Delaware Charter Educator Named National 2022 Changemaker

For Immediate Release                                               

May 9, 2022  

Contact: Kendall Massett

Info@DECharterNetwork.org                                             

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Celebrates Melissa Tracy 

With The 2022 Changemaker Award 

Wilmington, DE –  

In celebration of National Charter Schools Week, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is excited to honor Melissa Tracy, Odyssey Charter School educator, as one of 10 recipients of the 2022 Changemaker Award for making a positive difference in her community this year. The award honors individuals who positively impacted their charter school, brought innovation and creativity to solve problems, and consistently lifted voices around them. 

Melissa consistently goes the extra mile to support her students and the community’s unique needs even in the face of ongoing challenge. Melissa has embraced the flexibility that charter schools provide educators to become a multi-discipline educator. She determined that her students needed to know more than just history, but how history connects with the environment, the communities we live in, and the needs of our students and their families. Starting with one small vegetable garden plot, over the years Melissa, with the help of her students, has grown the program into multiple outdoor vegetable garden plots, hydroponic growing towers within the classroom, and a new Food Studies career pathway. During COVID, Melissa and her students determined that there was a need within the community that they could address and began creating meal kits with their ‘school grown’ greens. Their efforts have produced thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables that have been shared with the community through partnerships with local Delaware nonprofit organizations.   

“I am so proud of my students’ efforts to help alleviate hunger in our community by growing food for people in need. Service-learning can and should be integrated into the curriculum,” said Melissa Tracy.  

“We feel so blessed to have such an inspirational leader guiding our students‘ learning. Ms. Tracy’s launch of the food studies pathway and its subsequent success have ushered in a new spirit of inquiry, problem solving, and community partnership that is so critical to the creation of change makers our society so desperately needs to make the world a better place. We salute and applaud Ms. Tracy for all her efforts to help uplift our community, shed light on and find innovative solutions, to the food insecurity and inequity issues we face in our society,” said Elias Pappas, Odyssey Charter School Head of School.   

“Melissa embodies what it means to be a charter educator. The flexibility that charter schools allow has created a space for Melissa to be truly innovative. But it wasn’t enough for her to just impact the lives of the students in her classroom and her school. Through relationships that she has built with other educators, she is sharing her innovative best practices and helping to replicate the programs she created across both charter and district schools. We are very proud to have her in our charter community,” said Kendall Massett, executive director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network.  

Find the full roster of the 2022 Changemakers here.  

“We are thrilled to honor these individuals who do the hardest work: supporting, educating, and leading their school community on the ground every day. These recipients are the heartbeat of what makes charter schools such special public schools. Please join us in celebrating their commitment to students’ education and their future,” says Nina Rees, CEO and President of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.  

Join the National Alliance on May 12 at 4 p.m. ET for a virtual celebration of the 2022 Changemakers. Register today!  

About Public Charter Schools 
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 1996, Delaware has provided parents the opportunity to choose the school that is best for their child(ren). Today, there are 23 charter schools in Delaware, serving over 17,000 students. Four of the top ten high schools in Delaware as noted by U.S. News and World Report are charter schools   Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood. 

About the Delaware Charter Schools Network 
The Delaware Charter Schools Network is a non-profit organization created in 2001 to support the charter school movement and charter schools in Delaware. The Network educates the public about charter schools, provides assistance to existing Delaware charter schools and those yet to open, and serves as a unified voice for the state’s charter schools at the state and national level. For more information, please visit www.decharternetwork.org