The Michigan Capitol’s Heritage Hall bustled with enthusiastic students and teachers who came to celebrate National School Choice Week on Jan. 26. The annual event, sponsored by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Parent Advocates for Choice in Education and other partner organizations, highlights the unique programming offered by a variety of school types throughout Michigan.
Approximately 200 people attended from eleven Michigan schools, including private schools (religious and otherwise), charter schools, online schools and magnet schools. Students from grades 6 to 12 enthusiastically displayed their recent projects and shared their schools’ innovative programs with guests and peers. Speakers included Chambria Mack, parent of a child who has thrived in an alternative school; Ryan McClellan, teacher at the Michigan International Prep School; and student representatives from the participating schools.
Many students shared stories about their educational experiences. Allysa, an eighth grader, beamed as she spoke about the sense of family at Light of the World Academy, a K-8 Montessori charter school. Vlad, an eleventh grader from Ukraine, expressed his gratitude for being warmly welcomed by The Manoogian School. When he and his mother moved to America, his father stayed in Ukraine to fight in the military. Vlad appreciates having a nurturing school community during a difficult time.
Students from West Michigan Aviation Academy gave an overview of the impressive engineering and aviation curriculum at their charter school, where students can graduate with a pilot’s license. Representatives from virtual schools such as Michigan Online Schools and the Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy shared their strategies for keeping students engaged and thriving in a remote learning environment.
Students also had the opportunity to speak with legislators and visit the Senate gallery. The schools at the event were great examples of the valuable educational options made possible through school choice.