To help advocates in the charter school community communicate, problem-solve, and collaborate, the National Alliance convenes like-minded coalitions and establishes deep partnerships. These groups engage members as a community and in an agile, learner-centered environment. The peer-to-peer connection helps members learn and work together to address their common needs and interests.
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Rising Leaders Initiative
All too often in education policy, the voices of students—the next generation of leaders—are drowned out by special interests. We’re looking to help change that starting with 10 charter high school students who want to improve education policy that directly affects them and their classmates.
The application process for the Rising Leaders class for the 2024-2025 academic year will open in January 2023.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The Rising Leaders Initiative is a one-year advocacy training program for charter high school students who want to become active participants in education policy decisions in their local community and state and develop skills to guide their educational and professional pathways.
We will recruit a diverse group of charter high school students who want to advocate for better education policies in their communities and give back to the next generation of students.
Students will participate in monthly virtual workshops to deepen their knowledge on the functions of civic participation, education advocacy, coalition building and develop leadership and public speaking skills.
Students will create and lead an advocacy club in their school to advocate for their charter school and develop impactful policy initiatives to address an urgent public education issue affecting their school or community.
- High school students enrolled at a U.S. charter school in the 2023-24 academic year
- Good academic standing
- Demonstrated commitment to others through volunteering and service to their school/community.
- An interest in advocacy, leadership, and government
Students are expected to participate in all scheduled virtual meetings and trainings. Meetings/trainings will be held monthly from September 2023-June 2024.
Students will be eligible for a $3,000 stipend for their participation in the program. Advocacy clubs will also receive operating funds.
How to Apply
Rising Leaders is open to all students attending a charter high school in the 50 states and D.C. All students are required to complete an online application and submit the following supplemental documents:
- Online Application: Fill out basic information and responses to application questions
- Academic Transcript: Must include grades from the most recent completed semester or quarter
- Parent Consent Form: Must be completed by a parent or guardian (download form)
- School Recommendation Form: Must be completed by a principal, teacher, school counselor, coach, or school official (download form)
Applications will not be considered complete until all required supplementary documents have been received.
Our application selection committee reviews all applications. Each application is reviewed holistically by two members of the selection committee. We strive to select talented and diverse students who demonstrate a strong interest in the Rising Leaders program and a commitment to others through service. Students who meet these requirements will be invited to participate in a virtual interview with the National Alliance for consideration for admission to the program. Our goal is to accept ten students for the 2023-24 academic year to join the program.
School Leaders of Color Cohort
The National Alliance’s School Leaders of Color (SLOC) cohort is a community of Asian, Black, Latino, and Native American charter school leaders at high-performing charter schools across the country.
As we look toward the future of the charter school sector, it is critical that we empower school leaders of color and give them the tools to open and run high-quality schools so that they are reflective of the communities they serve.
What SLOC Offers
- Advocacy training and day-of-action in Washington, D.C.
- Opportunities to connect with funders, closing the gap in access school leaders of color face
- Networking with school leaders facing similar challenges
- Dedicated programming at the National Charter Schools Conference
- Regular updates on legislative priorities and year-round advocacy efforts
Early Childhood Education Communities of Practice
The Early Childhood Education Community of Practice is a community of practitioners and experts in charter schools currently providing or interested in learning more about early childhood education. This community of practice is open to practitioners of all levels of experience, with beginner, intermediate, and advanced content for schools and educators.
Hundreds of charter schools across the country currently offer pre-k programs, and many more are interested in doing so but face policy, funding, facilities, or other barriers. The Early Childhood Education Community of Practice is an effective way to bring interested and experienced practitioners together to share best practices and resources that support holistic and strong academic practices and increase the number of charter school leaders implementing high-quality early childhood education program in their own communities.
The community will engage as needed through various formats including course cohorts, virtual meetings and an in-person gathering at the National Charter Schools Conference learn and network and prioritize content. The Early Childhood Education Community of Practice has engaged a diverse and robust Steering Committee that is helping to define the direction of the Early Childhood Education Community of Practice. It is comprised of highly accomplished individuals in both the charter school and early childhood space. They will lead the way in developing the content and making other key decisions that will result in the skills development of fellow participants.
The bedrock of the Early Childhood Education Community of Practice is its robust curriculum. In coordination with the Steering Committee, we have been developing courses in line with our core goals. Selected topics include, but are not limited to:
- Operational planning (securing space, furniture and materials, exemplar hiring documents, budgeting, etc.)
- Programmatic planning (vision setting, developmentally appropriate practices in Pre-K, systems for coaching and supporting Pre-K, family engagement, early literacy and math standards, vertical alignment to kindergarten, etc.).
We expect to have a virtual platform selected to present and house curriculum and have course development completed by the end of August 2022.
- Aaron Brenner, General Partner, Seton Education Partners
- Cathleen Sims, Head of Policy and External Affairs, Success Academies
- Xanthe Jory, Chief Operating Officer, Achievement First
- Kia Murray, Director of Academic Services, Colorado League of Charter Schools
- Charlotte Brantley, Chair, Board of Directors, Rocky Mountain Prep
- Anna Williamson, Agenda for Children, Managing Director Early Childhood, New Schools for New Orleans
- Jack McCarthy, CEO and President, AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation
- Sara Mead, Assistant Superintendent for Early Learning, Office of the State Superintendent of DC
- Chrisanne Gayl, Senior Director, Policy and Programs, Trust for Learning
- Allison Barjracharya, Principal, AGB Consulting
- Scott Moore, Executive Director, Kidango
- Kaleem Caire, CEO and Founder, One City Schools
- Albert Wat, Senior Policy Director, Alliance for Early Success
- Eliza Halsey, Founder, Elm City Montessori
- Daniela Rubio, Chief Community Officer, Austin Achieve
To join this community of practice, please complete the following form:
Charter School Operations Community of Practice
The Charter School Operations Community of Practice is for operations professionals working in charter schools. Over the years, we have recognized a need and desire for operations professionals to have specialized learning opportunities, foster community and connections, exchange research, quality practices, insights, and identify shared concerns. We want to expand access to information, methods, and systems to sole operations professionals within small networks or single-site schools and create a national network of experts and practitioners to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas.
Members of the Charter School Operations Community of Practice are practitioners. Our goal is to develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, tools, and ways of addressing recurring problems. Through time and sustained interactions and the development of shared systems and methods, we will grow and create a strong practice.
The community will engage as needed through various formats, including a private listserv for internal communications in real time, webinars for timely information on trending topics, a newsletter to share valuable information, and an in-person annual meeting at the National Charter Schools Conference.
The Charter School Operations Community of Practice is managed by the National Alliance’s Jake Custer, senior director of HR and operations, and Sindy Pierre-Noel, director of programs, with input and help from a planning committee with direct school operations experience.
- Jake Custer, Senior Director, Human Resources & Operations, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
- Sindy Pierre-Noel, Director, Programs, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
- Bulent Coban, Chief Operations Officer, Harmony
- Lyman Millard, Partner, Bloomwell Group
- Suzette Ruiz, Vice President, Somerset Academy, Inc
- Jana Wilcox Lavin, Executive Director, Opportunity 180
To learn more about this community of practice or to sign up, please visit the Operations Community of Practice listserv landing page.
Trauma-Informed Educators Community of Practice
The Trauma-Informed Educators Community of Practice is by, of, and for practitioners to support peer-to-peer learning and collaboration and share and create trauma-informed educational practices and models. The Trauma-Informed Community of Practice is open to all K-12 schools.
The content and tools provided seek to meet the needs of schools and educators across a wide spectrum of trauma-informed expertise to provide beginner, intermediate, and advanced content for schools, ranging from those who are just coming to understand the impact of trauma on their work, to those who are designed and fully staffed to provide trauma-informed education and support services.
The Trauma-Informed Educators Community of Practice will:
- Create a collaborative peer-to-peer learning model for the K-12 professional community to share, develop, codify, and disseminate best practices and models, and provide professional development to address trauma.
- Increase the number of schools and educators who understand the impact of trauma on education and the number of schools adopting trauma-informed competencies and resources.
- Create and codify the practices of whole school models that address trauma.
What is Trauma-informed Education?
The essence of Trauma-Informed Education is that it seeks to be comprehensive in the engagement of the whole child, recognizing the totality of influences and impacts (physical, social and emotional) on each child at any given time and how those impacts may support or inhibit the critical sense of safety that undergirds any potential for learning.
Unaddressed trauma is ubiquitous in personal impact, with measurable and negative outcomes in every sphere of existence for individuals impacted by it. This is especially true where education is concerned. Trauma-Informed Education respects the biology of the brain in that the need to feel safe correlates with brain science in that the lower systems of the brain that regulate survival are as important as the higher reasoning cortex where learning takes place. The sequence of the brain is the need to regulate stress first (to feel safe with predictability), to then relate well with others to open up the brain’s cortex to be able to reason, create, and reflect (to learn).
One significant part of the work of approaching trauma in educating our youth is the assessment of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). These early and often unaddressed experiences of trauma are most commonly correlated to negative impacts throughout life. We know that children who have had or are having these experiences are significantly more likely to have moderate to severe issues in school. While there are many more experiences that can be argued to have similar effect, these have received the most significant study.
In her groundbreaking 2011 study “The impact of adverse childhood experiences on an urban pediatric population,” Dr. Nadine Burke Harris found a powerful link between the number of childhood ACEs and the onset of learning and behavioral issues.
The 10 ACEs were defined as the following childhood experiences:
- Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse
- Physical or emotional neglect
- Separation or divorce
- A family member with mental illness
- A family member addicted to drugs or alcohol
- A family member who is in prison
- Witness to a parent being abused
- Building School Support: What is Trauma-informed Education? – A handout to use, copy, and share to help explain trauma-informed education and develop support within your school
- YouTube Video: Dealing with the Brain Before Learning Can Begin
Questions about the Trauma-Informed Educators Community of Practice? Please contact Angela Christophe.