Last week, the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) held its quarterly Member Council Meeting (MCM) with about 40 participants representing member charter schools from across the Lone Star State.
TCSA’s Executive Director David Dunn opened the meeting with brief remarks and was followed by MCM Chair, Kathleen Zimmermann, who welcomed members to Austin. Dunn shared some great news for the charter section with the release of the newest CREDO study, Charter School Performance in Texas, which found that student at charters are outperforming their peers at school districts. Most notably, students are gaining an additional 17 days of learning in reading and have closed the gap in math. Additionally, Hispanic student in poverty at charters are also faring better in both reading and math as compared to their school district counterparts. TCSA issued a press release featuring these findings, which has resulted in news stories by the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, El Paso Inc., and ED Week.
Following Dunn’s welcome remarks, TCSA Board Member Lori Fey addressed members and provided an update on the Executive Director Search. Fey is the Chair of the Search Committee and is working with Bellwether Education Partners to identify TCSA’s next leader. Fey is committed to a transparent process and has been meeting with various stakeholders within the charter school sector and education community gathering information. She welcomes input on this search and looks forward to finding the right person to represent students from all public charter schools across the state!
TCSA’s Veronica Garcia, Martha Fernandez, and Christine Nishimura gave an overview to members on the 85th Legislative Session and a federal update. This presentation featured TCSA’s grassroots efforts, legislative wins, and the bills impacting charter schools.
Next on the meeting agenda was Jo Ann Simmons of UT Tyler Innovation Academy who gave a presentation focused on academic rigor. Simmons candidly revealed her experience on what works to improve student outcomes and led a meaningful discussion among members about best practices. We hope this conversation continues, allowing for charter leaders to share information to strengthen student achievement at every campus!
Last, but not least was Michele Stahl of the Texas Education Agency. Stahl provided information on the new A-F Accountability standards. We appreciate Stahl and others at TEA for continuously working with public charter schools, ensuring that these campuses have information to effectively meet state requirements.
TCSA thanks all the member schools who attended both in-person and online and we look forward to our next meeting at the Texas Charter Schools Conference in Grapevine.