EPIC Bash Brings Out Thousands

by Phil Cross

OKLAHOMA CITY (ENN) – How would you get thousands of people to come talk to a school curriculum provider?

Most schools pick the curriculum with little input from parents or students so there is no need for these conversations.  At EPIC Charter Schools, parents and students have a say in how their child learns, school superintendent Bart Banfield said.  

Students at EPIC have the ability to choose the curriculum based on what works best for their style of learning.  However, they only have a few weeks at the start of each school year to determine whether they will stick with a particular model.  EPIC administrators struggled to find a way to get families to connect face-to-face with the various curriculum companies to hear about their individual differences if a switch was desired.  

That is how the school’s “Back to School Bash” was born.  

“It’s been a collaboration and coordination of the highest level,” Banfield told the EPIC News Network.

The companies that provide services to EPIC sponsored the events, which were held at Oklahoma City’s Frontier City and the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks.  The two events provided the draw to attract families with students attending EPIC to a venue where through on-site activities they were connected with the various companies that provide services to EPIC students.  

“That’s the cool part about being at EPIC,” Banfield said.  “We are a school of choice and you choose us as their educational option.”

The events were also an opportunity for Banfield to answer questions of family members and meet one-on-one with parents and students who attend the state’s largest virtual charter school.  

Banfield said enrollment has climbed to 28,000 students, with more joining even after the official start of the school year.  

“Our families continue to support our school,” Banfield said, “And as of right now we’re on average enrolling between 100 and 200 families a day; every single day.”

Why are parents choosing EPIC?  

“She wasn’t adapting well to high school pressure and we decided to pull her out and EPIC has been working good for us so far,” Jacob Brewington told ENN while waiting in line at the Frontier City event.

Kellie Bowen and her five children were part of the 7,000-plus crowd. All of Bowen’s children are enrolled with EPIC.

“We like the free therapies we get, the therapists are really good,” Bowen said.  “Four of my kids do speech [therapy] and [occupational therapy].” 

“We’ve done homeschool for a long time and EPIC just seems to work a lot better,” explained EPIC Freshman Nicholas Cypert.  “It opens up a lot of opportunities.”

“We had him in public school,” Harrison Thompson explained why he and his wife Tabatha chose EPIC for their son.  “He was being bullied so we decided to try charter school and see how that went because his self-esteem was low.”

The Thompsons, now in their second year with EPIC say the transformation of their son has been incredible. 

“This year he is actually excited about learning in his curriculum,” Tabatha said.”

“We are a school of choice,” Banfield said.  He said the ability of parents to choose to come or go is what sets EPIC apart and why the school is focused on finding the right educational options for each student.

“At the end of the day what we’re about is finding the best fit for the child.”

Related Articles