It is nearly time to vote for the 2020 small school members of the Texas Charter Schools Association Board of Directors. The 2020 candidates for small school charter operator representatives on the TCSA Board of Directors are:

Board Member - Small School Representatives (2) 
Dr. Jennifer S. Goodman, Superintendent, Odyssey Academy 
Dr. Ken Vaughn, Director, Pineywoods Community Academy
Virginia Lannen, CEO, Pegasus School of Liberal Arts

To get to know your candidates, please click on their name above.

Voting begins January 6, 2020 and closes at midnight CST January 20, 2020.  Voting will be conducted electronically via Election Runner. You will receive a separate email with your voter ID and voter key. Charter school leaders are the designated voting representative for each charter and are permitted to vote only for leadership positions within their own size category. Election winners will be announced on January 21, pending no run-off elections. If there is a run-off, voting will be held January 21 through January 24.   

Each charter leadership position on this ballot is representative of a small charter school based on its enrollment for the current membership year. Charter operator representative terms are two years each and begin with the calendar year. Leaders are not subject to term limits.

Due to the number of open positions and candidates for the large school representative board member seats, the large school representatives have been determined. TCSA welcomes back large school board representatives Brent Wilson, EdD, Superintendent of  Life School and Eddie Conger, Superintendent of International Leadership of Texas.  

If you have questions about the election, please email Janie Muñoz at jmunoz@txcharterschools.org.

The Texas Charter Schools Association is holding elections for charter school operator representation on its Board of Directors in January 2020. As you may know, the TCSA Board of Directors voted in October to change its governance structure to reflect the changing needs of the sector and to create a board that is effective and nimble. Below is the new governance structure:

  • 3 appointed seats to the largest operators
  • 2 elected large school seats (1500+ students)
  • 5 elected small school seats (0-1499 students)
  • 2 board-appointed operator seats
  • Up to 7 community seats

For the upcoming elections, there are two (2) seats open for small school representatives and two (2) seats open for large school representatives. Schools with student enrollment below 1,499 will vote for candidates representing small schools; schools with student enrollment of 1,500+ students will vote for candidates representing large schools (according to 2020 membership numbers). One vote per school.

If you are interested in supporting the mission of TCSA and advancing the policy climate for the public charter community in Texas, I encourage you to read the updated TCSA Board of Directors Roles & Responsibilities. If you have yet to renew your membership with TCSA, you have to renew by December 10, 2019 in order to be eligible to run.

To confirm your candidacy for large or small school races, please send the following to Janie Munoz (jmunoz@txcharterschools.org) by December 13, 2019.

  • Your name
  • The school you lead
  • Your picture
  • Your bio
  • A note about why you want to run for a large/small school position on the TCSA Board of Directors

Elections will be held online only from January 6, 2020 – January 20, 2020. Winners will be announced on January 20, 2020, unless there is a runoff. If you have questions about this process, please contact Janie Munoz (jmunoz@txcharterschools.org).

Thank you for your commitment to great public schools for Texas students.

Starlee Coleman
Chief Executive Officer

 

Thanks to everyone who attended our 2019 TCSA Conference!  We had a record crowd of over 1700 attendees and an extremely high level of engagement from our attendees, whether it was in attendance at breakout sessions, prowling the exhibit hall, or enjoying the 80’s prom with the Spazmatics!                                    

While it’s fresh on your mind, if you attended the conference, would you mind taking a few minutes to complete our conference survey?  We want to make next year’s conference even better, so your feedback is extremely important.  Speaking of next year – we’ll be back again at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort for TCSA Conference 2020 from September 30th – October 2nd, so save the date!

The 2019 conference app has been updated with additional presenter slides.  Even though the conference is over (and even if you didn’t attend the conference), you can access the presenter slides and the information they contain.  If you haven’t loaded the app or if you accidentally deleted it, you can find the download here.

Several new training webinars are available on our on-demand learning zone.  One new addition is Reporting Requirements for Educator Misconduct which details your responsibilities as a school leader when instances of potential educator misconduct arise.  Presented by TCSA Attorney Elizabeth Cross, this course discusses responsibilities for educators under TAC Chapter 153 and 249, and well as TEC Chapter 22 and HB 3.  In addition, an updated presentation on Proposed Changes to the Charter School Performance Framework will be presented as a webinar on November 7 and available in our on-demand portal on November 12th

Did you know that all of our on-demand course content is available free to TCSA member schools?  Whether you are a CEO/Superintendent, Principal, Board Member or CFO, you can find courses in our Training Zone that will help you meet your Commissioner’s Credit training requirements.   Let me know how I can help you access the training content you need.

Several significant changes to the rules surrounding growth and expansion as well as charter school application and waitlist requirements have come about as the result of legislation passed in the recent 86th legislative session.  TCSA has been working with TEA charter division staff to provide schools with the most up to date information to be presented in two important conference breakout sessions.  

On Tuesday, October 29th TEA charter division staff will present SB 668 - New Growth and Expansion Rules for Charter Schools (2:00 p.m. Grand RS).  SB 668 alters the existing charter school expansion rules and allows charter holders to provide written notice of a new open-enrollment charter school up to 18 months before the date on which the campus is anticipated to open. This session will provide an overview of these new requirements and what charters should plan to do going forward if they are considering expansion. In addition, the TEA charter division staff will discuss the upcoming CSP grant available to schools looking to expand. 

Immediately following at 3:15 in the same breakout room, TEA staff will present HB 2293 - The New Statewide Common Application and Waitlist Reporting Requirements for ChartersSignificant changes are ahead in the way that charter schools enroll students. HB 2293 mandates that when charter schools recruit students, they will be required to direct their families to fill out the common charter school application posted on TEA’s website. In addition, charters will begin the process of submitting waitlist data to TEA. This session will provide a comprehensive overview of these major changes in the ways charters enroll students. 

Time will be provided in both sessions for participants to ask questions.  Come early – we expect these sessions to be full.  With that, we are making arrangements to videotape these sessions for inclusion in our training portal. 

Speaking of our training portal, did you know that all of our on-demand courses are now available free to TCSA member schools?  Now schools can have the convenience of high-quality, 24/7 on-demand training at no cost.  Do you need help in registering board members or staff or don’t know what courses to register for?  Look for “Special Offer” icons next to many of the courses.  These will connect you to a course bundle that will allow you to register your board members and administrative staff for required courses with just a few clicks.  If you have any questions or are interested in live training to meet Commissioner Credit hour requirements, please reach out to Dr. Bruce Marchand, TCSA VP of Member Services.    

Two of the important conference breakout strands emphasize training in effective governance as well as developing school and network leadership systems. Here’s a sampling of breakout sessions in these two strands:

Why is Good Charter School Governance so Difficult? presented by Mike Mizzoni of BoardOnTrack – Monday, October 28 – 10:45 a.m.

Great boards are well-staffed and well-supported. They have the right people in the right roles, doing the right work. And, by measuring their performance, they improve their capabilities over time. In this interactive workshop, we'll hand over the keys to great charter school governance. Whether you're focused on ending your first year strong, preparing to replicate, and managing a rapidly-scaling organization, you'll take away actionable strategies and practices for your governance team. Together, we'll explore:

  • How to ensure you've got the right people in the right roles, from charter starter to rapidly-scaling organization
  • The systems and processes that make great board meetings
  • How to establish and strengthen a board-CEO partnership that, in turn, strengthens your organization.

If you don't grow your people, who will? A Model for Developing Organizational Capacity: presented by Troy Mooney, EdD and Lani Norman of Life SchoolTuesday, October 29th, 2:00 p.m.

Employees are overtrained and underdeveloped. Learn how to develop leaders at all levels in your organization to improve student outcomes. Participants will explore how to build capacity by redefining systems and empowering leaders in order to create a sustainable learning culture that will:

  • Develop a systematic approach to creating leaders at all levels in their organization
  • Build organizational capacity through systems-thinking
  • Identify critical personnel groups to develop that improve student outcomes

Avoiding Chaos: Leadership Development and Succession Planning presented by attorney Darrick Eugene of Darick Eugene Law Firm – Wednesday, October 30th, 9:45 a.m.

The charter school movement started over 20 years ago and organizations that were new and novel are now mature and possibly in transition. As these organizations grow from founder lead to management lead, they may experience growing pains and challenges with navigating that path. This presentation will provide guidelines and strategies for leadership development and succession planning that will give school leadership resources to avoid potential pitfalls. Through case studies, group discussion and real world examples attendees will be encouraged to participate in and lead their organizations to new horizons.

  • Have you registered for the conference? Do so now before rates go up!
  • Have you downloaded the 2019 Conference App? It’s the best way to get the most updated information about the conference, including speakers, sessions, and special events!
  • Questions? Call our conference registration hotline at 1-855-389-8723 or email us at conference@txcharterschools.org

We are excited to add two new important webinars to our training offerings this summer.  On Thursday, August 1stat 10:00 a.m. please plan to join us for 86thLegislature Update for Charter Leaders.  As you know, a number of bills in addition to HB3 were signed into law as a result of actions of the 86th Texas Legislature that address safety and security, curriculum and instruction, health issues, discipline, personnel, and other matters.  This training provides a summary of these new bills and the impact on charter schools. 

We will present Changes to the Charter School Performance Framework on Tuesday, August 6that 10:00 a.m. The CSPF is an important evaluation tool used by the Texas Education Agency to monitor the academic, financial, and operational performance of Texas charter schools.  TEA has proposed changes in the CSPF for some of the indicators being monitored.  This training will review these proposed changes and discuss how the CSPF is used to impact Commissioner recommendations for charter school expansion and renewal.

Can’t make the live webinars?  No worries!  These webinars will be recorded and available for free access to TCSA members anytime on our on-demand platform in the TCSA Learning Zone.  

Speaking of training, the 2019 TCSA Conference is just around the corner October 28th– 30th.  This year’s conference will feature 88 breakout sessions that will allow charter administrators to receive their required 15-hour annual training update all at one time and go a long way towards the initial 30 hours of training if you are a new administrator.  On Tuesday, October 29th we will again have our popular 6-hour board workshop that allows board members to receive their required 6-hour training update all on one day.

Questions about training requirements, on-demand training, or interested in setting up a live training for your school? Contact Bruce Marchand at the Texas Charter Schools Association.  We’re here to help!  

Thinking about adding capacity or simply providing more space to your current students? Maybe you’ve been in those portables a bit longer than you anticipated? Perhaps it’s time to move out of the old strip mall and into something newer and more modern? Is your landlord giving you the raw deal?

If any of these questions have crossed your mind, attend our Inaugural Texas Facilities Summit! Hosted in Austin in just a few short weeks, this convening will leverage experts from the various aspects related to facilities and financing to help our schools learn more about this constantly evolving space. Schools that acquired facilities ten or fifteen years ago now have many more options for competitive products while newly authorized charters are gaining more attention. While the charter market is slowing down significantly in other parts of the country, we still see a more positive charter environment here in the Lone Star State.

Learn more here in last newsletter’s blog post. If you have questions, please contact Elliott Nguyen at Enguyen@txcharterschhools.org.

See you in four weeks!

At TCSA we are always looking for ways to add value to your membership and respond to training requests from members.  One topic that frequently arises is that of superintendent evaluation.  Most governance boards understand the importance of evaluating the school leader of their organization, but they aren't sure where to start.   We’ve created a free webinar airing Thursday, April 25th at 10:00 a.m. for our members, CEO/Superintendent Evaluations – Best Practices , that will address the following:

  • What are the state laws and regulations related to school leader evaluations?
  • How frequently should superintendents be evaluated?  
  • What metrics should boards use as part of the evaluation?  
  • How do 3, 5, or 7 people decide on what are a leader’s areas of strength and what are areas where growth is needed?
  • How do you communicate the evaluation?  
  • What if we need to put the superintendent on a growth plan?

TCSA's Director of Training/COO Dr. Bruce Marchand will use his background and training as an ISD and charter school leader to answer these and other questions that boards (and superintendents) frequently ask.  Whether you are a board member, superintendent, or aspiring leader, please click on the link and plan to join the free webinar on Thursday, April 25th at 10:00 a.m. as we work through this important topic. 

In addition, we’ve created a new free on-demand course available now especially for school secretaries, receptionists, and anyone else in your school whose job is to work in the front office titled Customer Service Training for Front Office Staff .  Front office staff members (secretaries, receptionists, clerks) are the first people that students, parents, and other school guests often see - they are the face of your school.  Yet without proper training in customer service best practices, mistakes can be made that can cause small problems to grow into large ones and use valuable resources to correct. In the training participants will learn the following:

  • What is good and bad customer service
  • Who your customers are
  • How to conduct a customer service self-assessment to build trust
  • Understanding how the physical environment affects customer's perceptions
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication tips
  • Handling e-mail, phones, and letters
  • Dealing with difficult cases
  • Handling meetings

Speaking of great training opportunities, registration for the 2019 TCSA Annual Conference is now open!  Register now to take advantage of early registration rates. 

Do you have a training need or are you interested in live training at your school?  Let us know – we’re here for you!

The Texas Charter Schools Association, in conjunction with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Tennessee Charter School Center, is excited to announce the launch of the Charter School Facilities Summit. Taking place in Austin on June 4th, 2019, this convening shall provide objective information on the various aspects of growth and expansion, including, but not limited to:

  • Building Your Facilities Team
  • Understanding Facilities Financing (PSF, CDFIs, NMTC, long and short-term debt)
  • Construction Procurement and Delivery Methods
  • Real Estate Identification
  • Project Timelines and Costs
  • Leasing vs. Ownership

This convening is designed for Superintendents, CFOs, Board Members, and District Staff involved in growth and expansion. Whether you are a single-site organization or a large CMO, the charter school landscape is constantly evolving and growth is becoming both easier and more difficult at the same time. Come learn from industry experts in this daylong training for a low registration fee of $25.00. Registration is only open to schools and capped at 60 individuals.   

To register, visit the Learning Zone. For questions, please contact Elliott Nguyen at Enguyen@txcharterschools.org. Please note that this convening is taking place one day before TEA’s Annual Summer Summit in Austin.

 

TCSC-Color (1)     

 

Many schools are in the midst of their open enrollment process for the 2019-2020 school year.  As a reminder, application and enrollment are two separate and distinct processes.

Application Period

During the application period (open enrollment period) the school may only ask for basic information on the application completed by the parent that includes the student’s name, age, and address.  This information is collected because it allows the school to ensure that the student will potentially be able to attend the school because they will be in a grade level that the school is authorized to serve and live in a geographic area approved by the state.  Schools, however, may not ask for additional information such as achievement records, transcripts, or immunization records.  Finally, an open-enrollment charter school must have a deadline date for the application period.

The application for enrollment must include a non-discrimination clause.  An example of a non-discrimination clause would be “Superior Charter School does discriminate against students on the basis of sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, academic, artistic, or athletic ability or the district the child would otherwise attend”.  As a reminder, you can’t ask for any of this information during the application period.

The term open enrollment means any student can apply to the charter school; the school's charter will specify any exceptions. The admissions policy must also describe a lottery process. A charter must use a lottery process when the number of applications to the school exceeds the number of available spaces.  The lottery is conducted using information gathered during the application period.

Enrollment Period

Once a student is admitted, either with or without a lottery process (depending on space available), the enrollment process begins. It is only then that the school may request information about past academic achievement, medical history, and other pertinent school records including special education records.

A charter school may have an admissions policy that requires a student to demonstrate artistic ability if the school specializes in performing arts. No student auditions can be required prior to admission and enrollment at a charter school unless the charter school was originally approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) or the commissioner of education as a performing arts school with an audition component or the charter was amended by the commissioner of education to designate the school as a performing arts school with an audition component.

A student may be ineligible for admission to a charter school based on a history of a criminal offense, a juvenile court adjudication, or discipline problems under Chapter 37, Subchapter A, only if the exclusion was specifically approved by the SBOE or commissioner of education when the charter was originally awarded, or if the charter was amended by the commissioner of education to allow this exclusion.  It must be noted that the exclusion is allowed only for those serious discipline problems specified in Chapter 37, Subchapter A.

TEA Legal Division guidance states that if space is available, past the open enrollment period enrolling students for the next school year, an eligible student must be admitted and enrolled on any day at any time of the day and must be counted as and considered a charter student immediately.  Open-enrollment charter schools cannot have specified days for admission and/or enrollment of students.  State law does not allow for a trial enrollment period at a public school; therefore, there can be no period of time in which a student attends a charter school without being enrolled as a charter school student.

If you have any questions regarding the admission and enrollment process and what should be included on your application for enrollment, please contact Bruce Marchand or Elizabeth Cross at TCSA.  We’re here to help!

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