The voice of California’s charter school movement

Camp Fire: One Year Later

By California Charter Schools Association

Last November, the charter public school community in Paradise, like the rest of the town, was absolutely devastated by the Camp Fire. Six schools that had been havens for learning and friendship were victim to the most deadly and destructive fire in California’s history. The lives of students, parents, and staff were completely turned upside down.

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Paradise charter school leaders bravely battle the Camp Fire.

A first step to restoring some type of normalcy was getting students back into the classroom. A speedy return seemed highly unlikely. But Paradise charter school leaders, working side-by-side with key allies, were able to find and secure alternative locations in neighboring Chico in the once-thought implausible span of three weeks.

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Paradise charter school leaders meet in Chico to discuss relocation options.

“It’s an absolute miraculous feat what just happened,” said Casey Taylor, then executive director of Achieve Charter School, about the reopening of school. 

And the unity of charter school leaders during the effort was not lost on aiding allies.

“What was most striking to me about the leaders of the charter schools in Paradise is the extent to which they were bonded already,” CCSA Board Chair and Fortune CEO and President Margaret Fortune noted at the time.  

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Paradise charter school leaders rally together. 

When we think back to the unity and resolve that empowered Paradise families and educators, it inspires hope and optimism about what the charter school community, and Californians more broadly, can overcome during and after a crisis.  Join us today in reflecting on and celebrating the character of the Paradise charter school community.    

Watch this video to learn how Paradise’s charter school community regrouped after last year’s Camp Fire: