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Issue # 13
April 2010
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Greetings!

Welcome to the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools Email Newsletter.  We will  keep you updated on current charter school issues, news, and events.  Please let us know if there is anything else you would like to see in our communications to you or if you have a charter success story you would like to share.   As always, thank you for your support and voice in Louisiana's charter school movement. 
Policy Update
   
2010 Regular Legislative Session
Legislative Update
Week 5: April 26 - 30

 
As compared to last week, it was a fairly quiet week at the legislature for charter schools with only two bills being heard in committees that would have direct impacts on your school.

HB 1033 (Rep. Frank Hoffman - Monroe) Provides relative to evaluation and assessment for teachers and administrators. Click here to read HB 1033.

This is the Governor's Value Added legislation. The bill was debated for more than 2 hours  with testimony in support of the legislation from a broad spectrum of special interest groups that included educators both from traditional public schools and some charter schools; the Louisiana Association of Business Industry; CABL; Association of Professional Educators of Louisiana; Black Alliance for Educational Options, and a few local school district superintendents including BESE member and DeSoto Parish Superintendent Walter Lee and Superintendent Gary Jones of Rapides Parish. 

Opponents to the bill included members of the Louisiana School Board Association and the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE).

The bill ultimately passed out of the House Education Committee with no opposition and is waiting to be heard on the floor perhaps sometime next week.
 
Following is a summary of the amendment specific to charter schools.  I hope you will take time to review HB 1033 and let us know about your concerns as we will continue to track this bill.

Present law permits charter school governing authorities to determine if the charter school faculty and staff will participate in any state-required assessment and evaluation program. Provides relative to teacher certification requirements for charter schools that do not participate in present law teacher assistance and assessment program.
 
Proposed law instead requires each charter school governing authority to annually evaluate every teacher at the school. Further provides that by the 2012-2013 school year, 50% of each teacher evaluation shall be based on evidence of growth in student achievement using a value-added assessment model as determined by BESE for which value-added data is available. Requires BESE to establish measures of student growth for grades and subjects for which value-added data is not available and to adopt a policy to invalidate such student growth data for any teacher for temporary school closures due to natural disaster or any other unexpected events. Provides that the model shall take into account special education, eligibility for free or reduced price meals, student attendance, and student discipline. Permits the state superintendent of education to make such school-level data available to the public for conducting statistical analyses.
 
SB 240 (Sen. Ed Murray - New Orleans) Allows the Orleans Parish School Board to exclude certain costs from the amount of local funds that it would otherwise be required to transfer to the RSD. Click here to read SB 240 (please also read amendments for the fullest understanding of the bill).
 
SB 240 would allow for Orleans Parish School Board to withhold a portion of the voter approved millage for certain legacy costs across ALL public school students. The millage, which was recently rolled forward by OPSB, is anticipated to generate an additional $12 million dollars in local revenues.
 
Originally, OPSB was seeking to withhold $9 million of the $12 million. However, after some very collaborative meetings that included a broad representation of public education stakeholders, including representatives from the LAPCS, the bill was amended to allow for the lesser amount of $6 million.
 
The bill is extremely prescriptive and includes dollars for the following: workers compensation claims prior to August 25, 2005; legal claims directly associated with Hurricane Katrina; retiree insurance; and the cost of borrowing to allow for forward funding of the MFP to all public schools.

This bill passed favorably on the Senate Floor and now will be heard by the House.

 
CALL TO ACTION
 
SB 694 (Sen. Butch Gautreaux - Thibodaux) Mandates participation of all charter schools into the Teacher Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL). Click here to read SB 694.
 
On Monday, May 10th, the Senate Retirement Committee will be hearing SB 694 that mandates all charter schools participate in the Teacher Retirement System of LA (TRSL). While many charter schools do participate in TRSL, this bill is yet another threat to charter schools' autonomy to make decisions that best meet the needs of their students and faculty.

We are asking that you please take 5 minutes to send a message to Senate Retirement Committee members regarding this bill.   We have created a message for your convenience, but feel free to edit to your liking. 

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL THE SENATE RETIREMENT COMMITTEE
 
Additionally, if any of you would like to come to the committee hearing on Monday please let us know. We are seeking individuals that would be willing to speak to legislators prior to committee or that would be willing to testify against the bill during committee.

Also included for you is the study by The Pelican Institute that came out this week regarding charter schools and TRSL that perfectly lays out the problem with this legislation. Click HERE to view the study.

This bill was defeated last year in House Retirement but continues to be brought to the table by the teachers' union.
 
Expected in Committee
 
HB 420 (Rep. Walt Leger - New Orleans) Relative to the use of certain local revenues for computing and allocating the per pupil amount provided to all charter schools, specifies use of current year rather than prior year amounts in such computations and allocations. Also deletes provision requiring certain minimum per pupil funding pursuant to the most recent legislatively approved MFP formula. Click here to read HB 420.
 
This bill was heard in House Education Committee  on Wednesday, May 6th, and passed favorably.  The bill is now waiting to be heard on the floor. The Association has been working closely with the LDE's Finance Department on this legislation, including facilitating two conference calls for charter schools to hear a presentation by the LDE and for questions to be posed to the staff.
 
If you have any questions, please contact Renita Thukral on our staff at renita@lacharterschools.org or at 504-274-3644.
 
HB 1128 (Rep. Walt Leger - New Orleans)  Establishes certain requirements for BESE and local school boards relative to charter schools including that BESE shall develop a model compliance plan for providing special education and related services in charter schools.  Specifically, proposed requirements for charter schools include:

(1) The proposed charter must provide a plan for meeting the needs of students with exceptionalities.

(2) A plan to educate parents on their educational rights under state and federal law.

(3) Include research-based discipline programs, such as positive behavioral interventions and supports, as provided in present law.

(4) Include a plan for collecting data for the compilation of progress profiles.

Click here to read HB 1128.
 
The Association has been working with charter school leaders and SpEd Coordinators through our SpEd Cooperative to address this legislation. We have had several meetings with Rep. Leger and the proponents of this bill (primarily the Southern Poverty Law Center) in an attempt to find common ground and create law/policy that protects the rights of students and parents while not being duplicative or creating laws more onerous than those faced by traditional districts.
 
This bill had been slated to run earlier this week but Rep. Leger pulled the bill for further discussions. We continue to work with him on this legislation and will keep you updated.
 
There are other bills that we are tracking but, to date, they have not appeared on any committee agendas.
 
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts around any legislation just give us a call at 504-274-3651 or email us.
Fordham Institute Report on Charter School Autonomy

This Fordham Institute study finds that the typical charter school in America today lacks the autonomy it needs to succeed, once state, authorizer, and other impositions are considered. Though the average state earns an encouraging B+ for the freedom its charter law confers upon schools, individual state grades in this sphere range from A to F. Authorizer contracts add another layer of restrictions that, on average, drop schools' autonomy grade to B-. (Federal policy and other state and local statutes likely push it down further.) School districts are particularly restrictive authorizers. The study was conducted by Public Impact.

In the study, Louisiana state charter law received a B- for Type 2 charter school autonomy and a B for Type 5 charter school autonomyIndividual school autonomy actualizes into a B- for Type 2 schools and a D for Type 5 schools.  To see the breakdowns for each category of autonomy, please see the full report.

Click HERE to access the entire report.
Charter 1st Fridays at Einstein Charter School & Crestworth Learning Academy

A new program called Charter First Fridays invites the community to visit, tour and learn about public charter schools. Created by the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Charters First Fridays takes place on the first Friday of every month.

In March, Einstein Charter School in New Orleans and Crestworth Learning Academy is Baton Rouge opened their doors to the public.

The first Friday of every school month, the LAPCS will assist a charter school in opening it's doors to the community.  This is a great opportunity for the business community, prospective parents and students, and the general public to step inside a charter school and witness firsthand the innovation in learning that takes place.

On May 7, 2010, Martin Behrman Charter School will be open in New Orleans, and Point Coupee Central High School will be open in Morganza, LA.

If you are interested in participating in the Charter First Fridays program next Fall, please contact Elizabeth Garrett at egarrett@lacharterschools.org
Job Listings On LAPCS Website
 
Please note that the LAPCS website now has a statewide job vacancy posting page on our website.  Please let your HR or recruiting staffer know that this resource is available. To access the page, click HERE.
 
The Eastbank Collaborative of Charter Schools also has a New Orleans job vacancy page available.  To access this site, click HERE.

Grant Opportunities

The LAPCS is pleased to bring you a comprehensive list of grant opportunities that may be of interest to Louisiana's charter schools.  The list is updated daily with new and interesting grant opportunities, so check back often! To visit the list click HERE.
 
Events
                    REACHING ALL LEARNERS
An Introduction to Apple Technologies

In one day, charter school education leaders will get hands-on experience with tools that help meet diverse learning needs.

You're invited to Reaching All Learners, a one-day immersion in the Apple technologies that help students achieve and thrive in school while building the skills they'll need to succeed in the workforce. At this event, you will:

Experience a digital learning environment that serves all students, including those with special education, language, and literacy needs.
Learn how Apple helps you support multiple learning styles, enhance collaboration and creativity, and extend learning beyond the classroom.
Try your hand at digital content creation tools that engage students and give them the power to share their knowledge with a wide audience.

Details

Date: May 13, 2010

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Location: New Orleans, LA
Dress: Business Casual

Registration Please go to the following URL for more information and to register all participants.

http://edseminars.apple.com/reachall/neworleans

Agenda

 8:30 a.m.     Registration and coffee
 9:00 a.m.     Opening Session
 9:35 a.m.     Teaching Tools for Reaching All Learners
 10:35 a.m.   Content Creation for Student Use
 11:00 a.m.   Anytime Learning and Enhancing Collaboration
 11:45 a.m.   Lunch (provided)
 12:30 p.m.   21st-Century Creativity and Communication
 2:00 p.m.     Closing Session: Moving Forward

4th Annual Certified Teachers Fair
 
Saturday, May 15th, 2010   9 a.m. - 1 p. m.
 
Xavier University Student Center
 
Third Floor Ballroom
 
4980 Dixon Street, New Orleans
 
Open to all charter schools in the state.  Charter Schools can register on the Eastbank Collaborative web site.

http://eastbankcollaborative.com/

LA Special Education Cooperative 
presents 

"The Enrollment of Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools"

Kevin J. Guitterrez

Deputy Superintendent
Louisiana Recovery School District

Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools
200 Broadway St. Ste. 108 Conference Room
New Orleans, LA 70118

Thursday May 6, 2010
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

(Coop Member Board Meeting immediately following)


Please RSVP to Beth Giovannetti @ bgiovannetti@spedsupport.com ASAP as space is limited

LA Special Education Cooperative 
presents 

"2nd Annual Education Provider Fair"
May 18, 2010
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
 
Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation
The Mahalia Jackson Center
2405 Jackson Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118

 Free to all Cooperative member charter schools
$25 fee for non-member charter schools
$35 fee per individual provider
$75 fee per provider organization
 
Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with education providers from across the city and state that are interested in partnering with charter schools to build strong programs for students with disabilities.

Providers presenting at the event include:
 
Psychologists
Social workers
Speech pathologists
Occupational therapists
Organizations providing support for reading, behavior and emotional problems related to learning

Please join us to take advantage of a variety of service delivery options and prepare your programs for SY 10/11!!
 
Please RSVP and direct questions to: bgiovannetti@spedsupport.com
 

Articles of Interest 
"Why Freer Schools Are Better Schools"
The Wall Street Journal
March 25, 2010

The charter school movement is succeeding because it liberates teachers and principals from rules and regulations and holds them accountable for results.
Read More...


"Empowering families in education: A guest column by Andre Perry"

The Times Picayune
April 2, 2010


Two education events held last week displayed a generational divide between organizations and activists who serve black communities. Parent participation at the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Schools Expo contrasted mightily with participation at a meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Recovery School District oversight committee.
Read More...

"Why Good Teachers Matter for Low Income Students"
The Washington Post
April 9, 2010

In the debate over how to fix American public education, many believe that schools alone cannot overcome the impact that economic disadvantage has on a child, that life outcomes are fixed by poverty and family circumstances, and that education doesn't work until other problems are solved.
Read More...

"Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School?"
TIME Magazine
April 8, 2010

In junior high school, one of my classmates had a TV addiction - back before it was normal. This boy - we'll call him Ethan - was an encyclopedia of vacuous content, from The A-Team to Who's the Boss?
Read More...

"A Tale of Two Cities' School Systems"
NPR Michigan
April 8, 2010

The schools in New Orleans were once considered among the worst in the country. Then Hurricane Katrina tore through, and the school system was rebuilt. It's now considered a laboratory for urban education reform. 
Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett and Jennifer Guerra have this look at what Detroit might learn from the Big Easy.
Read More...
About Us 
MISSION
 
The mission of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) is to increase student achievement by supporting, promoting, and advocating for the quality charter school movement.

WHO WE ARE
 
 
Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director
Contact Caroline at croemer@lacharterschools.org
 
Andrea Chen, Membership & Programs Director
Contact Andrea at achen@lacharterschools.org 
 
Elizabeth Garrett, Communications Director
Contact Elizabeth at egarrett@lacharterschools.org

Renita Thukral, Policy Director
Contact Renita at renita@lacharterschools.org

Sherman Whites, Business & Operations Director
Contact Sherman at swhites@lacharterschools.org
 
In This Issue
Policy Update
Charter 1st Fridays
Job Postings
Grant Opportunities
Upcoming Events
GOOD NEWS!  
Hynes Charter School Teacher a finalist for Shell Science Teaching Award

Congratulations to WendyDeMers, a science teacher at Hynes Charter School!

Lusher Charter School Student wins "Letters about Literature" competition

Congratulations to Addison Howenstine, an 11th grader, for not only winning the Louisiana division of the competition, but making the top 15 in the country!

SAVE THE DATE!
3rd Annual Louisiana Charter Schools Conference

October 15-16, 2010

Hilton Riverside Hotel
New Orleans

Interested in exhibiting at the conference?  Click HERE for more information.

Stay tuned for more information.

Staples 

Interested in saving 15-85% off the list-price on office and classroom supplies? 

 Learn more about our STAPLES Statewide Charter Schools Buying Program open to all LAPCS members!  Click HERE!
 
Questions? Email
Michael.Smith3@staples.com
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