In college, writing is perhaps the most important skill you will hold, practice, grow and utilize. It helps you craft that perfect internship cover letter, flaunt your air-tight argument in the Poli Sci seminar, and even send your parents a moving text about why you've switched your major to Gender Studies. Thanks to my K12 experience, I was ahead of the game when it came time to show my writing skills.
I attended Michigan Math & Science Academy, a STEM-focused charter high school that emphasized college prep and proficiency in the areas of science and math. And while the school curriculum held us all to high standards, what I remember most are my dedicated teachers. Specifically, Mr. Druzynski, my early high school English teacher.
Think back to your high-school rendition of Romeo and Juliet. A freshman English classic, Shakespeare's famous play is taught across the country as a staple of our early literary exposure - but it's not always the most exciting experience. That being said, Mr. Druzynski took extra care to keep us engaged as we read the play, with customized workbooks and an extravagent balcony display (with costumes, might I add) that helped us get into character for the famous scene.
And while I loved those cool elements, what truly made it specail was Mr. D's attention to detail, effort, and genuine love for his job and his students.
As I progressed in high school, my educators continued to push me to grow my writing. We were encouraged to broaden our vocabulary using a thesaurus (ok, Thesaurus.com if I'm being honest), explore different methods of thinking and writing, and pushed to justify our research with hard evidence and sources.
It's so easy to lose interest in a given subject without the right leader in the front of the classroom. Mr. D inspired me in that class, and helped nurture a love for English and writing that I've kept throughout high school and into college. And now, I can see the benefits of that engagement in the positive feedback I recieve at the university, and the confidence I've built in my writing.
A piece of advice for other families looking for the right school - I can't say that a charter or a private or a traditional public school is the right fit, because it all comes down to figuring out what your student uniquely needs. But, I can say that I had an incredible charter experience, and if you have a hunger to learn and are ready o put in the hard work and dedication, you will absolutely flourish in a charter school.
Shelby Powell is a graduate of Michigan Math & Science Academy, and now attends college at Grand Valley State University. She currently serves as an alumni ambassador for MAPSA, a program that empowers charter school alumni to positively engage their community and lawmakers about their charter experience.