What I Valued and Missed By Attending a Charter School
– Go Public Intern, Cassandra Garza
There are many options for parents when choosing a school for their children. Some choose to go public, private, or charter schools. In my case, I spent my 6th to 12th grade years in a charter school. During my time at my charter school, I met some amazing teachers, staff, and students, and so many memories were created. However, there are aspects of the high school experience I feel I missed out on. School events, extracurricular activities, and academic opportunities were limited compared to public school.
“There are aspects of the high school experience I feel I missed out on. School events, extracurricular activities, and academic opportunities were limited compared to public school.”
From a young age, I remember hearing about school events like prom or the homecoming dance. Whether it was from my older cousins or whatever teen TV drama was out during that time, I always dreamed about going to school dances. To me, school dances were a prominent social highlight of high school. As a charter school student, I unfortunately missed out on these moments. My school was quite small and there weren’t too many students. My grade group was made up of less than 30 students. I can’t be too sure as to why my high school never offered us a school dance. Maybe it was because of the budget or because there wasn’t enough interest in it. I think it was a mixture of both, but also I don’t think a school dance with less than 30 students would have the same effect as a public high school with many more students. I wish I had been able to experience it and make those special memories.
“There were aspects that I missed that would have made high school at a public school more special.”
Extracurricular activities were another high school element that I always remember seeing and hearing about. I had an older cousin who played in the school band and another cousin who did color guard. My cousin would be practicing her routine with her flag and I was always in awe. It was something I looked forward to when I grew up. My school did not offer those types of extracurricular programs. Public schools can offer sports, band, dance team, or even a drama club. Many schools can have different options. At a charter school however, these options may be limited or non-existent. These activities are important for students because they help explore/discover their interests and enjoy some social interaction. At my school, we had a fashion design class as a class option. It was fun, but if you weren’t interested in that, your options were unfortunately limited.
The academic options for public school students seem endless. In my school district, Northside ISD, there are different schools that offer an assortment of academics to their students. There is Agriculture Academy, Communication Arts, and Marshall Law and Medical Services to name a few. There are programs and schools dedicated to different fields for students to attend. My charter school had a few different classes aside from the normal curriculum like fashion design, floral design, medical terminology, and graphic design. While these classes were interesting, seeing the many academic opportunities at our public schools definitely made me feel like my options were limited.
Overall, my school experience was great. I am thankful for my time at my school and for all the memories I made. Nevertheless, there were aspects that I missed that would have made high school at a public school more special. These opportunities are once in a lifetime and definitely something I think parents and students should consider when choosing schools.
Blog Post by: Cassandra Garza, UTSA Class of 2022