by Michael Shulansky
Recently, New Haven elected officials gathered with charter school parents, students, and school leaders to celebrate the work of local charter schools.
Representatives from Common Ground, Elm City Montessori School, Achievement First Amistad Academy, Highville Charter School, Booker T. Washington Academy, and Elm City College Prep spoke.
They stressed the importance of charter schools as a pathway to success for New Haven’s children, and urged lawmakers to support efforts to replicate and expand charters in the coming year.
New Haven charter school leaders speak to parents and students at the New Haven legislative breakfast.
Senate Majority Leader Marty Looney is familiar with Common Ground – his grandson attends a summer program at the school. “This place is really a gem, both for those who go to school here during the regular academic year, and for those who participate in the summer program.”
The school serves children primarily from New Haven. “Every school in this room is creating quality educational opportunities for children in New Haven,” said Common Ground Director Liz Cox.
Although these schools are successfully preparing their students for a successful future, they’re doing so without secure annual funding. School leaders such as John Taylor, of Booker T. Washington Academy which just opened this fall, urged elected officials to give charter students the support they deserve.
“We need the funding,” said Taylor, whose school currently serves kindergarten and first grade, though the state has approved it for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. “I never expected to need to ask for the funding to go from K-1 to K-2. It’s so discouraging to know that our kids might have to go somewhere else. Allow us to continue to grow.”
State Representative Toni Walker lauded New Haven’s charter schools, noting the importance of targeting areas where students need the most help.
State Representative Toni Walker speaks to parents and students at the New Haven legislative breakfast.
“We have 169 towns, and this is a unique environment because it’s growing in communities of Connecticut where we have lacking educational opportunities,” said State Representative Toni Walker.
Those successful options are essential for children in Connecticut, according to State Senator Gary Holder-Winfield. “The people who we send to Hartford and Washington… they need to support whatever option is available to make those kids able to achieve what they want to achieve.”
“Charter schools are public schools, and they are helping New Haven children reach their full potential,” said Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace. “Every child deserves a high-quality education. It’s a human right.”
Other elected leaders in attendance included State Representatives Robyn Porter and Robert Megna, and Alderman, Darryl Brackeen, Jr.
Take a look at a slideshow of images from the breakfast below.
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