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What Teachers Experience

In a Personalized Learning Public Charter School

There are currently more than 2,500 credentialed teachers guiding K-12 students enrolled in 60 APLUS+ Network member Personalized Learning Public Charter Schools. These teachers overwhelmingly express tremendous job fulfillment and satisfaction working in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School environment. Routinely, teachers cite being able to work closely with students one-on-one; developing meaningful and collaborative relationships with parents, students, and peers; tailoring a personalized learning program for every student; the flexibility and adaptability of the Personalized Learning model; and the unique and positive school culture among the many reasons for their high level of job satisfaction.

In May of 2016, the APLUS+ Personalized Learning Network Association conducted a network-wide survey of its member school credentialed teachers to discover more deeply the experiences of teachers working in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model and environment. Below is a summary of those survey results, along with numerous voluntary comments from hundreds of teacher respondents that were offered in strong, passionate, and enthusiastic support of the Personalized Learning model and Personalized Learning Public Charter Schools.

(Key survey results and optional, voluntary comments derived from more than 600 teacher respondents from the most recent APLUS+ Personalized Learning Network Survey conducted 5/16)

Summary of APLUS+ Network 2016 Survey Results

The majority of teachers surveyed (74%) are highly professional, experienced teachers who have been employed by either a public or private school for at least seven years as follows:

  • 14% of teachers surveyed responded that they have been employed as a teacher for 7-9 years.
  • 30% of teachers surveyed responded that they have been employed as a teacher for 10-15 years.
  • 17% of teachers surveyed responded that they have been employed as a teacher for 16-20 years.
  • 13% of teachers surveyed responded that they have been employed as a teacher for more than 20 years.

Most teachers surveyed had previously worked in one or more district-run public schools:

  • 95% of teachers responded that they had worked in a district-run public school prior to working for a Personalized Learning Public Charter School.

Most teachers surveyed agree that the Personalized Learning Public Charter School culture is BETTER that the district-run public school culture:

  • 6% of teachers responded that the culture of their Personalized Learning Public Charter School was either much better (66%) or somewhat better (20.6%) compared with the school culture of the district-run public school they previously worked for.

Most teachers surveyed (ranging from 77% to 95%) agree that the Personalized Learning Public Charter School culture provides tremendous professional advantages:

  • 95% of teachers responded that they agree that the Personalized Learning program offers greater flexibility and choice in how, what, when, and where each student learns.
  • 91% of teachers responded that they strongly believe in their school’s mission and vision to personalize learning for every student.
  • 89% of teachers responded that they appreciate their work schedule flexibility and the freedom from being required to be in a classroom five days a week.
  • 88% of teachers responded that they are able to create and develop higher quality, more meaningful, and more fulfilling relationships with their students and their families than in other schools.
  • 86% of teachers responded that they appreciate the diversity and flexibility of their teaching environments, duties, and responsibilities that keep their job engaging and rewarding.
  • 85% of teachers responded that there are more choices in learning programs and activities that they can offer and recommend for their students.
  • 85% of teachers responded that their Personalized Learning charter school administrators value and respect them as a professional educator.
  • 83% of teachers responded that they agree that parents, students, and teachers are active and collaborative partners in designing and refining a personalized learning program for each student.
  • 81% of teachers responded that their school provides a positive and collaborative team-oriented working environment.
  • 79% of teachers responded that their Personalized Learning charter school administrators welcome their ideas and suggestions for school improvement.
  • 79% of teachers responded that their Personalized Learning public charter school provides many professional growth opportunities for them to pursue.
  • 78% of teachers responded that they serve more as a mentor guide to students and are more empowered to make decisions that are in each student’s best interest.
  • 77% of teachers responded that their school provides a safer and more secure learning environment for students and teachers together.

Most teachers surveyed expressed that they do not have any concerns about their Personalized Learning Public Charter School:

  • 80% of teachers responded that they had no concerns about their Personalized Learning Public Charter School.

Most teachers surveyed expressed that they would recommend their Personalized Learning (independent study) public charter school to other teachers for employment:

  • 97% of teachers responded that they would recommend their Personalized Learning Public Charter School to other teachers for employment.

Most teachers surveyed expressed that they would recommend their Personalized Learning (independent study) public charter school to other parents and students for enrollment:

  • 4% of teachers responded that they would recommend their Personalized Learning Public Charter School to other parents and students for enrollment.

A Sample of Voluntary Teacher Comments and Testimonials

On Personalized Learning Public Charter School Success

“Personalized learning has provided great opportunities for my students but also for my own children. It is amazing what kids will do when provided with encouragement and choices. Kids want to learn, they want to succeed! Personalized learning equips them to do just that – be the best they can be.”

“From my standpoint, I strongly feel that Personalized Learning charter schools (mine in particular) have dramatically changed the traditional path of K-12 education and made positive impacts on the lives of many students and their families. Many students would have never graduated if they did enroll in a Personalized Learning charter school.”

“My job is incredibly rewarding. I have had and heard about SO MANY success stories with our school. I have had students who went on to colleges like Reed, UC Berkeley, UCSC, and Wellesley. I have also had students who were going to drop out because the traditional school method did not work for them, and these students were able to graduate and either go to college or enter the workforce. I would hate to think what would have happened to these students without our charter school.”

“In addition to being a charter school teacher, my five children are currently charter students and have been so their entire education. The educational opportunities they have experienced cannot be matched anywhere else and they have no desire to be enrolled anywhere else. In the past 15 years I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of students and their families. From young moms with 1-3 small children trying to finish their education in pursuits for a better life, children who were bullied in school, students with severe medical needs where a classroom education would be medically unsafe, students whose IEP’s were poorly executed in the classroom, gifted students who desired to be challenged at a much higher academic level and students whose parents are in the military, law enforcement and fire department who would never see their parent if they were in a traditional classroom. As an educator working in this model I am able to spend more time with my family and quality time with my students and their families as we see each other throughout the week at field trips, extra-curricular activities, community classes and park days.”

“I see much more success and learning taking place resulting in more confidence in students and an increase in their ability to take ownership of their learning.”

“You can focus on each student and provide them with the help they need to succeed. You can also monitor their progress much better than in a traditional school setting.”

“Much more positive. Student learning is the top priority but employee satisfaction and the working environment is also key to school success.”

“My students really struggled in a traditional classroom for a variety of reasons. We need personalized learning in California so that all students get the chance to learn and be educated.”

“Not only do I work for our charter school, but I also have my 4 children enrolled as well. We strongly believe in the mission of our school, and that we are changing the face of education.”

“Staff, students, and parents seem to be much more involved and happy! Student successes daily!”

“I love the collaborative atmosphere of our school, I greatly appreciate the support the parents lend and our entire staff is really focused on enabling ALL students to succeed.”

“This education option should have been available a long time ago.”

“I enjoy being able to help students and families who have struggled in the public school system, and who can’t afford private school options.”

“The way to go. Better all-around for parents, students, and staff.”

“Charter schools are a wonderful place where students receive the individualized attention they deserve, parents are always in the loop, and teachers truly get to know their students and help them achieve their goals.”

“I believe in what my Charter School stands for, its guiding principles, etc. So much so that I have chosen to enroll my own kids in my charter school since their first year of school.”

“When a family is ready, willing and able to be a part of an educational option like ours, it can open learning opportunities in the present and occupational opportunities in the future that would not be possible in a traditional classroom environment.”

“It really works for the instructor and the student and is very cooperative and community oriented.”

“This is the direction of superior education for many students.”

“My special education students thrive in a school that is a safe environment, flexible learning styles, and freedom from prejudice.”

“Teaching in our personalized charter school allows us to work with our families individually to guide them to the best educational opportunities to reach their goals.”

“Personalized Learning is a great opportunity for teachers and students alike. Students are able to achieve their dreams and reach their potential when their teachers can help tailor the education to best meet the students’ needs.”

“I have recommended our personalized learning Public charter to other teachers for employment and to other parents and students for enrollment. I have enrolled my own daughter who has been a student at our school for 10 years. My daughter’s experience as a student has been positive and powerful in many diverse ways.”

“I have seen so many students achieve their educational goals without sacrificing their creativity and occupational goals. This would not have been possible in a regular district classroom.”

“I think this is the best thing going in public education right now.”

“I am looking forward to my own daughter attending the Personalized Learning (independent study) public charter school where I work.”

“Though I do not feel independent personalized learning is for everyone, it is very important to have as an option. Students grow and blossom in this program and in this school, where they were wilting in the public, classroom based environment.”

“I wish I had known about this charter school sooner. I am extremely impressed with the quality of learning taking place with the students in the charter.”

“I believe in the mission and values of this school so strongly that I plan to homeschool my own child.”

“Our school doesn’t work for everyone, but is the best option for many students and families in our county.”

“I know that our structure has saved hundreds of at risk students. I am proud of this.”

“It is profoundly satisfying to see a child, who has struggled and suffered in a traditional school environment, become successful and confident with personalized learning. I think all children should get the chance to feel this way.”

“I believe in Personalized Learning public charter schools. They are a great alternative for students who do not succeed in other settings.”

“You can make this the best opportunity for learning that there is, with some work and effort.”

“I love this education delivery model. When people ask me with suspicion, “How are the families doing in educating their children?” I am thrilled to report that they are doing an amazing job. These students are thriving!”

“I love the flexibility that this school offers for me and for my students. Not all students fit into the mold of a traditional classroom, and this environment works for them. This way all students succeed in learning.”

“Teaching in a personalized learning environment fits my teaching style and needs as well as it does my students’ learning needs. The traditional school setting doesn’t work for all students (or teachers) which is why we work so hard to provide quality school programs with highly trained and experienced teachers offering rigorous and relevant learning experiences.”

On Putting Students First in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School:

“Students come first. We really have the time to support our students.”

“I love being able to fit the program to the student instead of the other way around.”

“It allows for personalized learning and instruction to be given to each student to find out how they learn best, and utilize their strengths and help them to grow in areas where they might be weak.”

“In a personalized learning public charter school it is easier to meet the needs of each student. The students don’t get lost in the shuffle.”

“There is space in the PLPCS to tend to individual students, which is much more difficult in a traditional school. Inter-staff relationships are also extremely supportive.”

“Much better because time is devoted to student learning and not classroom management.”

“As educators we have the opportunity to work one on one with students. In addition the learning experience can be personalized to the students’ needs.”

“There is less red tape when it comes to helping a child. Instruction is individualized to every student. There is not the politics to deal with. Education is the primary concern.”

“We are able to tailor the education to the student’s needs and interests instead of expecting the student to be interested in whatever is presented to them by the standard, traditional methods. Individualizing the curriculum and instruction increases my students’ buy-in, allowing us to learn more in a richer, more meaningful way.”

“Since I have taught 4 of our 5 kids so far through our personalized learning public charter school, I have had the privilege to experience the school as a parent as well as a teacher. It has been great for our whole family. When the baby is old enough for school, we plan on teaching her through this program also.”

“Every student is different, and only a personalized learning program can meet them where they are at in terms of their abilities and interest.”

“I enjoy working with students and helping them find their learning style. I feel my experience has been very positive and fulfilling.”

“I have never experienced a school so oriented towards students’ individual needs. We do for these students what no other public school does and give them a chance to succeed where their former high schools have not.”

“Children and students of any age encompass many different learning styles. The “cookie-cutter” style of traditional public schools does not fit all students. Therefore, choice is vital. Personalized learning develops students while aligning with their learning style and challenging them through the curriculum.”

“I have my daughter enrolled in the charter school that I work at, and the first comment she made to me on her first day of charter school sums it up….”I think these teachers actually like me. They smiled at me and wanted to talk to me.” For me, this is why I chose a charter school. My daughter feels included and happy. This is why I’m a teacher here and why I will stay with my charter school for years to come.”

“One size fits all for education has never been a good model, and increasingly it is highly ineffective with the multiple health, psychological, social and educational concerns kids have these days.”

“Students have various learning styles and preferences, and as educators we need to be providing choice and “safe” environments (as defined by the students themselves)”

“Best experience for me as an educator. Best experience for my students who get a chance to develop their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses. Most of my students would have iep’s if they were in a brick and mortar school. Instead they can work at their own levels while they take music lessons, art, tutoring, science lab experience, etc…”

“It seemed as though, during my time in a traditional district, the philosophy was “shoot for the middle and do damage control on the low and high end of student achievement.” I saw many students fall through the cracks of this system when they were not successful with the “one size fits all” model of education, and this was difficult to watch. Working for a Personalized Learning public charter school allows me to truly meet the educational needs of all of my students. My time is not taken up with trying to figure out how to make scripted, districted mandated curriculums work for all of my students while struggling to keep advanced students challenged, and give the extra attention to students that might be struggling. I can focus on the individual needs of every student and have the flexibility to design a program that helps them achieve at their level.”

“My charter meets the needs of students whose needs are not being met in the traditional school.”

“I have loved my experience so far with this public charter school. The staff has been very professional and helpful to work with. I can easily see that they are here to make sure that every child has the best opportunity possible to learn.”

“Some of the parents I work with now who are home-schooling their children (and those I worked with in a site-based charter) are themselves credentialed teachers who recognized that the shortcomings of the traditional system outweighed the benefits for their children. The US has lost sight of what education really is. It’s not about an “expert” in an established institution with all the right answers and methods to prepare for a workforce. It’s about truly seeing, appreciating, valuing the uniqueness of each child and what they are bringing and capable of developing, possibly for realities that we can’t yet even imagine. Independent study allows children time to reflect and know themselves and also more time to enjoy childhood. I have no doubt that many of the children I have met and worked with in charter schools will live happy and successful lives and be leaders among their peers.”

“The only opposition to Personalized Learning comes from individuals and groups who are primarily interested in their own positions of power and control, and not in the best interests of students.”

“I am sad to see that there are anti-charter groups and legislation that do not fully understand or see the benefits of what we do in the charter school movement. I believe most of it has to do with the almighty dollar, and not the needs of the students.”

“The ability to custom tailor a curriculum for each particular student is invaluable. Students are essentially receiving one on one tutoring services from their parents on a daily basis as well as consultation services with their teacher on a regular basis. Because one on one learning takes much less time than classroom instruction (where at least 25% of the time is spent in transition and waiting for the group), students have the time to go beyond the traditional curriculum. In addition, because students are not bogged down with busywork on information they already know, they have time to be more well-rounded, participating in sports, music, leadership, theater, and other extra-curriculars. In this day and age of high student burn out and having everything structured for our kids, I see this as a distinct advantage. I have seen many students go through this system from K – high school graduation. All those students went on to attend college and do extremely well in life.”

On Personalized Learning Public Charter School Flexibility and Adaptability:

“The Personalized Learning experience has been a wonderful experience and I have appreciated the process so much that I have enrolled my own children in the program. A parent-choice based school allows us as teachers to tailor the curriculum to our specific students’ needs, learning abilities and intelligences. It allows students to participate in the community and attend service classes that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do in a public school setting. And the accountability has been so encouraging!

“I like how our charter school gives students many options to fit their learning styles and/or needs.”

On Personalized Learning Public Charter School Flexibility and Adaptability:

“The Personalized Learning experience has been a wonderful experience and I have appreciated the process so much that I have enrolled my own children in the program. A parent-choice based school allows us as teachers to tailor the curriculum to our specific students’ needs, learning abilities and intelligences. It allows students to participate in the community and attend service classes that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do in a public school setting. And the accountability has been so encouraging!

“I like how our charter school gives students many options to fit their learning styles and/or needs.”

“Each of my students now has an individual program designed to specifically meet their needs.”

“I appreciate that the school supports and encourages curriculum choices, personalized education, and independent learners. I also really like that I can form long-term relationships with students and family; it’s special and unique to work with a family long term. I have worked with one of my families for nine consecutive years.”

“I can work directly with my students and meet their educational as well as help with their social-emotional needs.”

“My students do not have to worry about teasing, bullying or other social issues while enrolled in our Personalized Learning charter school. More importantly, instruction is tailored to their individual needs and the pacing can be adjusted to fit their pace. Students that struggle receive extra help, a quiet, safe learning environment, one on one instruction with a parent/teacher, etc. Students that excel can easily work ahead on curriculum and standards above their grade level.”

“Significantly better; especially for those students that need a different learning environment option.”

“Personalized learning is an amazing choice, and I am so grateful independent study schools are available for students.”

“By definition, personalized learning meets the particular needs of each student and provides a learning environment where actual original discovery takes place every day!”

“Students are able to work at their ability level and in their chosen curriculum.”

“There are so many creative ways in which students can meet the standards and still be engaged with the learning process. You can acquire a depth of learning because each student grows at their own pace until mastery.”

“From a student perspective, the Personalized Learning environment allows students to go as fast or as slow as needed with various subjects. Also, students have more time to study specific subjects in depth. Some students thrive on the daily interaction of a traditional school. Some students do better in a charter school environment. It’s about choice. As an educator, the teaching hours and life balance are much better in a charter school. In a traditional school I was working 12 hour days plus weekends. In a charter school, I work a full-time job, but I still have a life outside of my students. In addition, because I work with the same students year after year, I know my students and their families extremely well. There is no “getting to know you” period at the beginning of the year and figuring out what works best for each student because I already know. We can just jump into work and get started. Much more efficient.”

“I feel that it depends entirely on the school and the needs of the individual student. A traditional school is absolutely the best choice for many students while an alternative learning environment is a much better choice for many others.”

“Both options are needed. There are students who are served well in a traditional public school, but there are many students who will not thrive in that setting. Alternatives such as the Personalized Learning public charter school are vital to our public school system.”

“I truly enjoy the flexibility of my schedule and the freedom to engage the students in discovery learning and a project based approach.”

“Although we utilize pacing guides, working in a personalized learning environment with students allows for more flexibility with the amount of time we may spend with each student and each concept.”

“I grew up as an independent study student and have greatly benefited from this type of study. I have many talents that I can only attribute to the flexibility and time given to pursue these areas on top of completing a vigorous course load. I highly recommend this type of study to all colleagues and students.”

“Teaching Aerospace provides students with a rare opportunity to receive education in that field while in Junior and High School. The greatest opportunity students could ever have.”

“While there are students who benefit from the rigidity and predictability of a traditional classroom, our Personalized Learning population thrives on the multitude of possibilities we can offer.”

“I think the flexibility that the personalized learning public charter school provides greatly benefits my students, parents, and me. I can be more creative in my teaching and time management. My students have the freedom, time, and energy to pursue their passions. I can work with my fellow teachers and team players. Teachers have the opportunity to focus on and share their passions in on-site classes, which, in turn, inspires the students. We can all put more time and energy into pursuits that are most important and also meet the learning styles and needs of our students.”

“I wish I had this opportunity when I went through school! This would be ideal for high performing athletes, musicians, and artists who need dedicated time during the day to develop their talents.”

“I love the flexibility of the work and the dynamic nature of the work!”

On Teacher-Parent-Student Collaborative Relationships in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School

“I get to know my students 1 on 1. I teach only what the individual needs. The students tend to be more independent and focused on their immediate as well as the future goals. We have a lot of individual conversations about goals, wants, needs, and how they’re progressing. It’s just a lot more focused than you can be in a traditional school. The students still make friends, socialize, and enjoy being teens as they would, but perhaps not have as much opportunities for socialization as compared to traditional schools. The culture among the teachers is different too. I feel they’re more relaxed compared to a traditional classroom teacher. They have more life outside of the classroom and because of that they come in more refreshed and enthusiastic. It seems that overall job satisfaction is higher.”

“Students receive more attention and help.”

“In upper grades, the culture of a traditional classroom tends to be adversarial between teacher and student. In my current environment, I have a 1-on-1 relationship with my students and it is clear to them that I care deeply about their education. This fosters a much healthier relationship and often reaps much better results. Since we are an independent study program, our students must complete their work without classroom-based instruction. Instead of the instruction, we provide the relationship- and that really works for most of my students. Many of my students started out at traditional public schools. They came here for a variety of important reasons: Some got lost in the shuffle and their grades suffered; some have things like medical needs or activities that they’re passionate about that require personalized learning plans (i.e., they can’t attend school during traditional hours); many came here as victims of high school bullying or feeling threatened due to school violence; some have psychological anxiety when thrown in with crowds of people. These are all students who could not return to public school and thrive if charters were removed.”

“I choose personalized learning Public Charter for my own child.”

“The students are more well-rounded. The students are more polite and respectful. The parent/teacher/student cooperation is much more apparent and better. The faculty work together more and support each other more. The learning by far exceeds the traditional school setting.”

“Effective continuous cooperation between teacher and parents. Great effort to accommodate different learning styles. I love teaching at a Charter public school.”

“Working together with a common goal of helping families and supporting their learning and educational styles is very rewarding because the parents often have insight into what best motivates their child, and we can come alongside and support them with that, providing resources that they would have accessed alone.”

“My colleagues and I work well together and have “kindred spirits” in our educational philosophies. There is not a sense of competition among us. We Independent Study Teachers truly desire to serve all students and their families to achieve the most effective learning environments for our students and to encourage them as they strive for academic excellence.”

“Students and family are active participants in the students’ learning because they have choice for curriculum and many more choices for electives. Students can follow passions more easily in independent study. Also students that suffer from chronic health issues that prohibit 8am – 3pm M-F attendance, greatly benefit from the independent learning format.”

“Parents, educators and certified education specialists work alongside one another for a common goal without the friction of a teacher driven grouped schedule that happens in a classroom based learning. Students are allowed to work at their optimal learning pace which can be faster or slower than it might be in a classroom based program and often changing within units in the same school year for a given learner! I especially notice my students with health challenges are not limited to the physical exertions and expectations of movement, breaks, start and stop times to their learning. Medication and nutrition can be given in the home without the concerns and confusion that often happen on a site based campus. Healing can happen for students with chronic illness and the flow of learning can continue rather than the stress of all the work and assignments being missed adding to the stress of medical recovery. Sometimes there are no special medical needs at all but the parents desire to provide a certain environment of learning that does not match their local schools.”

“As the lead teacher, I am fortunate enough to influence the teachers to continue to grow as life-long learners as well as stretch themselves.”

“Involvement and collaboration between teachers, parents, and students is crucial and it is very much present in a Personalized Learning environment.”

“I feel I have so many opportunities to really get to know my students and their families.”

“It’s exciting to collaborate with other educators to continually improve the instruction and overall environment offered by our school.”

“Personalized Learning provides a best of both worlds for students, parents, and teachers by introducing useful learning tools, collaboration, and using the community as their springboard.”

“My experience in the Personalized Learning (independent study) public charter school system has been nothing short of spectacular. My experiences in regards to teacher-administrator relationships, teacher-student relationships, teacher-faculty relationships, professional development, parental involvement, and many other reasons have proved to me that this type of learning atmosphere is invaluable for students to succeed in high school and life thereafter.”

“As a special education teacher, I find that my students excel with the one-on-one attention I can give them!”

“Being a teacher in a Personalized Learning public charter school has enabled me to teach my own children and provide the personalized learning that they need. It has given me the flexibility to spend more time with my family without jeopardizing the quality of my work. I have grown as a person and have gained more understanding of people because of the relationships I have built with my students and their parents. I still keep in contact with students who graduated years ago. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to work at a Personalized Learning public charter school.”

“I love working at my public charter school. I get to set my own schedule for meeting with my students, which means I am able to spend more time with my kids and they don’t have to have a babysitter because their father watches them while I have my meetings. I am able to mentor each student on a one-on-one basis and have seen students who struggled in a site-based school excel in our school. Students love the fact that they are able to take classes based on their interests, and that they can take more than classes per semester than a site-based school, and graduate early.”

“I really feel that our system is a great situation for students and teachers. It allows both student and teacher to work together to help the student graduate.”

“I enjoy working with families, both parents and students, more closely than I would be able to in a classroom setting. I like getting to know them individually and being able to assist them in their learning in whatever ways I can, such as in suggesting new programs or curriculum that they might want to try.”

“I absolutely love working in the PL public charter schools. I believe the individuals who want to try and put the cat back in the bag, so to speak, are way out of date. Many California families have parents who work on the road and from home in California. Whole companies are functioning productively with employees who work from their homes. We are a mobile working society. It’s common to see workers at any time of day working in coffee shops, answering email from anywhere they are and using the very same technology devices that our PL students use. Our students graduate already knowing how to schedule their time on technology, answer teacher emails, share discussion room chats for work and education and manage their assignment tasks and time. All of these skills immediately translate to the growing work environments they will be asked function productively in. Our students graduate knowing how to reach out and get support, questions answered and collaborate in person as well as online. Additionally, PL students are used to collaborating in study groups that are often made of up students of differing ages more so than a traditional brick and mortar school experiences. Again, something that happens in the work place environment.”

“I so appreciate the families I serve and the strong commitment they have toward their children’s education. I often felt like I was fighting a losing battle with parents in regular schools; they seemed to think I was getting paid to do the job they, as parents, should be doing. Not to be hard on parents (I am the mom of three), but parenting is the job of parents!”

On Student Engagement in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School

“The students are much more enthusiastic about learning at the charter school than they were in a traditional district school. I find working at the charter school to be much more rewarding because I can collaborate with other teachers more, create more stimulating and engaging lesson plans and the funds to buy materials that the students will enjoy using.”

“Students seem much more engaged and excited about being at school. Parents are much more involved in their child’s learning/education.”

“Children are happier and more well-behaved.”

“Students can discover their strengths and follow their interests.”

“My students, on average are functioning much above grade level. My kids love learning. I have kids excelling in their personal strengths. I see families that are closer to one another.”

On Parent Choice and Involvement in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School

“Parents are much more invested in their children in the personalized learning environment, which makes all the difference.”

“Parents are more invested in their childrens’ education. The professional character of the teachers and the teamwork they display is heartening.”

“I know my families even in my center classes. More time can be spent meeting individual needs of the child. Parents are fully involved in their children’s educational planning and are very supportive of the teachers.”

“Parents can give the individual attention students need, tailor fit the curriculum, offer very small class sizes or larger as desired (but usually 14 or fewer) and augment with much enrichment, with the expertise of a certified teacher guiding them.”

“Parents deserve to have a choice in what programs they want their children to attend. Limiting that choice would do a major disservice to students who are prospering at charter schools, including my own son.”

“These types of schools are my preference for providing an excellent education for my own children. My three children are all under school age, but I am looking forward to the numerous options for an excellent Personalized Learning Program for my children.”

“I have worked in several schools from private to public and have found the greatest influence to our future children is the role we play in the community. Our charter school allows for families to be stakeholders in their child’s education and future endeavors.”

“We have had both our kids in charter since they started school, as the local publics we did not consider an option.”

“It’s a great way for parents to help students who are challenging or providing enrichment to students who need it. Personalized Learning helps to find a successful learning plan that works for each individual student.”

“I love it and had my own kids in the charter.”

“It has been the biggest blessing in my life and I’m actually pulling my daughter from traditional public school to go with the charter school that I work for.”

“The school is a good alternative for families who need to try something other than the traditional neighborhood school. For some who need a change to help build confidence as learners this a great option. It is important that the family have a realistic understanding of what the commitment of time and effort requires.”

On the Personalized Learning Public Charter School Culture and Environment

“There is a more wholesome atmosphere. Students are calmer and understand that we are at least trying to meet their needs as best we can within our jurisdiction.”

“Class sizes are smaller, there is more focus on educating the whole child and more emphasis on Mastery Based learning. The environment is warm and feels like family.”

“More parental support, smaller classrooms, less politics, better communication.”

“EXCELLENT! The culture of this school is one that provides the best education for our students in partnership with parents.”

“We have smaller class sizes and a much more personalized approach to educating each child.”

“Smaller class sizes and getting to know each student enabled me to better prepare my students for their educational activities and meet individual needs.”

“More of a family feel among the students and staff. Also a lot more support for each as well.”

“School culture is better by leaps and bounds at charter schools. The culture within a traditional district school is far worse.”

“Both cultures fill a different need for students. I would say for the teacher the personalized learning culture is much better.”

“Charter school students tend to appreciate school more since this is a choice. Compared to traditional school settings, the culture is much more relaxed and happy.”

“The culture is encouraging and truly individualized. It allows for a child to develop their whole self and their own pace and within their passions and interests.”

“More community-based because of small size, and intrinsic motivation since it is a school of choice.”

“Far less stressful, fewer restrictions, and little to no discipline issues.”

“Charter Schools with Independent Learning have few Bullying Issues or Teasing Issues.”

“There is no contest. Staff is more relaxed and creative, and students are more focused on academics and activities than on “drama”.”

“I have never worked with so many people who are thankful for their jobs. The morale is positive and enthusiastic.”

“I have worked in many schools with various school cultures ranging from poor culture to rich culture. The Personalized Learning Public Charter School I work in now and for the past ten years has a wonderful school culture which is rich with teacher, parent, and student involvement and innovation.”

“I absolutely love the culture. It is a joy to come to work and the students want to be here.”

“This is a wonderful school. My students are happy, well socialized, independent, talented learners that are flourishing in their environment. I’ve never been happier in an education setting.”

“The culture for students, parents and staff is infinitely better than the school district I taught in.”

“Felt like I died and went to Mayberry!”

“I subbed in a wide variety of traditional district schools as well as charter schools and found the environment and school culture to be much better in the charters, for both students as well as teachers.”

“No comparison. There is real community in our current setting where teachers collaborate and students have the benefit of a small, supportive staff.”

“I have changed as a teacher because of the culture of the school and have found a way to empower student learning and parent involvement in their students’ education.”

“I personally school my own children through the charter of my employment and believe in its mission so much that my entire roster are those I have made through my community connections.”

“Just a much more personal experience for all involved, teacher, student, parent.”

“I absolutely enjoy working at my Personalized Learning Charter. I feel like our culture is one which promotes student success and is a safe haven for students. The staff I work with are creative, passionate, and empowering. We all want what is best for our students and work together to get there.”

“This Personalized Learning program is not for everyone, and the teachers here recognize that. But for the majority of our students this is a fantastic environment for them to excel and achieve things they did not know was possible.”

“This is a dream environment for students to learn and for teachers to guide and shepherd parents and their children.”

“For my students, this school offers what they can’t get at the 1,000+ student high school…a safe, sane, encouraging place to go to school without bullying or intellectual neglect.”

On Teacher Professional Development and Job Satisfaction in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School

“I feel that working in a charter school, with its flexibility and varying opportunities to instruct, has allowed me to be a better teacher. Plus, I enjoy working with students who, for whatever reason, don’t learn as well in the traditional classroom situation.”

“This is a perfect setting for my skill set and I love the community and connection we have with our families.”

“Working for my Personalized Learning Public Charter School has been a perfect fit. I am grateful every day to have such a job that I love.”

“I love teaching at our charter school and find it extremely beneficial for those students that have or are getting “left behind” in an educational system that was supposed to make sure “No Child Gets Left Behind”.

“I love my job now. I have worked in many different fields of education (private, public, outdoor, overseas) and by far the charter school I now (for 8 years) have worked for is my favorite.”

“Teachers are happier.”

“Teaching for a charter school allows for organic, genuine teaching!”

“I love teaching at a Personalized Learning public charter school. I have no plans of ever teaching in a traditional district school. My PL charter school has provided me an excellent work-life balance.”

“The charter school that I work for takes care of me, cares about me and makes me a happier person.”

“My ideas and efforts are valued and rewarded.”

“Teachers and staff in general are allowed to grow and excel as well as giving more freedom to organize their classroom management skills and instruction in much more efficient and individualized program.”

“Night and day difference in the quality and academic integrity.”

“I feel like my students are better served in the charter school than the public school which in turn keeps me very satisfied with my job.”

“I LOVE the Personalized Learning Public charter school I work for. They treat me 100 times better than the district I have been a part of for 18 years!!! This is my first year with a Personalized Learning public charter school.”

“You are treated like a professional in the Personalized Learning public charter school. That was the first thing I noticed and biggest difference to the traditional district school.”

“The teachers at my public charter school are enthusiastic and hard-working and eager to learn.”

“I feel more in control of my planning and creativity of my lessons for my classes. Also, I feel more supported by Administration and collaborate more with my colleagues. The structure of the school is more flexible and not so rigid. I can present my ideas freely and innovate new ways in supporting my students and families. It is exciting to create and lead the charge of new ways of learning.”

“There isn’t even a comparison. The Personalized Learning public charter school that I work for is night and day compared to the traditional district that I worked for. My current employer values me as a professional, and trusts my expertise and knowledge.”

“Teachers have as much accountability, but there is much more room to be creative and apply best practices to meet our students’ needs.”

“Absolutely love my job!”

“Greatest teaching choice I have made thus far in my career is switching to my Personalized Learning public charter school.”

“My charter has growth and training and development that exemplifies a growth mindset that extends to my profession as a teacher. I appreciate this, as this is extremely valuable to me.”

“I work with new teachers at the county schools office, and have more than once had new teachers say they notice how calm and together I am compared to the stressed-out veteran teachers at their school, and they imagine our school must be a great place to work.”

“I am extremely pleased to be working at a public charter school and would like to continue to teach there for the rest of my career as a teacher.”

“It has been a positive experience teaching at a public charter school.”

“I love my school. I feel I know my students better, they feel more comfortable approaching me, and overall I’m more satisfied in work and life as a charter teacher. I worked as a long-term sub for half a year so I have some traditional classroom experience. I was more stressed, didn’t enjoy my life outside of the classroom as much, and was dissatisfied with my lack of personal connection with my students. I know this program works very well for the students who can handle an independent study model of education. I feel we reach the kids who get lost in a traditional classroom, and seeing them succeed or helping them through to the end gives me great pride in my work.”

“All in all it is a great environment. We really get to positively impact the lives of students who were not progressing well in the traditional school environment.”

“I enjoy working and teaching in Personalized Learning public charter school.”

“I love my job & my role. My children are enrolled in a charter school & I think it is fantastic. Best choice I ever made!!”

“I think my charter school is a wonderful place to work and I know I will be enrolling my own children in the program one day.”

“After working for a district school for 5 years, I really love how I can personalize and be creative in my teaching and I don’t feel like a number to HR and I feel appreciated. I really appreciate a lot of the aspects of working for this charter school.”

“I love working for my charter school! It is a great school and provides so many options and opportunities to the students and parents we serve!”

“I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to work for the organization. I know that our schools not only provide an alternative learning structure to our students, but also for our teachers. I could never work at a school district again after being employed by my charter school and given the incredible opportunities that I have been given. Thank you for letting me be a part of your team!”

“My charter school has the best new hire training procedures I have ever seen. Other schools do not take the time and effort to train their employees.”

“I grew up in traditional school… my children are currently attending traditional schools…. but working for my charter school has given me a whole new perspective on the unbelievable possibilities of rich and personal educational experiences.”

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to work in this environment. I can continue to make a difference for students, families and encourage them in the effort to learn.”

“I am so happy to be a personalized learning teacher!”

“I feel privileged to be working at our school and to be a part of personalized learning.”

“I was the first Music Teacher in my school. Over the years, my Administrators and colleagues have been receptive to my changes and adaptations for my classes. I am given the freedom of creativity when it comes to lessons, curriculum, and classes. I am happy to go to work every day and love staying longer than I need to. That alone is a great feeling that not many people can say about their job.”

“I’ve learned a great deal about education. And I’ve met some really wonderful families who take a serious interest in their child’s education.”

“I recommend my school to teachers and new homeschooling families ALL THE TIME!”

“Working as a Personalized Learning teacher has become part of my identity, I love my position and my role in helping parents and students achieve educational goals and supporting them in the process.”

“Just wish I could have started my teaching career in a Personalized Learning Charter School in the early 80’s.”

“Very fulfilling in an atmosphere of creativity.”

“This is the best job I could ask for. I do what I love and what I understand, and I help people meet their goals and many of my families and I are good friends.”

“I love working as an Education Specialist for a charter school. My job is fulfilling and rewarding. I work with wonderful parents and students. The school provides excellent training and support.”

“The position as a teacher and department chair allows me to be innovative and empowered to better serve students and families providing a top notch education for every student regardless of his or her ability.”

“I love working for my charter school, and I am so grateful for the opportunity we have to provide personalized learning to students. It is a pleasure to work with students and parents, and I enjoy working with our staff as well.”

“Being a teacher in a Personalized Learning public charter school has made me love my job again. I thought I wanted to leave the teaching profession all together until I found this job. I love the relationships I have established with my students and their parents. I love the choices they have and the different ways they are able to help their child learn in ways that suit them best. This is the best job I’ve ever had!”

“I enjoy and appreciate the school I work for. I am passionate about my job.”

“This has been a wonderful first year working for a charter school. I found myself incredibly stressed trying to balance the demands of the classroom, class size numbers, common core implementation, excessive assessment with family duties and personal life. I was burnt out after 10 years in the classroom. The flexibility of this position, the respect for a work/life balance, feeling valued as an employee has been a breath of fresh air.”

“I love what I do and who I work with! This job is a blessing!”

“Since teaching in a Personalized Learning public charter school – I have no desire to return to traditional public school. I love our school and learning environment and the relationships that I’ve built with my families. The students that I have are thriving under the personalized learning model and their curriculum is tailored to their strengths and needs.”

“It has been a fantastic experience, and has also been deeply rewarding getting to work so closely with students.”

“I love my job and what it provides not only for my own family but for many others who choose to take charge of their child’s education.”

“I love the school in which I work at for multiple reasons. The families are great, the choices are great and the staff is supportive and encouraging.”

“I love it!”