National School Choice Week 2024 is approaching in just a few weeks, and I am thrilled about what’s shaping up to take place across the country. Out of tens of thousands of events taking place in a single week, 70 large-scale “flagship” events are planned in 46 states. My role (Senior Advisor to the Events and Partnerships team) includes working very closely with organizers of these flagship events, and I am excited to share details about just a few of them as as glimpse into NSCW 2024.
Before we jump in, let me introduce myself. I am Julia Dvorak and I’ve been celebrating National School Choice Week since 2016, when I volunteered as a college student for my first rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol. Now, I am a mother of three, married to a high school math teacher, and I find myself more passionate than ever about ensuring every child finds the best educational setting for their unique learning needs.
What makes National School Choice Week so special?
National School Choice Week is a unique public awareness effort that focuses on students and their parents in a positive, fun, and informative way. What sets this effort apart from others is its empowering nature, as it provides information about the different learning options available to families while celebrating the achievements of students and educators across the country. National School Choice Week is the largest and most collaborative nationwide event for families that makes educational options accessible and engaging. The events held during the Week showcase the collaborative spirit between every type of school, families, community organizations, and leaders to unlock the doors to educational options for families and students nationwide.
What is a flagship event?
National School Choice Week offers various ways to help families learn about their school options whether they choose traditional public school, public charter school, public magnet school, private school, homeschooling, online learning, or microschooling and mix-and-match learning. At the very heart of this mission are our flagship events, which serve as fun family-friendly gatherings in each state, bringing attention to the world of school choice.
These flagship events are carefully organized by state organizations, school districts, associations, and community leaders who share a passion for expanding awareness about school choice options. Their collaborative efforts with the NSCAF team span over the entire year, focusing on school recruitment, family notifications, and event promotion. The result? A series and family-fun celebrations that not only spread awareness but also shines a light on the exciting and enjoyable world of school choice.
Typically, we organize one to two flagship events in a state each year. However, in my home state, we have three flagship events this year because we always do things bigger in Texas!
Event Highlights for National School Choice Week 2024:
It can be challenging to decide which events to showcase when my colleagues and I are working on 70 flagship events and supporting more than 26,000 school activities. However, I am thrilled to share five of the celebrations that I am particularly excited about, taking place from January 21-27, 2024.
Families from all around the city will gather together at Minute Maid Park for the Houston School Fair! More than 40 schools will be present, including traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, virtual education, and homeschool options. Parents can apply to schools on-site while their children enjoy running the bases with the Houston Astros’ mascot, Orbit! It will truly be a memorable day for everyone, and I am confident hundreds of families will learn about their education options.
This event holds a special place in my heart because it is being organized by an incredible coalition of partners representing all different sectors of education. The coalition includes a public policy think tank, a charter school organization, multiple parent groups, and even a private school leader. The coalition embodies the true meaning of National School Choice Week – no one type of school is better than another. It’s all about finding the educational setting that best suits the student.
I am thrilled about this event unlike anything we have done before. We are inviting hundreds of families to join us for the Milwaukee Admirals hockey game! The stadium will be filled with yellow scarves and smiling faces from students of all kinds of school options. Before the game, a choir will perform and a student will be able to ring the pre-game siren! It will be a joyous community celebration for all – now, let’s hope the Admirals pull off a win!
This is another unique event in partnership with The Brown House Experience for a day of hands-on trade skill workshops for students to celebrate National School Choice Week. Featuring workshops for both parents and students, this event will also feature local community colleges and educational organizations that will provide information about trade careers, local programming, and opportunities for students. I am confident it will be an impactful and FUN day for all!