Show Them What You’ve Got: West Park Academy

By: National School Choice Week Team

Trying to come up with an idea for a National School Choice Week celebration for the first time might feel like a challenge, but many schools tap into existing on-campus events to make it happen. West Park Academy combined the items in the free National School Choice Week kit with a community open house and a school-wide pep rally to show pride for the school and school choice.

“Get involved. It is a great time to rally the community together, get feedback from families, and springboard into the last half of the year on a positive note.”

The charter school serves 225 students in grades K-8 in Cleveland, Ohio. West Park implements both an extended school day and school year to go above and beyond Ohio State education standards. The 2017 National School Choice Week celebrations were the first for West Park Academy, though its sister school Pearl Academy participated in 2016. 

“We believe that choice is critical for a family when determining what is best for their child’s education.  As a small school, we rely on identifying ourselves as a community.  If we have nothing else in common, we have West Park in common.  That is our bond.  Therefore, we take care of each other, celebrate each other, and watch out for each other. National School Choice Week provides us with the opportunity to come together and celebrate our common bond,” said Michael Jaissle, principal of West Park Academy.

West Park Academy decorated with National School Choice Week signs throughout the campus and students, faculty and staff wore signature yellow scarves in celebration. Students conducted research on school successes to present to parents and members of the community. On Thursday, the community was invited to a free family fun night with games, raffles, arts and crafts, and food. While on campus, community members learned about West Park Academy and school choice in the state.

On Friday, the school held a pep rally that included parent testimonies and a performance of the NSCW dance, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake.

Schools who are at the beginning planning stages should get excited about the opportunity National School Choice Week provides to families, Jaissle says.

“Get involved. It is a great time to rally the community together, get feedback from families, and springboard into the last half of the year on a positive note,” he said.

First Time NSCW Participants

If your school is planning its first National School Choice Week events for 2018, remember that your celebration doesn’t have to be big. Look for fun ways to highlight things that your school is already doing that make it so successful. Consider incorporating a National School Choice Week theme in an awards ceremony or open house with registration information for the next year. Make use of the signs, posters, scarves and more that you receive in your free NSCW registration kit -and remember to take photos and video!

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