Celebrating 20 Years: A Short History of the National Charter Schools Conference and Charter Schools
20 years ago in St. Paul, Minnesota, the first charter school was founded. Specially designed for students who were not being served well by their schools in St. Paul, City Academy paved the way for the rest of the public charter school movement.
Now, more than 5,000 schools later, the National Charter Schools Conference returned to the Twin Cities to celebrate the birth of charter schooling. The 2012 theme, “20 Years of Innovation: Proving the Possibilities” encompasses both the creativity and driving forces that have brought us to this moment, but also acknowledges that public charter schools have reached a point where we can imagine 20 years into the future.
As a community, we have proven that a longer school day can increase student performance and we have proven that engaging parents is an important part of a student's success in the classroom. But our work is not done—there are still things that we need to prove: that given freedom, teachers and school leaders can produce high-quality schools with accountability, that we can break down the achievement gap entirely and that charter schools need to remain part of the education solution.
Lake Country Academy joined the celebration June 19-22 in Minneapolis to celebrate the 20th year for Charter Schools. Twelve staff carpooled to the big event. We spent three days sharing our experiences as a charter school leader and learning from those that have accomplished the most. The school and its leadership have graciously agreed to share their learnings in this downloadable link.