Rachel shares about her time at the the 2012 Annual Publicschooloptions.org Family Reunion

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Public School Options, which began in 2008 “is an alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children.” 

In the summer of 2008, state coalition parent leaders gathered in Virginia for our very 1st Family Reunion hosted by the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families and at that time the coalition president, Rose Fernandez.

We gathered to share our experiences, learn more about how we can keep public virtual education a viable option for our children and to discuss the landscape of virtual education across the nation.

It was at this 1st Family Reunion that there was talk of a national coalition, talk of parents needing a voice on a national level and in October of 2008 the National Coalition for Public School Options (NCPSO) was launched. 

Now, for the 5th year, the NCPSO which is now referred to as Public School Options (PSO), hosted another amazing gathering for parent leaders who are passionate about and value public school options. 

This year the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families sponsored Rachel, an online school graduate to attend the reunion and participate in a panel discussion. 

I am so delighted and very excited to introduce to you a family friend, Rachel, who is a 2012 Colorado Virtual Academy graduate and valedictorian of her graduating class.  Rachel shares with you her experiences at this year’s PSO Reunion.

The Public School Options had its fifth reunion in Washington D.C. from July 15 – 17 2012, and it was a phenomenal and educational experience for all involved. Some, such as my mother and I, were first time participants; others had been participating in the reunion from the beginning. Still other participants of previous years, such as Lori Cooney, were sorely missed at the reunion. There were participants from older schools of choice coalitions, such as Colorado, and others from brand new coalitions, such as Tennessee. However, no matter the age of the coalitions the participants represented, or the amount of times the participants had attended the reunion, I don’t believe any were disappointed with the passion and purpose of this reunion.

The reunion was kicked off with a video clip that reminded all of us why we were there, and what we had to fight against. Contrary to what some might believe, the clip was not depicting an inspiring story of a student who had been successful in a school of choice; the clip depicted a legislator in Michigan who thought that parents do not know what is best for their children, and that the way parents can be involved in their children’s education is through the polls and elections of school officials. As it might be expected, this brought out plenty of fighting spirit that continued throughout the reunion.

 Although I’m new to advocating my schools in places other than school events the discussions, panels, and presentations on how to best advocate were understandable, not to mention inspiring. We heard from parents involved in advocacy, previous legislators, current nationwide advocates, graduates from online schools (this included me, but I really enjoyed listening to other stories and learning from the experiences of the other graduates), and there was also a demonstration of an online classroom by a current student of an online school. By the time we headed off to Capitol Hill we were prepared to speak to the legislatures about how options are important to the continued improvement of schools and the improvement of our nation itself.

As I come to a close, because I see that I did babble a bit, all I have to say is thank you to all those who put together and attended the reunion.  It was a joy to be a part of such an important event, and I truly learned a lot about advocacy. It was an honor to attend, and I hope that I can continue to advocate for schools of choice with all that I learned from the Public School Options fifth reunion.

Rachel and her Mom, Cynthia with Scott Groginsky, Legislative Assistant for Jared Polis

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Comments

  1. Rachel is an enthusiastic ambassador for the value of fulltime online learning. Her experience was made possible by forward-thinking ed policy in her home state of Colorado. Her years at COVA were secured by years of passionate, effective parent advocacy in the Colorado statehouse. Much credit goes to thousands of Colorado families who have fought long and hard for options in Colorado public schools. Those efforts, as well as the national network of PSO owe so very much to you and your family, Lori.

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