The Foundation’s primary purpose is to promote the educational programs for charter schools in the area, initially Charyl Stockwell Academy (CSA), a public school academy in the State of Michigan.
Fifty percent, half, of all teachers who start working in US schools this year will leave the profession within 5 years. The annual attrition rate for teachers is different for different kinds of schools. The teacher attrition rate for teachers in public charter schools is 30%-35% each year. This high rate is due to the high accountability factors in charter schools, the fact that most charter school teachers are young, and the relatively lower pay for teachers in charter schools. The CSA Education Foundation was formed in an effort to combat the high attrition rate of teachers in public charter schools, specifically of teachers at the Charyl Stockwell Academy.
The Foundation is organized on a directorship basis. The volunteer directors of the Foundation include a CSA parent, a representative from the CSA Board, a representative from the CSA administration, a representative from the teachers, and a representative from the CSA Parent Council. The Foundation has not yet established specific hours or duties for its officers and directors and does not intend to compensate its officers and directors for their service.
The Foundation intends to sponsor a fund drive(s) each year to raise money from parents, businesses and other charitable groups. The Foundation may sponsor additional fund raiser(s) each year to add to the money that can be used for encouraging teachers to return each year to CSA. It is anticipated that all work involved in fundraising activities will be performed by unpaid volunteers. However, the Foundation has not ruled out entering into contracts or other agreements with fundraising professionals who may use gaming activities. No written or oral arrangements have been established or are being considered at this time. If such an arrangement is made, it will fully comply with the Foundation’s conflict of interest policy and will be conducted at an arms length transaction to ensure the Foundation pays no more than fair market value for those services.
Some of the funds raised each year will be saved to form an endowment for the future, but most will be used to further education at the Charyl Stockwell Academy in three ways:
1. To help offset the high rate of teacher attrition for teachers in public charter schools, any teacher who returns to work at CSA from the previous year is eligible to receive a returning bonus.
2. To encourage teachers to further their own professional development; teachers who travel and attend state and national conferences are eligible for funds.
3. To further enhance educational opportunities offered after school; teachers who oversee after school activities with students will be eligible for stipends. These teachers will be chosen by CSA administration based on experience.
What is the CSA Education Foundation?
The CSA Education Foundation is a non-profit organization created by parents in the CSA District who wanted to protect one of our most valuable resources… our teachers! Sadly, one of the most unfortunate consequences of the charter school funding inequity is reflected in our teachers’ compensation. Our teachers engage in training throughout the year. They are encouraged to spend time in collaboration and preparation. While all of this helps us develop highly capable teachers for our students, it also makes them valuable in the marketplace. Our challenge is to keep our well-trained, dedicated teachers here in the CSA District. The CSA Education Foundation raises funds which we offer to help train and retain our teachers in the CSA District. For each of the past nine years, we have offered an award to each teacher who has chosen to return to our district. In addition, we have offered funding for teachers who have chosen to take on the added responsibility of leading extracurricular activities and for training opportunities.
In 2015, the CSA Education Foundation distributed over $27,000 to the CSA staff in Returning Educator Awards, Extracurricular Stipend Awards and Staff Training Awards. We are so excited to support our wonderful educators and thank all of you who have supported the CSA Education Foundation in our mission to train and retain the very best teachers. Highly trained teachers are essential to our children's education.
Countless volunteer hours have gone into fundraising and we thank each and every one of you who have dedicated your time, energy and resources to support the Family Fun Fair and our Building a Strong Foundation Raffle. We couldn't have done it without you! However, the majority of our financial resources come from direct contributions from CSA Families like you. We would like to thank those of you who have given a direct financial contribution so far this year. Your generous support is essential to our mission. Thank you!
Message from the Board
Once again we have begun another exciting school year. As I watch all the children leave their cars each morning, greeted by many familiar faces, and also some new friends, I am reminded of how lucky we are to be a part of this wonderful school. This is our fifth year at CSA and each year has been better than the last. We have become members of this ever-growing family and it is and will always be a part of who we are. We have become friends with many children, parents, teachers and administrators who have impacted us in ways that are invaluable and will have an effect on us for a very long time. As I think back on our CSA years, I often reflect on how we got here. How we were lucky enough to find this school and to become a part of it. I thought I’d share my family’s story with you in the hope that it would trigger fond memories of your own journey toward the discovery of CSA.
We had twins in the winter of 1998. They couldn’t have been more different. Each excelled in different areas and was challenged in others. They spent lots of time in public preschools where they were often ignored. The teachers focused only on what they couldn’t do rather than building on what they could do. As we looked for alternatives, we found a wonderful Montessori school which allowed them to work on individual skills at their own developmental level with no stigma attached to the differences in their unique abilities.
Then it became time to look for an elementary school and we were concerned. We knew the public schools weren’t right for us but the Montessori and private school options were costly. Then a friend told me about CSA and we logged on to our computer and studied the CSA website.
We read it over and over again, top to bottom. It sounded too good to be true. A public school that teaches to the individual child, that uses a developmental approach with the understanding that children naturally develop at different paces, with a belief that all children can succeed and with character development playing just as big a role as academics. A school that recognized that being a good person was just as important as being a smart one!
I particularly enjoyed reading the explanation of how CSA came to be. (Visit the CSA website: How CSA Got Started ). As the introduction states, it tells an important story of who we are as a school with a detailed explanation of the experience and dedication of the founders of this wonderful school. I encourage you to take the time to read it. I re-read it from time to time just to remind myself of how lucky we are to be involved with such innovative educators.
I have shared my frustration regarding the issue of teacher attrition because of charter schools’ inability to compete with traditional public school salaries. I was surprised to learn that for $600.00 per year per CSA student, our teachers could be compensated as well as traditional public school teachers! In return, more teachers would choose to return to CSA. They would have the opportunity to continue to teach our children in the CSA tradition, which is what brought them here in the first place, and be compensated in a way that financially allows them to stay.
So what is your story? How did you and your family arrive at CSA? What were your educational choices for your children? It is exciting and rewarding to have a free public school with the benefits of a private school to bring our children to each day. If this school wasn't here, where would your children attend school each day? Would you settle for your local public school or would you find the money for a private school? It is easy to become complacent with a wonderful school like CSA being a free public school. But it is also exciting to envision a CSA where teachers could not only be compensated as well as traditional public school teachers, but where teachers would line up to interview for a position to teach at the most coveted school in the area. Can you spare $50/month to make this a reality?
It is for these reasons that I wanted to create the CSA Education Foundation. The Foundation was created to raise money that will be used to reward those teachers who choose to return to CSA year after year, as well as provide training incentives and awards for leading extracurricular activities. Our donations will help give these amazing teachers the financial stability they need to continue to dedicate their lives to our children.
We all have unique stories as to how we were fortunate enough to arrive at CSA. Please take the time to reflect on your own journey. And if you feel as I do, that your family is one of the lucky ones to be a part of CSA, then take the time to decide what type of donation you can share with these wonderful teachers that so positively impact your children’s lives. CSA is great. Let’s all do what we can to make it even better.
Lisa Ventimiglia, former CSA Parent
Founder and Former President of the CSA Education Foundation (retired 2011)