In the News

LA School Report: Fighting teacher burnout: Great Public Schools Now grants aim to retain effective educators

Feb. 17, 2017

When Hrag Hamalian opened Valor Academy Middle School in 2009, teacher retention was his foremost concern, so he decided to find out what educators desired in the workplace.

Now executive director of Bright Star Schools, which includes six other charter schools, Hamalian surveyed his highly effective teachers in search of the answer. He found that teachers wanted to be able to teach, but also to raise their own families and stay healthy.

The results of the survey became an application for a Great Public Schools Now grant, and Bright Star on Friday was awarded $250,000 that will go toward workplace enhancements, including four additional weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave, childcare subsidies for teachers, fitness classes on campuses, nutrition counseling and lactation pods, so teachers who return from maternity leave will have a private place to pump breastmilk at school.

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LA Times: Grants go to charters and a traditional school to help teachers stay on the job

Feb. 17, 2017

Julia Guy worried that remaining a teacher might be difficult once she started a family, and staying fit already posed a challenge — so she eagerly filled out a survey seeking suggestions on how to keep teachers in the profession.

Her employer, Bright Star Schools, reviewed the results, crafted a proposal, and on Friday won a $250,000 grant to improve teacher retention, which is a major problem in education and can be especially challenging for charter schools. 

With the funding, teachers at seven Bright Star schools will get additional family leave as well as fitness activities at school, better snacks in the teachers’ lounge and advice from a nutritionist.

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Two L.A. schools get grants to clone their success

Two L.A. schools get grants to clone their success. The amount is small, but the symbolism is huge.

L.A. Unified and a pro-charter school group have taken the next step in an unlikely and controversial collaboration to clone successful education programs.


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Nonprofit Leading Charter Expansion Names Executive Director

Myrna Castrejon, 50, is leaving her position as a lobbyist and strategist for the California Charter Schools Association to lead Great Public Schools Now, a nonprofit organization established to carry out the charter expansion strategy, which was first developed by billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and his foundation.

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GPSN Executive Director Myrna Castrejón profiled with L.A. Unified Supt. Michelle King in LA School Report

Can these two women save thousands of LA students from failing schools? Behind the scenes with Michelle King and Myrna Castrejón

At a recent town hall held by Great Public Schools Now, Myrna Castrejón, the leader of the nonprofit seeking to expand excellent schools in Los Angeles, waded into the audience of parents, community members and LA Unified officials to ask what kind of schools they wanted for their kids.

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