By Jim Croswell

Last week, International Leadership of Texas (ILTexas) officially ended its series of four groundbreaking ceremonies on new campuses that will serve students in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area and Western Houston. These new campuses will provide over 4,500 seats, making ILTexas one of the fastest growing charter schools in the United States. ILTexas has an aggressive growth plan to accommodate for the high demand made known by wait lists numbers reaching more than 5,000 students in just its third year of operation. 

The move to Houston was initiated because of three local parents from Katy, TX who were seeking dual-language programs in the public school system.  As a result of extensive grassroots efforts by local parents, the ILTexas expansion into Houston was granted the following Spring, and will open with two K-8 facilities in August 2016. 

ILTexas is unique, requiring English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese as standard curriculum. ILTexas teaches Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to all students in every grade level beginning in kindergarten, requiring the two languages and an additional athletic conditioning course on top of the standard core classes. 

ILTexas was founded by Mr. Eddie Conger, a retired Marine Corps Infantry Officer and former Dallas ISD high school principal. He will tell you the secret to the unprecedented growth is “Competent teachers, supportive staff, and administrators and parents who truly understand the value of our mission.” 

ILTexas rallies around this understanding, and has created a vision for education unbound by borders. To fulfill this need, ILTexas has a growing international student program, and provides American students an opportunity to spend a month traveling to several cities across mainland China, and experiencing this world they’ve been learning about in their classrooms. The international student program currently educates 55 Chinese students who study alongside the American high school students, interacting daily, practicing their language skills, and developing relationships. With this program, American students are able to immerse themselves in a whole new world, and Chinese students are able to earn their diploma while studying in America. ILTexas is on the path to not only change public education, but to change the world. 

 

While Texas continues to grapple with a shortage of certified teachers, TCSA Solution Provider Texas Teachers is providing numerous free services to assist schools with recruiting from the state’s largest teacher candidate pool.

David Cofer, Human Resources Director of Jubilee Academic Center, has worked closely with Texas Teachers to recruit numerous teachers for their campuses.“Without a doubt, [the Texas Teachers’ staff] are the most professional, courteous, knowledgeable, and responsive organization that I have encountered since being out of uniform.  I would highly encourage anyone thinking about becoming a teacher or hiring ACP teachers, to look at Texas Teachers as an option.” 

Texas Teachers Teacher Certification Program has partnered with Texas charter schools for over 10 years. With 50+ full-time office personnel and over 150 field supervisors across the state, we strive to offer a streamlined, affordable and highly supportive option for teacher certification.  

Take advantage of our free candidate lists, vacancy notifications, and teacher job fairs to find the right teachers for your classrooms.  Call our District Hotline,877-342-1202 , with certification questions, teacher status updates, and candidate list requests.

Your customized Texas Teachers’ candidate lists will contain only highly qualified candidates, most immediately eligible for hire. Our committed team sends lists within 24 hours of your request. As our certification program is self-paced with year round enrollment, our lists update daily with newly eligible candidates. Contact our District Hotline or email thelist@texasteachers.org any time you have a vacancy.

By campus request, we also notify our candidates of openings via blast emails. In addition to full time positions, we are happy to advertise substitute, paraprofessional, and networking opportunities. We will also post your hiring events on our website.

Texas Teachers also holds summer job fairs for our highly qualified candidates.  Free of charge for both schools and prospects, we encourage you to attend and network with hundreds of our eligible candidates. In recent years, candidate attendance has topped 650 for both our Houston and Dallas job fairs, and we may soon expand our job fairs into additional regions like Austin and San Antonio.

Texas Teachers is here to assist in staffing your vacancies throughout the year. With a multitude of options to connect you with quality candidates, we are committed to making the hiring process seamless for your schools. Contact Texas Teachers Teacher Certification, and take advantage of these free services.

The TCSA Model Policies and Legal Authorities are updated and in the Quality Portal! 

After a very busy legislative session the new Model Policies provide a framework for truancy and how to ensure compliance. There are also new requirements for teacher training in suicide prevention.  Additionally, we added language to address the new open carry law, which went into effect on January 1, 2016. These just highlight a few of the numerous changes that were included in our January updates, so make sure to review all of the modules in the Quality Portal to see more.

During 2016, TCSA will continue to provide updates to all members with a current 2016 Model Policy Subscription. In April, TCSA will provide member subscribers with a complete update to the Special Education Framework. Each charter school will be required to post their updated legal framework to the ESC 18 website prior to the 2016-2017 school year.  July will bring new policies regarding transgender youth, residency, and retention and promotion. Our final 2016 update will be published in October, including any necessary updates to the Personnel Handbook. 

To ensure access to all of the Model Policy updates, renew your 2016 Model Policy Subscription today. Members can renew subscriptions at the same time as you renew your membership through the Quality Portal. If you have already submitted your membership application, but forgot to purchase the 2016 Model Policy Subscription, please contact Christine Nishimura at 512-584-8272 ext. 306 or cnishimura@txcharterschools.org

We look forward to working with our members and providing continued support to meet our members’ needs. 

 

Rowlett, TX:
My most recent charter school tour across Texas brought me to the “#1 Small City in America to Move To” – Rowlett, Texas. It is here where I landed at Education Center International Academy (ECIA).

ECIA has been serving students in the Dallas area (Rowlett and Sunnyvale) since 2001. As I migrated through the campus, one could easily see that its class sizes were small and my tour guide Bob, the school’s Assistant Superintendent, knew each and every student.  Students’ smiling faces appeared as I stepped into each classroom. There was definitely an upbeat learning aura abode.

The campus houses approximately 200 students and employs teachers and administrators with a multitude of nationalities that help educate its diverse set of students. Parent participation is high, which helps further engage students to learn.

This campus will never grow larger than its 200 or so students it serves in Kindergarten through 8th Grade. The small size is critical to its mission of providing tools and resources to its population. One such example of innovation I found was a university professor teaching ECIA students in Computer Science.

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Bryan, TX
It is a Wednesday in early December as I wind down the road to Bryan Texas – where I find “The Good Life – Texas Style” just down the street from Texas A&M. It is here where I pulled into 410 Bethel Lane – the home of the Brazos School for Inquiry and Creativity’s Bryan campus.

The school is nestled amongst a quaint neighborhood. As I stroll through the campus with Principal Chris, its 145 students are located in a microcosm of a university. Classrooms are placed in such a way that you have the feeling that you are walking through a college campus. Class sizes for all students in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade are intentionally small in an effort to help foster a pristine learning environment.

Every day TCSA works to increase our membership’s reach at all levels of government: federal, state, and local. Did you think we got to take a break at the end of a Legislative Session? Oh no! At the end of each Legislative Session is when we take a moment to assess our work and then drive forward to build upon our previous efforts.

Our membership’s participation in TCSA is vitally important at all times, but I call upon you to be equally, if not more involved during the Legislative Interim – the time in between Legislative Sessions. There is a lot going on during this time; just a few examples include:

  • In collaboration with our TCSA member schools, we begin to develop and finalize TCSA’s legislative agenda for the upcoming Legislative Session;
  • In collaboration with our TCSA member schools, we provide feedback and engage in the rule-making process with the Texas Education Agency to help guide the drafting and implementation of rules and regulations;
  • In collaboration with our TCSA member schools, we engage in grassroots advocacy efforts to strengthen and empower our member schools’ parents so that they advocate on behalf of their charter school;
  • In collaboration with our TCSA member schools, we provide testimony before the Texas State Board of Education, advocating for charter-friendly SBOE policies; and
  • In collaboration with our TCSA member schools, we visit with our elected officials and guide them through school tours so that our elected leaders can see first-hand the difference our member schools are making in the lives of our students.

As you can see, there is a common theme throughout our work…collaboration. Yours are the boots on the ground, doing the work of educating our students day in and day out.   TCSA’s efforts are not meant to operate in a vacuum – we need the input of our member schools and your collaboration to facilitate and instruct our advocacy efforts. Partner with us – join your voice to our work today to move the charter school movement in Texas forward.

Sincerely,
Veronica L. Garcia
VP of Government & Public Affairs
Texas Charter Schools Association
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Join or renew today:

 Step 1:  Login into the Quality Member Portal
Applications will be completed in the Quality Member Portal. You will need your login information to access the application. Please contact Erin Tholen for assistance. Once logged in, click the ‘Membership’ tab at the top.

Step 2: Complete the 2015 Online Membership Application
Upon submission of the online application, an invoice will be automatically generated and sent directly to the accounting contact email listed on the application.

Step 3:  Remit your membership dues to:
Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA)
700 Lavaca Street, Suite 930
Austin, TX 78701

Or, call 512.584.8272 ext. 316 and speak with Erin Tholen to pay by phone.
Thank you for your continued support toward charter schools in the great state of Texas.

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