Three years ago just over 100 students and parents gathered together for the first ever Alabama Public School Options Capitol Day. Last week more than 1,000 students, parents, and teachers gathered for the Third Annual Capitol Day.
After rallying together at the Marriott in Prattville, AL, students and parents boarded buses throughout the morning and afternoon to the Capitol building. They also wrote hundreds of letters to their legislators, thanking them for passing the legislation that allows virtual public schools to exist in Alabama.
Wei Barr, an Alabama parent with two children in virtual school, spoke during the morning rally and explained how important parent voices are in supporting school choice.
“It’s your voice which can make all the difference,” Barr said. “Our representatives need to know that our children aren’t just data points on some report. They need to know the hundreds of stories sitting here in this room right now.”
Tynisa Williams attended the rally with her sister Tisha and niece Tyra.
“I am a teacher in the Montgomery Public School system and I know that for some brick-and-mortar public school is the best option,” PSO Advocate Williams said. “However, I also know first-hand the personal challenges each student can face. That’s why my niece is thriving in virtual school currently and why I work so hard to ensure parents know the power of their voices.”
For the second straight year, Capitol Day was held concurrently with the Alabama Virtual Academy’s (ALVA) Expo Day. In between advocacy, students and parents participated in talent shows, spelling bees, a book fair, and National Honor Society inductions.
“Virtual school is the perfect choice for some students – as it was for some of my children – and not for others, again just as in my own family,” said ALVA Head of School Kayleen Marble, whose own children have attended both brick-and-mortar public schools and virtual schools. “The important thing is that parents are given the choice so they can make the right decision for their families.”