TCSA is excited to announce a number of upcoming trainings and regional meetings just in time for charter leaders and boards as you prepare for the opening of school. Here’s what coming up:

July 30th - 2 p.m. Academic Accountability 2018 (Free Webinar) 60 Minutes 19 TAC 100 Commissioner’s Credit Accountability Other

July 31 - 10 a.m. Handling Challenging Employee Situations (Free Webinar) 60 Minutes 19 TAC 100 Commissioner’s Credit Charter School Law

July 31 - 2 p.m. Staff Cultural Diversity and Team Building (Free Webinar) 60 Minutes 19 TAC 100 Commissioner’s Credit

August 1 - 10 a.m. Working with Special Student Populations (Free Webinar) 60 Minutes 19 TAC 100 Commissioner’s Credit Charter School Law

August 2 - 9 a.m. Member Council (In-Person Attendee)

August 2 - 9 a.m. Member Council (Virtual Attendee)

September 12 – 9 a.m.- noon. East Texas Regional Meeting September 13 - 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Dallas Area Regional Meeting

September 18 – 9 a.m.- noon. San Antonio Regional Meeting

September 19 - 9 a.m.- noon. El Paso Regional Meeting Region 19 ESC

September 20 - 9 a.m.- noon. West Texas Regional Meeting

September 26 - 9 a.m.- noon. Rio Grande Valley Regional Meeting Region 1 ESC

October 24-26 - TCSA Annual Conference Houston, Texas

TCSA is conducting a number of “live” board and administrator trainings in the Fall. If you are interested in having TCSA train your board and administrative team, please contact Dr. Bruce Marchand, Director of Training. Don’t forget that our TCSA Learning Zone is your 24/7 resource for on-demand training content. Contact Bruce for special bundled pricing for boards, administrators, and business office officials.

Beginning September 1, 2018, all public schools will be required to post updated special education policies on the ESC Region 18 Legal Framework. The deadline to post updated policies is October 31, 2018.

To ensure all schools are posting up-to-date policies, ESC Region 18 will be deleting all policies currently uploaded to the Legal Framework on August 31. All charter schools should take the following steps to prepare for the updates:

  1. Download and save all current special education policies saved to the Legal Framework, if you have not done so already;
  2. Update all necessary policies to meet the requirements of the 2018 Legal Framework;
  3. Adopt updated policies at a Board of Directors meeting prior to the October 31, 2018 posting deadline.
The Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) Legal Team updated all of the necessary policies. Current Model Policy Subscribers can access the updated policies under the ‘Products and Services’ tab in the Quality Portal. If you are not a Model Policy Subscriber, renew your policies today! A renewal of the Model Policy subscription is $1000 or $3000 for first time purchases. The Model Policy Subscription includes all required Special Education Policies. More information about the Model Policy Subscription can be found on the TCSA webpage.

For questions regarding the Model Policies, contact Christine Nishimura, Deputy General Counsel at cnishimura@txcharterschools.org or (512) 584-8272. For questions regarding the ESC Region 18 Legal Framework and how to upload new policies, please contact Region 18 or your ESC Regional office.

Your elected advocacy committee has been hard at work shaping the legislative agenda for the upcoming state session - now just six months away! We’ve had a strong response to the issue survey and thank the school leaders that took the time to complete it. The upcoming August 2nd member council is a critical meeting as we will share the results of the issue survey and take the next step in finalizing our agenda for the 86th Legislature.

Member schools remain very concerned about state funding, academic accountability, and property taxes, but new issues like school safety, and municipal regulations are also coming into focus. Based on our work at member council, the second part of our member survey will be completed so schools can respond early in the year. Come learn how you can make this a successful legislative session by lending your voice and feedback. 

-Dr. Rebecca Good, 
TCSA Elected Advocacy Committee Chair

REGISTER HERE

Here’s what’s planned for the full day:

8:30 am: Registration & Continental Breakfast 

9:00 am: Welcome and Introductions: Dr. Jennifer Goodman, Chair, Member Council

9:05 am: Greetings from TCSA Solution Provider & Sponsor: Charter School Capital

9:20 am: CEO Search Conclusion: Chuck Cook, TCSA Interim CEO

9:30 am: Advocacy Legislative Priorities: Dr. Rebecca Good, TCSA Elected Advocacy Committee Chair

10:10 am: Legislative and Grassroots Update: TBD to share Interim Charge Report, Addie Gomez, Executive Director, Charter Schools Now

10:45 am: Break

11:00 am: Legal Update: Christine Nishimura, TCSA Deputy General Counsel

11:30 am: Lunch sponsored by Charter School Capital; Instructional Focus: Magnolia Montessori for All: Sara Cotner, Founder and CEO

12:15 pm: School Communications Update: Phillip Ramati, TCSA Director of Communications

12:45 pm: TCSA Membership Updates: Nadia Luna, TCSA Director of Membership

1:15 pm: Performance and Data Updates: Laura Kelly, TCSA Director of Quality Services

1:45 pm: Conference Update: Dr. Bruce Marchand, TCSA Director of Training Services

Agenda is subject to change.
If you can’t make it and would like to attend virtually, please register here.

Nearby Accommodations:
Marriott South, 4415 S IH 35 Frontage Rd., Austin, TX 78744, 512.441.7900 
Omni Southpark, 4140 Governors Row, Austin, TX 78744, 512.448.2222

Thank you to TCSA Solution Provider Charter School Capital for sponsoring:
charter-school-capital-logo

We are excited to announce an upcoming opportunity for our independent and small charter management organizations to apply for the Replicating Great Options Strategic Growth Institute.

Led by Bellwether Education Partners, in conjunction with the Walton Family Foundation and TCSA, this six-month experience is designed to aid in the development of a five-year strategic plan that will then serve as the foundation for future growth.

Up to six schools will be selected to participate in a cohort experience with intensive organization-level work, including an on-site visit, weekly video conference check-ins, and several in-person convenings. Two informational webinars will be hosted on Monday, Aug. 13th at 4 p.m. and Thursday, June 16th at 7:30 a.m. to help interested schools learn more. The deadline to apply is Monday, Aug. 27th.

Charter school leaders from throughout the state are welcome to apply, but organizations from Ft. Worth, Houston, and San Antonio are particularly encouraged to participate. To apply for the Replicating Great Options Strategic Growth Institute, please follow this link. You may also contact me for information at enguyen@txcharterschools.org.    

TCSA has Training and Services to Meet Your Specific Needs!

  • Did you know - There are very specific professional development requirements outlined in 19 TAC §100.1102-1105 describing required training for board members, CEOs and charter officers, and campus administrators;
  • Did you know - New board members must receive 12 hours of prescribed Commissioner-hour training in their first year of service and 6 hours annually thereafter, with training in Public Records and Open Meetings within the first 90 days of service on the board;
  • Did you know - CEOs and Business Managers must receive 30 hours of training in their first year of service and 15 hours annually thereafter, with different training modules for each role;
  • Did you know - Campus administrators are required to have 10 hours of training initially and 5 hours annually thereafter; and
  • Did you know - The Texas Charter Schools Association has a solution for all of your training needs!

Training Solutions for Board and Administrator Training

  • TCSA’s on-demand training portal is a great option for board members, CEOs, and campus administrators who want high-quality, up to date Commissioner-hour credit training with the convenience of 24/7 access.
  • In-person board training is available at reasonable rates for schools that prefer a “live” training option and can be customized to meet the needs of the school. TCSA is also one of the few authorized providers of the new state EISO training for CEOs and boards that are interested in an effective way to look at data and goal-setting.
  • TCSA will again provide a 6-hour large-group board training on Friday, October 26th in Houston as part of the TCSA Conference.

Customized Training to Meet Your Needs for 2018-2019

  • TCSA can provide training to complete the ESSA-required Campus Needs Assessment and Campus Improvement Plan using the TCSA Quality Framework
  • Request access to the TCSA Heat Map and learn how the Campus and Network Data Packs in the Quality Portal can help you with Growth and Development strategies.
  • Be looking for an announcement of our CFO Boot Camp Training to be held in early December!

As your member organization, TCSA is here to assist you in any way we can to help you achieve excellence in your organization.  Be sure to let us know how we can serve you!

Something New: EISO Training

Many member schools have inquired about the 3-hour SB 1566 Evaluating and Improving Student Outcomes (EISO) training that is required for ISD elected trustee boards by September 1, 2018.  This training is not required for charter boards; however, it is excellent training for any charter governance board as the training allows boards and CEOs to:

  • Understand student outcomes and why they matter
  • Develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Focused, and Timebound) goals linked to measurable student outcomes with an identified baseline, target, population, and deadline.
  • Develop a system of Progress Monitoring to evaluate progress towards goal attainment
  • Understand the latest changes in the A-F Accountability System and how the EISO process can facilitate improved student performance

TCSA is one of only a handful of Authorized Providers who are eligible to provide this training. TEA has mandated that this training be conducted “live” so no on-demand course option is available.  If you are interested, contact Dr. Bruce Marchand to make plans to provide this 3-hour training for your board.

Upcoming TCSA Professional Development Opportunities

Below are upcoming training opportunities for TCSA members:

May 15th Deadline - Conference Call for Proposals

Time is running short for you to submit a conference session proposal for the 2018 TCSA Conference.  Proposals are due May 15th.  Proposals can be in one or more of the following strands - Innovation, Advocacy, Finance, Governance, Leadership and Coaching, Operations, Student Success and Learning, School Law, Growth, Safety and Security, Strategic Planning, Marketing, and Communication.  Schools and individuals may submit multiple proposals.  Contact Dr. Bruce Marchand if you have any questions.

April 26th Member Council Reminder

Be sure to make time to attend the Member Council Meeting next Thursday, April 26th at 9:00 a.m. in Austin.  The agenda is robust with a focus on charter advocacy and getting your voice heard as we rely on your input to craft legislative priorities for the 86th Legislative session.  A virtual attendance option is available for those unable to attend in person.

We Need Your Input on Training

TCSA has in-person and on-demand training available for governance boards, CEOs, leadership staff, and campus administrators that can be customized to meet your needs.  Contact me and let me know how we can meet your training needs!

Spring is the time for all things new, and at TCSA we’re committed to ensuring that our member schools have access to professional development that is up to date and that our webinars, workshops, and on-demand content is exactly what you need in your role as a school leader.  Speaking of new (which is a term that doesn’t ordinarily apply to me) you may already know that I am in a new position at TCSA as the Director of Training.  You may also start to notice some subtle changes in our approach to professional development at your association, all of which are designed to improve our services and help our member schools access the highest quality training to help you achieve your school’s mission.

That said, we’ve had great responses to our free one-hour webinars, and there are four scheduled between now and the end of May:

April 19th, 4:00 p.m.Energy Savings 101 - How to Find Energy Savings in Your School Facility.  Energy efficiency experts Kwame Watkins and Chuck Thomas from Jengo Consulting will present a step by step overview on how to reduce energy costs in your school building.  Energy reduction best practices will be shared that can be implemented at little or no cost.  Audience – Operations staff, CEOs, CFOs

May 1st, 4:00 p.m. - Employee Situations Involving Alleged Harassment, Retaliation and Discrimination.  Texas charter school expert and attorney Joe Hoffer will offer authoritative advice and guidance in this one-hour webinar on dealing with employee situations regarding alleged harassment, retaliation and discrimination.  Audience – CEOs, HR and Operations staff, Campus Leaders. Credit – 60 minutes Charter School Law.

May 16th, 9:00 a.m. – School Safety and Active Shooter Threats – Next Steps.  This webinar is a follow up to our well-attended March webinar on school safety.  Edward Rivas of AIG will guide school leaders through additional steps to take that will help ensure that your school is utilizing the latest information and practices to ensure the safety of your students and staff.  Audience – CEOs and Campus Leaders. Credit – 60 Minutes Health and Safety.

May 22, 4:00 p.m. – Charter Advocacy 101 for CEOs, Boards, and Campus Administrators. TCSA advocacy experts Martha Fernandez, Director of Civic Affairs and Advocacy, and Erika Rocha, Central Texas Outreach & Field Manager, will provide expert advice and guidance on ways to successfully advocate for your school in today's contentious political environment. Audience – CEOs, Board Members, Campus Leaders. Credit – 60 minutes Charter School Law.

TCSA is very excited to co-host the Charter School Law Institute Texas Legal Seminar: Student Civil Rights Summit on Tuesday, June 26th at Goodwater Montessori School in Georgetown.  This one-day workshop presented by national charter law experts will provide the legal expertise charter school leaders need to serve their students, staff, and community in understanding the breadth of civil rights law and the ways they are changing with a clear understanding of how they are applied to charter schools.  Register by May 25th to get an early registration discount.  Discounts are also available for two or more participants from one organization.   Audience – CEOs, Board Members, Campus Leaders.  Credit - 360 minutes Charter School Law.

Our next Member Council Meeting is scheduled for April 26th from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the TCEA training facility in Austin. This is the best way to engage with your organization and strengthen our movement.  Please note the agenda on the registration link.  Lunch will be provided by our sponsor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  At this time we are also planning on making remote access available as well; we should have that link available shortly.

Finally, with our annual TCSA Conference coming up October 24-26, we are looking for quality conference session proposals focused on one or more of the following areas - Innovation, Advocacy, Finance, Governance, Leadership and Coaching, Operations, Student Success and Learning, School Law, Growth, Safety and Security, Strategic Planning, Marketing, and Communication.  We are planning for our 2018 conference to be the biggest and best yet.  Please help make that happen by considering submitting a conference proposal before the May 15th deadline!

At TCSA we offer specially discounted bundled training for governance teams and administrators, and we can set up customized in-person training for your staff and governance teams as well.  Please reach out to me and let me know how we can help meet your training needs!

On Monday, March 19, 2018 TCSA provided testimony at the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. Kathleen Zimmermann, superintendent of NYOS Charter School and Todd Ziebarth, senior vice president of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools educated members of the commission about the importance of public charter schools and the need to identify a long term solution for the financing of charters. The legislature provided $60 million in state funding for charter facilities during the 2017 session, but a significant funding gap between traditional schools and public charters persists. Karalei Nunn, founder Meridian World Charter also appeared before the Expenditures Working Group.

The commission was created to develop recommendations for improvements to the current public school finance system and to consider new methods of financing public education. The group is examining the relationship between state and local school funding, the levels of funding required to meet constitutional standards, and any needed policy changes that reflect the geographic diversity of the state.

It’s important for public charter schools to be part of any funding solution crafted by state lawmakers, so please reach out to commission members in your area to ensure the needs of public charter students and their families are incorporated into a modern and fair funding system for all public schools. To learn more about the commission and its members, visit this link or the resources listed below.

The commission meets in Austin, and will finalize a report for the 86th Legislature in December of 2018.

Resources

Texas Public School Finance Overview 2017-2018 (Jan 2018) (PDF)
Texas Public School Finance Glossary Dec 2017 (PDF)
Rider 73 Charts Jan 2018 (PDF)

Nine applications are currently under review by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to become new Texas charter schools in the Generation 23 authorization cycle.  Schools ultimately approved as part of Generation 23 will open at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.   In this most recent cycle, twenty-one applications were submitted to TEA by the December 4th deadline.  Of those, seven were rejected by the agency as incomplete, and fourteen proceeded to external review where nine of the fourteen ultimately met the 85% cut-score threshold to continue in the approval process.

Of the nine schools under review, six of the schools contracted with TCSA and received extensive application development and review services prior to submission. In addition, TCSA staff continues to work with TEA on refining the authorization process, especially in the area of application external review. Our TCSA efforts helped to result in a change in the external review process that allows applicants who do not initially reach the 85% combined cut score for all five reviewers to request a sixth reader if the original score was between 80 and 84 percent.  In this most recent cycle, two applicants met this criteria and requested a sixth reader.   

The charters currently under review are as follows: 

Houston/Harris County Area

  • Bloom Academy, opening as a K-1st school with a projected enrollment of 180 and a maximum K-5th enrollment of 1,080
  • Reve Preparatory, opening as a K-1st school with a projected enrollment of 180 and a maximum K-8th enrollment of 1,620
  • The Collegiate School of Houston, opening as a 6th grade school with a projected enrollment of 150 and a maximum 6th – 12th enrollment of 1,050
  • Thrive School Network, opening as a 6th – 12th school with a projected enrollment of 80 and a maximum 6th – 12th enrollment of 100

San Antonio Area

  • Promesa Academy, opening as a K-1st school with a projected enrollment of 176 and a maximum K-5th enrollment of 1,056
  • Single Seed Enrichment School, opening as a K-6th school with a projected enrollment of 325 and a maximum PreK4- 12th grade enrollment of 1,332

Lubbock Area

  • Elementary School for Education Innovation, opening as a K-2nd school with a projected enrollment of 270 and a maximum K-5th enrollment of 540

Fort Worth

  • LEAD International Academy is applying to open as a K-6th school with a projected enrollment of 700 and a maximum K-12th enrollment of 1,300

Tarrant, Harris, Travis, and El Paso counties

  • Impact Public Schools hopes to open four schools as a K-2nd, 6th, and 9th grade model with a projected enrollment of 500 and a maximum K-12th enrollment of 6,200

The next step in the authorization cycle is a thorough review of the application by the agency and interviews with TEA staff and SBOE members to be held in mid-May, with Commissioner’s recommendations for approval to come by late May.  The full State Board of Education will meet June 15th where they may choose to take no action and approve the Commissioner’s recommendations for a charter contract or vote to veto one or more of his choices.

Have you checked out the TCSA Events Calendar lately?  We are continually adding training content that is focused on helping our member schools stay up-to-date on best practices in the myriad of areas that impact the operation of a successful charter school.  Here’s some of the upcoming opportunities that are offered to you free as a TCSA member:

April 5th - 4:00 p.m. - Diving Into Your Needs Assessment.  Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment is a vital task for school leaders as you use all relevant data to assess strengths and weaknesses and develop a campus improvement plan (CIP) to address identified needs.  This webinar will discuss what data needs to be considered, best practices to analyze your data, and how to use your analyzed data to prepare your CIP as well as your ESSA application for federal funds.

April 19th – 4:00 p.m. – Energy Saving 101 – How to Find Savings In Your School Facility. This webinar will present a step by step overview on how to reduce energy costs in your school building(s).  Energy reduction best practices will be shared that can be implemented at no cost or with minimal to substantial investment.  Energy experts from TCSA Solution Provider Jengo Consulting will share personal stories of how they saved one Texas school district $4 million and other real life examples of energy saving successes at charter schools and traditional ISD campuses.

May 1st – 4:00 p.m. - Employee Situations Regarding Alleged Harassment, Retaliation and Discrimination.  Texas charter school expert and attorney Joe Hoffer will offer authoritative advice and guidance in this one-hour webinar on dealing with employee situations regarding alleged harassment, retaliation and discrimination.  In the webinar Mr. Hoffer will precisely describe what harassment, retaliation, and discrimination may look like in a workplace environment, legal steps that must be followed if an employee alleges that any of these behaviors have taken place, and how to create a healthy workplace environment to mitigate the likelihood of these types of behaviors.

April 26th – 9:00 a.m. - Be sure to register to attend our next TCSA Member Council Meeting on Thursday, April 26th in Austin.  At this meeting we will continue our focus on charter advocacy and what TCSA is doing as an organization, including the addition of our 501c4 Charter Schools Now under the TCSA umbrella, along with the latest information on our CEO search, the most recent news from the charter sector and TEA, and an instructional and quality service update.  This is also a great opportunity to network with other charter leaders!

Coming in June – We are tentatively scheduling a charter school law conference and CEO summit for Tuesday, June 26th in Austin.  We will e-blast an official invite to member schools as soon as details are finalized.

Don’t forget that TCSA is your one-source solution for governance and administrator training.  We offer on-site and on-demand training opportunities that are deeply discounted for member schools.  Please contact me to learn about how TCSA can meet your training needs!

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