On Wednesday, December 11th at 10:00 a.m. please plan to join architect Kerri Ranney of Huckabee-inc.com, a leading Texas school architectural firm, as she discusses Senate Bill 11 Facilities Standards for Schools. Kerri is the Co-Chair of the TASA School Facilities Committee and was recently appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas School Safety Center Board and is the first architect to serve on the board. The board reports to the Governor, the legislature, the State Board of Education, and the Texas Education Agency regarding school safety and security.  Kerri will also give a glimpse into the process that created the school facilities standards now in place as well as the role that charters will play in future facilities planning.  If you are unable to join us for the December 11th webinar, no worries!  All of our live webinars are recorded and placed on our on-demand training portal for easy 24/7 access to member schools.

Did you know that all of the on-demand courses in the TCSA training zone are now available free to member schools?  You can choose from over 100 courses, all of which offer Commissioner Credit training minutes to meet the professional development requirements for board members, CEOs, charter officers, campus administrators, and business officials.  Need help selecting and bundling courses or unsure about training requirements?  Dr. Bruce Marchand and the TCSA Member Services team can help you make the right training choices for your team – let us know how we can help!

One of the most important student populations in all schools is students with disabilities. Special education programs for students with disabilities is among the most critical services that schools provide, and evidence suggests that special education services is a major factor in the choices parents make for their child’s schooling. Though our charter schools in Texas abide by the same rules as traditional public schools for enrolling and identifying students for special education services, charter schools in the state have typically lagged behind ISD schools in special education enrollment.

In the 2018-2019 school year, charter schools in Texas were providing special education services to more than 22,000 students, at an average rate of 8.5% of total enrollment across all charter schools. That rate has steadily risen in the past few years, but charter schools still sit nearly 2% behind ISDs in their average percentage of students receiving special education services.

In order to support charter schools in the development of their special education programs, the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools are jointly hosting a free webinar on Friday, November 15th. The webinar will discuss strong special education practices that they have seen and how charter schools can better support students with disabilities. The webinar will take place at 12 PM Central on the 15th, and you can complete your free registration here.

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.

The Texas Charter Schools Association is proud to announce 25 fellows have been accepted to the 2019-2020 Teacher Advocacy Leadership Institute (TALI). This highly selective fellowship is in its second year and has doubled the number of fellows to meet growing demand.   

 The purpose of the fellowship is to help educators gain a more thorough understanding of charter school laws and to teach them how to advocate for policies that advance the charter school movement in Texas.  

Fellows will receive extensive advocacy and communication training and will learn how to engage legislators, testify before legislative committees, respond to action alerts, write op-eds, and engage fellow teachers on issues that concern charter schools, students, and teachers. 

The names of 2019-2020 TALI Fellows are: 

 Austin 

  • Tanya Reyes, Harmony Science Academy 
  • Aryn Van Steijn, Chaparral Star Academy 
  • Mark Rogers, Austin Achieve Public Schools 
  • Miriam Rodgers, Meridian World School 
  • Jennifer Cephus, KIPP Austin Leadership Elementary 

Beaumont 

  • Amber Frasher, Harmony Science Academy 

Dallas 

  • Benjamin Prior, Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy – Mesquite 
  • Brandi Weaver, Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy – Plano 
  • Elena Creixell, Great Hearts – Irving
  • Sondra Hopper, Education Center International Academy 
  • Rachel Barrett, Leadership Prep School 

El Paso 

  • Valerie Astorga, Harmony School of Innovation 
  • Marilyn Owens, Harmony School of Excellence 

Houston 

  • Abigail Solis, YES Prep  Hobby 
  • Byron Hannah, YES Prep – Fifth Ward 
  • Camedra Jefferson, YES Prep  District
  • Debbie Ramos, YES Prep – Brays Oaks
  • Jillian Suan, YES Prep – White Oak
  • Mandy Peyrani, Harmony School of Endeavor 
  • Ryan Martinez, YES Prep – Brays Oaks 
  • Tamira Samuel, YES Prep – Northline 
  • Ricca R Dickens, YES Prep – District 

San Antonio

  • Chanel Ashley, Harmony School of Innovation 
  • Jennifer Aceves, School of Science and Technology
  • Brandon Aniol, Great Hearts – Northern Oaks

We are excited to welcome this new class to TALI and thank them for their commitment to advocate for our charter schools and our students!

For more information about the program, please contact Shree Medlock, Vice President of Strategic Engagement for the Texas Charter Schools Association. 

 

 

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.    

A change from House Bill 3 is the addition of a new section of code, Tex. Edu. Code 28.0062. This new code places new requirements on charter schools in the areas of Reading Academies and Certification of Practices to TEA. There is also a new testing requirement for teaching certificates for Pre-K through 6th-grade teachers. This requirement is not applicable to charters unless they require a Texas certification for their teachers. Additionally, the new certification requirement is not retroactive, it will only apply to people who obtain a certificate after January 2021.

Reading Academies

All teachers and administrators of kindergarten, first, second, or third-grade students will be required to attend a reading academy. TEA is in the process of creating guidelines and authorizing providers of this training. The list of authorized providers is expected by March of 2020 and trainings will begin in the summer of 2020. The training will be specialized for teachers and administrators and will be offered in two different manners. The comprehensive program is an in-person training and TEA expects the cost to be between $3000 and $6000 per person. The other option is a blended program that will combine in-person training with internet-based training. They expect this type of program to cost from $300 to $500 per person.

Certification to TEA

Each school will have to certify to TEA that they are

  1. implementing a phonics curriculum in grades K-3;
  2. prioritizing the placement of highly effective teachers in K-2; and
  3. utilizing integrated reading instruments used to diagnose reading development and comprehension to support each student in pre-k-3.

TEA will have a survey for schools to complete in order to certify these three requirements.

Paying for these Requirements

TEA suggests allocating funds from a number of different sources in order to pay for the reading requirements imposed in HB3. They suggest using funds from the early education allotment, the dyslexia allotment, the basic allotment, the bilingual education allotment, and the compensatory education allotment. Additionally, if schools choose to provide a stipend to the teacher to cover the cost of the reading academy, they may count those stipends as part of the required 30% compensation increase.

TEA has provided a webinar on this topic, which can be viewed here. As always, TCSA is happy to assist your charter in complying with these requirements. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact TCSA.

TCSA has two new free webinars planned for next week that should be of interest to both charter CEOs and administrators as well as board members.

On Tuesday, September 10th at 11:00 a.m. please plan to join Ryan Alexander for Introduction to Civic Builders. Civic Builders, a non-profit facilities developer, offers very favorable terms to charters looking to establish a permanent facility presence in their community. Ryan oversees the Facilities Investment Fund, a $100 million loan fund formed in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation and Bank of America to support high-performing charter schools nationwide with their permanent facilities initiatives. The program offers very favorable financing terms to charter schools and has an established track record of working with charters in Texas. If you are thinking about expanding or upgrading your current facility, this is a webinar you don’t want to miss.

On Friday, September 13th at 10:00 a.m. please plan to join us for How to Have Great Governance Board Meetings. Great governance board meetings don't just happen - they are a result of detailed planning, collaborative communication, consistent implementation, and knowing to expect the unexpected. The webinar is designed for both charter CEOs and board members and will cover the following topics:

  • Planning for meetings throughout the year
  • Crafting a collaborative agenda
  • Reports and data that board members need to see
  • Monitoring SMART student outcome goals during the meeting
  • Rules and best practices for open meetings and closed executive sessions

Can’t make the live webinar presentation? No worries – these webinars will be recorded and offered for free as part of our ever-growing collection of on-demand training offerings.

Speaking of free – all of our on-demand, commissioner credit approved content is now free to TCSA members as part of your 19-20 membership renewal! This is a convenient option for those board members and administrators who want the option of a 24/7 training and credit acquisition platform.

Did you know that TCSA also does live board training? Last year we trained over 30 charter holder boards. The trainings are informative, interactive, and enjoyable. Contact Dr. Bruce Marchand at TCSA to get on our training calendar!

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!  

It’s a wrap! The first cohort of the Teacher Advocacy Leadership Institute (TALI) has ended, coinciding with the end of the legislative session. The institute was designed to help teachers gain a more thorough understanding of public charter school laws and to teach them help to advocate for policies and laws that are needed to support the public charter school movement in Texas.

Twelve teachers representing charter school networks across Texas participated in the program. They are:

Donnie Beeson, KIPP Austin Brave High School
Cristina Correa, IDEA College Preparatory San Juan
Travis Helm, Austin Achieve Public
Tristan Jones, KIPP Houston High School
Jeremy Lippart, Harmony Science Academy Austin
Brooke Lucero, Great Hearts Northern Oaks San Antonio
Shelley Pridgen, IDEA Public Schools,
Heather Richmond, University Academy-Palestine
Cameron Starc, Founders Responsive Education Classical Academy of Leander
Darla Sutton, Responsive Education Premier High School Amarillo
Amanda Walsh, KIPP Comunidad-Austin 

TALs

From left to right: Shree’ Medlock, Cristina Correa, Shelley Pridgen, Brooke Lucero, Amanda Walsh, Donnie Beeson, Jeremy Lippart, Kelle’ Martin, Cameron Starc, Darla Sutton, Tristan Jones, Heather Richmond, Travis Helm and Starlee Coleman, CEO TCSA

In addition to receiving advocacy training (provided in partnership with Teach Plus Texas), participants responded to action alerts, wrote op-eds, facilitated school tours with lawmakers, prepared for and testified before the House Public Education committee, met with lawmakers, and kept their peers informed on the issues.

Building upon their work in the TALI program this year, teachers Cristina Correa, Brooke Lucero, and Heather Richmond have been accepted into the Teach Plus Texas Fellowship program for the 2019-2020 school year, where they will be continuing their advocacy training. 

Thank you to our wonderful teachers for all you do for your students and for going above and beyond this year by becoming an advocate too! We are grateful for you.

Applications for Cohort 2 for the 2019-2020 TALI fellowship will open in August. Please email Shree’ Medlock at smedlock@txcharterschools.org if you would like to be notified when the application is available.

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