Located in Kansas City, Missouri, Academie Lafayette is a K-8 charter school that offers a high-quality education to students through a French immersion program in which students learn to speak French with daily instruction and practice in the language. Through the next series of blogs, the National Alliance will highlight the Academie Lafayette and other charter schools' efforts to offer high-quality education to every child.
Photo: Alexis Cook, Academie Lafayette parent and school nurse
Charter public schools are a growing choice option within the public school system. However, the demand from families is often larger than the number of available seats at a high-quality charter school, so students are forced to be on wait lists. Parents who applied to enroll their children at Academie Lafayette in Kansas City, Missouri, understand the uncertainty that comes along with wait lists. And they, just like parents on wait lists everywhere, just want a quality education for their children.
For the families who have won a seat, Academie Lafayette is a lifesaver. When put onto a wait list before being accepted into the school, some parents contemplated moving so that their children could attend a high-quality school. “When I found out that my kids were going to be able to go here, it was an enormous sense of relief,” said Academie Lafayette parent and school nurse, Alexis Cook. She had considered moving outside of Kansas City to ensure a quality education for her children, but did not need to after her child won a seat through the school’s lottery. She now has three children attending Academie Lafayette.
Another parent, Darren Story, had already put his home for sale before he found out about Academie Lafayette. “If it had not been for Academie Lafayette, we possibly would have moved,” he explained when talking about the importance of school choice. Relocating to ensure quality education is common. All over the country, parents cross boundary lines in search of quality schools. Luckily, the parents of Academie Lafayette did not have to make such a decision.
The uncertainty of charter school wait lists has also made its way to social media groups. Parents in the surrounding Kansas City community share news related to acceptance letters. When explaining how important having high-quality charter school options is for the community, Alexis Cook admits that she included the Academic Lafayette acceptance letter in her kids’ baby books, because she considers it a monumental moment in the development of her children.
Accounts of the positive experiences from Academie Lafayette’s parents, along with its long wait lists, are proof of the need for more charter schools. The growing demand for charter schools demonstrates that parents want and need more high-quality educational options for their children.