January 24, 2014

Phase two of the school finance trial began this week in the courtroom of Judge John Dietz in Austin, Texas. Photo by: Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune  

TX Tribune Yellow  

Texas School Finance Trial Enters Phase Two

By Morgan Smith; January 21, 2014 

Back in the courtroom after a 2013 legislative session in which lawmakers added money back to the state public education budget, lawyers representing nearly two-thirds of Texas school districts argued on Tuesday that the funding boost was short term, and that other changes had increased costs for schools ... The hearing also provided an opportunity for the two parties that lost under Dietz's initial ruling - the Texas Charter Schools Association and Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, a taxpayer advocacy group - to re-air their arguments. Read the Article.   

School finance methods on trial
Critics say Legislature's system failing
By Matthew Waller, Scripps Texas Newspapers; January 21, 2014  
In their opening statements, attorneys argued that the Legislature didn't make any serious systematic changes to the way schools are funded. They also said that in making more changes and a new system for graduation requirements, school districts would need still more resources for such initiatives as implementing trade education, getting test remediation or having more counselors ... Charter schools also lodged complaints that they don't get money for facilities and believe the cap on how many charter schools Texas can have is arbitrary ... Read the article.

image with white outline

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 at 5:00pm
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.
Download the flyer to post at your school.

Have questions about Texas' National School Choice Week Events?
Contact: Amanda List, TCSA Director of Advocacy; ph. 512.584.8272

Cruz, Jackson Lee to speak at National School Choice Week kickoff on Jan. 25  
West University Examiner; January 23, 2014
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will join KIPP Co-Founder Mike Feinberg and Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier to speak at the Official Kickoff of National School Choice Week 2014, organizers announced Wednesday. Read the article.

Austin and San Antonio to Host National School Choice Week "Whistle-Stop" Events 
Austin and San Antonio are two of 14 stops on a national tour to highlight effective education options for children
A cross-country, whistle-stop train and motor coach tour in support of school choice will make stops in Austin and San Antonio, organizers announced. Hosted by National School Choice Week, the tour -- which will feature 14 "whistle-stop" events from Newark to San Francisco -- will provide students, parents, educators and community leaders with the opportunity to celebrate effective education options, while calling for even greater school choice in Texas and across the country.

The San Antonio event, the tenth event on the tour, will take place on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 9:00am at Historic Sunset Station.  REGISTER  
The Austin event, the eleventh event on the tour, will take place on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 1:30pm on the South Steps of the Texas State Capitol.  REGISTER

Have questions about Texas' National School Choice Week Events?  
Contact:Amanda List, TCSA Director of Advocacy; ph. 512.584.8272  

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

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.  


TCSA Training Series to Continue - February 19-21 in San Antonio
Anne Frank Inspire Academy
11216 Bandera Road

San Antonio, Texas 78249

The Anne Frank Inspire Academy will open this fall. The construction of the school campus is nearing completion, and tours will be set up in February. The John H. Wood, Jr. Public Charter District remains committed and passionate about opening our middle school and creating a school that offers a 21st century education, including an integrated academic curriculum, intimate learning studios, outdoor learning spaces, and seamless technology.

Governance & Operations Series: Mobilizing Community Support and Resources for Your Charter School
February 19, 2014
(6 Commissioner Hrs.: (3) School Law, (3) Accountability to the Public) $125 TCSA 2014 Member; $195 Non-member
Confirmed Faculty: Veronica Garcia (Walsh Anderson); Peggy Tripp and Brian Cowsert (United States Postal Service); TCSA Staff and Tenured Charter Operators
register now  
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.

Training Sponsored by:

Business Office & Finance Series:
Purchasing & Grants Management Requirements for Charter Schools
February 20, 2014
(6 Commissioner Hrs.: (2) School Law, (3) School Finance, (1) Accountability for Public Funds)
$125 TCSA 2014 Member; $195 Non-member
Confirmed Faculty: Paul King (TCSA Consultant), Joe Hoffer and Ramon Medina (Schulman Lopez Hoffer); 
register now    
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.

Training Series Sponsored by: 

Academics & Instruction Series:
Evaluating Student Performance through Data-Driven Instruction
February 21, 2014
(6 Commissioner Hrs.: (3) School Law, (3) Accountability to the Public)
$225 TCSA 2014 Member; $375 Non-member
Faculty: Dr. Daryl Michel (Institute for Public School Initiatives) 
register now     
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.   

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: Have 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
charter news
Despite social ills, students in charter schools succeed
By Victoria Rico; January 16, 2014

SAN ANTONIO - We have an education crisis.

By 2020, 59 percent of Texas jobs will require postsecondary education, but in San Antonio's public schools only 13 percent of students graduate ready for postsecondary education by either the SAT or ACT standard.  Read the Opinion.    

Study: Charter Schools Raise Nearby Home Values by Thousands of Dollars
By Jason Richwine; January 20, 2014 

One of the most consistent results found in the education literature is that school choice leads to high levels of satisfaction among parents. Researchers normally measure parental satisfaction with simple surveys, but a new paper by Robert Shapiro and Kevin Hassett offers a more rigorous test: Are parents willing to pay a premium to live in an area with more school options? Read the Blog.

Fox News
Parents, students need school choice now more than ever 
By Andrew Campanella; January 21, 2014

Across our country, there are millions of moms and dads who fear for their children's futures. They know their children aren't on track to graduate from high school. They worry that their kids are not being prepared for the rigors of real life. These parents lack good school choices for their children. They want to send their children to different schools, but they can't afford to move to school districts where traditional public schools are better for their kids, and they can't afford private school tuition. Read the Opinion. 


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." 

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
Texas Charter Schools Association
Austin, Texas

Job ID:  583312                    Application Deadline: Posted until Filled  

Posted: January 10, 2014     Starting Date: Immediately

Job Description: The TCSA Quality Services Director will be responsible for the continuous enhancement of the TCSA Quality Services Portal, the engagement of our membership in all the portal has to offer, and the sharing of the portal with other appropriate partners. Success indicators include but are not limited to portal usage and feedback, quality assessment completions at the campus level, and numbers of agreements with other organizations to use our portal solution.
tcsa 150 
Member Council Meeting

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

TEA logo

2012-13 School Report Cards
Updated Travel Reimbursement Rates
Read the letter.

The Texas Education Agency is in the process of redesigning its public website. Please take a few minutes to give us some advice about improving the website.

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