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Two from Varnett attend 2011 National Charter Schools Conference

Varnett sent two representatives to Atlanta for the 2011 National Charter Schools Conference that featured key speakers and dozens of sessions on important charter school issues.

East Campus Director Gayle Voltz and Pre-Kindergarten Director Melissa Cluff attended the conference where former President Clinton urged charter school educators to continue to take risks in the nation’s classrooms. “You’ve got to keep this country in the change business,” Clinton said during his 45-minute speech, as reported by edweek.org. About 4,000 people attended the conference from throughout the country.

Key topics in the “breakout sessions” included “An Intervention Plan that Works,” “Reaching Our Boys,” “Helping Children Who Have Behavioral and Attention Issues,” and “Blend It: Integrating Virtual Learning in Your Classroom.”

In addition to Clinton, speakers included Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education; Cory A. Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J.; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and Eva Moskowitz, founder and chief executive officer of Success Charter Network.

Ms Voltz said the conference, held June 20-23, was a worthwhile experience. “They emphasized challenging our kids to go beyond the minimum level,” she said. Speakers also stressed how administrators "can be more supportive of teachers to keep them from being burned out and disillusioned while still holding them accountable for the students.”

Another key topic, she said, involved educators using data-driven information to meet every child’s needs “to make sure they are performing at grade level or above.”
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national organization committed to advancing quality, growth and sustainability for the charter school movement, according to a statement in the program guide.

The keynote speakers talked about the importance of school choice, high expectations for students and raising the bar of accountability for administrators and teachers.

They also talked about educators "viewing students as their own personal business with the expectation of maximum outcomes at the end of the year." Ms. Voltz said she plans to share with her colleagues some of the effective strategies discussed at the conference.
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