more students, improving academic outcomes for historically underserved students, protecting our most vulnerable students so they can focus on learning, or developing innovations that are working their way into all public schools throughout the state, CCSA members have played a catalytic role helping public education improve for all California students.

We see examples of this great work in regions across the state. Up north, Growth Public Schools, one of the newest charter schools in Sacramento, is offering all students personalized learning to fit the needs of their diverse population. Grimmway Schools of the Central Valley's Kern County, is providing Latino students access to a high-quality, college-prep education and has been recognized by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Down in the San Diego-area, School of Universal Learning (SOUL) Charter School opened its doors to 7th through 9th grade students to help them know who they are, discover their passions and purpose, and thrive holistically.

Statewide, we see evidence of charter schools' hard work to educate our kids paying off in last week's release of the California Department of Education new CAASPP results. Charter schools across the board are performing the same or better than traditional district schools, while serving a higher proportion of historically underserved students. In Los Angeles independent charter public schools in LAUSD substantially outperformed traditional public schools, not only for all students but also for all subgroups. In Oakland OUSD autonomous charters' median state rank (4) is significantly higher than traditional public schools' (2). California's charter movement continues to work hard to lead academic accountability practices across the state.

What's more, we are advancing the values of social justice and civil rights that have motivated our movement since its inception. The last few months have been chaotic because the civil rights of many of our students and families have been threatened due to immigration status. We have posted many resources for schools and families online in our Safe Schools Toolkit. CCSA will continue to collaborate with you protect all our kids and their families, monitor the advocacy landscape, and encourage members to help us ensure all Dreamers receive the permanent solution they deserve.

While we have made tremendous progress as a charter school movement, there remains a small but powerful minority that opposes our progress, and they are doing all they can to knock us off stride. In order to come through this new period of heightened risk and opportunity, we will need to band together to take on whatever challenges come our way.

I look forward to another year of working together and fighting the good fight for our kids who deserve our very best.

Onward,

Jed Wallace President and CEO CCSA

P.S. - Join us in San Diego March 26-29, 2018 for the 25th Annual CCSA Conference to learn from your peers, deepen your practice, and celebrate the movement. Register Today!