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Press Release

Friday, May 7, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

State Board of Education Continues National Charter Schools Week Celebration

~ Board members visit two charter schools in south Florida to pay tribute to the benefits of school choice ~

MIAMI – In continuing their observance of National Charter Schools Week, State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair and State Board of Education member Roberto Martinez visited two charter schools today to celebrate the critical role that parental choice and alternative learning environments play in the academic success of students. Chairman Fair visited Downtown Miami Charter School in Miami and Mr. Martinez visited Somerset Arts Academy in Homestead where they shared in celebratory events and activities with students and staff.

“Our charter schools fill an important educational gap for many families in the state, bridging young, promising minds with the type of support and instruction they need to flourish,” said Chairman Fair. “My visit to Downtown Miami Charter School today was a clear reinforcement of this fact, where I witnessed energetic learning environments that catered to the uniqueness of the students within.”

“Charter schools are a natural extension of our public school system,” said Mr. Martinez. “Each child is unique, with different learning needs and styles. Although we have many excellent traditional public schools, charter schools provide another valuable option to help our students fulfill their hopes and dreams.”

Earlier this week, State Board of Education Member John Padget visited Montessori Elementary Charter School in Key West and Florida’s Education Commissioner, Dr. Eric J. Smith, visited Indian River Charter High School in Vero Beach. During the visits, Mr. Padget and Commissioner Smith celebrated the countless benefits that charter schools provide Florida’s public education system, and the broad array of educational choices they offer to families throughout the state.

“Every student possesses an overwhelming capacity to learn and achieve academically and it is our responsibility as educators to help every child realize their true potential,” said Commissioner Smith. “Charter schools are a critical tool in helping us to achieve that goal and I am thankful our state has established the type of supportive environment where these schools can thrive.”

Charter schools are public schools that are independently designed and operated and are among the fastest growing school choice options in Florida. Since 1996, public charter schools have provided parents with smaller classes, alternative curriculum and increased opportunities for involvement in their children’s education. With 410 public charter schools currently operating, and nearly 138,000 students participating, Florida has the fourth largest number of public charter schools in the nation.

To learn more about charter schools in Florida, visit the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice Office website at www.floridaschoolchoice.org. To learn more about National Charter Schools Week, visit www.publiccharters.org.