AAE Advocacy Fellow, and 2019 New Jersey Charter School Advocate of the Year, Roseangela Mendoza has been the beneficiary of school choice for her entire career as an educator. Her experience at the Ethical Community Charter School in Jersey City has opened her eyes to the possibilities of choice in mapping one’s educational path that were not available to her until college.
Everyone likes and often expects to have choices for the big and little decisions in life. What car do I want? Which congregation is right for me? Which is the best way to get to work today? We are in fact, rarely without choices even for the smallest tasks.
In Jersey City, we are fortunate to have so many choices for schools and at each academic level, whether it is for preschool, elementary school, high school, and even universities. All kinds of K-12 choices are here too: public charter, traditional public, private, magnet, and county!
I grew up in a town where our choices were traditional public school or private schools. In my family, we couldn’t afford private schools, so like many, we attended traditional public schools. I had a great experience at the public schools I’ve attended. However, if there had been a choice in high school programs for me that would have been great. Without hesitation, I would have chosen a school that offered a performing arts program. It would have made me feel more at home! I fortunately had great teachers who guided me to the path I am in now, teaching.
Depending on what your family’s needs are, you can find a school that best fits your child. Many families look for schools that offer a strong STEM program, a strong community-based school, and like my school, a strong ethics program.
This school year, I met many new families and students who were able to apply to a school of choice such as the charter school I work for. Students always talk about feeling great in our learning environment and most importantly, safe. I’ve worked at The Ethical Community Charter School (TECCS) for almost nine years. Just as for our students, schools of choice, like TECCS, have offered me vast opportunities to grow and learn from teachers, parents and students. TECCS has supported my teaching style, and paths of growth in education and advocacy. Schools of choice aren’t for everyone, but for those looking for options, having a choice can make all the difference in the world!