New Quality Framework Data Pack Reports Available Now!

December 20th, 2012

 

Login now to see new Data Pack reports available for charters who have completed and submitted a Quality Framework Self-Assessment.

In addition to the enrollment, demographics, and attendance reports that have always been available, the Quality Framework Online Portal now includes:

Accountability Dashboard – The Accountability Dashboard is a snapshot of 5 years of historical state and federal accountability ratings, accreditation status, and PBMAS indicators.

State Testing Results – View, download, or take a screenshot of additional, customizable disaggregated student performance data. Several different configurations are available because you choose what you need. Easily switch views from “All Students” to any subpopulation to review and assess up to 6 years of longitudinal performance data.

Post-Secondary Readiness  - See up to 6 years of post-secondary readiness indicator data including SAT/ACT participation, completion rates, graduation rates, and dropout rates.

Login today to view your reports or to request your user account.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quality and Continuous Improvement: Bringing it All Together at the 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference

November 30th, 2012

Student success. Effective Texas public charter schools. Quality. Sustainability. Model practices. Continuous improvement. Each of these is what the Quality Framework and TCSA are all about. In fact, the mission of the Texas Charter Schools Association is to accelerate student achievement in Texas by empowering a diverse set of effective and quality-driven charter schools.

We do this by matching member needs to tools and resources through member feedback and aggregated, anonymous Quality Framework data. Of course we have products, services, and trainings available throughout the year, but the annual Texas Charter Schools Conference brings everything we do together in just a few days: targeted trainings for board members, business managers, and charter and campus administrators; Quality Framework informational sessions, Work Sessions, and best practices sessions; public information and advocacy-focused conference sessions and much, much more. Read more below to learn just a few highlights at this year’s conference.

Did you know that…

You can find the latest about everything you need to know about the Texas Charter Schools Conference online today?

The full conference schedule is available so that you can start planning your conference today? Download it now and get together with your teams to start planning.

There are 10 conference strands this year, including two Quality Framework strands and two Student Achievement Strands? Each of the 10 strands is focused around information that is important to you and every session is matched to a system of the Quality Framework. We have also arranged to have topic-related sessions in the same room so that you and your team can easily find session topics that are most important to you. These are the general topics under which conference sessions are organized and the rooms in which you can find them:

  • Advocacy and Communications – Room 4BC
  • Finance – Room 10A
  • Governance – Room 6A
  • Innovation – Room 6B
  • Leadership – Room 8AB
  • Quality Framework Best Practices – Room 9A
  • Quality Framework Continuous Improvement – Room 9B
  • School Law – Room 10B
  • Student Achievement – Room 4A
  • Student Achievement – Room 5A

You can also see an overview of the conference sessions online organized in the strands above, and see the conference-at-a-glance today, too? The At-a-Glance section online tells you more about what the days will look like at the conference next week.

You and your team can get either CPE credits or required training hours at every single conference session this year? Look for the circle symbols in the conference program to find out more.

You and your team can match your Quality Framework-identified needs to conference sessions? Look for the square symbols in the conference program to find out more.

If you don’t quite know what the Quality Framework is all about, there are sessions that will provide basic overviews about the development and implementation of the Quality Framework? You can attend either of the following sessions to learn more:

  • Getting Started: TCSA Quality Framework Introduction and Overview, Wed, 12/5, 1:15pm, Room 9B
  • TCSA Quality Framework Information Session, Wed, 12/5, 2:45pm, Room 9B

If you want to learn more about the latest updates in the Quality Framework Reports and Resources section of the portal and how schools use the data, you have many sessions to choose from? You can attend any or all of these sessions:

  • Using the Quality Framework Data at Your School, Tue, 12/4, 10:15am, Room 9B
  • TCSA’s Student Growth Percentile (SGP) and Similar Students Measure (SSM), Tue, 12/4, 1:00pm, Room 9B
  • Making Your Campus Improvement Plan Your Single Tool for SUCCESS, Wed, 12/5, 10:30am, Room 9B
  • TCSA Quality Framework Resources, Wed, 12/5, 2:45pm, Room 9A

There is now a new partnership designed to provide additional support and technical assistance for public charter schools in Texas? It’s called “the Network” and you can learn more about in this session:

  • CSTAN: Another Gateway to Charter School Excellence, Wed, 12/5, 1:15pm, Room 9B

Your charter school’s leadership team and staff can complete the Quality Framework Self-Assessment at the conference—to help plan your conference? There are 3 opportunities at the conference. Save time by signing-up today to get your user account ahead of time and be ready for one of the Quality Framework Work Sessions:

The Quality Initiatives team looked at all of the data that you and your charter colleagues provided in the Quality Framework to spot trends in member-identified needs to come up with the following high-demand sessions? We did. And here are those sessions:

  • Student Engagement: Have Every Student on the Edge of Their Seat, Tue, 12/4, 10:15am, Room 9A
  • Using Board Self-Evaluation to Assess and Improve Board Performance, Tue, 12/4, 1:00pm, Room 9A
  • Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships (panel discussion), Tue, 12/4, 3:00pm, Room 9A
  • Road to College Graduation: A Multi-Year Process Supporting Students from Grade 6-16, Tue, 12/4, 4:30pm, Room 9A
  • The New! College & Career Resource Site, (Hint: FREE resource), Wed, 12/5, 8:30am, Room 9A
  • UPDATED SESSION! State Accountability Update (Come here the latest!), Wed, 12/5, 10:30am, Room 9A
  • Increase Student Enrollment (panel discussion), Wed, 12/5, 1:15pm, Room 9A

Many of the conference sessions presentations and other information provided by presenters will be uploaded to the Quality Framework resources portal in the weeks following the conference? Be sure that you have access to the Quality Framework, and click on “Request Account”.

There is so much more happening next week at the conference! Download the program and start planning today!

This is the last Quality Framework blog entry for this calendar year. We plan to be back next year. But the Quality Initiatives team is always available to help. If you have any questions about the Quality Framework and the upcoming sessions next week, please contact us. See you next week at the conference!

 

Telca Karen Porras

Quality Initiatives Senior Advisor

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TWO QUALITY FRAMEWORK CONFERENCE STRANDS

November 15th, 2012

There are two Quality Framework conference strands, both of which are discussed and summarized below. Read on and start entering session dates and times in your calendar now. The conference is just about 2 weeks away!

Quality Framework Continuous Improvement Strand
For new charters, or those new to TCSA, the Quality and Continuous Improvement strand will provide introductions to the Quality Framework Self-Assessment, Reports, and Resources. As we mentioned last week, this strand will even feature time and space for school leaders to complete and submit the Self-Assessment and access the Quality Framework Reports and Data Pack at the conference.

Once the Quality Framework Self-Assessment is submitted, however, the reports and data that you will have available to you will save hours in report compilation. Learn more about how a school uses the Quality Framework portal at their school in this strand’s very first session, “Using the Quality Framework Data at Your School” (Tuesday, 12/4, 10:15am, Room 9B) with Gwyn Boyter and Jenny Davis from UT Charter in Austin.

Attend “Making Your Campus Improvement Plan Your Single Tool for SUCCESS” (Wednesday, 12/5, 10:30am, Room 9B) with Karen Mowbray from Odyssey Academy in Galveston to learn how the Quality Framework ties in to campus planning.

Also learn about the exciting new charter school technical assistance network, a partnership that includes TCSA, TEA, and Region XI. You may have heard about CSTAN, or “The Network”. Come to this session to learn what kinds of free training and resources are now available to charter schools across Texas through this new partnership and how to get connected with  the network partners in “CSTAN: Another Gateway to Charter School Excellence” (Wednesday, 12/5, 1:15pm, Room 9B).

These are but a few in the Quality and Continuous Improvement Strand. See the summary below for a complete list.

Quality Framework Best Practices Strand
As we’ve talked about a few times over the past few weeks, all of the conference sessions will present best and effective practices, tools, resources, and strategies. But the Quality Framework Best Practices strand was developed directly from member requests or in response to Quality Framework Results and Comparative Reports data. So each and every session is in response to a member request or has been planned after reviewing Quality Framework data for all schools.
Learn from a panel of charter school leaders like you from all across the state in sessions like “Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships” (Tuesday, 12/4, 3:00pm, Room 9A) or “Increase Student Enrollment” (Wednesday, 12/5, 1:15pm, Room 9A).

TCSA Quality Initiatives staff members will also walk through how to access the useful tools and resources in “TCSA Quality Framework Resources” session. (Wednesday, 12/5, 2:45pm, Room 9A)

We have mentioned many others over the past few weeks, including sessions about student engagement, board self-evaluations, and college and career readiness tools and resources. Take a look below for a complete list of the conference sessions in the Best Practices conference strand.

Quality Framework Work Sessions at the Texas Charter Schools Conference
If you haven’t yet registered for one of the free Quality Framework work sessions, choose a date and time below that works best for you and your team—you can register for more than one—then click on a link below to register.

Pre-Conference Work Session
Monday, December 3, 2012
4:00pm – Room 9B
Use the data and information from your Pre-Conference Work Session to help plan your conference by targeting Quality Framework-identified needs.

 

Quality Framework Work Session Part 1
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
3:00pm – Room 9B
Complete and submit the Self-Assessment and get the reports, data and information from the Quality Framework—and the tools and resources you and your team discover at the conference —to use as soon as you return to your school. Complete and submit the Quality Framework in this session, or stay to complete in Part 2.


Quality Framework Work Session Part 2

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
4:30pm – Room 9B
Stay in room 9B from Part 1, or just attend Part 2 to complete and submit the Self-Assessment and get the reports, data and information from the Quality Framework—and the tools and resources you and your team discover at the conference — to use as soon as you return to your school.

 

Use your current Quality Framework data to plan your conference.
As we mentioned last week, if you already have your Quality Framework user account, login now to the Quality Framework portal and you’ll find conference session descriptions linked to indicators of the Quality Framework. Simply click on “Resources” once you’re logged in. If you need a user account, visit the Quality Framework portal and click on “Request Account”.

We’re taking a break from the TCSA newsletter and blog next week, but we will be back on Friday, November 30, 2012. Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!

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Time and Space for Reflection, Assessment, and Planning at the Texas Charter Schools Annual Conference

November 8th, 2012

From the early days of the development of the Quality Framework to the recent transition to a fully web-based version of the Quality Framework, school leaders have said time and time again that one of the main benefits of the Quality Framework Self-Assessment is that it provides a structure for reflection, discussion, and candid assessment of the current status of over 100 key indicators of a successful charter school. The next thing charter leaders have said usually went something like this, “Now can you just find time and space for us to do that?” Actually, yes, we can.

Last year, we did this at the conference and we will do it again this year. We know that the conference may be the best time for teams to gather and reflect on the current success of the school and how to continuously improve, so we have scheduled three Quality Framework Work Sessions at the conference.

Why should you take time to do the Quality Framework at the conference?

These work sessions were very popular last year, but this year, school leaders will be able to access reports and data the moment they submit the assessment—a big improvement from last year. Leadership teams can now use this data immediately to help plan their conference experience.

If you and your leadership team complete and submit the Quality Framework at the Pre-Conference Work Session on Monday, December 3rd at 4:00pm, you will have immediate access to reports that help you plan your conference sessions for Tuesday and Wednesday.

To make your planning easier, we’ve marked the sessions in the conference programs to match with systems of the Quality Framework to help you decide which sessions to attend. For example, if you submit the Quality Framework Self-Assessment and one of the areas that you’ve marked as “Early Effective” is the Leadership System indicator, “Board conducts self-evaluations,” you or a team member should be sure to attend the session we have scheduled around the topic of board self-evaluations in the Quality Framework Best Practices strand.

Matching Quality Framework Systems to Conference Sessions

If you and your leadership team complete and submit the Self-Assessment on Tuesday, December 4th at either 3:00pm or at 4:30pm, you can use the reports and the resources you find at the conference and the resources in the portal together to prioritize next steps once you return to your schools.

Who on your team should participate in the Quality Framework Work Session?

There are two sections to the Quality Framework Self-Assessment: a charter holder section containing governance and leadership indicators and a campus section that includes curriculum, instruction, and assessment and other campus-level indicators. Charter leaders usually have a leadership team (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.) complete charter holder level indicators and then principals and/or the CAO answer campus level indicators.

We’ve scheduled the Quality Framework Work Sessions on Tuesday in the same room, back-to-back. Your full leadership team can attend both sessions or choose to divide their time by working on different sections in either time slot. The best way to do this is to simply decide what works best with your team.

The bottom line is that you will have up to 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete and submit the Quality Framework Self-Assessment and review reports while at the conference, even if you don’t come in the day before.

As always, TCSA Quality Initiatives team staff members will be in each work session to answer questions and assist you and your team through the process.

How can you secure seats for you and your leadership team?

First, if you haven’t already, be sure to register for the 12th Annual Texas Charter Schools Conference. [link] Next, select and register for any of the three Quality Framework Work Session opportunities at the conference:

Pre-Conference Work Session
Monday, December 3, 2012
4:00pm – Room 9B
Use the data and information from your Pre-Conference Work Session to help plan your conference by targeting Quality Framework-identified needs. REGISTER

Quality Framework Work Session Part 1
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
3:00pm – Room 9B
Complete and submit the Self-Assessment and get the reports, data and information from the Quality Framework—and the tools and resources you and your team discover at the conference —to use as soon as you return to your school. Complete and submit the Quality Framework in this session, or stay to complete in Part 2. REGISTER

Quality Framework Work Session Part 2
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
4:30pm – Room 9B
Stay in room 9B from Part 1, or just attend Part 2 to complete and submit the Self-Assessment and get the reports, data and information from the Quality Framework—and the tools and resources you and your team discover at the conference —to use as soon as you return to your school. REGISTER

Our school already has report and data. Can I use that information to plan for the conference?

If you already have your Quality Framework user account, login now to the Quality Framework portal and you’ll find conference session descriptions linked to indicators of the Quality Framework. Simply click on “Resources” once you’re logged in.

If you need a user account, visit the Quality Framework portal and click on “Request Account.”

Next week’s blog will be an overview of the Quality Framework Continuous Improvement strand at the upcoming 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference.

 

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2012 Conference Sessions Featuring Proven Best Practices and Free Resources for College and Career Awareness

November 1st, 2012

Two indicators of the Quality Framework help schools determine their levels of effectiveness on the college and career readiness:

Most schools have rated themselves “Effective” or below on both indicators, so many leadership team members have requested to learn more about tools, strategies, and resources for college and career awareness and planning. The requests we hear most often can be summarized with the following two questions:

  1. How can we learn more about what model or highly effective charter schools are doing to provide college and career awareness tools and activities for students?
  2. Are there any free resources can the school, students, and parents can use?

At this year’s conference, you will find two conference sessions that will provide answers to both questions above.

I know that planning which conference sessions to attend is sometimes tough, based solely on the brief conference descriptions—or even the titles alone when time is short! So to help you plan your days, I have provided a little more information on the two college and career conference sessions within the Quality Framework Best Practices strand. The topics are very similar, but each of them provides something different.

The bottom line is this: If you are interested in moving your school to the next level of effectiveness on the college and career awareness indicators within the Quality Framework Student Success System make you or someone on your team attends one or both of the following sessions.

QUALITY FRAMEWORK 2012 TEXAS CHARTER SCHOOLS CONFERENCE SESSIONS

Best Practice Conference Session – Model Practice – College Awareness and Planning
First, learn what other charters are doing to prepare their students for college. Uplift Education’s “Road to College” is a comprehensive college counseling program that is designed to support students in the 3 phases of their college journey: college preparation and exposure, college admissions and financial aid process, and the transition to college and successful completion of college.  The program supports all Uplift students and alumni from the 6th grade – 16th grade through individual counseling, group classes, and network wide programs and events.  Uplift Education’s graduates have gone on to attend and graduate from colleges and universities across the country.
See the conference description below or visit Uplift Education’s RTC webpage to learn more:

Road to College Graduation: A multi-year process supporting students from grades 6-16
Tuesday, December 4, 2012; 4:30pm
Room 9A
Uplift Education’s Road to College (RTC) program supports all Uplift students and alumni from grades 6-16. The RTC program relies on a team of dedicated counselors on each campus, who work with students and families to ensure student success. This session focuses on Uplift’s multi-year process for supporting students from grades 6-16.
Presenters: Denise Castaneda, Uplift Education; April Bowman, Uplift Education; Aimee Rincon, Uplift Education

Best Practice Conference Session – Free Resource – College and Career Planning Website
Not ready to implement your own in-school program? Then attend this session to learn about the new Texas College & Career Resource website available now. Attend this session to learn about how students, parents and mentors, and school staff can all access this free website and work together to help students plan for college and careers. Presenters will guide charter school leaders and staff through a demonstration and answer questions on how to get started using the easy-to-use, intuitive website, including more information and detail on each of the following user perspectives. You will learn how:

  • Students can take interests, skills, and values assessments, build portfolios including resumes, research colleges and universities, estimate college costs, and share progress with parents, mentors, and school staff.
  • Parents and mentors can understand college and career options for their students, do side-by-side comparisons of careers and college, including costs, and find affordable financing.
  • School staff can view real-time data, communicate with students, and track and assess results.

This is a very brief summary of what this new, free website offers. To learn more, attend the session below or visit the Texas College & Career Resource website.

The New! Texas College & Career Resource Site
Wednesday, December 5, 2012; 8:30am
Room 9A
Texas College & Career is a no-cost, one-stop online college and career planning resource site available for all Texas secondary students, parents, and educators. The site centralizes all the key planning elements of a student’s educational career, including interactive planning tools, personal portfolio development, key milestone reminders, and communication tools that link student to counselor to parent.  Join us for an overview and get started planning!
Presenters: Dixie Knight and Gail Ribalta, Edvance Research

To see more sessions in the Quality Framework Best Practices and Continuous Improvement strands, visit the Texas Charter Schools Conference schedule.

Register for the 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference today. If you are new to TCSA and the Quality Framework and have not yet submitted a Self-Assessment, visit the TCSA Quality Framework portal to request an account or email the Quality Framework team for an introduction on how to get started.

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TCSA Quality Framework Member-Requested Sessions at the Texas Charter Schools Conference

October 26th, 2012

As I mentioned last week, each conference session in every strand will be connected to at least one System of the Quality Framework. In addition, there are two Quality Framework-specific strands in the conference schedule: Best Practices and Continuous Improvement.

Quality Framework Best Practices Strand
As I wrote last week, all conference sessions will present best and effective practices, tools, resources, and strategies. But the Quality Framework Best Practices strand was developed directly from member requests or in response to Quality Framework Results and Comparative Reports data. This week, we continue to explore another of the Best Practices Strand sessions and how we came to identify the topic as a member-driven need based not only on data, but also on member feedback.

Listening to Member Feedback during Quality Framework Report Discussions
Last week, we featured a conference session that was selected in response to Quality Framework data. A great majority of charters in the state have noted that their boards do not conduct self-evaluations. We know this because the data shows that overwhelmingly—60 charters responded “Not Evident” for that indicator. The data demonstrates a clear need for a training or conference session in response to this indicator.

However, numerical data is only one source for providing training and selecting conference sessions. In the graph below, we see that 52 schools felt that that their Student Engagement Element levels are at “Early Effective” and “Effective” (40 “Effective”+ 12 “Early Effective” = 52).

Comparative Report and Results Distribution for Student Engagement Element

Though very few schools (5) have marked this element as “Not Evident”—in fact “Effective” is actually the response most often given—we know that research shows that student engagement is key to student success. Therefore, improving the level of effectiveness on this indicator will have a direct, positive impact for students and for the school.

Given the importance of this Element, we heard from our members that student engagement is an area in which they would like to learn more about and gain access to tools and strategies that will help improve student engagement. Based on that feedback, we have scheduled the following conference session around student engagement, presented by Dr. Nancy Grayson, Founder of Rapoport Academy in Waco, Texas.

Student Engagement: Have Every Student on the Edge of Their Seat!
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
10:15am – 11:30am, Room 9A

Do you and your teachers want all of your students completely interested in every single minute of class? Learn how to get to full student engagement in the classroom using easy, must-have formulas and techniques that you can take back to your school immediately.

Quality Framework Continuous Improvement Strand
For new charters, or those new to TCSA, the Quality and Continuous Improvement strand will provide introductions to the Quality Framework Self-Assessment, Reports, and Resources. This strand will even feature time and space for school leaders to complete and submit the Self-Assessment and access the Quality Framework Reports and Data Pack at the conference. We’ll talk more about each of the sessions in the Continuous Improvement strand in a few weeks, but below are a few sessions to consider putting on your schedules now to learn more about the Quality Framework include:

TCSA’s Student Growth Percentile (SGP) and Similar Students Measure (SSM)
Tuesday, December 3, 2012
1:00pm2:15pm, Room 9B

Are our students learning and growing academically? How does our campus growth compare to other campuses serving similar students? How do we know? Learn about TCSA’s SGP and SSM Quality Framework reports and how to use them to determine if your individual students are growing at below, average, or above average rates.

Getting Started: Quality Framework Introduction and Overview
Wednesday, December 4, 2012
1:15pm2:30pm, Room 9B
Learn about the history and development of the Quality Framework (QF) and how to use the QF tool. Attendees may request a username and password at this session.

TCSA Quality Framework Information Session
Wednesday, December 4, 2012

2:45pm – 3:30pm, Room 9B
Learn about the history and development of the Quality Framework (QF) and how to use the QF tool. Attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions about the history, development, and recent updates to the Quality Framework.

To see more sessions in the Quality Framework Best Practices and Continuous Improvement strands, visit the Texas Charter Schools Conference schedule.

Register for the 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference today. If you are new to TCSA and the Quality Framework and have not yet submitted a Self-Assessment, email the Quality Framework team for an introduction on how to get started.


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What does the TCSA Quality Framework have to do with the Texas Charter Schools Conference?

October 19th, 2012

Web-based tools and resources such as those found in the TCSA Quality Framework online portal are an excellent start to matching member-identified needs. However, TCSA also seeks to provide tools, resources, and information through a variety of products and member services, such as live and web-based trainings and workshops. Those live trainings and workshops, of course, include conference sessions at the annual Texas Charter Schools Conference.
So, what does the TCSA Quality Framework have to do with the Texas Charter Schools Conference? Once again, here’s a short answer: Everything. Each and every conference session in every single strand will be connected to at least one System of the Quality Framework. In addition, there are two Quality Framework-specific strandsin the 2012 conference schedule: Continuous Improvement and Best Practices.

Quality Framework Continuous Improvement Strand
For new charters, or those new to TCSA, the Quality and Continuous Improvement strand will provide introductions to the Quality Framework Self-Assessment, Reports, and Resources. This strand will even feature time and space for school leaders to complete and submit the Self-Assessment and access the Quality Framework Reports and Data Pack at the conference. We’ll talk more about each of the sessions in the Continuous Improvement strand in a few weeks.

Quality Framework Best Practices Strand
Of course, all of the conference sessions will present best and effective practices, tools, resources, and strategies. But the Quality Framework Best Practices strand was developed directly from member requests or in response to Quality Framework Results and Comparative Reports data. This week, we begin to explore one of the Best Practices Strand sessions and how we came to identify the topic as a member-driven need.

Using Quality Framework Data to Schedule Conference Sessions
Many of our conference sessions have come about after an analysis of aggregated data of the Quality Framework Results Reports. Simply put, if there is a single indicator, or a group of related indicators for which many schools responded that their current levels of effectiveness were “Not Evident” or “Early Effective”, we have scheduled a conference work session to help provide information that would help schools increase their levels of effectiveness. One such indicator is probably familiar to many of you: “Board conducts self-evaluations.” Sixty (60) charter leadership teams have indicated that their board does not currently conduct self-evaluations.

Comparative Report and Results Distribution for “Board conducts self-evaluations” Indicator

In response, TCSA is working with Marci Cornell-Feist, of The High Bar, an organization that provides training, tools, and a online networking community to charter leaders and board members across the nation, to present the following session:

Using Board Self-Evaluation to Assess and Improve Board Performance
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
1:00pm – 2:15pm
Learn how charter school board members can take goal setting and performance management to their own leadership level. Presenter: Marci Cornell-Feist, The High Bar

In this session, school leaders and board members will come away with an understanding why self- evaluation, goal setting, and performance management at the highest leadership level—the board—is crucial to the success of the school and its students. Most important, board members and leaders will learn how to get started on implementing a performance management plan when they return to their local school community.

Starting with this conference session, TCSA seeks to provide tools and resources that will offer charter school leaders the information they need to implement a board evaluation process and be able to say with confidence the next time they submit the Quality Framework that the level of effectiveness on this indicator has increased to “Effective” or even “Model”. Other sessions that have been scheduled as a result of an analysis of aggregated Quality Framework data include: Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, and Increasing Student Enrollment.

To see more sessions in the Quality Framework Best Practices strand, visit the 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference schedule.

Next week, learn about how TCSA responds not just to data, but also to member feedback around the Quality Framework reports to seek and provide best practices, tools, and strategies. Register for the 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference today.

If you are new to TCSA and the Quality Framework and have not yet submitted a Self-Assessment, email the Quality Framework team for an introduction on how to get started.

 

 

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How do we connect our Quality Framework prioritized needs with tools and resources?

October 12th, 2012

The short answer is—you don’t. Well, you can, of course, but really it is TCSA that has promised to make sure that each Quality Framework indicator is matched with tools, resources, best and effective practices, and charter-customized products and services.

The TCSA Quality Framework Committee stated early on during the development of the Quality Framework that the process should not be just another evaluation without action. In keeping with this charge from the Committee, TCSA takes responsibility to make sure that once needs are identified at the individual school and statewide level through the Quality Framework, a tool or resource should be provided to help schools reach the level of effectiveness they desire.
The first step is to use Quality Framework data to identify the level of need. Does a particular school have a need? Or do most schools have a need? Quality Framework data and reports help TCSA answer those questions.

TCSA Uses Quality Framework Reports and Data to Learn More About the Levels of Support Needed

The reports and graphs in the Quality Framework provide both schools and TCSA with valuable information member needs and how to best provide high quality tools and resources for the purpose of increased quality and sustainable, continuous improvement.

Individual School Needs May Vary on Certain Indicators of the Quality Framework

Based on individual school need, TCSA may work with charter leadership to identify causes of the current level of effectiveness for each indicator, and then to seek and provide customized one-on-one support for the charter.

Statewide Needs Require a Statewide Response from TCSA

If many charters across the state assign a lower level of effectiveness to a particulat indicator, TCSA responds with a statewide or regional training or workshop. For example, in response to the statewide data below, TCSA has accepted and scheduled a session at the 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference that will provide information about the importance of and how to develop and implement a board self-evaluation.


TCSA Uses Quality Framework Reports and Data to Seek and Provide High-Quality Tools, Resources, Products, and Services

Once needs are identified, TCSA staff members seek to provide individual or statewide support in a number of ways. Below is a summary of how TCSA may respond based on TCSA Quality Framework data:

Charter and Campus Needs Identified

TCSA’s Response to Member Needs

Individual Quality Framework school reports inform school and TCSA staff about what is needed at each individual charter and campus.
  • Indicator-matched self-serve tools and resources have been made available to school leaders in the Resources section of the TCSA Quality Framework online portal.
  • TCSA communicates with charter leaders regarding upcoming opportunities that match individual school Quality Framework-identified needs.

 

Feedback, individual school Quality Framework data, and report conversations may lead to related or additional priorities for each school. Some or all of the above and:

  • Customized, one-on-one discussions, and need-specific, tools, products, and services are provided to match school needs.

 

Aggregated Quality Framework data from all charters and campuses across the state inform TCSA where needs are common among all charters. Some or all of the above and:

  • Regional and statewide trainings and workshops are provided to match member needs.
  • New products and services are made available according to statewide needs.
  • Annual conference sessions are selected based on areas where needs are common among all charters.

 

Tools and Resources Are Available Online Now

Like the reports we discussed last week, Quality Framework Tools and Resources are available now via the Quality Framework online portal in addition to the products and services that TCSA has been providing for the past several years. TCSA staff is still currently working to make sure that there are tools or resources for each indicator, but new resources are added on a regular basis.

To see what is available now, charter school leaders can log in today to access or download tools and resources, including a few of last year’s conference session presentations, free documents and tools on everything from succession planning to student safety, and more information on the types of Quality Framework indicator-matched TCSA products and services that are available to meet charter school needs.

Screenshot and Examples of Resources Currently Available via the TCSA Quality Framework Resources Portal

To access these tools and resources and begin working with them immediately, email the Quality Framework team to request your Quality Framework username and password.

If you are new to TCSA and the Quality Framework and have not yet submitted a Self-Assessment, email the Quality Framework team for an introduction on how to get started.

Next week will begin discussing in more detail some of the upcoming 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference sessions designed specifically to provide information, tools, and resources to match Quality Framework member-identified needs.


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Start a blog to advocate for charter schools

October 11th, 2012

An abundance of entrepreneurial spirit is one of the defining features of charter schools. Like many small businesses, when faced with a challenge, charter school leaders tend to roll up their sleeves and solve the problem themselves — no excuses!

Are you an entrepreneur at heart, too? Are you unsatisfied with your neighborhood schools and want to organize your community to attract an outstanding charter school? Or, are you proud of the charter school your kids attend and want to spread the word to other families? Blogging is a great way to spread your message. I maintain a blog about charter school news in San Antonio, and I can share some tips to help you get started.

Your first step is picking a blogging platform. Popular free sites include WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. Create an account, choose a name for your blog, and tell your story on the “About” page. Choose a blog theme that you find attractive and customize it with photos. If you need more help, check out some how-to books at the library, sign up for a community education class about blogging, or seek out mentorship from a social group for bloggers.

Next, focus on your subject. There are so many developments with charter schools nationally; keep your blog primarily local so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you see a story about charter schools in your local paper, post a link on your blog and offer your own commentary on it. Remember: if you cut-and-paste from another website, be sure to set it off with quotation marks or italics and provide a link back to the original site.

Besides your local paper, there are many other sources for blog post ideas. Sign up for the email lists from the Texas Charter Schools Association and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Follow mom blogs and political blogs. Look for Facebook pages and Twitter feeds about education news. You can even do your own original reporting: go to meetings and events, take photos and videos, then share it on your blog.

Part of the fun of blogging is making it personal. Share tips about kid-friendly activities for all families—charter school, public school, or home school. What is your special expertise? Whether it’s recipes, crafts, fashion, sports, books, or pets, there’s room on your blog for an occasional off-topic post that makes your blog unique. Remember to be an ethical blogger: If you accept free samples of products, disclose that to your readers.

Once you have your topics planned out, think about your schedule. Writing, like so many things, gets easier if you make it a habit. Is there a particular time of day or day of the week when you are more likely to have a quiet moment to write?

After the blog is up and running, it becomes a focal point for advocacy. Tell your friends about your blog and invite them to sign up for updates. Link your blog to other social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Build up an electronic mailing list using a tool like MailChimp or Constant Contact. (Remember, do not spam: never add anyone to your mailing list without permission.) Make business cards and flyers. Host an event — a playdate, a story time, a craft session. Team up with other parents to take action, such as writing letters to your representatives or testifying at a hearing. Your growing group of readers and followers will become a source of ideas and inspiration.

So, do you have the can-do, entrepreneurial spirit to start a blog to advocate for charter schools? Like starting a business, blogging is rewarding in so many unexpected ways. New challenges will inspire you to solve problems and build new skills every day. Blogging is not a solitary activity: it will bring you closer to other people who share your interests and help you on the path to success. And, every post you write brings you a step closer to reaching your goal.

Guest Blogger, Inga Munsinger Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms

About Inga: I am a lawyer, a nerd, a wife, and a mother of two. My son goes to an excellent public school, but we had to move and leave the historic neighborhood that I had called home for over 20 years. I started a blog to help bring more charter schools to central San Antonio so that other families can stay and raise their children in San Antonio’s historic neighborhoods.

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Empezar un blog para apoyar a las escuelas charter

October 11th, 2012

La abundancia del espíritu emprendedor es una de las cosas que define a las escuelas charter. Como otras pequeñas empresas, al enfrentarse a un obstáculo, los líderes de estas escuelas tienden a arremangarse  para resolver el problema ellos mismos – sin excusas.

¿Eres un emprendedor de corazón también? ¿No estás satisfecho con las escuelas de tu vecindario y quisieras organizar a tu comunidad para atraer a una escuela charter excepcional? o ¿estás orgulloso de la escuela charter a la que tus hijos asisten y quisieras correr la voz a otras familias? Escribir en un blog es una excelente manera para difundir este mensaje. Yo escribo en un blog sobre las noticias relacionadas a las escuelas charter de San Antonio, y puedo compartir consejos para ayudarte a iniciar uno.

El primer paso es escoger una plataforma de blog. Algunos sitios gratuitos y muy populares incluyen WordPress, Blogger y Tumblr. Abre una cuenta, escoge el nombre de tu blog y cuéntanos tu historia en la sección de “Acerca de” (About). Escoge un estilo para tu blog que consideres atractivo y personalízalo con fotos. Si necesitas más ayuda, revisa algunos libros de “Como hacer…” de la biblioteca, suscríbete a una comunidad de educación sobre los Blogs, o busca una guía en algún grupo social para usuarios de blogs.

Después enfócate en el tema. Hay muchos avances en las escuelas charter a nivel nacional. Mantén tu blog principalmente bajo una perspectiva local para que no te sientas abrumado(a) con tanta información. Si ves una noticia acerca de las escuelas charter en el periódico local publica un enlace en tu blog y ofrece tu propio comentario al respecto. Recuerda, si copias información de otro sitio asegúrate de señalizarlo con comillas o itálicas y provee el enlace al sitio original.

Además de tu periódico local, hay muchas otras fuentes de ideas para publicar en tu blog. Suscríbete a las listas de correos de la Asociación de Escuelas Charter de Texas (Texas Charter Schools Association) y la Alianza Nacional para las Escuelas Charter (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools). Sigue otros blogs de padres de familia y sobre política. Busca paginas de Facebook y mensajes de Twitter sobre noticias en educación. Incluso puedes hacer tus propios reportajes: ve a juntas y eventos, toma fotos y videos, luego compártelos en tu blog.

Parte de la diversión de escribir en un blog es hacerlo personal. Comparte consejos sobre actividades para niños y para hacer en familia de escuelas charter, escuelas públicas y de estudiar en casa. ¿Cuál es tu especialidad? Ya sea recetas, manualidades, moda, deportes, libros o mascotas siempre hay espacio para algún comentario fuera de tema que personalice tu blog. Recuerda ser ético: si aceptas muestras gratuitas de productos dalo a conocer a tus lectores.

Una vez que tengas los temas planeados, piensa en tu agenda. Escribir, como muchas otras cosas es más fácil si lo haces un hábito. ¿Hay algún momento particular del día o un día de la semana cuando tengas tiempo para escribir tranquilamente?

Después de que el blog esté listo, se convierte en un punto focal de apoyo. Coméntales a tus amigos sobre tu blog e invítalos para suscribirse. Enlaza tu blog con las redes sociales como Facebook, Twitter o Pinterest. Crea una lista de correos electrónicos usando alguna herramienta como MailChimp o Constant Contact. (Recuerda no crear spam: nunca agregues a alguien a tu lista de correos sin su autorización.) Imprime tarjetas de presentación y volantes. Organiza un evento – un día de juegos, un cuentacuentos o una sesión de manualidades. Haz equipo con otros padres de familia para tomar acción como escribir una carta a tus representantes del congreso o testificar en una audiencia. Tu grupo de seguidores y lectores se convertirán en una fuente de ideas e inspiración.

Así que, ¿tienes lo que se necesita y el espíritu emprendedor para empezar un blog que apoye a las escuelas charter? Como empezar un negocio, el escribir un blog le dará recompensas inesperadas. Nuevos retos te inspiraran para resolver problemas y desarrollar habilidades todos los días.  El escribir en un blog no es una actividad solitaria, te acercará a la gente que comparte tus intereses y ayudará en tu camino al éxito. Cada publicación es un paso más acerca para alcanzar tu meta.

La escritora de blogs invitada, Inga Munsinger Cotton, Mamás de Escuelas Charter de San Antonio

Mi biografía: Soy una abogada, nerd, esposa y madre de dos. Mi hijo asiste a una excelente escuela pública pero  para esto tuvimos que mudarnos del histórico vecindario al que había llamado hogar por 20 años. Comencé un blog para atraer más escuelas charter al centro de San Antonio y así que otras familias puedan quedarse y criar a sus hijos en los históricos vecindarios de esta ciudad.

 

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