Launched in 2009, the Parental Choice Symposium (PCS) is an intensive leadership formation program designed to develop high quality leaders for the parental choice movement, with a particular focus on strengthening state based institutions engaged in grassroots mobilization, advocacy, and improving school quality. The PCS annually selects 15-20 talented and dedicated candidates for participation, including ACE graduates, staff and leadership of state and national choice ventures, and other aspiring policy leaders. Since its inception in 2009, the PCS has trained more than 50 aspiring choice leaders. The 2012 Parental Choice Symposium was held June 15-20, and 26 candidates (our largest cohort to date) from 10 states participated in the PEA's signature event.
The PCS program is designed in two parts: 1) an academic portion - which includes seminars led by Scott Jensen, Nicole Garnett (Notre Dame Law School), and Pat Wolf, and, 2) an immersion portion – which includes training sessions on the operational dimensions of a choice coalition. In 2012, we moved the immersion portion to Tampa, Florida, where the team from Step Up for Students led these sessions.
The School Pastors’ Institute
In July 2011, the PEA helped launch the School Pastors’ Institute (SPI), a leadership formation experience for Catholic school pastors designed to revitalize the pastoral leadership in at-risk Catholic schools. The SPI examines four realms related to transformative school leadership: Catholic identity, Financial Management, Advancement, and Formation of Personnel. The program examines questions of parental choice and public funding, and offers strategies for effective advocacy for – and management of – relevant public funds. The 2nd annual SPI will host 60+ pastors from more than 20 dioceses from July 17-20, 2012.