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What Charter Schools Mean to Three RenArts Parents

Higher standards, smaller class size, greater intimacy with teachers and a focus on the arts make charter schools such as Renaissance Arts Academy an attractive choice.

This article was submitted by three parents whose children have benefited from an education at Renaissance Arts Academy, a well-known charter public school in Eagle Rock.

On Sept. 11, Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Steve Zimmer introduced a resolution to limit choices for parents by not allowing the board to hear any petitions for new charter schools. Several hundred parents attended the meeting to oppose the resolution and share with the board what charter schools have meant to their families.

The LAUSD board votes on this resolution on Oct. 9 and parents are continuing to speak out about what charter schools have meant to their families and to ask the board to vote no, including these parents from Renaissance Arts Academy:

Eduvina Lechuga

I am a mother of daughters who have attended a charter school for a number of years. My daughters have grown tremendously from learning within a charter school system. After having transferred two of my daughters into a charter school, I noticed a change in their grades for the better. The standards of the charter school are higher than public schools they had previously attended, therefore, asking more of them. The small size of the charter school has benefited my daughters by allowing them to develop a relationship with the directors of the school. As a result, my oldest daughter graduated and was given a job that allowed her to finance her way through college. I feel secure that my other daughter has also developed traits no other school can provide for her. The charter school system has provided so much for my family.

Sharon Bernard

I have had two of my children attending Renaissance Arts Academy, a charter school, from 2004 to 2008. I have also had some of my children in public schools at different times. Our family has had a much better experience with the charter schools.

Not all students do well in a traditional public school. We found that charter schools provided a better fit for our children. They tend to be smaller than traditional schools, and more specialized in the options they offer, which helps the students to be more enthusiastic about their education and studying because they are able to focus on their interests. Our daughters were adopted from Ukraine at ages 10 and 13 and even as fairly new English Language Learners, they got the extra help and tutoring they needed from Renarts to be successful academically and graduate with their agemates. We felt that they would have likely "fallen through the cracks" in a traditional large public school.

We also saw that the charter schools provided a better environment socially for the students. It's an environment where the teachers and students all know each other, receive personal attention from the teachers, and there was not much negative influence as there is in regular public schools. The administration was able to have much better control over discipline and the learning environment. The students were much better supervised. Their overall academic progress was very closely tracked and facilitated. We felt our daughters were very safe and well educated at RenArts.

We are grateful that this option was available to our family when needed. There will always be plenty of students who go to the traditional, large schools, but charter schools are a very important alternative for many families.

Veronica Reyes

La escuela chárter Renaissance Arts Academy ha ayudado a mis hijas a crecer intelectual y artísticamente. Para mi la escuela es una buena alternativa, ya que contiene menos alumnos, mejores profesores, mejor disciplina y un programa de arte. Yo tenía temor de mandar a mis hijas a una escuela pública, ya que académicamente están muy bajas, también por todo lo que desarrollan dentro de la escuela a temprana edad. Por eso es importante tener la opción de mandar a mis hijos a una escuela chárter.

Renaissance Arts Academy motivan a los alumnos de alcanzar un intelectual mas alto en conjunto con el arte y la disciplina que está implementa. En cada clase los estudiantes aprenden a dar todo su potencial académico y artístico , no nada mas dentro de la escuela, sino que también están preparados para desempeñarlo fuera de ésta. El arte sin duda hace que los estudiantes desarrollen su intellectual académico aun más. Ellos tienen la oportunidad de aprender a tocar un instrumento, bailar, cantar, componer canciones y crear bailes. Con todo este conjunto de actividades mis hijas han descubierto sus diferentes talentos.

Es tan importante que la comunidad tenga la oportunidad a mandar a sus hijos a una escuela que pueda manejar su propio sistema de aprendizaje, ya que con esto, nuestros hijos van mejor preparados y tienen una mejor oportunidad para entrar a una buena universidad.

Translation: Renaissance Arts Academy charter school has helped my children to grow intellectually and artistically. For me, the school is a good alternative because it has fewer students, better teachers, better discipline and an arts program. I was afraid to send my daughter to public school as they are academically they are not strong and because the early years are so important for a child’s development. Therefore it was important to have the option of sending my children to a charter school.

Renaissance Arts Academy motivates students to grow intellectually, supported by the art and discipline the school has. In each class, students learn to give full academic and artistic potential, not just in school, but are also prepared to apply those skills in the rest of their life. Without a doubt, art makes students realize their academic potential even more. They have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument, dance, sing, write songs and create dances. With this set of activities, my children have discovered their different talents.

It is so important that the community has the opportunity to send their children to a school that can manage its own approach to education, because with this, our children are better prepared and have a better chance to get into a good college.

Related:

Renaissance Arts Academy Breathes New Life into Public Education

Glorious and Ecstatic RenArts Orchestra

RenArts Orchestra Regales World Diplomats

Patch Blog: 'Schools We Can Believe In' Rally on Saturday.

ERHS Moms October 01, 2012 at 02:31 AM
@Elijah: It is you who seem eager to engage in an argument that is not being taken taking. Maybe you have ERHSMoms confused with another poster? ERHSMoms didn't say anything ever about Ren Arts. There is no opposition regarding charters coming from this quarter. Requiring parental participation should be a good thing, yes? Sorry if the explanation was not clear enough. We heard this from the studio audience of Waiting for Superman at the Oprah show and THEY said that parental participation was REQUIRED or the child's position was forfeited. Not that that appeared to be likely since there is a lotto to get into that charter. There have been no accusations towards Ren Ats or any LAUSD charter other than what was read in the paper regarding those that cheated their test scores. That wasn't made up by us, it was on the news and in the paper. If it's not true I'm sorry for the bad press, but feel no responsibility for ABC news/and the papers. They should require parental participation because that is one of the things wrong with public education in general.
ERHS Moms October 01, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Who ran out of arguments for charter success stories like Ren Arts? Nothing was ever said about them at all. Questions about Ren Arts are basic ones, like, can you play team sports there, how many foreign languages are offered, how many APs, how large is the class size. There was no intention to hijack the discussion about your respected charter school. The reply was to charter in general. The only negatives were about ERHS and its crummy, conniving principal and LAUSD in general. So sorry!
Elijah H October 01, 2012 at 09:23 PM
My question to you is: What place does your statement, quoted below. have in this discussion. It came out of the blue, threaded as a direct response to an article filled with parental praise of RenArts. With no other point of context, we assume you're responding to the article. If you're replying to a specific post above, and NOT the main article, it's proper to indicate the context of your contribution to the discussion by using the "Reply" link to place it into proper context with the rest of this discussion. Otherwise, any reader would assume you're responding to the article at hand. ERHS Moms said, "Just remember that charters that have made a big splash (like in Waiting for Superman) come with a signed parental requirement of participation, child monitoring, child performance expectation - all in all an "if you want your child to go to school here you must fulfill these requirements". Any school that had that would have a much better success rate. Also, whenever a school can rid itself of its problems the real statistics get somewhat skewed." <-- supposedly has NOTHING to do with points made in the Ren Arts article, but somehow relates vaguely to a discussion, somewhere above?
Elijah H October 01, 2012 at 09:27 PM
"The reply was to charter in general." In general, yet not any specific charter in LAUSD. Interesting. Ok.
ERHS Moms October 02, 2012 at 12:35 AM
@Elijah: Sorry for breaking protocol and responding to LAUSD comments in general not Ren Arts specifically. When the comments started about LAUSD in general the responses began due to horrible trouble and experience with ERHS principal which did get off topic of this article. Comparing charters didn't seem that off, but it won't be done again, although their requirement for parents seems like an advantageous thing and appears to be working well. From the perspective of teachers, however, charters come with questions attached such as those with no union or tenure contract. Questions would be: Who would stop the charter from trying to cut costs by not renewing the contracts of older teachers? Why should LAUSD use charters/threat to sell you off as a threat to employees for their own reasons or to force an already huge campus to host a charter to earn more money? If they work for your kids that's great. Would still love the answers to those questions about academic/sports opportunities/teacher considerations, though.

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