State board of Education Member to Visit Local School on Thursday

Media Contact: Lynn Norman-Teck, 305-216-6208

FLORIDA – On Thursday, May 9, State Board of Education member Dr. Ada Armas will visit Youth Co-Op Charter School. The visit is part of a statewide charter school tour by State Board members in celebration of National Charter Schools Week (May 5-11, 2013). Mike Kooi, Executive Director of the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice / Florida Department of Education, and Anna Shults, Deputy Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives will accompany Dr. Armas on the visit.

Located at 12051 West Okeechobee Road in Hialeah Gardens (Miami-Dade County), Youth Co-Op – a K-8 public charter school, has earned an “A” from the Department of Education for 11 consecutive years.

On Friday, May 11, Board Member Roberto Martinez will visit Archimedean Upper Conservatory Charter School in Miami.

This week, public charter school students, parents, teachers and administrators across the country are celebrating National Charter Schools Week. In Florida, many public charter schools have hosted activities that highlight their school’s accomplishments, while elected officials – including Miami Dade County Commissioners, Broward County Commissioners, and the City of Orlando – have presented proclamations to recognize charter schools’ contributions to the state’s public education system for the past seventeen years. On Monday, the White House issued a proclamation that said “…We need to equip all our students with the education and skills that put them on the path to good jobs and a bright future -- no matter where they live or what school they attend. Charter schools play an important role in meeting that obligation.”

“This week, we celebrate the partnership forged between parents, educators and students at charter schools and how that bond is helping students make incredible academic strides,” explains Robert Haag, President, Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools. “From just five in 1996 to more than 550 today, quality charter school programs currently serve more than 203,000 students in our state and, in many cases, meet the needs of families in underserved communities.”

Over 2 million children attend more than 5,600 public charter schools in the U.S., including more than 230,000 students in Florida. Since the first enactment of charter school legislation in Minnesota in 1991, 42 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing charter schools. The most recent data showed about 3 percent of public school students attended charter schools.