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Charter School: One Year Later


Tyler just finished his first year in our charter school of choice. I really had no idea what to expect from charter school. I just knew that public school was not an option anymore and homeschooling was not something that was viable for our family. Turns out, this charter school is absolutely hands down the very best thing that could have happened for our family. And this year we hit the sibling lottery jackpot- Mason and Zoey got in via the sibling lottery back in February and Maia was number 1 on the waitlist. We got the call a couple of weeks ago that Maia had gotten a spot. So next year we will have all of our kids in one charter school. Do you hear that sound? It’s the angels singing. I’m not saying that this charter school is perfect. It’s not but the truth is, no school will ever be perfect. You just have to decide what you can live with and what is a deal breaker. For us, any issues at our charter school are minor and acceptable compared to the total nightmare of our assigned public schools. The positives far outweigh the negatives in our experience. 

1. Smaller class sizes. At his old public high school Tyler had anywhere from 28-35 kids in his classes. Sometimes there weren’t enough desks and there were never enough text books. Now he has 15-18 kids in his classes and everyone is really engaged. 

2. Active parents. The fact that there is no free transportation and no lunch program means that parents have to really want their kids to attend this school. It requires a lot. There’s a very active Facebook page full of parents, and everyone is super involved in the school. It’s amazing! I feel like we joined a family, instead of a school.

3. Strong academics. Tyler learned more in one year than he has in the previous 3 in public school. The standard classes are the equivalent of the Honors classes in our public school system. Tyler’s grades went up simply because the teacher spent the entire class period teaching instead of dealing with behavioral issues. 

4. Required service hours. Tyler is required to do 40 hours of service per year. I love this. It forces teenagers to look outside themselves and offer service to other people. And teenagers are notoriously self-absorbed as a general rule. Tyler helped the football coaches collect and catalog gear at the end of the season, he helped them run a skills camp for the younger players, he helped teachers move furniture…he got involved. 

5. Sense of community. Tyler played both varsity football and basketball. He made a ton of friends. Matt and I made just as many friends. We tailgated with the football parents, we did dinners with the basketball parents. I had girls nights with other moms that I met. It’s a culture at this school and I love it so much.

6. Uniforms. Do you know what you see at public high school? Girls wearing booty shorts and bikini tops with high heel sandals. Boys with their shorts down around their knees. Know what you see at charter school? Uniforms. It’s awesome. I love it. No fighting over what clothes they want to wear and nobody knows who the more affluent families are because everyone is wearing the same stuff.

7. Extra supervision. My poor kids. They have no idea the amount of extra eyes that are on them every day. I have good friends who teach in the lower school (grades K-5). I’m friends with coaches in the middle school. I have friends who substitute teach in the upper school, I’m friends with the registrar, and I saw the admin assistant so much last year because of Tyler that she’ll let me know in a hot minute if something is going on. Nothing goes on with my kids that I don’t hear about. I love that. 

8. One campus. This might be my favorite thing. All 4 of my kids will be on the same campus. The lower school, middle school, upper school, athletic center, fine arts building, and STEM building are all self-contained on one property. If one of my younger kids has an issue, Tyler and Maia are right there for help. We never have to adjust to a new school again- Zoey will be on one campus from 1st grade until she graduates high school. I love that!

All in all, putting our kids in this charter school has been the best decision we could have ever made for them and for us. Our quality of life has increased ten fold over the last year. Charter school isn’t for everyone- it’s a lot of work for parents too- but for us it was so worth it. 


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