The State-CAPE Leaders Summer Institute was a deeply enriching meeting this July in Portland.  Mark Siegel, Oregon Federation of Independent Schools Executive Director and WFIS’ very own Suzie Hanson teamed up as host and co-chair, organizing a robust and varying agenda.  Mark went above and beyond expectations in providing fellow CAPE leaders with opportunities to experience all the richness of Portland. 

The conference kicked off by providing great insight on the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) with presentations and Q&A from US Department of Education’s Jenay Morrisey, and Oregon ombudsman Russ Sweet. The topic of school choice dominated many lively discussions, following a panel with three nationally-known experts, as well as info about school choice options in Oregon and beyond. Details on a national education tax credit to encourage charitable donations to non-profit K-12 scholarship organizations were shared.

Afternoon presentations on private school enrollment challenges and survival (with Aimee Gruber from Enrollment Management Association), then school change discussions with an emphasis on proficiency and student-centered learning (and Grant Lichtman’s books on school change ) and breaking news about the Mastery Transcript Consortium

The second day was equally robust with a discussion of pluralism, featuring John Hopkin’s author Ashley Rogers Berner (No One Way to School: Pluralism and American Public Education) then Randan Steinhauser’s presentation on organizational outreach, legislative engagement, and membership development. Mid-day the group heard from California Association of Private School Organizations Executive Director Ron Reynolds and ended the conference with a round-table on our website structures, membership outreach and strategic planning.  

To quote Debbie Senoff-Langford of Illinois Coalition of Non-public Schools “as our group has gotten to know each other, and despite our varying perspectives, our ability to express opinions freely and openly makes this gathering unique and an honor for me to be a part of.”