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Tuesday, 12 June 2018 17:42

Planning for NCSC 2018

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 Post by Rena Youngblood, AAE's Director of Charter School Services


This week I have a few important decisions to make before boarding my flight to Austin, Texas, to attend the 2018 National Charter Schools Conference. Things like whether I should squeeze a sweater into the corner of my suitcase just in case the convention hall temperature is set to freezing which happens all too often. More importantly, however, I have to scan over 100 sessions being presented by experts across the country and decide on which ones to attend. All of this in between meeting friends I haven’t seen since last year’s conference, hearing keynote speakers that always motivate me to stay in gear for the next 12 months, and scheduling time with AAE members, charter association staff from partner states, and meeting new colleagues who share the same mission for equitable educational options for all students.


I’m always happy to see people connected to AAE selected to present and as I look through the schedule for this year’s conference, I see many, many names that I count as friends or partners.


I found Nora Flood with the Walton Family Foundation and AAE advisory board member presenting Research on Parents as Consumers: Time for Real Choices in Education. The information she is sharing supports the notion that parents want distinct education choices that fit their child’s learning style and interests.


I also saw that Elisa Falco with the Georgia Charter Schools Association, an AAE friend and partner, is scheduled to present Stop Putting Out Fires and Govern! I’ve known Elisa a long time and if you’re serving on a charter school board, she’s got answers for you.


Working down through the list I was excited to see another charter school organization partner, The Colorado League of Charter School’s Ben Lindquist, is going to speak to board members associated with charter schools that have been around for a while in Level Up! Board Governance for the Seasoned Charter. There are different challenges for these board members than what the board of a relatively new school will face.


Finally, I saw a dear friend from Pataula Charter Academy teaming up with a group to discuss Rural Charter Schools and USDA Financing. Cheryl Weathersby is an extraordinary Chief Financial Officer and anyone running a charter school would be wise to heed her advice.


I’ve attended a lot of these national conferences over the last ten years and always walk away exhausted and refreshed at the same time. AAE will have a booth set up in the exhibition hall and will welcome anyone to stop by and say hello. The National Alliance for Pubic Charter Schools says, “This conference is about being part of a movement, learning from the best in the field, and learning from each other.” I couldn’t agree more. Now, about that sweater, should I pack the white one, the black one, or both?


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Melissa Pratt

Professional Programs Manager

Melissa Pratt is the professional programs manager in AAE’s Washington D.C. office. In this role, Melissa assists with a wide variety of projects, including office management, specialty recruiting programs, and research. Melissa also spearheads professional development initiatives and oversees the AAE Foundation National Teacher Scholarship & Classroom Grant program.

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