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César Chávez Symposium

Every year, seniors at Chávez schools present and defend their theses, which focus on current public policy issues, during the César Chávez Public Charter Schools Public Policy Symposium. Students include a background of the issue, analysis of the policy, and their recommendations on how to improve/change the policy in their thesis presentations. This year’s topics ranged from the militarization of the police to the conflicts in Israel/Palestine. The three seniors who presented their theses rivaled that of a college student well into their studies. Each presentation was a thoughtful piece that brought me into their minds and helped me understand the basis of their thesis.Chavez Signs

Before the student presentations, keynote speaker Jamal Simmons, who plays an active role in politics and helped both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama win elections, spoke about his idea of “Generation One”. Generation One includes the millennials who he described as having a greater scope of things that they can become in life compared to earlier generations. He recounted a popular saying from when he was younger about minority parents telling their kids that they can be anything they want in life, and parents knowing they were not telling the truth. Children then suffered from the generational suppression that lasted decades before them. This is unlike today, when there are people who look just like them who are owners of television networks or even President of the United States. Today, Generation One believes they can indeed be anything they want in life.

This led us into the student presentations, and it was clear that these students are a part of Generation One (in fact, they might be the next leaders of Generation One!). The first presenter spoke about student loan debt, and provided his very own

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Touring D.C. International Public Charter School

Last week, CER Interns attended a First Fridays Tour at D.C. International Public Charter School (DCI). Mary Shaffner, the Executive Director, founded the school in 2014 with “the mission of training students to become multilingual, culturally competent and capable of taking their learning to the next level.” Each student engages in partial language immersion in content-based instruction classes in Spanish, French, or Mandarin Chinese.

During the tour, one aspect of DCI that struck us the most was the considerable amount of racial, intellectual, and economic diversity. Forty percent of students are African American, 27 percent are Latino/a, 26 percent are Caucasian, and 7 percent are Asian. A majority of students take part in the free and reduced meals program, and 20 percent of students receive special education. The tour showcased this variety by bringing us to different classes, and focused on the school’s distinctive elements, like its concentration on language and effective implementation of technology in the classroom.Students finalize their presentations

DCI heavily relies on intensive language immersion. Students take language classes every day, and take other classes in in the student’s target language. Roughly 50 percent of a student’s day involves using their target language to, for example, discuss controversial topics, write reports, or read articles about current events.

Technology is also highly used in the classroom. Each student has their own Chromebook that can be used for independent projects, homework, assessments, and research. Technology gives students access to a wealth of information and resources. In addition, it instills a sense of responsibility in each of the students.

“We believe that a student who embraces culture is best prepared for future success. While our world grows more interconnected, the job market of the future has yet to be defined. But we know that

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Education’s Impact on Success

Education is an essential part of life. It can create an opportunity of a lifetime that many aren’t fortunate enough to obtain. Education is the key to success that opens the door to knowledge, opportunities, and personal development.

My mother strongly valued education when I was younger. It was unacceptable to bring home any grade less than a B, even though she wanted me to strive for all A’s. She knew from the start that we had full potential. I started in a public school. The classes weren’t very difficult. I easily excelled in math, reading, social studies, and science. Elementary school was a breeze. But then …middle school happened. I made a transition from a public school to a charter school. The classes became more rigorous. In the 7th grade I got my first C ever. I knew this was unacceptable. I had to try harder. What I failed to realize was that it would become more difficult. In 10th grade I got my first F, but it wasn’t long until that F went away. More rigorous courses allow me to unlock my full potential.

I noticed that during the transition of schools there were many differences: different school hours, different classes, different grading policy, but most importantly, a different feel towards education. I wasn’t sure how it would impact my learning experience in the future but so far so good.

Just like my mom pushed me to get good grades, made me take more rigorous courses, made me strive for what’s best, I strongly believe that students everywhere should have the opportunity to these challenging diverse schools. The internship at The Center of Education Reform would be the perfect place to start. I’m going to look forward to these few weeks.

Tre’Von York, CER Intern


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