Archive for the ‘Quality Framework’ Category

New Quality Framework Data Pack Reports Available Now!

Thursday, 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

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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

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

Friday, 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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We submitted the Quality Framework Self- Assessment. Now what?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

The short answer is—use the data!

The Quality Framework development committee was collectively adamant that the Quality Framework meet the following guiding principles:

  • The Quality Framework should help schools determine a current level of effectiveness, and be able to track progress over time; and,
  • The Quality Framework should provide useful information for school leaders, as opposed to being “one more thing to do”.

The committee, research team, and TCSA staff has worked hard—and continues to do so—to make sure that those guiding principles remain at the forefront of each addition to the Quality Framework. Each report to which school leaders have access provide both qualitative and quantitative data that schools can use now for comprehensive needs assessments, grant applications, compliance reports, and campus and strategic plans.

A time investment of at least an hour or two up front to complete the Quality Framework Self-Assessment can save countless hours later when it comes time to submit applications and reports or to compile information for strategic and campus planning.

TCSA has designed the Quality Framework so that, instead of being “one more thing I have to do”, the Quality Framework reports become—with just one or two clicks of the mouse—“several fewer things I have to do”.

Below are several screenshots of the types of reports and data available now.

By the way, the focus today will be on Quality Framework reports and. To learn more about the structure of the Quality Framework, read “Quality Framework: Components

Self-Assessment Report – What did we say about our school?
This report provides an easy-to-read format to help schools leaders visually see current Levels of Effectiveness for each level of the Framework. This information may help guide discussions for prioritization of areas needing improvement and to highlight areas of success. The report also tracks changes over time so that school leaders understand how their perceptions about the status of each indicator increase or decrease from year to year—a key guiding principle of the Quality Framework.

Quality Framework Levels of Effectiveness are assigned for each Indicator, Element, and System of the Quality Framework based on school leadership team responses for each Indicator. The Quality Framework Self-Assessment Results Report is a summary of Indicator responses and calculations for Elements and Systems.

Element and Indicator Report – Current Levels of Effectiveness

Year-to-Year Element and Indicator Comparison Report – Changes Over Time

Comparative Reports – What did everybody else say about their schools?
The Quality Framework also organizes up to the top five areas in which the charter is performing at higher levels by comparison as well as areas where the charter is performing at lower levels by comparison.

Schools leaders can then make decisions on how to act on that information. For example, a “Model” school may present at the state and national charter school conferences, while a “Not Evident” school may seek to learn what other schools are doing in order to move from “Not Evident” toward “Model”.

Bar Charts Show Anonymous Benchmark Comparisons in Terms of Levels of Effectiveness

Top High/Low Comparative Reports Highlight Benchmark Areas

TCSA Quality Framework Data Pack – What do state and federal accountability and compliance reports say about our school?
The TCSA Data Pack combines and organizes literally hundreds of statewide charter school data tables to provide school leaders with longitudinal data for at least five years. From enrollment, to demographics, to performance, school leaders have immediate access to data that they previously would have had to search for across several years of reports in many different formats.

School leaders and staff no longer needs to spend time to create charts, graphs, and tables. Now school staff members need only to log in and print or PDF what they need.

Enrollment Graphs Show Change Over Time

 

Stacked Column Charts Show Demographic Makeup and Change Over Time


Customizable Performance Charts Show Student Performance Over Time by Student Group and State Test

Student Growth Percentile and Similar Students Measure – Members-Only and TCSA Exclusive Data
In the coming weeks, you will hear more about how schools will use SGP and SSM data to understand the impact of educational programs on student academic performance, while eliminating or taking into account other factors. To learn more about these measures, read last week’s blog.


Do I Have Access to Data and Information I Can Use Today?
One of the questions I hear most often is, “Do we have data for our school?”  Take this little quiz to see if you already have data to work with (choose one):
“I submitted my Self-Assessment ___________. Do I have data to see?”

a. years ago as a paper copy or via email.
b. online a few months ago.
c. this morning online.
d. twice—both on paper or via email and online.

Great news! Whichever answer you chose above, you have data available. Regardless of whether you submitted the Quality Framework 2 years ago on paper or via email or at 2 o’clock today via the online portal, you have reports and data to use today.

To access this information and begin working with it immediately, email the Quality Framework team  to request your username and password.

So the answer to the question that titles this section is always, “Yes!—if you have submitted the Quality Framework.” Of course, 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, learn about how TCSA provides tools and resources to charter leaders through the Quality Framework portal.

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How Do We Know if Charter School Students are Really Learning and Growing?

Friday, September 28th, 2012

 

“An effective Texas public charter school creates and sustains a high quality, innovative educational system aligned with its mission that advances measurable, increased learning and development for each student served.”

This is the definition of a public charter school developed by the TCSA Quality Framework Committee. But this statement also reinforces a promise that charters have made to provide quality public school options for the students, families, and communities of Texas.

As partners with charter schools, and to help keep that promise, TCSA has made a commitment to help charters find ways to continuously improve, including seeking ways to help determine “increased learning and development for each student served”—above and beyond current state and federal accountability measures.

What we’re talking about are the seemingly elusive measures for individual student growth and similar populations comparison measures. The reasons that these measures are difficult to attain are varied and way more than I can discuss here without a patient psychometrician’s hand-holding. But I can tell you that we often hear from our public charter schools that state and federal accountability systems do not always reflect student performance successes because they do not adequately consider individual student growth or background characteristics.

We also hear that individual student growth and similar students measures may not be enough, if they are not done right. The concerns we hear most often can be combined and summarized as follows:

  • “We serve mostly students who come to us more than 2 years behind grade level and are, more often than not, economically disadvantaged—a research-proven predictor of academic achievement. We need measures that show academic growth in our student population, even if the absolute accountability standards may not be met right away.”
  •  “We take students as early as possible and begin academic interventions immediately, so they may not show growth because they are already performing at high levels by the time they start testing with us. We need measures that show growth in our student population, even though they perform beyond absolute standards.”
  • “Our school is unique because our students are different. We need measures that will compare students with similar academic backgrounds and other factors to determine if they are where they should be, if they are performing better than expected—and more important, if they are not.”

We have heard and we understand. We listened to charter leaders and so we seek to find those measures that will provide charter leaders with the data needed to both highlight undiscovered successes and inform for continuous improvement.

Enter two measures that charter school leaders now have access to through the TCSA Quality Framework:
Similar Students Measure (SSM) – Using data that plots academic performance and takes into account the percentage of economically disadvantaged students at each campus, the Similar Students Measure (SSM) is a metric that provides charter school leaders with data that shows how their schools are doing in comparison to what is expected based on the state average performance of economically and non-economically disadvantaged students. Adapted for Texas from California’s SSM model, this metric shows charter leaders how their schools are performing in comparison to state averages, considering the demographic makeup of their school.


Student Growth Percentile (SGP) – TCSA partnered with the E3 Alliance to analyze statewide public school data for the 4.9 million public school students in Texas, including public charter school students, to help charter leaders understand campus performance in terms of individual student growth. Using 3 years of performance data to create student cohorts (students are grouped together if state test scale scores are exactly the same in each of 3 previous years), the SGP is a growth metric that shows academic performance for students in the 4th year in relation to their peers. Plotted similarly to height percentiles for newborns, SGP growth levels are expressed in terms of below, normal, or above average academic growth. SGP eliminates all other factors and focuses solely on past student performance. This helps charter leaders understand how their students are progressing, regardless of whether students are well below—or above—expected grade level or past state test performance.

State accountability ratings, federal accountability labels, and other state-provided sets of data offer very useful information to help schools understand absolute performance and change over time. But by providing public charter schools with the Similar Students Measure and the Student Growth Percentile measure, the TCSA Quality Framework provides schools with new and different ways to examine whether their educational programs truly provide “measurable, increased learning and development for each student served,” and whether they should stay the course or implement changes to improve their educational programs.

To learn more or to access your school’s data, email the TCSA Quality Framework team.

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TCSA Quality Framework—What’s the Point?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

When TCSA launched 4 years ago, addressing quality among charters was listed as one of the top priorities to be addressed based on both internal and external stakeholder feedback. From the policymaker and general public perspective—despite success stories of many charters—the perception that “bad” charters were the norm persisted. From within the charter school sector, leaders were growing weary of the perception that all charters were of poor quality based on the poor performance and bad actions of a few.

Shortly after TCSA’s launch, a committee of charter leaders representing a diverse set of charter schools from across the state gathered over a period of a year and half to develop a common definition of quality and a way for charters to compare school progress against that definition. Most of you already know that the result of those work sessions is TCSA’s password-protected, online Quality Framework portal.

Most of you also already know that the Quality Framework is a three-step continuous improvement process that includes a self-assessment, a review of both qualitative and quantitative data and results, and a way to match prioritized needs to tools and resources.

But now that the Quality Framework has become a continuous improvement tool of choice for a great majority of charter in Texas, we should stop to ask, or rather remind ourselves—what’s the point? Well, the bottom line is that although there is great value in the process itself—the time, the space, and the structure that the Quality Framework provides intangible benefits immediately at the start of the process—the purpose, or the point of it all is simply this: Authentic and robust continuous improvement for the purpose of creating and sustaining highly effective Texas public charter schools.

How does the Quality Framework help charter school leaders get their schools to sustainable and highly effective? First, the Quality Framework provides a way for school leaders to qualitatively assess where their schools are across several key indicators, including anonymous benchmark comparisons with other charters. Second, school leaders are provided with quantitative longitudinal enrollment, performance and demographic data as well as student growth and similar student comparative data.  Finally, charter school leaders are linked to specific tools and resources that are customized to individual schools and are addressed at the statewide level by TCSA based on aggregated statewide data.

The tools, the process, and the resources all serve to help schools comprehensively assess and address areas of need as well as celebrate areas in which they excel. But the Quality Framework also provides school leaders with access to information and targeted resources that they never had before, presented in a way that charter leaders have not had to date.

Over the next several weeks, we will take time to explore the types of data and information that are now available to charter leaders, including data that can only be obtained through the Quality Framework. We will also discuss how TCSA uses that data to provide targeted, member needs-based services and training opportunities. Most important, however, is to show how charter leaders use that data and information to do what they already have to do—compliance reports, needs assessments, and grant reports—but better and more efficiently, and in some cases avoid having to do some of them altogether.

Among the questions we will answer over the next several weeks:

  • How can charter school leaders make the best use of the Quality Framework Self-Assessment process?
  • How can charter school leaders access, view, and use the Results Reports to understand the current levels of effectiveness across key indicators at their schools?
  • How do charter school leaders use the Data Pack to counter or confirm those Results Reports to target improvement efforts and celebrate successes?
  • What is the Student Growth Percentile (SGP)? Can this really be the individual student growth measure we have been waiting for?  (Short answer: Yes, it can.)
  • What is the Similar Students Measure (SSM) and how can charter school leaders use it to understand how our students are doing?
  • How can school leaders access indicator-specific tools and resources online?
  • What other kinds of resources can TCSA help school leaders access?
  • How does TCSA use individual charter and statewide data to address the needs of charter schools in Texas?

Those are the questions we plan to answer. But, as always, we’re flexible. If you have other questions about the Quality Framework that you would like answered, please email the Quality Framework Team. See you next week.

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