As an early childhood/special education and psychology double major, I have always been extremely passionate about issues related to education. While I have had a variety of more direct experiences as a teacher in the classroom, I wanted to understand the large-scale changes one could have on the whole educational system. During my research into organizations that had focused on educational reform in their mission, I stumbled upon Diverse Charter Schools Coalition. While in my education classes we had rarely discussed charter schools, I was drawn in by the dedication to diversity and the drive to make the charter sector and overall education system better.
Working at DCSC was an amazing experience. Initially, I wondered how as an intern in a relatively small nonprofit, I would be able to feel like I was making an impact. This concern quickly went away as I was exposed to the great community that stands behind DCSC. As I researched the demographics and other aspects of each member school I began to see how big our network really was.
As an intern, I was also able to attend the convening in Denver. Besides getting a glimpse into administrative concerns related to running a school, I was able to learn how to not just make diversity a school mission but promote it every day through classroom lessons and curriculum in all grades. This thoughtful method for lesson planning is a skill that I am now constantly trying to incorporate in my student teaching.
Another amazing aspect of this internship was the opportunity to discuss educational issues. While through lectures I am often exposed to important current and historical trends in the educational system, the chance to discuss these issues was extremely influential. While I am relatively inexperienced, I was able to share my background and educational philosophies with experienced educational professionals. Having a constructive space to share my thoughts allowed me to draw conclusions from my personal experiences in classrooms. Due to this I was able to better reflect on the state of diversity in the various school systems I have been able to work in.
Overall my experience at DCSC has been a unique one. While I often worked remotely and not in the familiar setting of a classroom that I am used to, being able to connect with educational professionals from across the country that share my passion has been empowering. Despite never meeting most of the students at our members schools, I could see changes and philosophies throughout our network that I know will improve the quality of education for many students. Currently I am applying to graduate schools and hope to study school psychology. I know that in my future career within the educational field, I will always be able to apply the skills I learned from DCSC.