Ember Visits Hutchinson Chartered Schools

On August 28, I joined the two chartered schools in Hutchinson, Minnesota at their annual ice cream social. Hutchinson
holds a special place in my heart because I live there part-time with my husband Mike, who is the McLeod County Attorney. Mike came to the event as well and is pictured with me to the right.  It was wonderful to visit the two Hutchinson chartered schools in my second hometown.

With all the excitement in the air with the beginning of a new school year, students scuttled about the school reconnecting with old friends and meeting their future teachers.  Many of them stopped to chat with me about their experiences attending the chartered schools in Hutchinson.

I was deeply moved by one high school student, who will remain anonymous. She told me, “I probably wouldn’t be here if this charter school wasn’t here.”  She talked about how, in her early teens, she attended a district school where she was bullied mercilessly.   It caused her to try to end her life by jumping out the passenger side of a car when her mother was driving 60 miles per hour on the highway.    But the door wouldn’t open at that speed!  Her mother responded to that wake-up call, drove her daughter directly to the chartered school, and enrolled her.  Two years later, she is doing very well.  “The charter school allows the students to color outside the lines,” the mother said.

I always love hearing from students, it was great hearing so many different stories. In the photo below to the left, I am meeting three high school students, Emily, Lidia and Jordan. These two New Century Academy students pictured below on the right, Isaiah and Brandon, shared their stories with me as well.

In addition to meeting with students, parents and teachers, I also spent some time with the directors of the two schools. They both purchased copies of Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story for their board members and for their libraries. I spoke with several board members who were delighted to be receiving signed copies of my book.

Jason Vold is pictured on the left and is the Director of New Century Academy. The Director of New Discoveries Montessori Academy, Dave Conrad is pictured on the right. It was such a pleasure meeting the two leaders of the schools; we thought it was appropriate to take a photo under a quote about passion that Nelson Mandela once said. He said, “Passion is the genesis of genius”. Passion really is the foundation of something great. Passion is what motivates me to share my story about the chartered movement. I was proud to stand with these two passionate leaders of chartered schools. I hope to keep the passion for charters alive, and I am able to do that by telling my story that made chartered schools possible.  Thank you to everyone who helped plan the ice cream social including Dave Conrad and Jason Vold and thank you to everyone who shared their stories with me.

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