17th Annual California Charter School Conference Highlights Growth And Achievements, Prepares For Future Challenges

March 2, 2010

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PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release March 2, 2010

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA (415) 505-7575 vickyw@charterassociation.org

17TH Annual California Charter School Conference Highlights Growth And Achievements, Prepares For Future Challenges

SACRAMENTO, California.--The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) began its 17th Annual Conference today at the Sacramento Convention Center. The Conference, which will run through Thursday morning, will host some 2,300 teachers, principals and leaders in the growing charter community from across the state. "This is an exciting year for charter schools, given the emphasis by President Obama's Administration, as well as our own state leaders, on things such as parent choice and academic achievement, which are the core values of our movement," said Jed Wallace, President and CEO of CCSA.
California has the highest number of charter schools in the country, growing to 809 in 2009, and serving some 341,000 students. That's the equivalent of the 2th largest school district in the state, and the 5th largest district in the nation. Last year, the charter movement grew by 56,000 students, a 20% increase. Next year, CCSA projects some 100 new charter schools will open. "We've seen tremendous growth in the number of charter schools in the state, and in the number of students served by charters, which we feel certain will continue. We want to continue this growth trend and reach over 1 million charter students in the next few years," added Wallace. The California Charter Schools Association provides state and local advocacy, leadership on quality, and a variety of operational and support services to its members. The Conference will focus on many of these issues, as well as challenges charter schools face, such as accountability, adequate facilities, and budget deficits.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will speak at the Conference Thursday morning, along with Dr. Don Shalvey, from The Gates Foundation. In addition, the annual Hart Vision Awards recipients will be announced. The Hart Vision Awards--honoring the work and commitment to charters by former state Senator Gary Hart--recognize the most outstanding charter schools, educators, and leaders. Several California charter school students, including from the local Natomas Performing Arts Charter School, will offer performances during the conference. There will be more than 150 break-out sessions and workshops that will range in topic from budget to special education, to challenges with facilities. The Conference is designed to give current and future charter operators the tools and resources to succeed in their own communities, and bring a high-quality education to our children. Charter schools are autonomous public schools that are allowed to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement. Charters have open enrollment and are tuition-free. They also require parent participation and involvement. For more information on the 17th Annual California Charter Schools Conference, please visit www.charterconference.org.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 809 charter public schools that educate more than 341,000 charter school students in the state of California. The mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to lead the charter public school movement in California in order to increase the number of students attending high-quality charter schools. www.myschool.org.

Note to Media: We invite you to pursue the story and interview members of the California Charter Schools Association. CCSA will fully support your needs for resources pertaining to the story.

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If you are a member of the news media, please contact Emily Galbreth at: (412) 559-8571 or egalbreth@calcharters.org.

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