Shining a Spotlight on All Star Events

Between January 21-27, National School Choice Week 2024 kicked off with celebrations across the country! Tens of thousands of events celebrating all of the school choices available to families took place in a single week, including over 1,000 “All Star” events in each of the 50 states. I’ve rounded up seven of these events to share with you!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mackenzie Mate, Participant Engagement Coordinator here at the National School Choice Awareness Foundation (NSCAF). I’ve been celebrating National School Choice Week since 2022 when I joined the Events and Partnerships team. As part of my job, I work with schools and homeschool groups – more than 24,000 of them – to plan events and activities for National School Choice Week, year after year. That involves working particularly close with 1,000 participants to plan larger events as part of our All Star program!

What makes National School Choice Week so special?

National School Choice Week is a unique public awareness effort that focuses on students and their parents in a positive, fun, and informative way. What sets this effort apart from others is its empowering nature, as it provides information about the different learning options available to families while celebrating the achievements of students and educators across the country. National School Choice Week is the largest and most collaborative nationwide event for families that makes educational options accessible and engaging. The events held during the Week showcase the collaborative spirit between every type of school, families, community organizations, and leaders to unlock the doors to educational options for families and students nationwide.

What is the All Star Program?

Our All Star Program is for schools and learning providers who want to find ways to enhance their engagement in National School Choice Week (NSCW) by organizing celebrations such as open houses, parent nights, spirit weeks, field trips, talent shows, and more. This program is application based, and there are a limited number of kits available each year. Once participants are accepted, our team offers one-on-one guidance and support to help plan their events. As All Stars, the schools receive an extra box of supplies (in addition to our activity packet) to help make the most out of their celebration. This box contains all sorts of NSCW swag, including the famous yellow scarves and rally signs!

Event Highlights for National School Choice Week 2024:

Deciding which All Star events to showcase is a challenge as my colleagues and I are worked on over 1,000 All Star events and supported more than 24,000 school activities this year. However, I am overjoyed to share seven of the unique celebrations that took place from January 21-27, 2024!

Black Microschools ATL, Atlanta, GA

Black Microschools ATL organized an exciting event called Toast & Tapas to express their gratitude to the dedicated parents and volunteers who have been supporting their mission. The event was a festive occasion where everyone came together and enjoyed delicious tapas while celebrating their hard work.

Gateway Academy, Phoenix, AZ

Gateway Academy celebrated school choice with The Gateway Academy Rock the Runway Fashion Show. It was all about their neurodiverse student population! During the show, the students and faculty designed their own outfits and strut their stuff on the runway.

Georgia Cyber Academy, Atlanta, GA

Georgia Cyber Academy celebrated NSCW with fun field trips around the state including visits to the planetarium, nature centers, a class for young chefs and much more. They even hosted fun virtual adventures with NASA and the National Weather Service to help their students learn and grow more in the area of STEM!

SOAR Academy School, Augusta, GA

SOAR Academy Augusta celebrated school choice week by offering an expo for families and students to enjoy and learn about all of the non-traditional education resources in Augusta, Georgia! There were STEM vendors, art vendors, therapy resources, homeschool and microschool resources, along with school choice options in the CSRA. IEP support resources and advocacy resources were also available for families that need assistance with selecting services for students.

Batesville School District, Batesville, AR

The Batesville School District hosted a family engagement night! This event had an information assembly that focused on school choice and why students, staff, and families love their school. It also provided an opportunity to thank families for choosing Batesville School District. There were fun giveaways with the supplies from their All Star Kit!

Heritage Academy Pointe, Phoenix, AZ

Heritage Academy Pointe celebrated all week long! Their celebration included activities such as color-themed dress up days (including NSCW yellow and red); classroom door decorations; yellow decor such as balloons, cupcakes, and our famous yellow scarves; the 2024 School Choice Week Dance, and a contest where students submitted an essay, poster, speech, or video about what makes their school great. These celebrations took place on campus throughout the day and during lunch periods.

Pembroke Head Start, Pembroke, NC

Pembroke Head Start celebrated National School Choice Week 2024 by involving their community! They hosted career days with a variety of guest speakers that included dentists, nutrition representatives, police officers, and public school teachers. Participants gained information, resources, and were entered into giveaways of NSCW swag like wristbands and stickers!

These are only seven of the amazing events that took place around the country! To get a better idea of how your state celebrated National School Choice Week, check out your state’s roundup of spotlighted events, proclamations from elected officials, press releases, and more!