School Choice Rocks – For Real

By: Andrew Campanella


National School Choice Week participants know that school choice rocks.


This year, students and teachers at the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School came up with a clever and fun way to spread that message. They are encouraging supporters to take rocks – like the ones you find outside – and paint them, decorate them, and place them in creative places for people to discover.

“This was a way to get all of our students and families engaged in school choice,” said Doug Wessels, the director of public affairs and accountability for Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School. “As a virtual charter school, our students are located all across Pennsylvania. With this activity, everyone can participate in National School Choice Week.”

Students at Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School painted rocks

“School Choice Rocks” was also the perfect school choice-twist on the recent “rock painting” phenomenon that is sweeping America

“Rock painting is…big here in Pennsylvania,” explained teacher Corbin Anderson, who came up with the idea. “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.”

Anderson thought that by harnessing the national trend – and the perfect tie-in to the “school choice rocks” messaging – students could help spread the word about educational opportunity in a creative, fun, and unique way. He and several students developed a compelling tutorial video and posted it to Vimeo. I thought it was brilliant!

“This project is accessible to anyone,” Wessels said. “It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of effort or money, and it’s something that parents can easily do with their students. We want our students and families to realize that they’re part of a larger community that supports each other.”

Andrew Campanella’s School Choice Rocks project

The project looked so fun that I decided to paint a rock too. I found a rock in my backyard (in retrospect, I think it was a chunk of concrete), bought some inexpensive paint and varnish on Amazon, and got to work.

You can watch my rock-making video if you want to experience my possibly-ill-advised attempt at crafting. But regardless of the artistic quality of my painted rock I painted (which is far less impressive than the ones made by the students at the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School), the project was so much fun!

After all, who doesn’t like getting covered in paint, creating something totally unique, leaving that creation out on a trail for someone to find, and spreading the good news about school choice at the same time?

I certainly do, and I encourage you to participate too. Post your rock photos on the Choice Rocks Facebook page. I guarantee you that your rock will look better than mine!

Read more: 5 Questions for Doug Wessels and Corbin Anderson, Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School

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