Colleges at the Field Museum

Last Wednesday was the date of an extraordinary college fair: Nearly sixty colleges displayed their wares and made connections with over 200 charter school counselors and administrators as part of the National Charter School Conference held here in Chicago. The fair itself was organized by the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and was held in the great hall of the Field Museum.

As far as I know, it’s the first major event specifically bringing together college admission officers and charter school personnel. INCS and I put together a small “Meet the Charters” event at a local public library last year, which was very successful, but this year was way beyond that. The Field’s hall was elegant (with Sue the T. Rex looming over the participants), and there was great food and wine served by waiters and chefs–a far cry from the usual gym or cafeteria college fair.

I’m pleased that the program I brought to INCS three years ago, College for All, has given rise to greater connections between charters and higher education institutions. Because they’re small and idiosyncratic, charters can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, so enabling schools to meet them increases the opportunities for their students. To see photos and access a short video about the event (featuring yours truly), click here.

So far, feedback has been great on both sides. I’m not sure how or whether we’ll top this event though. The charter conference is in Atlanta next year, so we’ll see!