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Meet Lisa Young, NI-STEM Charter Teacher
posted by: Cindy Omlin | May 15, 2015, 07:54 PM   

lisa young headshot2Q: What do you like about teaching in a charter school?

A: I like that there is less bureaucracy in a charter school. I am not stuck to a pacing plan that the entire district is required to follow, but can teach directly to what my students need at that time. I like that charter schools are able to focus on a certain subject area. My school has a special focus on STEM.

Q: What sets your school apart?

A: Many things set my school apart from others. One of the biggest things is that the focus is on learning. We do not have many distractions including assemblies, announcements over the loudspeaker, and special dress-up or party days. Behaviors that distract from the learning environment are not allowed. It is amazing how much more can be accomplished without these multiple daily distractions. The staff’s time is not wasted either. Meetings start and end on time, sidebar discussions are discouraged, and the balance of communications between e-mail and meetings is efficient. Another thing that sets my school apart is that we stick to our beliefs and policies even though it isn’t always easy. The bar is set high. Instead of lowering the bar when students do not reach it, we keep our standards and support/encourage students to reach the mark. Another difference is our focus on projects. In addition to projects being built into the core subject areas, we also have time set apart each day specifically for projects. Students are learning teamwork, innovation, work ethic, engineering, and many life and career skills through involvement in projects such as First Lego League, Mars Rover and Invent Idaho. Finally, the staff at my school sets us apart. All of the teachers work incredibly hard and support each other. There is no staff room bickering and drama. There is full support from the administration. I am so grateful to work at a truly special school.

Q: What motivates you as an educator?

A: As an educator, I am motivated by learning. I love hearing when my students have “aha” moments. I get especially excited when they tell me that they researched a topic at home just for fun. It is motivating to see them learn and grow. It is also motivating when I get to learn new things. My content knowledge is always expanding. I enjoy making new discoveries and then passing the excitement of that new discovery to my kids.

Q: What are the misconceptions you face as a charter school educator?

A: The biggest comment I hear from people is that I “steal” all of the good kids. We take all students and we believe that good students are made not born. I am also told that I work at a private school, and that I’m taking money away from the public schools. We ARE a public school.

Q: What would you like to tell teachers in other environments about teaching in a charter school?

A: We are already battling the public opinion about teachers. Instead of looking down at, blaming, and fighting against charter schools, let‘s respect each other as professionals. We are all here to do a good job for our kids. Please don’t lose sight of that goal.


AAE and NWPE support the public charter school movement and the heroic educators who make these innovative schools possible.


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