Several staff members from the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) traveled to Nashville last week to join our charter school colleagues from across the country for the National Charter Conference. There were inspirational speakers and training sessions for the charter school community to share information and best practices at the conference.
One of the most exciting parts of the conference was the announcement of the 2016 Broad Prize at the first general session. On Monday, June 27, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools named IDEA Public Schools (IDEA) as America’s Best Charter School Network and the winner of this year’s prize. The Texas-based charter management organization will receive $250,000 to support college-readiness for their largely Hispanic student population.
CEO Tom Torkelson and several of the IDEA team were called to the stage at Music City Center to claim their prize.
IDEA serves more than 24,000 students in 44 schools throughout the Austin, Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio regions. Nearly 90 percent of IDEA's students are low-income, and 95 percent are Hispanic.
Two out of the three finalists this year were Texas-based charter schools and included IDEA Public Schools and Yes Prep Public Schools of Houston, along with Success Academy Charter Schools of New York. The first Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools was awarded in 2012 to Yes Prep Public Schools and in 2014, the recipient was KIPP Schools, which began in Houston, Texas.
It was exciting to cheer for our Texas friends at IDEA as they were revealed as the 2016 winner. TCSA congratulates IDEA on their success in providing a quality public education to students and we look forward to supporting and working with this network as it grows.
On June 27, 2016, TCSA issued this statement regarding IDEA's win.