Doug Wessels and Corbin Anderson are two of the minds behind Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School’s School Choice Rocks project, which encourages everyone to paint rocks with school choice messages and leave them in public places to be found. Doug Wessels is the director of public affairs and accountability for the school and Corbin Anderson is a multimedia developer.
Andrew Campanella: Can you tell me more about the rock painting idea and the video, which was so well done?
Corbin Anderson: The idea was really a spin-off of something that’s already going on. Rock painting is a nationwide thing, but it’s big here in Pennsylvania. People paint rocks and leave them out on walking trails or in front of businesses. Then, people discover them, take pictures of them, and post them to Facebook. It’s really fun. I like doing it and the kids like doing it.
Doug Wessels: This was a way to get all of our students and families engaged in school choice. As a virtual charter school, our students are located all across Pennsylvania. With this activity, everyone can participate in National School Choice Week.
Andrew: Is your goal to have students take pictures of their rocks and post them on the Facebook page?
Anderson: There are two parts where people can be involved. Part one is to make your rock and take a picture of it and post it on the Choice Rocks Facebook page. Then you hide it and hopefully the person who finds it, posts a picture too with a little note about where they found it. So, I think there are two potential ways to be involved and to spread the word.
Andrew: Aside from the video, do you have any tips on how to paint a rock?
Wessels: We have some ideas on our Facebook page. But people can keep it simple. There are a lot of ways to do it. You don’t need to go buy expensive paints or anything.
Anderson: The most important thing is to make this about kids and keep it kid-centric.
Andrew: I know this project is geared towards Pennsylvania, but are you open to rock photos from across the country? Can this turn into a national thing?
Anderson: That would be great!
Wessels: The primary objective for us was to engage students and families from across Pennsylvania regardless of where they live. I think that’s an extremely important thing to do. But we absolutely welcome anyone to participate and we’d like to see how far this idea can travel.
Andrew: I’m definitely going to paint a rock. But switching gears, what are you most proud of about Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School?
Wessels: Our families and our students are really the heart of everything that we do here. In our organization, we look at each individual student. We address the students where they are based on their unique needs and their unique skill sets and their unique goals. And we’re able to create a program that really enhances what they do in full partnership with their parents.