During National Public Charter Schools Week, parents, students, educators and local leaders come together to showcase the academic successes of charter school students and the impact these schools have on the lives of families across the country. My son, Jayden, is currently in second grade at Mater Academy, a public charter school in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, that ranks as one of the top-performing elementary schools in Miami-Dade County. When I was a student, my mother did the best she could as a single parent in a low-income neighborhood to give me the best education possible. But at the time there were very few options outside of the assigned neighborhood school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZX308FHH3o&feature=youtu.be Now that I am a father, I want to give Jayden what I never had: a choice. I’m extremely lucky that I had the opportunity to choose a school that was right for my child’s unique educational needs. Every kid is different and that makes them special. We shouldn’t limit our children’s potential with a one-size-fits-all mentality. Mater Academy is more than just a school; it is a community of teachers and administrators who are dedicated to helping their students excel. Even in elementary school, they are focused on laying the solid foundation of the knowledge and skills they need for success in college and careers. Jayden continues to thrive both academically and socially in this environment, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him. I hope that more families will have the same options and opportunities in the future and that their kids learn and thrive no matter what educational path they choose.
Chris Collot is a Grand Prize winner of the Choices in Education video contest and a strong supporter the right of every parent to choose their child’s education. He lives in Miami, Florida, where his son is thriving both academically and socially in a charter school.