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THE CHARTER SCHOOL BRAND ...and where it will take us in the future

CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE Check out our list of some of the best college graduate success stories from across Michigan

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Every time I get the opportunity to walk the halls of a school, I am in awe as I peer into classrooms full of learning. Immediately, I notice the hard-working, dedicated professionals and their passion for their careers. The inspiring people who dedicate their time and energy in charter schools each and every day, motivate me when I am dealing with politicians in Lansing. Quality teachers are one of the most important factors of student success and have to be continually advocated for and celebrated. Yet, it is no secret that charter schools are under attack. Although we are 25 years into the growing charter school movement in Michigan, we are still fighting off the antagonists. This past year, the Michigan charter school sector has been hit hard with mainstream discontent. From contentious politics to fraud scandals and schools closing before the end of the school year, Michigan charters have had their fair share of negative media attention. At the same time, we face growing national attention with the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. I believe we face an even brighter spotlight with upcoming elections in the next year where a growing number of Michigan candidates are encouraged to attack and blame charter schools as the cause of the destabilization of traditional public school institutions. They are ignoring your classrooms, the dedicated charter school professionals who are proving that all kids can learn, and the parents who are in the best position to choose the school their student attends.    As we continue to celebrate success in the coming school year, it is important now more than ever that our stories are heard loud and clear. People need to hear from you, your teachers, your parents and your students. They need to hear the personal stories that help shape the positive brand of Michigan charter schools.  


Cover Story PAGEÂ 20



7 Letters to the Editor 8 MAPSA Chalk Talk: Charter Branding 10 Building Leadership Inside

the Classroom

14 What to Post on Your

School's Facebook




16 Using Classroom

Observations Wisely

18 Charter Schools

Celebrating 20 Years

20 Michigan Charter School

College Grads

26 School Facebook Evaluation


28 Top 5 Educators in Movies


Cover Story


30 Indiana Jones Inspired

Math Lessons

33 Making Impact in Lansing

for Charters




CHARTER CONNECT FALL 2017 EDITION MAPSA TEAM Becky Carlton | Director of Grassroots & Communications Buddy Moorehouse | VP of Communications Grace Noyola | Digital Marketing Coordinator

AD INDEX Center for Charter Schools CMU | Inside Front Cover Choice Schools Associates | PG 9 National Charter Schools Institute | PG 13 Ferris State University | PG 15 Detroit Institute for Children | PG 19 Saunders, Winter, PLLC | PG 19 CMU Online | PG 19

Dan Quisenberry | President CS Partners | PG 19 Heather Risner | Director of Membership Services MAST | PG 27 Chelsea Townes | Membership & Outreach Coordinator Alicia Urbain | VP of Government & Legal Affairs Sara Vanderbilt | Administrator

Staples | PG 29 General Agency Company | PG 29 MI Virtual University | PG 34 The College Board | Inside Back Cover

MAPSA BOARD Ralph Bland | New Paradigm for Education John Cleary | The Thompson Educational Foundation Don Cooper | Grand Valley State University Andrew Gayle | National Heritage Academies Mohamad Issa | Global Educational Excellence Jennifer Jarosz | Charlton Heston Academy Greg McNeilly | Windquest Group Terri Reid | Michigan's Freedom Fund David Seitz | Apple Computer, Inc. Buzz Thomas | Thomas Consulting Group

ABOUT US MAPSA, Michigan's charter school association, represents the movement of Michigan charter school stakeholders communicating through the media, advocating at the Capitol, and for the 150,000 students enrolled in a charter school who are realizing their bright future. Together we can.

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GVSU Charter Schools Office | Back Cover

letters TO THE


Discipline Simply Doesn't Work By Becky Carlton, MAPSA One of the major challenges in parenting or teaching is responding to children/students when they misbehave. Often, parents and teachers fall into archaic patterns of disciplining the child, without realizing that they are doing more harm than good.  Yelling and harsh consequences do not resolve behavioral problems and can actually INCREASE negative behaviors! Punishment does not teach respect, cooperation, self-control, or how to make good decisions.  Psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs theorized that all human behavior is purposeful and if we understand the purpose of a child’s behavior, we can respond more

appropriately to their needs. Children do not misbehave because they are bad children; they misbehave for a REASON. Dreikurs found four goals of misbehavior in children are to seek attention, to seek power, to seek revenge for some perceived injustice and to avoid failure. Only when we diagnose why children are misbehaving can we figure out how to respond.

Kathy Moorehouse, Director Light of the World Academy

When Children Experience Trauma: Effects on Brain Development & Classroom Behavior By Apryl Pooley, Michigan State University and Tashmica Torok, The Firecracker Foundation As a longtime school leader, I have witnessed a plethora is cases of childhood trauma that manifested itself in the classroom. Students who have been exposed to divorce, physical, sexual and mental abuse, death or incarceration of a parent, etc. A lot of these cases go undetected unless students feel a safe transparent environment to share. It is also predicated on their relational capacity with the teachers. For example, a student can show no visible signs of trauma but will express it through a writing assignment or conversation with his or her teacher. Additionally, it is extremely difficult for a student to cognitively engage at a high level when the frontal cortex is occupied with trauma.

Trauma will never go away so schools must become more knowledgeable regarding how to identify it and how to prescribe it. The childhood trauma issues in school exist continuously because the order of priorities are based on Rigor, Relevance and Relationships rather than Relationships, Relevance and Rigor. A student who comes into Algebra class cannot cognitively function at a high level in order to solve expressions when she stayed awake all night to prevent her uncle from coming into her bedroom to sexually assault her. We can have all of the data in the world, but it is simply about being intentional around solutions for our students.

Aaron P. Williams, Jr., Principal Burton Glen Charter Academy


living in a Over the past year, the Michigan charter school sector has been hit hard with a flurry of mainstream media discontent. From contentious politics to fraud scandals and early school closure, the reputation of Michigan’s charter schools has been dragged through the mud. Charter schools are consistently the target of negative and sometimes aggressive attacks from opponents in the media. Without a strong brand movement, each individual charter school’s image will continue to  suffer.  Michigan’s charter schools are lacking a clear and consistent brand in the media, and most people still don’t fully understand what a charter school is. Parents and families in charter schools are not being heard, and opponents of charters are overbearing in their objection to school choice. The digital landscape of social media has created an opportunity for broader media coverage which continues to spin misinformation influencing public opinion on charter schools. Every experience or interaction with a Michigan charter school communicates something about the charter brand. We are only as strong as our weakest link. We do have a brand. It’s just not what we want it to be, unfortunately.

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With such negative portrayals of charter schools, now more than ever, teachers and parents may feel afraid to speak up and defend their choice. It is time to unify and present clear, consistent, positive stories of student success to the public. We will not succeed by continuing to compete against one another. Success will be achieved when social media, news media, and public sources of information are flooded with positive images of charter school success and stories of student triumph that are personal and emotional. Success is when individual charter schools can begin branding their own charter school rather than hiding in the shadows of negativity and build pride to be part of the charter school movement!

The biggest impact on the charter school brand is the many positive emotional stories of student success. Finding these stories should be easy surrounded by children who share the joy of learning and growth. However, sharing these stories to make an impact can be difficult without a defined path. Facebook continues to be a dominant force in the social media landscape. It has a captured audience of parents, especially moms, who are seeking news and information. It is imperative that each charter school in Michigan is utilizing this pathway to influence key audiences, including journalists and legislators, through showcasing what is ACTUALLY happening within the school building, as opposed to only reporting conventional successes. Parents need their stories to be heard loud and clear by lawmakers about school choice and the success of their charter school. Charter school teachers need to feel proud to be part of the charter school movement and share stories of innovation and success in the classroom. If and how your charter school tells your story can mean the difference between embracing the charter school movement versus being attacked. Now is the time to unite and come together to share positive charter school stories for all to hear.  

Growing Leaders within the Classroom By Chanavia Patterson Detroit Enterprise Academy Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year [ 10 ]




Above: Chanavia Patterson, Principal of Detroit Enterprise Academy and MAPSA's 2017 Charter School Administrator of the Year.

There are many aspiring leaders that have set professional goals to become school principals in the near future. As these educators prepare to lead, many of them wonder what steps should be taken in order to effectively transition into a leadership position. The path to principalship starts in the classroom. Many seem to think the principal position happens just by promotion or credentials, but true leadership begins right where education has the biggest impact, in the classroom. As a classroom teacher, there are numerous skills that are expected to be mastered in order to be considered “effective.” These same skills are the foundation of becoming a principal. Teachers are expected to lead the instructional content they are delivering to their students, effectively communicate with parents, and maintain a positive relationship with students and their families. These are three skills that seamlessly transition from teaching to leading.




Leading Content Every day, teachers stand in front of their students, presenting instructional content that they have spent time planning and preparing to ensure it is well-received. They are responsible for ensuring their content is engaging, meaningful and aligned to standards. Teachers are responsible for goalsetting and communicating the vision for the classroom with their students and parents. These are basic skills that are also needed for teachers that are on their path to principalship. Leaders are expected to communicate the vision of the school. They are responsible for ensuring content, best practices and professional development are in the plans for their school. Therefore, with a teach-to-lead mindset, many of the same skills that are expected in the classroom are expected in leadership.

Effective Communication Classroom teachers are instrumental in keeping the lines of communication open between school and home. Teachers have a variety of methods in which they can communicate with parents on a regular basis. One key factor in ensuring the lines of communication are open, is to lead by listening. This skill helps teachers deliver communication in an effective manner. Listening to parents and being able to offer support is a skill that transitions well into growing leadership capacity. Principals are communicating with numerous stakeholders daily. Developing a skill set of how to effectively communicate begins well before becoming a principal--it begins in the classroom.

Maintaining Positive Relationships

Effective classroom teachers understand that building a positive culture in their classroom is a priority. They develop relationships with their students and parents, which supports student achievement. Students that are in positive learning environments thrive. Building trusting relationships benefits students and reassures parents that their children are in environments where they can excel academically.  

True leadership begins right where education has the biggest impact. In the classroom.

Leadership skills are birthed and developed in the classroom, not in the office. Principals must plan and execute a positive culture in their schools as well. Just as teachers must make it a priority, it’s also a priority for principals. They must lead and own the culture in their school. The skill set of building positive relationships doesn’t begin in the principal’s office--it begins in the classroom. As schools continue to evolve, there are always opportunities for leaders to put their preparation into practice. An efficient classroom led by a dynamic teacher can be the open door to a leadership opportunity. Leadership skills are birthed and developed in the classroom, not in the office.

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Having a solid foundation of instructional practices, clear communication and maintaining positive relationships are some of the necessary skills that prepare teachers that want to transition into leadership and/or coaching opportunities. Identifying key teachers that can be mentored and coached on leadership practices ensures there are well-prepared principals ready to take on the challenge of leading an entire student body and their families. Teachers become leaders.   

WHAT TO POST ON Is your school sometimes stuck on what to post on your school's Facebook page? Creating original and relevant content can be tricky, but check out these innovative and creative Facebook posts from charter schools in Michigan!

KEYS GRACE Academy sure knows how to display their school's culture and mission in each Facebook post. This simple picture is a great way to showcase their healthy lifestyle ideal.

GVSU Charter Schools Office does a great job celebrating data on their Facebook account. Check out this simple image that showcases the increase made in learning.

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Walden Green Montessori sure does have a creative way in showing their mission through outdoor photos of students exploring their "green" side. This is an easy way to express your mission with photos and videos. Also, check out their cute branded photo with their logo easily visible on every picture they share!

Grand River Preparatory High School has initiated this creative weekly post about staff. What a fun way to showcase your staff by learning 10 things about each of them like their favorite book and place to eat. This is a great post for all types of Facebook followers to show off your team's diversity, and grow cohesion among staff and students.


Give your Facebook followers an inside look at what it takes to get the job done. Kingsbury has a creative way of showing off their PD for teachers to help parents and stakeholders see that this is serious work we are in educating kids!

Is your school in need of supplies? What a creative way to ask for support from your community members through Facebook. Detroit Achievement Academy often posts a link to their Amazon Smile list to make it easy for people to add a ream of paper to their purchase when checking out of Amazon. And it automatically ships to the school from your account!

fostering an


Educator evaluations have never been at the forefront of our profession the way they are today. Just the mention of being evaluated can cause teachers to become uneasy and even defensive about what is happening in their classroom. Evaluations can also have unintended side effects on the quality of teaching. Currently, teachers have more incentive to stay inside the box and teach using methods that are safe and low-risk in the hopes of receiving a favorable evaluation and avoiding feelings of failure. This can stifle a teacher’s potential to become an instrument of inspiration for their students. Some of the best teaching takes place when a teacher follows their instincts and finds an “out-of-the-box” way to reach their students. I am not suggesting that teachers throw out proven and successful teaching techniques. In a healthy classroom, there is room for both tried-and-true methods and positive risk-taking. An observation should be looked at as an opportunity for shared professional learning and growth. It should not be an experience that elicits fear of failure and disapproval. Focusing on teacherdriven goals is the first step. These goals should be established through open and honest professional conversations, based on prior year’s observations, evaluations, and teacher’s reflections.

When teachers are actively engaged as participants in the process, they will take ownership of the process and its benefits. Observations are a tool to promote a teacher’s growth in a positive way. Focusing on creative ways to measure growth as professionals should be a core intended outcome of the evaluation process. In my experience, the more reflective a teacher is, it often translates into how much guidance they need through this process. Non-reflective teachers sometimes need help identifying areas of weakness and are unable to identify personal growth goals. From their perspective, everything is fine. Sometimes, these teachers misinterpret “not having any issues” for success in the classroom. I guide them to reflect on the parts of their teaching approach that would benefit from some professional learning. The key is to have them still be the one who is identifying and producing the goal(s) for personal growth. On every staff, there are also some experienced and reflective teachers who often look at great lessons and success through a different lens. They look for ways to improve their delivery or better reach students who may have different needs. They seek out ideas from others and are always honing their craft.

These teachers frequently are able to easily identify areas where they personally would like to grow. Goals should acknowledge much more than a teacher’s impact on quantifiable student achievement. As educators, our goal is to teach the whole child and to also ensure growth in areas that standardized tests cannot measure. A teacher’s impact on student growth in confidence, problem solving, and their ability to work in a group effectively should also be encouraged, praised, and celebrated. Great educators have the ability to form powerful lasting relationships with coworkers, students and their families. Through observation and timely feedback, an administrator can greatly impact a teacher’s growth in these areas. I want to be sure the teachers believe in what they are trying to improve and selecting their goals for the right reasons. I also need to make sure they are aligned with the whole school’s vision and mission to help students grow. Observing and coaching a teacher’s progress toward their goals is the next step. As I enter a room to observe, I already know the identified areas or growth goals the teacher is trying to improve. Therefore, my lens is more 

focused to their needs. Teachers often ask me to observe very specific items they have been working on. For example, if their focus is classroom management, they might say “Please watch for the ways I bring students to attention.” After the observation, I have found asking the teacher “What do you feel went well or needs improvement?” is a great way to start. I then give my takeaways and positive feedback. I always start with something I observed that is working. Then I transition to something that is still a work in progress. I may recommend a different approach and even give them an experienced teacher they can observe based on their need. The next time I observe, I can make comparisons and encourage the growth I have witnessed. Great professional learning is most impactful over time. Thus, this cycle should continue throughout the school year. It can also build and change to meet a teacher’s needs throughout their career. Collectively, we should strive to transform the stigma of using observation to label and judge teachers. Instead, we should celebrate the process as a way to grow professional educators. Fostering an observational professional learning process that is driven by the classroom teacher and guided by school leaders, is essential for success. 

We should strive to transform the stigma of using observation to label and judge teachers.

Celebrating 20 Years of

Chartered Innovation CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 20 MICHIGAN CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT OPENED IN 1997 FOR DELIVERING ON THE PROMISE OF SCHOOL CHOICE. HERE'S TO 20 MORE! Academy for Business and Technology High School | Melvindale Casman Alternative Academy | Manistee Chatfield School | Lapeer Countryside Academy | Benton Harbor Cross Creek Charter Academy | Byron Center Detroit Community Schools | Detroit Dove Academy of Detroit | Detroit Eagle Crest Charter Academy | Holland Great Lakes Academy | Pontiac Henry Ford Academy | Dearborn Hillsdale Preparatory School | Hillsdale Knapp Charter Academy | Grand Rapids North Star Academy | Marquette Pontiac Academy for Excellence | Pontiac Saginaw Preparatory Academy | Saginaw The Dearborn Academy | Dearborn The Midland Academy of Advanced & Creative Studies | Midland Timbuktu Academy | Detroit Walker Charter Academy | Walker Washtenaw Technical Middle College | Ann Arbor

Sincerely, [ 18 ]


Past research has consistently showed that charter school students are getting accepted to college at a higher rate, but how are they actually doing once they got to college? The education website, The 74 Million, recently released the results of a research study it conducted that looked at how well charter school graduates were actually doing in college. The 74 Million identified nine large charter school networks with enough alumni to calculate degree-earning success rates. They looked at how many of those charter school students graduated from college in the space of six years, and then compared it to the number of non-charter students who graduated from college. The results were pretty overwhelming: Charter school students are graduating from college at a rate that is three to five times higher than the national average. That’s certainly indicative of what’s happening in Michigan. Charter school graduates aren’t just getting to college – they’r e thriving in college. Here’s a look at some Michigan charter school students who recently graduated from college.

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2012 | Chandler Park Academy 2016 | Fisk University

Lamar Allen As native Detroiters, my mother wanted her children to attend a school located near our home. We lived across the street from the Harper Woods area, so Chandler Park Academy (CPA) was within walking distance. Most importantly, CPA had a history and reputation of providing quality education to its students. This is what attracted my mother most so I started at CPA as a seventh-grader, and continued through my senior year of high school. CPA provides its students with prep courses, training and multiple opportunities to take the ACT. Before the statewide ACT testing in the spring, CPA offered the test to its students twice as practice, free of charge. CPA’s faculty provided me with the emotional support that I needed, and encouraged me to continue excelling both in and out of the classroom. I learned that university recruitment teams not only looked at ACT scores, but also paid heavy attention to GPAs, extracurricular activities, and student leadership. I used this as my competitive advantage to secure college and university acceptances, as well as multiple scholarships. 

CPA provided me with multiple financial resources, connections, and opportunities that not only helped me get into college, but get through college. With the help of CPA’s administration and faculty, I secured more than $300,000 in scholarships and aid from five Historically Black Colleges and Universities. CPA’s Concurrent and Dual Enrollment program with Wayne County Community College (WC3) eased my freshman year of college. Many of WC3’s collegiate general electives and core classes were offered to CPA’s students free of cost. Through this program, I completed and transferred 21 general elective and core credits to Fisk University and gained a head start on my business classes as I worked toward my business degree. I am a recent graduate of Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee. My major was Business Administration, with a concentration in Management. Currently, I have a career in finance as a Customer Relations Representative of Caterpillar’s Financial Foundations Program. The program is geared to recent college graduates who are eager to learn and 

understand the different financial components of Caterpillar Financial, while rotating in different roles and departments over a four-year time period. It is expected that once the participant completes the program, he/she will elevate into a management position within the company. For parents and student looking at charter schools, look for a school that will take time and effort to provide quality education and resources to make students successful.  Aim for a school that encourages and breeds innovators and challenges its students to think innovatively, globally and competitively. While a CPA Eagle, I gained multiple skills through both academic and extracurricular activities that made me a competitive candidate when competing for acceptance into universities and scholarships. Lastly, search for a school that provides a welcoming and nurturing environment. It was the nurturing environment that CPA provided me that gave me comfort and prepared me to successfully complete my undergraduate collegiate career. [ 21 ]

Ari Sagherian The second benefit of such small

Coming from an ethnically Armenian

classes became apparent when I

background, my parents initially

began college. Attending Manoogian

chose AGBU Alex & Marie

for 15 years, I was able to form

Manoogian School so that I would be

close ties with classmates that

surrounded by other students with

were easily maintained in college.

similar cultural backgrounds. Over

Starting college with a network of

the course of my 15 years attending

close friends made the transition

Manoogian, the primary reason for

much easier and helped

me staying changed from the

tremendously in avoiding pitfalls

cultural benefits to the quality of

during my freshman year.

education I received. I attended college at the University Although there were not as many

of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I

extracurricular options as larger

majored in neuroscience to prepare

schools, the core classes were

for a career in medicine, which has

taught at a high level and the small

led me to currently taking a gap

number of students made a tight-

year before beginning medical

knit community in which students

school. During my gap year I will be

received more attention from the

working in a research laboratory

teachers. Additionally, the success

and as a tutor in order to financially

of previous students at premier

prepare for medical school.

universities inspired my family’s confidence in the quality of

When considering whether to

education at Manoogian.

attend a charter school, I strongly advise visiting the school and

Overall, the tight-knit community

personally meeting the faculty. A

and proven results convinced my

great benefit of charter schools is

parents and me to attend

the relatively small size fostering a


tight-knit community. This community environment leads to

2007 | AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School 2012 | University of Michigan

Manoogian prepared me for college

more attention to students and

in two distinct ways. The small class

closer relationships forming. This

sizes allowed for the formation of

can be the greatest gift if you fit

teacher-student relationships that

well in the school’s environment,

lasted many years. This led to

but can also leave a student feeling

teachers being able to personally

isolated if they do not fit. Visiting

track their students’ progress year

the school and testing the waters

to year and tailor their teaching

will ensure you choose the right

methods to each student.

charter school.

Alison Morsink I was homeschooled through middle school, and my family was looking for an easy transition into the world of public school for my high school years. After touring the facility at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science (WMAES), meeting the phenomenal staff, and recognizing

Small classroom size, plenty of outdoor learning opportunities, a safe social space, extracurricular activities, and an atmosphere of curiosity were all factors that contributed to my career success, and a well-rounded, contributing member of the West Michigan community. Kids will get their hands dirty, engage with their natural surroundings, learn how to problem solve, and have tons of fun while doing so. You can't go wrong with WMAES.

our shared goal of outdoor learning, my parents and I decided on attending WMAES. I attended WMAES for four years and graduated as Salutatorian and was the captain of the girls basketball team.   WMAES helped to prepare me for success in college through group projects, accountability, and innovative problemsolving. In college, most professors assign some type of group project. These projects usually make up a significant portion of your overall scores and consequently, can make or break your GPA. Working closely with other students in a very diverse high school like WMAES helped prepare me for real-life situations where managing social dynamics in both college and workplace situations is crucial to success. I was also able to take two Advanced Placement courses (Environmental Science and Biology), which transferred to college credit; this was a nice boost toward completing my general education credits. Following high school, I attended Grand Valley State University. I graduated with a B.S. in Business Management emphasizing in Natural Resource Management, and minored in Environmental Studies. I currently serve as the Water Services Coordinator for the City of Holland at the Holland Board of Public Works facility. I coordinate the workflow that relates to maintaining the integrity of the water distribution system for the City of Holland and surrounding townships.  I was previously the Conservation Program Administrator within the same company (managing energy efficiency rebates) and was offered a promotion because of my excellence in workflow streamlining and software implementation skills.

2010 | West MI Academy of Environmental Science 2014 | Grand Valley State University

Imani Ebonee Brown Due to budget cuts, my mother was

National Honor Society, varsity

laid off as a teacher from a traditional

basketball, and student government. One

public school district and two weeks

of the greatest things about HFA was

later she was hired as an assistant

giving me advancement. I know the

principal by National Heritage

foundation I was given there prepared

Academies. She brought my brother

me for college.

and I to Metro Charter Academy the year after she was hired. My mother

I attended Wilberforce University in Ohio

liked that the school was

and majored in Biology. I went on to

outperforming all the school districts

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem,

in its area and our local district in

North Carolina, for my Master of Art in

Ypsilanti. Even though Metro Charter

Management. I currently work as a

Academy was 20 miles from our home

Business Consultant for Nationwide

she knew it would be a good fit for my

Insurance in Columbus. Ohio.

brother and me. After leaving Metro I attended Henry Ford Academy High

Most charter schools offer a

School (HFA) in Dearborn for four

specialization geared towards certain

years. We decided on HFA because of

students, so it’s a great opportunity to

the academic offerings and its

give children what they need. Choice is

wonderful foreign language program. I

good because each child is unique. For

took German for four years. We were

me, I was attracted to Henry Ford

able to have a German foreign

Academy because of the location in the

exchange student live with us for

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield

three weeks and I spent three weeks

Village and the opportunity to travel

with her family in Pfullendorf,

abroad. I wanted to be well-rounded. My

Germany. Our international family

mother did not care that my drive was

bond remains strong.

30 miles one way, she was just excited that I could have a choice in where I could

At Metro I was involved in National

attend high school.

Junior Honor Society, sports, and

2008 | Metro Charter Academy 2012 | Henry Ford Academy 2016 | Wilberforce University 2017 | Wake Forest University

student government. Our school was

I know that Metro and HFA staff built my

diverse, and our teachers challenged

confidence and determination. I knew I

us all to excel. My 8th grade ELA

could achieve anything. I still

teacher, Mrs. Nancy Kouba, had us

communicate with my teachers. They will

constantly working on vocabulary skill

continue to forever impact my life. I was

building, which was invaluable for me

given the opportunity to earn two

preparing for college and the ACT

degrees with full scholarships for both,

test. At Henry Ford Academy I was in

and I am indebted to the charter school

the accelerated program and took

educators who helped cultivate me!

college classes and was involved in

2014 | AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School 2017 | University of Michigan 2021 | Harvard University

Lilit Kazazian I attended the AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School for 14

I graduated in April 2017 from the University of Michigan-

years, beginning in pre-K when I arrived in the U.S. from Russia,

Ann Arbor, where I double-majored in Microbiology and

as a shy toddler not knowing a word of English. As Armenian

International Studies, with a concentration in Global

immigrants in an unfamiliar land, my parents wanted a way for

Environment and Health. Currently, I am pursuing a Master’s

me to retain a sense of my Armenian roots while still receiving a

of Science in Global Health and Population from the Harvard

quality education. So, the decision to attend the Manoogian

University T. H. Chan School of Public Health, where my

school was a no-brainer for us.

interests include studying the environmental factors that affect the spread of infectious diseases.

The biggest advantage I gained out of attending the Manoogian school was the safe and nurturing atmosphere that allowed me

Charter schools are unique spaces for children to grow, and

to develop my mind and spirit in ways that I do not believe

my experience exemplifies this distinctiveness well. Perhaps

would have been possible elsewhere. It was truly my second

less so than for other schools, choosing a charter school

home, and to this day, my closest friends are those I made at

requires careful introspection about the kind of place that is

the school. The individual level of support I received from

appropriate for your individual family; it is better not to

teachers provided opportunities for me to explore my interests

make generalizations. However, there are certainly options

and push my boundaries in learning. Although our resources

worth considering that could provide an excellent education

were limited compared to large public schools, I never felt that I

and prepare your child for a bright future.

received an inferior education in core subjects like math and writing, which prepared me the most for my college education and beyond.

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SCHOOL TOOLKIT •EVALUATION• CHECKLIST Your school has a "Facebook Page" set up, not a profile, place, or group. This will give you access to analytics and features designed for only Pages! Your school's website features the correct social media links to all of your accounts. Your school’s logo is set as your profile picture. You change your Facebook cover photo monthly or quarterly. You respond to all questions and messages in a timely manner on your page. Each post on your school's Facebook page contains a video or photo. Mean what you say, say what you mean! Explain who Ms. Smith is or what LBC club stands for. Don't assume those who follow your page know what your post is about. Your school's Facebook page has multiple Administrators to monitor comments and reviews. Add your office staff, literacy coach or mentor teacher! You use a free scheduling software platform to pre-schedule posts for the entire week like Hootsuite or Buffer.  You use free design software to add your school's logo and other graphics to your posts like Canva or DesignBold. You brag constantly about the amazing things happening in your school and pictures of kids smiling who love learning on your school's Facebook page. You tag lawmakers and local media outlets in your bragging Facebook posts. Sharing something fantastic about your school? Tag @InnovatorsinEd in your next post and use #celebratecharters to brand your charter school! You are registered for the free webinar series to improve your school's Facebook! Register at today.





These movies make people want to be teachers. All based on true stories, these movies can reinvigorate the passion and motivation in our careers!


Matthew Perry as Ron Clark 2006 | The Ron Clark Story


This movie follows an inspirational teacher who moves his career in education to New York working with disadvantaged youth. The motivational movie discovers the drive behind legendary educator Ron Clark, who eventually moves to Atlanta to open up his own charter school!

Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante 1998 | Stand and Deliver Inside an LA classroom, students are tough and principals are tougher. Mr. Escalante inspires educators to deliver education in a raucous way to connect with students.


Viola Davis as Nona Alberts 2012 | Won’t Back Down No one can stop two women desperate for hope as they try to start a charter school in California. Their determination is a reminder of the founders of every Michigan charter school and the uphill battle that was fought to ensure a bright future for students in your community. An inspiring tale of what it takes to fight bureaucracy to stand up for kids is a constant reminder of why we fight the good fight!


Richard Dreyfuss as Glenn Holland 1995 | Mr. Holland’s Opus Though teaching is a frustrating gig for this trained musician, Mr. Holland grows to love his students. This movie inspires us to stick with it seeing the amazing scene of celebration for a teacher with a life-long career!

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Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell 2007 | Freedom Writers In a classroom divided by race, Ms. Gruwell incorporates reading material that is relevant to students and encourages them to write journals of their lives. Fun Fact: MAPSA's keynote speaker was the real Erin Gruwell at our annual fall conference a few years ago!


Michigan Hyska

doesn't follow maps to buried treasure...

"Slowly I made my way down the dark, damp hallway with only my trusty map and torch by my side. You could hear the soft echo of each small step as I avoided any pesky traps. The flame was growing dimmer and the air a bit colder. I didn’t have much time. Suddenly, the path ended. Before me were three large stone doorways. Which way to go? The only clues were symbols on the doors and something etched in the wall, 'Sometimes the correct path is odd.' I studied the symbols: VII, the number 28, and 5 monkeys. Hmmm, which door do I choose?" Michigan Hyska (my version of Indiana Jones) is on another adventure and he needs his students’ help!

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Gordy Hyska in character with his youngsters at Charyl Stockwell Academy in Howell, MI.

By Gordy Hyska Charyl Stockwell Academy

2017 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year That’s an example of how some of my math lessons begin. A little storytelling, imagination, humor, and math discussion to get those students’ gears turning. To me, math has always been fun, achievable yet challenging, and full of puzzles worth solving. However, too many times have I heard parents and students express the opposite mentality – “I can’t,” “I’'m not good at math,” and “it’s boring.” It’s important to me that my students feel empowered and excited to tackle math. Teaching 6-8-year-olds means that I am fortunate to have the opportunity to instill a growth mindset and positive math environment from some of their very first years of schooling. I want to make sure that they are not only engaged in their math learning, but they are motivated and it is meaningful to them. In my classroom, we don’t just learn math, we go on a quest for knowledge! I set the tone early on that we are all math adventurers, and there are many secrets and treasures to discover on our journey. So how did I get here on my journey? It has taken several years of risk-taking, some successes, many failures, constant reflection, collaboration, and support from my school to arrive at the place I am now in my math teaching. My math time started with the frameworks of Guided Math (Laney Simmons) and Math Work Stations (Debbie Diller) to give opportunities for students to engage with numbers hands-on, often working collaboratively, and in a variety of mediums.

Using the BUILD approach during Guided Math, students are given differentiated tasks at each center as we rotate through themed activities like literacy in math and using manipulatives at another. Each small group of students eventually meets with me where a targeted mini-lesson is taught and observed. The groups are flexible and change based on ability and interest levels, much like Guided Reading. Knowing how much my students love video games, action movies, and imaginative play, along with their general curiosity, wonderment, and awe – I altered my BUILD centers to become QUEST. Q - Quick Challenge (math fluency) U - Use Your Tools (manipulatives, logic, and reasoning) E - Explain the Magic (math literacy, vocabulary, and     explaining/writing math thinking) S - Solo Adventure (independent math work) T - Team Mission (doing math with others, math games) For example, during an addition unit, the E center might have the task of being the teacher and using the big whiteboard to show how they solved addition problems, explaining each step along the way to their group. While at U, they might apply these same skills in a Sudoku-like puzzle called an Inky where they must fill out a 3X3 or 4X4 board independently using math facts. Team Mission might include a 2-4-person game that gives practice in addition to opportunities to check others’ work. Overall, engagement and confidence increased as needs were being met. And with open-ended activities and differentiated work, ceilings were removed as students could extend beyond typical age/grade standards. However, I still wanted to add something more and spark imagination to make math even more fun. [ 31 ]

Borrowing elements from Indiana Jones, Choose Your Own Adventure books, and video games, Michigan Hyska was born! Growing up, I was a huge fan of action/adventures stories, enamored by places like Disney World and their ability to immerse you fully in a world, and entertained by mystical and magical creatures – so I tried to incorporate it with math. I have combined traditional teaching practices with a little adventure and storytelling. Borrowing elements from Indiana Jones, Choose Your Own Adventure books, and video games, Michigan Hyska was born! Each school year, I find a new math-related wonder to explore. Last year, students helped me find my way through a mysterious Math Temple full of challenging puzzles, hidden dangers and traps, tricksters, and even a dragon! Along the way, we worked together to tackle higher-level math concepts like the Fibonacci sequence and beginning algebra, have open-ended math discussions to problem solve, and come up with a plan of action next time I was able to visit the Math Temple. Their engagement remains high as students play a huge role in shaping the direction of our adventure. Although the novelty of an adventure theme plays a big part in the purpose of my teaching this way, there was also an underlying desire to make math meaningful and useful. As research continues to look closely at the way we teach math, a pattern is emerging of the importance for students to understand the WHY and not just the HOW of foundational math concepts. There is also an increased focus on essential, and often under-taught, math skills like logic and reasoning, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and meaningful application of the math concepts outside of paper and pencil test questions. Using our math skills to help navigate me through interesting places with different outcomes and consequences creates a sense of weight to the concepts we are learning. In the end, I find that my students are having great success in math through this system. Most importantly, my students are building a love of math and a confidence in taking risks. They are certainly having fun! I would be lying if I didn’t mention that I just might be having a lot of fun, too! This year, Michigan Hyska finds himself inside of a faraway Mabrynth (or Math Labyrinth) with a castle in the center. What secrets does the place hold? What will happen to our fearless adventurer? Until next time...



SCHEDULE A MEETING WITH YOUR LAWMAKER Call the office staff to set up a small group meeting to provide materials to educate and inform about charter schools.


Attend MAPSA’s events hosted in Lansing. Whether it is Charter Day at the Capitol on May 8, 2018 or celebrating National School Choice Week in January, these opportunities offer easy ways to engage with lawmakers in Lansing.

Attend a committee hearing or testify on a particular piece of legislation or policy. Visit with students or a small group of educators to make an impact and share your story of how your charter school makes a difference!

REQUEST A TRIBUTE Request a tribute or congrats letter from your legislator for a special occasion for your school or student. It is great to ask for a tribute for every student who graduates from your school!

CAN HELP! Requesting Tributes. MAPSA can reach out to the appropriate staffers to get a tribute to your school. Scheduling a Meeting. MAPSA can help schedule a meeting for your school's stakeholders and attend if needed. Email Forms. MAPSA can create customized web pages to engage your teachers and parents around legislation.


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Tuesday | May 8, 2018



Fall 2017 Charter Connect Magazine  
Fall 2017 Charter Connect Magazine