One Hundred Public Charter School Parents Build New Skills


New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association Hosts Successful Advocacy Training Event

NEWARK, NJ – October 16, 2023 – The New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association (NJPCSA) hosted a highly successful Parent Advocacy Summit over the weekend, equipping one hundred parents of public charter school students with the knowledge and skills to become effective advocates for their children’s education. The event featured training in lawmaker outreach, using social media for advocacy, and a dynamic panel discussion with New Jersey state legislators and elected officials.

The event, held at Roseville Community Charter School in Newark, brought together parents, educators, and public charter school supporters who are passionate about ensuring the best education for every New Jersey student. The training was designed to empower parents to be informed advocates for their children’s education and to strengthen their ability to engage with elected officials at all levels of government.

T.J. Best, Senior Advisor at NJPCSA, emphasized the importance of parent advocacy in the public charter school community: “Our parents are the most powerful voices for their children’s education and this training event is part of our commitment to equipping them with the tools and knowledge to be effective advocates. When parents are engaged, it makes a significant difference in shaping educational policies and opportunities for all students,” Best stated.

One of the participating parents, Athena Davis-Shaw, whose child attends Philip’s Academy Charter School of Newark, said about her experience, “As a public charter school parent, I wanted to learn how to make a bigger impact in my community and beyond. This training event was eye-opening and empowering and I now feel more confident about advocating for my child’s education and for all students in New Jersey.”

The highlight of the event was a panel discussion featuring prominent New Jersey legislators and elected officials who shared insights on how parents can effectively engage with lawmakers. The bipartisan panel included Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-LD21), Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese (D-LD36), Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia, and Paterson Councilwoman Dr. Lilisa Mimms.

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz expressed her support for the public charter school community, saying, “Public charter schools play a vital role in providing quality education options for New Jersey students and it’s heartening to see parents actively participating in advocacy efforts. Your voices matter, and we, as legislators, value your input in shaping state policy.”

Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese stressed the importance of collaboration between parents and lawmakers, “Parental involvement is crucial in fighting for high quality education. Events like this bring parents and legislators together, fostering productive dialogues and creating a stronger, more responsive educational system.”

Commissioner Dawn Fantasia, who is also a public charter school leader, applauded NJPCSA for empowering parents through advocacy training, “As a strong advocate for educational options for families, I believe that engaged parents play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our state and ensuring the best opportunities for all students.”

Paterson Councilwoman Dr. Lilisa Mimms said, “I commend NJPCSA for its commitment to educating and mobilizing parents in a city where strong schools are the foundation of a thriving community. Engaged parents are the driving force behind our children’s success and I’m proud to see efforts to empower parents and strengthen educational options for all Paterson students.”

The event provided parents with practical skills and strategies for advocating for charter schools, including:

● Lawmaker Engagement: Parents learned how to effectively communicate with elected officials, share their stories, and express their support for public charter schools.

● Social Media Advocacy: The training covered how to harness the power of social media to raise awareness about public charter schools, connect with like-minded individuals, and engage with policymakers and influencers online.

● Panel Discussions: Parents had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a dialogue with legislators and officials, gaining insights into the legislative process and how they can make their voices heard.

● Networking Opportunities: The event fostered connections among parents, educators, and charter school advocates, encouraging collaboration and collective action.

The NJPCSA is committed to continuing its advocacy training efforts, empowering parents to be informed and effective champions for public charter schools. These efforts align with the association’s mission to ensure that all New Jersey students have access to high-quality, public schools.


About the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association
The New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association (NJPCSA) is the non-profit membership association that represents the state’s charter school community and, by extension, charter school students and their parents. There are currently 85 public charter schools in New Jersey serving more than 60,000 students. We are committed to advancing quality public education for New Jersey’s children through the cultivation of excellent public charter schools. The Association seeks to influence legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, public charter schools.

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