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Reimagining Education

Faces of Choice 2019

CEAM is continuing to share the voices of students, parents, teachers, and community members across Missouri who are either already benefitting from schools of choice or are fighting to bring more educational options to their community.

We have collected some of their stories in a new publication, “Faces of Choice 2019,” in a new section on our website, and below.

Please see what these strong, determined advocates are saying about the importance of giving families the power to choose the best education possible for their children!

“Charter schools have changed and are changing the trajectory of our children. They have to. They are all we have.”

– Carmen Ward, St. Louis City Carmen Ward’s son Paul is currently a junior at KIPP High School and has been at KIPP since the 5th grade. Paul was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 5. He left private school and entered the St. Louis public school system in the 1st grade. Paul went to…

Continue Reading “Charter schools have changed and are changing the trajectory of our children. They have to. They are all we have.”

“Our local public school system failed our daughter. Fortunately, the private school system includes her and encourages her success.”

– Becki Uccello, Springfield. Becki Uccello has been a public school teacher for 23 years. Her daughter Izzi attended the early intervention program at their local public elementary school for three years. They moved into that particular neighborhood because they knew that the elementary school was highly rated as far as attendance rates and standardized…

Continue Reading “Our local public school system failed our daughter. Fortunately, the private school system includes her and encourages her success.”

“No one cares more about the children than their parents. School choice is paramount in Missouri for all families, because parents need other options than being forced into a system that doesn’t work simply because of where they live.”

– Lisa Smith, St. Louis County. Lisa Smith has been fighting for the best education for her two children for many years. Her journey began when her son was abused by other students and locked alone in his Riverview Gardens school as a Kindergartener. When Lisa tried to get involved in her school to make…

Continue Reading “No one cares more about the children than their parents. School choice is paramount in Missouri for all families, because parents need other options than being forced into a system that doesn’t work simply because of where they live.”

“Teaching at a charter school allows you to rediscover the joy of teaching. This is the first time in my career where I wake up feeling really excited to go to school.”

– Mikael Spears, Kansas City. Mikael Spears is a teacher at Kansas City International Academy, a charter school in Kansas City.He spent ten years teaching in traditional district schools and learned that the bureaucracy of that system made it really hard to teach, noting that even something as simple as reading a book to a…

Continue Reading “Teaching at a charter school allows you to rediscover the joy of teaching. This is the first time in my career where I wake up feeling really excited to go to school.”

“Charter schools changed my life, my children’s life and have just made everything so much easier.”

– Stephanie Ross, Kansas City. Stephanie Ross has two children who have benefited from access to charter schools in the Kansas City area. Her first daughter is at Mizzou and her second daughter found a new academic life at Hogan Prep Academy. Stephanie said her second daughter was struggling in school and may not have graduated…

Continue Reading “Charter schools changed my life, my children’s life and have just made everything so much easier.”

“Education is the new frontier. It is what can change every community. The more you learn the more you can do and achieve.”

– Paul Davis talking about his son Robert, St. Louis City. Robert, a Normandy student with autism, faced relentless bullying for years resulting in a miserable school experience. When his family had the chance to transfer Robert to a safer school in the Francis Howell School District (as a result of a Missouri law that…

Continue Reading “Education is the new frontier. It is what can change every community. The more you learn the more you can do and achieve.”

“It has been proven the Saint Louis Metropolitan area has had failing schools and districts often giving parents no choice on what type of educational instruction their children are provided.”

– Del-Rio Swink-Lee, St. Louis City. Del-Rio’s daughter was severely bullied at her neighborhood school. When she and her daughter addressed concerns with their school they experienced retaliation including being banned from the school and retaliation against her daughter by school officials.Her daughter’s experience was covered in the local news and Del-Rio has made multiple…

Continue Reading “It has been proven the Saint Louis Metropolitan area has had failing schools and districts often giving parents no choice on what type of educational instruction their children are provided.”

“When he (my son) was taken out of a pressure cooker environment and given the freedom to be in a place that saw him for who he was, he grew and our son started to come back to us.”

– Cara Lawrence, Lee’s Summit. Cara Lawrence watched her son, who suffers from dysgraphia, failing in school by third grade. Her son was bullied and told he was stupid, but she knew he was an amazing child and just needed to find the right place for him.By eighth grade they moved him to Marian Hope…

Continue Reading “When he (my son) was taken out of a pressure cooker environment and given the freedom to be in a place that saw him for who he was, he grew and our son started to come back to us.”

“My wife and I have been greatly impressed with the level of education our son has received at GSA charter school. We are extremely blessed he is there. He is challenged every day.”

– Ryan Tucker, St. Louis City. Ryan Tucker has two children attending a charter school, Gateway Science Academy (GSA), in St. Louis. Both kids previously attended an SLPS Magnet School but had a horrendous experience with his youngest. He tried to be an active parent with SLPS but unfortunately he found “the relationship with administration…

Continue Reading “My wife and I have been greatly impressed with the level of education our son has received at GSA charter school. We are extremely blessed he is there. He is challenged every day.”

“When students are trapped in a school that is not meeting their educational needs, their future is at stake.”

– Kimberlee Gill, Lee’s Summit. Kimberlee Gill has served as a school teacher and administrator for thirty years. She just wrote a dissertation on school-choice policies across the country and after reviewing twenty-nine states and over sixty policies, she soon realized that Missouri was way behind schedule in passing choice legislation. “I learned well-written policy saves…

Continue Reading “When students are trapped in a school that is not meeting their educational needs, their future is at stake.”

“Although decades apart in our educational needs, the traditional school system was still unequipped to meet the needs of my children.”

– Keri Wright, St. Louis City. Keri Wright knows firsthand the benefits of finding a good school that fits. She escaped poor education in St. Louis when she was younger by participating in the desegregation program. Today she is doing everything she can to help her children have similar opportunities.Her family’s complex story highlights the…

Continue Reading “Although decades apart in our educational needs, the traditional school system was still unequipped to meet the needs of my children.”

“Education is the ticket out. The greater the education the greater the chance of getting a good job that you can provide for your family with.”

– Brandon Self, Lee’s Summit. Brandon Self is a student at Lee’s Summit Christian Academy. He has three siblings, all of whom attend private school based on his family’s beliefs and desire for a high quality education. Brandon has worked with his school to help raise awareness of school choice programs and has visited the…

Continue Reading “Education is the ticket out. The greater the education the greater the chance of getting a good job that you can provide for your family with.”

“It is hard for many legislators and people in general to understand how much money public schools are saving just by the existence of private schools.”

– Scott Williams, Columbia. Scott Williams is the head of school for Christian Fellowship School in Columbia, where he spent most of his life helping to provide a quality Christian education to the Columbia community.Scott has recently gotten involved in the push to create an Empowerment Scholarship Account program in Missouri. He sees how much…

Continue Reading “It is hard for many legislators and people in general to understand how much money public schools are saving just by the existence of private schools.”

“Not every school fits every kid. Having charter schools gives parents choices to find the school that will help their child be the most successful.”

– Kristen Wright, Kansas City. Kristen Wright is a teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School in Kansas City.She spent most of her career working at a traditional district school in a suburban area, and was looking for a new challenge and opportunity when she moved to a charter school.She knew that it was…

Continue Reading “Not every school fits every kid. Having charter schools gives parents choices to find the school that will help their child be the most successful.”

“We hired tutors, we bought all of the educational toys, I have the freedom to stay home and let my son succeed, but my community does not have that option.”

– Cathy Jo Loy, Joplin. As a mother of five, Cathy Jo Loy has had the privilege of making a lot of educational choices for her children. She has been lucky to have the ability to send her children to both public and private schools and to choose to homeschool her children when that has…

Continue Reading “We hired tutors, we bought all of the educational toys, I have the freedom to stay home and let my son succeed, but my community does not have that option.”

“I am a believer in virtual education. I’ve experienced a fragment of what can be achieved with this already-dated and inexpensive technology.”

– Jesse Barton, Kirksville. Jesse is a teacher in his local public school. Jesse was a fierce advocate for the Course Access bill which was passed in July of 2018. The Course Access bill created the MOCAP program which allows students to enroll in part-time and full-time virtual education paid for by the school district.…

Continue Reading “I am a believer in virtual education. I’ve experienced a fragment of what can be achieved with this already-dated and inexpensive technology.”

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