Parents explore K-12 options during National School Choice Week
Posted 3:59 PM Monday, January 30, 2023
“School choice means giving parents access to the best K-12 education options for their children,” said Dr. Ranyel L. Trent, Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy counselor.
Trent and Kathryn “Kathie” Istre, director of pre-K-4 grades at Lake Charles Charter Academy, were among the educators who celebrated National School Choice Week last week.
NSCW “celebrates the ability of parents to choose which educational option makes the most sense for their children,” Istre said.
NSCW recognizes all forms of education, Trent said.
“These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling,” he said.
The two schools celebrated with student essay and art contests, video testimonial contests, pep rallies, daily giveaways, and spirit day.
“We had a lot of fun celebrating our shareholders. From the staff luncheon, to the student pep rally, to the fun in the car line with balloons, pom poms and treats for our parents, we let everyone know how happy we are that they chose us,” Istre said. .
There are about 150 free public charter schools in Louisiana. Lake Charles has three: Lake Charles Charter Academy, Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, and Lake Charles College Prep.
Giving parents more options for their children’s education is vital, since no child is the same, said Trent, who believes public charter schools are an option that offers flexibility.
“Public charter schools offer parents and students the opportunity to actively participate in the environment that they believe is most beneficial to them,” he said. “Students no longer have to be tied to community zoned schools, but instead can decide, based on a variety of reasons, where they think is best for them.”
Public charter schools are also a beneficial option for students in low-performing school zones, Istre said. “Choice is extremely important for families so students don’t get stuck in failing area schools.”
He said charter schools don’t have the option of failing. “We have to succeed, or we can’t stay open.”
He said this guarantees “educational excellence for all.”
“We work very hard and are mission driven to meet the needs of our students.”
There are a few ways charter schools can do this, like offering free tutoring and grading students based on mastery of standards.
Trent said Lake Charles charter schools keep up with public schools by following the same standards.
“Free public school alternatives offer the same rigorous state-approved curriculum as traditional public schools with the availability of smaller classes and without the cost of a private school.”
Istre said Lake Charles Charter Academy goes the extra mile as an arts-focused school and “Leader in Me.” “We are a Leader in Me school, developing leaders in all staff and students,” she said. “We are also an integrated arts school that has a strong athletic program and extracurricular activities.”
Despite the wide range of options, no parent will find the “perfect school,” Trent said. “Families should know that there are no perfect schools; however, schools are full of people who love children and have a passion for teaching.”
Instead, parents should look for the school that makes their children feel most comfortable.
“When considering the best school for your child, look for a school where your child feels safe, loved, cared for, and part of a family. Public charter schools offer just that,” Trent said.