The voice of California’s charter school movement

My kids' charter schools keep them safe and focused on what matters most: their education.

By Vanessa Alessi

I, like most parents, want what's best for my kids - including the greatest education possible so that they can succeed well beyond high school and after college. Unfortunately, where you live, color of your skin, and income level can affect the education options available to children.

In my neighborhood, the local public school was not producing great academic results. Rather than send my kids to this school, I opted to send my kids to a private, Christian-based school until I could no longer afford it. I ultimately had to place my children into their failing, district-determined traditional public schools.

I was always worried about the health and wellbeing of my children at these pre-determined schools. My son's transition into public school slowed his academic trajectory; he was constantly in trouble and had to transfer schools often. Meanwhile, my daughter faced violent harassment every day and yearned for a safe environment that allowed her to grow academically.

Despite the barriers my family faced, I searched hard to find the right schools for my kids. There was no way I'd let my children stay in these failing schools.

I was losing hope until the Principal of Community Collaborative Charter School (CCCS) in Natomas, a community in northwest Sacramento, reached out to my church inviting attendees looking for a new school to come visit. I was very excited to learn more about this tuition-free charter public-school open to all children, regardless of their background, because it gave me hope for my kids' education.

After learning more about CCCS and charter schools, everything changed for my children. I chose to send my son to CCCS where he received the individualized attention needed to unlock his full academic potential. Additionally, in this upcoming year, my daughter will be attending a Fortune Charter School for high school where she will not only receive a high school diploma, but also an Associate's degree. She is excited and feels empowered to take charge of her education.

At my children's charter schools, staff and administration take the time to get to know each child, personalize their education, and keep them engaged and on task. As a parent, the administration treats me with respect and as a valuable part to their education, and I get to be involved every step of the way.

I am at peace knowing my children are cared for in a safe, structured, and nurturing environment so that they can focus on what matters most: their learning.

By Theda Justiniani, Sacramento-based charter school parent