The Colorado League of Charter Schools welcomed hundreds of charter school students from across the state to the State Capitol on March 13th, for Charter School Advocacy Day. Among the students were eight student ambassadors from KIPP Northeast Denver Middle School and KIPP Denver Collegiate High School.
Students learned about the legislative process, effective advocacy strategies, and the state of current education bills with impacts on charter schools. KIPPsters toured the state capitol and sat in on the floor of the House and Senate chambers while legislators discussed various legislative topics.
House Speaker Crisanta Duran took KIPPsters through the window of the House chamber and out onto the West balcony of the state capitol building, where she graciously answered questions and posed for photos. Later in the morning, Representative James Coleman, whose district includes the communities surrounding KIPP Colorado’s schools in Far Northeast Denver, helped students practice their lobbying skills by facilitating a discussion around the importance of school choice and how to be advocates for excellent schools.
Nallely, a senior at KIPP Denver Collegiate, found a change in perspective about the legislative process.
“I used to think politics was boring and I wasn’t sure how it worked,” she said. “Being there and talking to the legislators was really cool and it wasn’t what I expected. It was amazing, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to have gone!”
For Keith Moreno, 7th grade science teacher and head of the student ambassadors club, the experience of leading students through conversations with legislators was inspiring and memorable.
“This was, by far, one of the most amazing experiences and highlights of my educational career,” said Mr. Moreno. “It was an experience I think the kids will remember for a long time.”
As advocates of our schools, student ambassadors lead tours of their building, share their stories with community members and potential students, and continuously engage in conversations about matters that impact their education. Student ambassador clubs are currently active at KIPP Northeast Denver Middle School, KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy, and KIPP Denver Collegiate High School.