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Reimagining Education

Faces of Choice

“I definitely feel like they’re getting a better education. I feel like we learned the way our kids learned before anybody else. As a parent you can sort of take advantage of that.”

– Karesha Warford, Kansas City As a fourth-grade teacher at Kingdom Christian Academy in Fulton, Melissa Leisinger knows what a benefit access to a private school education can be.

Karesha Warford wants to make sure her children are getting the education they deserve, so when her local school district took over half a…

Continue Reading “I definitely feel like they’re getting a better education. I feel like we learned the way our kids learned before anybody else. As a parent you can sort of take advantage of that.”

“Everyone deserves the best that they can get… no matter what level of income you’re at, no matter where you are, every child matters and I want them to all have that choice.”

– Melissa Leisinger, Fulton As a fourth-grade teacher at Kingdom Christian Academy in Fulton, Melissa Leisinger knows what a benefit access to a private school education can be.

“What really I like about a Christian or a private school is the ability to challenge students above their means,” she said. “It’s a smaller…

Continue Reading “Everyone deserves the best that they can get… no matter what level of income you’re at, no matter where you are, every child matters and I want them to all have that choice.”

“Some schools have been failing their students for over 40 years, so this is not a pandemic issue, this is a quality issue and that is why school choice is so important.”

– Krystal Barnett, St. Louis Krystal Barnett has seen the impact of school choice both in her own education and in the success her son has achieved. Krystal was a transfer student herself, and her son was lucky enough to get a rare scholarship to a private school in her North St. Louis community.

She quickly discovered virtual education…

Continue Reading “I know that my children are learning the academic skills that they need to be successful in their everyday and their future. I know that they are safe, and their kind spirits nurtured.”

“Having those options for parents to say, hey this doesn’t work for my child, so I have a choice to move them somewhere else, I think is something that all parents deserve.”

– Ma’kayla Gray, St. Louis Ma’kayla Gray does not have any kids of her own yet, but she knows from her own educational experience that we need to fix a lot of things in Missouri schools and she is actively working to make those changes so that when she does have children they are guaranteed…

Continue Reading “Having those options for parents to say, hey this doesn’t work for my child, so I have a choice to move them somewhere else, I think is something that all parents deserve.”

“It was very eye-opening to me to realize the power that parents have. We are not just the people that the educational systems serve but we are stakeholders. We have a voice and we have a choice.”

– Christy Joyce Moreno, Kansas City Christy Joyce Moreno knows how important having choices is, which is why when her daughters were ready for school she took advantage of the choices she had in Kansas City and sent them to a charter school. 

As an immigrant from Mexico City, finding a school that…

Continue Reading “It was very eye-opening to me to realize the power that parents have. We are not just the people that the educational systems serve but we are stakeholders. We have a voice and we have a choice.”

“The teachers met us graciously but when we talked about our desire to be involved in our children’s education they kind of looked at us like we were from a different planet.”

– Paul Waite, Independence When Paul Waite and his family moved to Missouri they were surprised at how little their district school allowed them to be involved in their children’s education.

“The teachers met us graciously but when we talked about our desire to be involved in our children’s education they kind of…

Continue Reading “The teachers met us graciously but when we talked about our desire to be involved in our children’s education they kind of looked at us like we were from a different planet.”

“When I think back and think about my son being raised in the same school district that I graduated from, I want my son to have better opportunities.”

– Shantelai Pettit, Kansas City Shantelai Pettit knows first-hand just how bad some schools in Missouri can be. She moved to the Kansas City area from California when she was eleven and almost immediately discovered how far behind her new classmates were.

“Everything they were learning here I had already learned a couple…

Continue Reading “When I think back and think about my son being raised in the same school district that I graduated from, I want my son to have better opportunities.”

“You are your child’s best teacher and if they see that your child is not learning for whatever reason in the school that they’re in you should be able to make a different decision.”

– Camellia Plosser, Joplin Camellia Plosser, a product of school choice herself, is a homeschooling parent who enjoys the freedom that homeschooling allows. Camellia’s parents understood the need for parental choice, moving to the Joplin area for the sole purpose of enrolling Camellia in a particular private school.

“It required a lot of…

Continue Reading “You are your child’s best teacher and if they see that your child is not learning for whatever reason in the school that they’re in you should be able to make a different decision.”

“It’s very important for each student to get the chance to have the perfect education for them. I think it’s important to be very careful about the choices that you make for your future generations.”

– Kayla Jarvis , St. Louis For the past seven years Kayla Jarvis has experienced school choice through the transfer program, escaping her home district to excel in Pattonville schools.

“Being in school in Normandy was not ideal and I don’t think it is for a lot of people,” Kayla said. “I personally have…

Continue Reading “It’s very important for each student to get the chance to have the perfect education for them. I think it’s important to be very careful about the choices that you make for your future generations.”

“You know your kid better than anybody else, so you know if your kid is going to be successful in a certain environment. I would like for everybody to be able to choose.”

– Gloria Lyons, St. Louis When it was time for Gloria Lyons to send her kids to school she knew they deserved to go the best school possible.“Without having an education you really can’t get too much of nothing done in adult life so I wanted to choose the best school that was going to…

Continue Reading “You know your kid better than anybody else, so you know if your kid is going to be successful in a certain environment. I would like for everybody to be able to choose.”

“There’s something wrong with our regular school system when charter schools and the back seat of a pickup truck give a better education than going to school for eight hours a day.”

– Don Reed, Pleasant Valley Don Reed has explored a lot of different educational options for his daughter over her school career and says that what is being offered in her current district school does not live up to other options she has access to in the past.

His daughter started her school…

Continue Reading “There’s something wrong with our regular school system when charter schools and the back seat of a pickup truck give a better education than going to school for eight hours a day.”

“The more choices we have the better education will become. The more competition we have, the more ideas going out there, the more opportunities we have for our kids, I just don’t see that choice can ever be a bad thing.”

– Pam Buttram, Joplin Pam Buttram started off sending her children to public district schools, but when her older son, who has special needs, started getting put into a seclusion room, she knew she had to pull him out and homeschool if he was going to have any chance at success.

“There’s a…

Continue Reading “The more choices we have the better education will become. The more competition we have, the more ideas going out there, the more opportunities we have for our kids, I just don’t see that choice can ever be a bad thing.”

“It shouldn’t be just because I was born into the right family that I get to get a good education. Every student should be able to get the education that they want to.”

– Kandace Gill, Lee’s Summit Kandace Gill is a Junior at Summit Christian Academy where she is excelling and getting a head start on her college career. She hopes to graduate with about 30 college credits and loves the benefits of attending a school with small class sizes and caring and attentive staff. 

Continue Reading “It shouldn’t be just because I was born into the right family that I get to get a good education. Every student should be able to get the education that they want to.”

“Parents live with their children for their entire lives and for us to as educators to believe that we know more about the needs of any children than their parents is really foolish.”

– Kimberly Townsend, St. Louis City Kimberly Townsend knows a lot about education, having been involved in classrooms in both public and private schools.But her idea of what the perfect school looks like changed when she became a mom herself.  “I did not believe that our local public school was going to be the right…

Continue Reading “Parents live with their children for their entire lives and for us to as educators to believe that we know more about the needs of any children than their parents is really foolish.”

“A concerned parent should not have to dedicate years of their lives to fighting for quality education for their children with the very system that is supposed to be providing it.”

– Lisa Smith, St. Louis City This year Lisa Smith celebrated a major success for her family – the graduation of her daughter from a well-performing school.Lisa lives in the Riverview Gardens School District and has had to fight for years to get a quality education for her two children.When her daughter was entering high…

Continue Reading “A concerned parent should not have to dedicate years of their lives to fighting for quality education for their children with the very system that is supposed to be providing it.”

“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.”