Last week, the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) hosted a bus tour in Austin to engage with elected officials and their staff about public charter schools, the different models, and the unique programs they offer students. The tour included visits to Magnolia Montessori For All, Wayside: REAL Learning Academy, Premier High School of Austin, Austin Achieve Public School, Harmony School of Science Austin, IDEA Rundberg, NYOS Charter School, and KIPP Austin Collegiate.
Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman participated in the tour along with staff representing Council Members Delia Garza, Sabino Renteria, Ellen Troxclair, and Kathie Tovo. Separately, staff from Governor Abbott’s office and the Senate Education Committee attended along with staff representing Texas Senators Campbell, Huffines, and Rodriguez. Additionally, staff from Texas House Representatives Workman, Dukes, Galindo and Meyer’s offices also joined the tour.
In addition to informing tour participants about charter schools, TCSA also wanted to provide an opportunity for these officials and their staff to meet with parents on why they chose a public charter for their child. At each campus, at least two parents were able to share why public charter schools made a significant difference in the academic success of their child. For example, bus tour participants met with parent Carlos Rodriguez who shared how he was looking for a school with a college readiness program for his two children in the first and sixth grades. He chose to apply immediately after visiting the campus at IDEA Rundberg and learning about their 100 percent college acceptance rate. While his children are still in grade school, they are already talking about which universities they want to go with their cousins.
TCSA bus tour participants were also able to see the work of several students, including Harmony students coding and two senior students' science fair project. During the tours we were also able to point out the unique ways in which charter schools must utilize their limited space and the need for facilities funding. TCSA looks forward to hosting similar events in the future and we give special thanks to all elected officials and their staff for their participation.