January 17, 2014

Thanks to State Representative Lon Burnam, State Representative Nicole Collier and State Board of Education Member Pat Hardy for attending the grand opening of Harmony School of Innovation Fort Worth. 

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MembershipLate Fees Take Effect February 1 

Charter leaders received an email prompting them to apply or renew their charter's membership with TCSA by completing an application within the Quality Framework Portal. Please note, penalties will be assessed for payments received after January 31, 2014. Charters are considered members upon receipt of payment.  Questions? Contact Erin Tholen, TCSA Member Services Associate 


Houston, Celebrate Your Charter School at the Official Kickoff of National School Choice Week 

Admission is Free! REGISTER
Saturday, January 25, 2014   
Union Station at Minute Maid Park 

501 Crawford Street, Houston, TX 77002

Celebrate great schools, students, parents and teachers at the National School Choice Week Official Kickoff in Houston, Texas.

Join us for special guest speakers, musical entertainment, refreshments, a school fair and more!  Doors open at 4:30pm. The event begins at 5:00pm.


Have questions about Celebrate Your Charter School at the Official Kickoff of National School Choice Week? Contact  Amanda List. 
Download the flyer to post at your school    

Mavericks face off against the Sacramento Kings!
Friday, January 31 at 7:30PM
American Airlines Center
2500 Victory Ave, Dallas TX 75219

Charter school leaders, parents, and students can show their support for choice within the public school system! Our group will also be recognized during the game. Students, parents, and staff should arrive at the game early and head to the Admiral Room One to receive your free gift.  Game tickets are $27.00 per person (usually $33 per ticket and this amount includes tax and service fees) and must be paid when purchasing tickets. To purchase tickets, please contact Kacy Sims at 214-658-7192 or email at kacey.sims@dallasmavs.com and mention you are with the National School Choice Week event. As a special incentive -- as soon as we hit 50 tickets sold, 10 lucky charter schools students will have the chance to stand on the  court with the Mavs during the National Anthem!  
Have questions about National School Choice Week events?
Contact:  Amanda List, TCSA Director of Advocacy

Austin and San Antonio Host National School Choice Week "Whistle-Stop" Events  
Austin and San Antonio are 2 of the 14 stops on a national tour to highlight effective education options to children. Attendance is free but RSVP is requested.
RSVP for San Antonio "Whistle-Stop" Event.
RSVP for Austin "Whistle-Stop" Event.
Read San Antonio Press Release.
Read Austin Press Release.

East Austin College Prep's Digital Learning Day, February 5
Please join East Austin College Prep for a high-tech OPEN HOUSE on February 5 from 9-11 am. East Austin College Prep will open our Globaloria classrooms to showcase student-designed Globaloria games while teachers give you a personal tour through the innovative digital learning program. More information.

East Austin College Prep's Parent Reading Workshop 

Free Parent Reading Workshops
Hosted by: East Austin College Prep with the Austin Learning Academy
Description: Parents will learn ways to support literacy and language learning for children ages 0 to 4. Topics include: Talking With Your Child, Literacy in Everyday Activities, Playing with Language, and Fun With Letters and Sounds.  Snacks and free childcare will be provided.
When:  Tuesdays from 8:30 am to 10:00 am:  January 28, February 4, February 11, February 18
Where:  East Austin College Prep (Library), 6002 Jain Lane, Austin, TX 78721
Cost: Free to attend, and free childcare available!
Contact: Isabel Hovey, 512-605-8982 or Meagon Fiengo, 214-704-5099,  

Explore UT
Explore UT- FREE
March 1, 2014; 11am- 5pm 
Explore UT offers more than 400 hands-on learning activities, lectures, films, music performances, crafts, science experiments and demonstrations, and exhibits. You can also tour residence halls, labs, and libraries and see world-famous libraries and museums on campus. To see the full list and descriptions of activities, click on Schedule on the home page of the Explore UT website or go directly here.
Bus registration begins
 Register your school's buses for Explore UT. We will continue accepting registrations through the end of February.Be among the first 100 buses to register, and the University will provide a $25 incentive to help defray your bus expenses.
Make Plans for Lunch 
You can also buy lunch tickets, if you choose, for dining at Jester Center Second Floor or Kinsolving Residence Hall. Click on Group Lunch or directly and fill out the lunch form here. The Explore UT lunch price is $5.75 a person. Ticket selling will end when capacity is reached or by Feb. 18. Of course, you may bring sack lunches or buy food from campus vendors, if you like. 

The SXSWedu Education Expo

Tuesday, March 4, 2014; 2:00pm - 8:00pm 

SXSWedu is pleased to present the SXSWedu Education Expo - a FREE and open to the public event celebrating the Central Texas community's hunger and passion for lifelong learning, from cradle to career and beyond. More information.  

Starting a Charter School Advanced Workshop 
TCSA Training Room
700 Lavaca Street Suite 930
Austin, Texas 78701
Friday, January 24 2014
This session will provide attendees with a better understanding of the legal, operational, and educational considerations that need to be considered to apply for a charter school in Texas, in light of the changes brought by Senate Bill 2 this past year. We will address important items of the new charter application and highlight critical areas. REGISTER

TEA logo Generation 19 Charter Request for Application (RFA) Available January 24, 2014
The Nineteenth Generation Open-Enrollment Charter Guidelines and Request for Application (RFA) will be available to the public Friday, January 24, 2014. Applications for charter in response to the Nineteenth Generation RFA must be received on or before Thursday, March 27, 2014. Additional information pertaining to the completion and submission process will be available within the contents of the RFA. Additionally, the RFA states a requirement that one or more of the sponsoring entities board members attend one of the two Applicant Information Sessions scheduled on Friday, February 7, 2014 and Friday, March 7, 2014. For session details, including the required preregistration form, visit the TEA website.

tcsa 150 Charter Application Review Services for Generation 19 Charter Application - EXTENDED TCSA Deadlines

2nd drafts of critical areas due to TCSA by 
March 12, 2014  
  • Description: TCSA's team of charter school professionals review your independently drafted application for completeness, accuracy, and competitiveness, guiding you to make critical revisions and improvements needed to ensure the best application. (Service fees apply)
  • Written intent to enroll in services due to TCSA by February 3, 2014 - email Art Serna to indicate interest. By this date, you must have completed the online application.  
  • Complete initial draft of Generation 19 application due to TCSA by
    February 17, 2014
  • Feedback sessions will be scheduled with teams the week of
    March 3-7, 2014    

Mobilizing Community Support and Resources for Your Charter School 

Anne Frank Inspire Academy, San Antonio
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
; 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
$125 TCSA Member (2014)  BECOME A MEMBER

This session will equip charter school leaders and board members to develop and implement an effective and comprehensive charter school district internal and external communications plan and public relations program that tells your unique story. Charter school leaders will share the most common barriers to implementing their stakeholder outreach programs and develop solutions that improve a school's ability to stay accountable to the public and drive student performance along the top charter goals. REGISTER   

Purchasing & Grants Management Requirements for Charter Schools

Anne Frank Inspire Academy, San Antonio
Thursday, February 20, 2014; 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
$125 TCSA Member (2014)  BECOME A MEMBER
This session will equip charter school business and finance staff to understand the specific requirements that apply to Texas charter schools related to purchasing with state and federal funds, as well as the necessary systems a school should have in place in order to properly manage all grant funds and minimize disallowed costs. We will cover how to properly account for all of the expenditure of state and federal funds to ensure your charter school remains in compliance while driving the allocation of resources to best meet your district plans and objectives. REGISTER

Evaluating Student Performance through Data-Driven Instruction
Anne Frank Inspire Academy, San Antonio
Friday, February 21, 2014; 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
$225 TCSA Member (2014)  BECOME A MEMBER
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in education, information speaks volumes. Data analysis can provide a snapshot of what students know, what they should know, and what can be done to meet their academic needs. With appropriate analysis and interpretation of data, educators can make informed decisions that positively affect student outcomes. This session will equip charter school officers, administrators, and teachers to formulate specific and coherent evidence-based recommendations that create the organizational conditions necessary to make decisions using student achievement data in classrooms, schools, and districts. REGISTER
charter news
Parent Voices for World-Class Education
January 13, 2014
Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the National Assessment Governing Board Education Summit for Parent Leaders. Sec Arne Duncan: "...Please raise your voice for excellence--and against complacency. Organize other parents. Ask your political and school system leaders what they're doing to support higher standards, to improve teaching, and how you can partner with them in this difficult, but critically-important work. Ask the hard questions, even when it means shaking things up and challenging the status quo. And -- regardless of politics or ideology -- in the voting booth, cast your ballot in local, state, and national elections for those who will invest in education - in quality preschool, in college opportunities that families can afford, in schools that offer more to your kids. Every politician says they are pro-education - but how many get beyond the platitudes and easy sound bites, and actually walk the walk? The answer is not enough - but it's our fault, not theirs, because we don't hold them accountable. Collectively, parents have the power to transform educational opportunity in this country...."  Read the remarks.

San Anto Cultural Arts Unveils Government Hill Mural
By Jack Morgan; January 7, 2014
San Antonio is a city full of murals, but the new one in the Government Hill neighborhood represents something more. San Anto Cultural Arts Center's Public Art Program Manager John Medina explains how it came about. Read the article. 

Texas public education tops debate in campaigns
By Chris Tomlinson; January 12, 2014 
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Public schools are shaping up to become the top issue in the 2014 election campaigns, with Democrats complaining about Republican budget cuts and conservatives calling for more choice and less government involvement in an issue that impacts every Texan. Expect candidates to offer a barrage of statistics about schools and student achievement, since something can be found for every political persuasion. Read the article. 

IDEA logowhite
IDEA Public Schools awarded $42,000 Farm to School grant
January 13, 2014
Rio Grande Valley, TX - IDEA Public Schools, a nationally recognized network of K-12 public schools, has been awarded $42,000 Farm to School planning grant by the US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service to enhance IDEA's farm program. IDEA is the only school district in Texas to receive this distinction and one of 71 across the nation. Read the article. 


Executive Communication Training
February 7-9, 2014
University of Texas at Austin
$650 per person, scholarships available 
Are you an association executive? A business leader? A community advocate? A nonprofit director? No matter your communications objective, the Annette Strauss Institute Executive Communication Training will help professionals, driven by a passion to improve their community and country, more effectively articulate their message, rise above the noise and be heard. REGISTER
2013 Executive Communication Training alumna Maegan Ellis was recently featured in an interview on FOX 7 Austin to talk about Literacy Awareness Month. On how ECT empowered her, Maegan says: "I would absolutely NOT have been able to do this without my training from the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. I put so many of the tools I learned during the training to use here." 

Funding Available for Capital Projects
William Randolph Hearst Foundations: Four funding categories: (1) Culture; (2) Education; (3) Health; and (4) Social Services. Charters that may be eligible for funding include: schools with pathways that provide scholarships to college; innovative successful models; and schools that have an arts-focused mission. Funding: $25,000 - $200,000.
Georgia-Pacific Foundation: Schools in communities with Georgia-Pacific facilities (Denton, Lufkin, Garland & McQueeney) qualify. The focus is on: education, environment, enrichment and entrepreneurship. Funding: multiple awards of at least $1,000. 
Center to Aid Educational Facilities Improvements: "This grant will allow GWI to establish a clearinghouse for education leaders to plan for, improve and maintain educational facilities," DoEd Secretary, Arne Duncan. The Clearinghouse will support educational facilities through the provision of technical assistance and training on issues related to planning, design, financing, construction, improvement, operation and maintenance.  

Civil Rights Today Essay Contest
Deadline: Monday, February 10, 2014 
The contest is open to 12th grade Texas students attending public, private, parochial, or home schools. Students must include the name of their nominating teacher on the registration form. Complete information about the contest can be found here. 
job post of the week
East Austin College Prep
San Benito, Texas

Job ID:  588004                    Application Deadline: Posted until Filled  

Posted: January 15, 2014     Starting Date: Immediately
tcsa 150 
Member Council Meeting

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Austin, TX 

TEA logo

Important Guidance Update: SHARS and IDEA-B LEA Maintenance of Effort (MOE)
Read this letter.

Clarifying Revision to Online Charter School - School FIRST Application
Read the letter.

Instructional Materials Allotment - Proclamation 2014
Read the letter.

2013 Title III Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) Reports Now Available
Read the letter.