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CharterNation Podcast

Author: California Charter Schools Association

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The CharterNation Podcast is a monthly podcast produced by the California Charter School Association. Episodes feature our Changemakers interview series in which CCSA's President & CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews influential charter public school leaders and allies on high-priority topics in K-12 education. Hosted by Ana Tintocalis, a former K-12 education journalist, the CharterNation Podcast also features news/analysis, perspectives and uplifting charter school stories in the Golden State. The CharterNation Podcast is the only podcast dedicated California charter school movement!
23 Episodes
Episode 10:Changemakers: To cap CCSA's observance of Native American Heritage Month, we’re bringing back a special Changemakers interview from Season 1 in which CCSA’s President and CEO Myrna Castrejon sits down with Marcos Aguilar, Head of School at Anawakalmekak International University Preparatory of North America. Anawakalmekak is a charter public school with three campuses in East Los Angeles. It’s one of the most unique charter schools because it focuses on indigenous cultures, histories, and native ways of knowing. Anawakalmekak also partners with local tribes on social justice issues such as land rights. Spreading the Joy of Tiny Houses: During the holidays, we often pause to reflect on what we’re grateful for, like having a place to call home. But owning a home is still out of reach for most individuals and families living in California. One charter public school helping alleviate the problem at a local level is The Learning Choice Academy (TLC), a public hybrid charter school in San Diego County. For the past four years, high school students enrolled in the school’s career tech program have been building and selling “tiny homes” as part of its “Tiny House Project.”My View From Here (audio commentary): Learn4Life is one of the most prominent charter public school networks in California that specializes in personalized learning. Its mission is to curb the state’s high school dropout rate by offering some of the most vulnerable students another chance to earn their diploma through a flexible, independent study option. In this “My View From Here” audio commentary, we hear from Skip Hansen, Co-Founder and President of Lifelong Learning, a nonprofit which manages the Learn 4 Life charter public school network. He says personalized learning is critical in K-12 public education because its transforming the lives of countless students who have given up hope. 
Episode 9: Changemakers: CCSA's President & CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Brian Bauer, CEO and Superintendent of Granada Hills Charter, a TK-12th grade charter public school that gained its independence 20 years ago and grew to be an academic and athletic powerhouse. Gain insight as he reflects on how his school broke away from district control to become a charter. Charter School Facilities: Finding a permanent school facility is the dream of many charter school leaders in California. But the lack of affordable real estate, the lack of space in big cities, and certain school authorizers can make finding a site extremely difficult. Pacific Charter School Development is a real estate development firm that's helping solve that problem. Tune in to hear PCSD's CEO John Sun offer his expertise.  Building a "Zoo School": Former NFL player Robert Golden is tackling his biggest challenge yet -- building a new state-of-the-art facility for Golden Charter Academy, his TK-8th grade charter school that has unique partnership with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Hispanic Heritage Month: We honor Hispanic Heritage Month by bringing you the story of Angelica Sandez, a Latina charter school student in Fresno who’s  determined to be a NASA engineer.
The 2022-23 academic year has officially come to a close in California. We reflect on the past year by bringing back three of the most popular Changemaker interviews on the CharterNation Podcast featuring:  Dr. Cristina de Jesus, president and CEO of Green Dot Public Schools CA.Antonio Villaraigosa, former Mayor of Los Angeles and charter school allyNina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter SchoolsJoin Myrna Castrejón, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, as she interviews these three influential leaders who have helped or are helping grow high-quality charter public schools options in the Golden State. 
Episode 7: Changemakers: CCSA's President & CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Ana Ponce, Executive Director of GPSN, a nonprofit intermediary organization working to improve the public school system in Los Angeles. She discusses the importance of measuring the effectiveness of programs in LAUSD, engaging students outside the school day, and how families and community members need to continue pushing for changes. Research Spotlight: CCSA's new report, The Face of California's Charter Public School Teachers, offers the first comprehensive look at the charter educator workforce in California in recent history. We highlight the findings and hear from two veteran charter school teachers who offer insight as to why teachers are attracted to and remain working at charter public schools. My View From Here (Audio Commentary): As they school year comes to an end, Dr. Steve Olmos, the Superintendent of Visions In Education, share his thoughts on why school leaders need to be honest with themselves about what's working for their students, and what needs to change. 
What is Personalized Learning? It can mean different things to different people within the charter public school movement. In this episode, we get a better understanding of personalized learning through the perspectives of three people at three different kind of personalized learning schools: Cameron Curry, CEO, The Classical Academies (San Diego) Anthony Durham, parent leader, Summit Public Schools Tamalpais (Richmond)Neil McCurdy, The School of Entrepreneurship and Technology (San Diego)  
Episode 4: Special Episode featuring exclusive Changemakers Interview with former California Governor Jerry Brown.  Changemakers: Former CA Governor Jerry Brown brings his no-nonsense philosophy on education policy and politics as a guest on the CharterNation Podcast this month.Brown, who also served as the Mayor of the City of Oakland, sits down with CCSA’s President and CEO Myrna Castrejón for an exclusive interview about establishing his own charter public schools in Oakland and how California district schools can benefit from a healthy public school sector. 
Episode 4: Special Episode featuring exclusive Changemakers InterviewChangemakers: We’re capping Women’s History Month by bringing you an exclusive  interview with one of California’s most fearless female political leaders and education equity champions: Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber.  Dr. Weber is California’s first Black Secretary of State appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom three years ago. She served four terms in the State Assembly representing San Diego communities and advanced key public education policies. Secretary of State Weber was a professor in the Department of Africana Studies at San Diego State. She was also a trustee on the San Diego Unified School Board. Myrna Castrejón, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, sat down with Madam Secretary to talk about Dr. Weber’s incredible personal story, her thoughts on the charter school movement – then and now – as well as her daughter – Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber who’s following in her mother’s political footsteps. 
Episode 3: Women's History Month Special  Changemakers: CCSA's President & CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Cristina de Jesus, President & CEO of Green Dot Public Schools California. De Jesus is one of the most influential female leaders of charter schools in the Golden State. She talks about the evolution of Green Dot in CA, lessons learned, and how her charter schools are accelerating learning post-pandemic. Charter Spotlight: We take a tour of Girls Athletic Leadership School Los Angeles, also known as GALS L.A., to find out how this all-girls charter middle school is motivating and empowering the next gen of female scholars & leaders.   Honoring Susan Steelman Bragato: Every year CCSA awards the Susan Steelman Bragato scholarship to 10 charter school students. We hear from a past award winner, Jose Aguirre, to understand out how Susan's legacy lives on. 
Episode 2: Black History Month Special  Changemakers: CCSA's President & CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Dr. Helen V. Griffith, Executive Director of The Preuss School UC San Diego, about this school's unique partnership with UCSD and the need to grow more UC-charter public schools in California. Charter Spotlight: We venture to AIMS High School in Oakland to understand how educators are advancing the academic achievement of its Black Students. We also attend a college expo at AIMS where recruiters from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) offer on-site acceptance letters and scholarships to AIMS seniors.My View From Here (Audio Commentary): Jason Sample, Superintendent of Gateway Community Charters, explains why he believes Black History Month is something we should celebrate all year long. 
Episode 1 Rundown:  Charter School News: CCSA's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Miller provides analysis regarding CA Governor Gavin Newsom's budget proposal and what it means for charters. Changemakers: CCSA's President & CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Mike Madrid, a CA political analyst who explains the power of the Latino voting block when it comes to charter school support. My View From Here (Audio Commentary): Debbie Veney, Senior Vice President of Communications/Marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, explains why charter supporters need to emphasize the word "public" when describing charter public schools. Charter Spotlight: Join us as we take an audio field trip to Sacramento Valley Charter School, the only charter in CA offering Punjabi language instruction.  
In #ChartersAt30 Part 3, we bring you a special Change Makers interview featuring Nina Rees, the President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. For the past nine years, Nina has deepened bipartisan relationships in Washington D.C. to secure political support for charters across the country.  CCSA's Myrna Castrejón sits down with Nina to talk about lessons learned from the pandemic and how California continues to lead the way when it comes to charter school advocacy, policies and innovation. In this episode, we also take you to two outstanding charter public schools in honor of National Charter Schools Week. The first stop: St HOPE's Public School 7 Elementary in Sacramento that's working to grow the next generation of Black and Latino scholars. The second stop: The Multicultural Learning Center in the San Fernando Valley that's ensuring its students are bi-literate in Spanish and English by the 8th grade. 
In #ChartersAt30 Part 2, we bring you a special Change Makers interview featuring Jed Wallace, the longest serving president and CEO of the CCSA. Jed was instrumental in building the charter school movement in California. Also, you’ll hear key takeaways from this year’s Portrait of the Movement Report, the annual study produced by CCSA. This year the study provides us a current picture of the charter school educational landscape in the state, and how charters are continuing to reimagine education, offering unique and cutting-edge programs that influence the public school system. Finally, we continue our Face of Charter School Success alumni series by highlighting Stephanie Orozco, an alumna from Math and Science Preparatory College in Los Angeles. 
Thirty years ago, the 1992 California Charter Schools Act made its way through the legislature and was signed into law, launching a public education movement that has benefitted millions of students statewide. To celebrate this milestone CCSA’s CharterNation Podcast is releasing three special podcast episodes beginning this week featuring interviews with influential leaders who played an instrumental role in establishing and growing California’s charter school movement. The episodes will also feature the personal stories of charter school alumni who are part of CCSA’s Face of Charter School Success series. #ChartersAt30 Part 1  Change Makers interview feat. CCSA's President/CEO Myrna Castrejón interviewing Caprice Young, the founding president/CEO of CCSA. A Tribute to Gary Heart feat. former state Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge The Face of Charter School Success: Aryanna Baytop, Granada Hills Charter HS graduate, freshman at Tulane University
Ensuring more Black educators are leading and teaching in public schools. That’s the topic of this week’s episode as we honor of Black History Month in February. Our special guest is Laura McGowan-Robinson, the founder and CEO of the Diversity in Leadership Institute based in Los Angeles. Her organization is working to build an effective pipeline of Black teachers and administrators in California. She talks about the systemic challenges that current and aspiring Black educators face. Then, we hear from Christiana Cobb-Dozier, a Black school counselor at Resolute Academy located in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. She talks about how she's working to help students manage grief, depression and anxiety. Later in the episode, we switch gears and head to San Diego County for a slice of charter school like at The Learning Choice Academy (TLC), a hybrid homeschool thats working to grow a new generation of "tiny home" builders and engineers.  
Happy New Year 2022 from the California Charter Schools Association! It’s the start of a new legislative season in Sacramento. Governor Gavin Newsom kicked things off by releasing his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. We hear from CCSA’s Vice President Colin Miller who gives us more details about the proposed spending plan – and what it all means for charter public schools.  In our Change Makers segment, CCSA's President and CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Ted Lempert, Executive Director of Children Now, a research and advocacy organization in Oakland. Lempert talks about education funding today under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula and what his organization is doing to ensure all students get a high-quality, equitable education. Finally, we bring you an audio postcard from Para Los Ninos in Los Angeles which is offering digital literacy classes to their Spanish speaking parents. Parents learn everything from sending an email to downloading Zoom so they can join meetings. 
In this special episode of the CharterNation Podcast, we bring you a rebroadcast of a CCSA Facebook Live Event that took place on Dec. 9th and focused on how charter public schools are supporting the mental health and wellness of student amid the pandemic. The event was timed to the release of CCSA's 2021 Portrait of the Movement report called Are the Kids OK? How California Charter Public Schools Support Social-Emotional Wellbeing Schoolwide. CCSA's President/CEO Myrna Castrejón hosted the discussion. Special guests included Jennifer Kress, CCSA's Sr. Managing Director of School Performance, Accountability and Research who authored the report; Trisha Lancaster, Executive Director of SOAR Charter Academy in San Bernardino; and Dr. Debra Shroeder, Executive Director of Vibrant Minds Charter School in Anaheim.   
In this episode, host Ana Tintocalis takes listeners to Larchmont Charter School in Los Angeles to learn about a simple yet powerful social and emotional strategy: talking circles. We also preview an upcoming report produced by the California Charter Schools Association called "Are the Kids OK? How California Charter Public Schools Support Social-Emotional Wellbeing Schoolwide."  In the Change Makers segment, CCSA's President and CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Republican State Senator Scott Wilk, the Republican State Senator who represents the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita and Victor Valley regions. At the start of this legislative year, he was elected as Senate Minority Leader. Castrejón and Wilk discuss the statewide enrollment decline and learning loss. 
Is homeschooling the next wave in education? That's the topic of this week's Change Makers interview on the CharterNation Podcast Episode 5. CCSA's President/CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Lance Izumi, Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute about his new book, "The Homeschool Boom: Pandemic, Policies and Possibilities." Then, we spend time with Amelie Caswell, a high school senior who was on the verge of suicide until she found Motivated Youth Academy (MY Academy), a nonclassroom-based charter public schools that works to give at-promise students a second chance. And finally, we hear from Angella Martinez, the CEO of KIPP SoCal, about why she believes  each and every public school campus should be equipped with a COVID Response Team. 
PEOPLE POWER! That's the theme of Episode 4 of CharterNation. You'll hear from three individuals who are working in the trenches of Los Angeles to make sure students can access high-quality school options or get the social and emotional support they need. First, as part of our Change Makers interview series, CCSA's President/CEO Myrna Castrejón interviews Jay Artis-Wright, the new executive director of Parent Revolution. Then, spend time with a Christiana Cobb-Dozier also  known as "Ms. CD" by her students. She's a school counselor at Resolute Academy Charter School in the Watts community of South L.A. Christiana shares how she's helping students manage grief and anxiety so they can stay focused in school.And finally, we hear from Alfredo Rubalcava, the CEO/Superintendent of Magnolia Public Schools which has just launched its Portrait of a Graduate initiative.
In honor of Latino Heritage Month, we dedicate an entire episode to understanding how charter public schools are working to transform the lives of Latino students in California. In a special Change Makers segment, CCSA's Myrna Castrejón interviews Marcos Aguilar, one of the visionaries behind Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America in East Los Angeles. AIUPNA is perhaps the only charter public school in the U.S. to teach indigenous cultures, languages and native ways of knowing.   CharterNation host Ana Tintocalis is then joined by Erin Abshere, CCSA's Vice President of School Performance, Accountability, and Research who offers key takeaways from CCSA's new research brief Two Charter Public Schools, One Mission: Latino Academic Excellence. This special episode then takes listeners to the Central Valley to find out how a career-tech charter high school is changing the way Latino students see their future. 
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