It is time to update your Special Education Policies for the Education Service Center (ESC) Region 18 Legal Framework! Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) Legal Team updated all of the necessary policies, including:

  • Admissions, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee
  • Compliance with Federal Funding Requirements IDEA
  • Transfer of Parental Rights at Age of Majority
  • Referral for Possible Special Education Services
  • Consent
  • Dyslexia Services
  • Records
  • Residential Facility
  • Special Education Cameras
  • Student Discipline
  • Testing - Student Assessment
  • Transition Services
  • Monitoring and Compliance
  • Least Restrictive Environment
  • Graduation Requirements
  • Foster Parents

All of these policies are available to current Model Policy Subscribers in the Quality Portal, under the ‘Products and Services’ tab. For schools without a current subscription, you may renew or purchase the Model Policy Subscription in the Quality Portal, under the ‘Products and Services’ tab, and select ‘Begin Purchase’ on the right side of the page. Information about pricing and contents of the 2018 Model Policy Subscription can be found on the TCSA Website.

Each charter schools board of directors must review, adapt, and adopt each policy update prior to uploading the policy on the ESC Region 18 Legal Framework.

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.

In the fall 2017, the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) began a partnership with Proximity Learning, LLC. to help our member charter schools find innovative staffing and curriculum solutions.

Proximity Learning, a Texas-based, fully accredited K-12 online education solution, offers schools more flexibility when it comes to course offerings, special education (SPED) services and staffing needs. Districts across the nation are using Proximity Learning to meet their needs through a variety of delivery methods. Spring Branch ISD and Garland ISD have both found success with Proximity Learning’s catalog of courses and virtual teachers.

Is your network growing?

Do you have a difficult time recruiting and retaining highly qualified staff for your students?

Are your families requesting more course offerings such as Mandarin, Latin or AP courses?

 

Proximity Learning may be the solution for you. TCSA is particularly excited about Proximity Learning’s synchronous (live) system for instruction: students receive instruction from live, highly-qualified and state certified teachers streamed straight into the classroom via a webcam. Teachers can be part-time or full-time, giving administrators the flexibility of choosing only the classes they need. Utilizing the live teacher option, Proximity Learning works one-on-one with each school to fully align with their bell schedule, parent teacher conferences, grading expectations and curriculum adoption – your normal operations won’t be interrupted. Additionally, Proximity Learning can take the curriculum from a district for any subject and develop and teach the course virtually using a state accredited instructor.

Is your SPED program understaffed? Proximity Learning can meet your SPED needs. We know that finding long-term SPED-certified staff is especially difficult. Proximity Learning’s full suite of special education services includes assessment, direct instruction, indirect instruction and administration to alleviate the burden on schools.

In addition to live instruction, Proximity Learning has a suite of self-paced online courses for 6th-12th grade students, including AP courses.

Proximity Learning’s suite of services includes:

  • Live Teachers (synchronous)
  • Online, self-paced course (asynchronous)
  • Live Tutors
  • Full course catalog for grades 6-12, including AP courses
  • Full suite of SPED Services, including assessment, instruction and administration

If you anticipate semester- or year-long teacher vacancies, want to expand course offerings or need to bulk up your SPED support, Proximity Learning should be considered as a viable and innovative solution for your school.

Contact Erin Tholen or Zach Harris to learn more.

An image of online teacher Julia Cooper is seen on monitors during virtual algebra course at Champ Cooper Junior High School in Ponchatoula, Louisiana September 8, 2010. Photo by Lee Celano

An image of online teacher Julia Cooper is seen on monitors during virtual algebra course at Champ Cooper Junior High School in Ponchatoula, Louisiana September 8, 2010. Photo by Lee Celano

The Special Education Policy Series for Open-enrollment Charter Schools is now updated and ready for you to download.

Open-enrollment charter schools are required to adopt policies and procedures in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Chapter 29 of the Texas Education Code. Additionally, the Texas Education Agency requires all schools to provide copies of their special education policies through the Special Education Legal Framework in connection with ESC Region 18.

All 2016 Model Policy subscribers can access the Special Education Policy Series in the Quality Portal. If you are not a 2016 Model Policy Subscriber, members will need to purchase the 2016 Model Policy Subscription in order to access the Special Education Policy Series. As part of the Special Education Policy Series, TCSA has designated which policies must be uploaded for each Legal Framework. Each policy must be reviewed and adopted by the board of directors prior to publishing your policies on the Legal Framework. All schools must update and post their new policies before the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.

TEA and the Regional ESCs will conduct trainings at each regional ESC to assist schools with uploading the policies to the Legal Framework. Questions specifically about the Legal Framework and ESC Region 18’s website should be directed to Lee Lentz-Edwards and Becky Bilyeu at 432-561-IDEA (4332) or frameworkhelp@esc18.net.

For all inquires regarding the Special Education Policy Series or the Model Policies contact Christine Nishimura, Director of Legal and Policy Services at cnishimura@txcharterschools.org or 512-584-8272 ext. 306.

By Dorothy Gentry, 4th Grade Teacher, A.W. Brown Leadership Fellowship Academy

Note: A.W. Brown charter leaders will be presenting at the 2015 Texas Charter Schools Conference during the Principals Workshop on Wednesday, October 28, to discuss hiring and retaining high-quality teachers.

Angela Brown is a true example of a success story in teaching. The long-time employee of A.W. Brown Fellowship Leadership Academy in Dallas, a successful Texas charter school, is passionate about the field of education and about teaching at the two-campus academy.

Brown began at A.W. Brown as a substitute teacher in January of 2005 and was officially hired as a teacher’s assistant in March 2008. Ten years at the school and she said, “I’ve loved every moment.”

As the special education teacher for the past three years at A.W. Brown’s Early Childhood Campus she said the school’s vision is key to why she stays.

“First off, what made me get on board with this school was the vision that it has for its students and the community,” Brown said. “They want to make the world a better place one student at a time and it has been an amazing privilege to see it unfolding and steadily coming to fruition right before my eyes.”

Brown said the school supported her in efforts to gain additional education.

“[They] allowed so many doors to open up for me once I was ready to move up. They continue to support and nurture my growth by presenting multiple opportunities to get involved,” she said.

The school feels like a family, where she can speak openly with others about any concerns, Brown said.

An A.W. Brown teacher who has been with the school nearly since it began in 1998.

An A.W. Brown teacher who has been with the school nearly since it began in 1998.

“Words cannot express the joy I have of being able to watch these children grow from babies to teenagers, and then they come back to visit as adults,” Brown said. “They thank us for all we instilled in them and taught them. My own daughter was 3-years-old when she started here, and now she is in the 7th grade.”

Brown said she feels “secure and comfortable” at A.W. Brown and plans to stay as long as possible.

“With the constant growth and success at this school I feel like the sky is the limit and I have no reason not to continue to be loyal to them as they have been to me,” Brown said. “This is one district that I truly feel secure in. They make me feel appreciated in everything I do.”

Other schools can adopt those practices by starting with the board and administrators, she said.

“Ours is awesome. They do a great job letting us know how much we are appreciated and acknowledge that none of this would be possible without us,” she said.

Brown believes the regular evaluations and continuous positive feedback is crucial to the success of the school. Also important is having a good vision of what you are trying to accomplish and then determining what steps are necessary to achieve it.

“They do a good job making sure new teachers are aware of the vision and the steps and why we are all here. For veterans they never let us get complaisant. They find new exciting ways to break down the vision and mission and those steps we need to complete in order to accomplish them,” Brown said.

The vision of A.W. Brown-Fellowship Leadership Academy is to provide a learning environment in which children are trained, prepared and equipped for life leadership and academic excellence. The mission of A.W. Brown-Fellowship Leadership Academy is to produce smart, effective, efficient, disciplined students by creating an environment in which teachers feel safe and free to teach and students feel safe and motivated to learn.

A.W. Brown serves more than 2,000 students on two campuses in grades PK thru 8th grade and has more than 200 full- and part-time staff. A.W. Brown has been in existence since 1998.

solution provider spotlight

By: Zach Salesman, A.I.M. , and Lisa Freeman Schutz, KIPP San Antonio

TCSA works hard to connect competitively-priced solution providers with the needs of our member schools. If you are a TCSA Solution Provider or TCSA member school with a positive story to share, let us know! Click to learn more about TCSA membership opportunities.

Zach Salesman, A.I.M.

AIM logo

"KIPP San Antonio is always focused on providing the best education and environment for its students. When our team started working with KIPP we were impressed by the amazing collaboration and dedication that [the] team brought to the table. Working in education we know that every student's learning profile is unique and services often have to be tailored to meet those needs. The staff at KIPP understands this and it's one of our favorite things about working there. KIPP is always communicating with us and trying to find unique ways to do more for students and families. In that spirit, together we have developed new systems, tracking mechanisms, professional development and service delivery models that keep quality high, but are cost effective for our customer. What we've done and shared with KIPP in the last year is so inspiring and energizing. We can't wait to see what happens next!"

Lisa Freeman Schutz, KIPP San Antonio

KIPP SATX

"As a growing charter school region, it was a leap of faith for us to leave our special ed co-op and manage our own services. A.I.M. was an amazing partner for us in this process. Their team of service providers were great to work with – knowledgeable, professional and caring. I felt as though I had the benefit of full-time employees. They are all invested in doing the right thing for our children. And the owners of A.I.M. were always ready with advice about ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our students and complying with regulatory requirements. They understand the ways charter schools are similar to, and different from, traditional public schools. I couldn’t ask for a better partner than A.I.M."

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