Instead of boring lectures and busy work, what if the bulk of your college years consisted of real-world experiences?

I’m sure pre-med majors prefer a hospital over a library as the optimal place for learning, just as a political science major might prefer a courtroom over a lecture hall to cultivate their legal expertise.

Well, the same rings true for today’s youth.

Our kids crave the type of hands-on educational experiences that allow them to envision themselves as engineers, economists, biologists or filmmakers.

Public charter schools do a good job of providing these types of real-world, hands-on experiences for our kids.

Since public charter schools operate freely from many of the regulations applicable to traditional public schools, some schools are able to bear individual missions and programs.

In 2005,  Howard University established its own public charter school, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science or (MS)².

The school’s mission is to provide a sound foundation in all academic subjects, with a concentration in mathematics and science.

Last year, the school’s Solar Car Teams competed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, nabbing a first place trophy for speed and design for building the “Phoenix” a solar car “modeled after a bird” said a member of the MS2 team . Students also had an opportunity to engage in discussions with Shuttle Atlantis (STS-129) crew members Leland Melvin and Bobby Satcher.

Coupling these types of experiences with a rigorous academic schedule keeps these future leaders abreast of budding technologies.

Looking back on your formative years, how would this type of hands-on training have shaped your educational experience? For some, it may have altered your entire academic trajectory.

Today there are public charter schools that focus on the arts, technology, design and even domestic and international policy. Given these options, I would have sought out schools with a global focus on business and international relations. What about you?

As always,


Lauren M. Chapman
Director of Partnerships
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship