February 7, 2014

Testifying for public charter school parent plaintiffs and TCSA, Toni Templeton, data analyst for TCSA, compared similar size ISDs & neighboring charter schools. Templeton says she performed statistical analysis to show a significant funding gap between traditional public schools and public charter schools.

Plaintiffs rest in phase 2 of school finance trial
By Will Weissert;  February 4, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas -The 600-plus school districts suing Texas over how it funds public education rested their case in the trial's second phase Tuesday - exactly a year after the judge originally ruled the funding system violates the state constitution.
"Anybody here a year ago this date think we'd be here again today?" Texas District Judge John Dietz joked. Read the article.

school inequality?
By David Dunn and Mike Feinberg; February 3, 2014
The topic of school finance is back in the pages of this paper with last month's start of Round Two of the school finance trial after a yearlong delay.

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Renew your TCSA Membership to Enjoy Upcoming Benefits    

 Our first Member Council Meeting of the year will take place on February 18th in Austin. At this meeting, we will be announcing committee assignments, electing committee chairs and discussing our legislative priorities for 2015. In order to attend, your charter must be a paid Association member in good standing. Additionally, TCSA's training series continues in San Antonio February 19th-21st. Only TCSA members enjoy discounted registration rates while earning required credit hours. Be sure to complete your 2014 Membership Application in the Quality Framework Portal and remit your payment to TCSA (700 Lavaca St, Suite 930, Austin, TX  78701). As of February 1, a 5% late fee has been added to your invoice. The late fee will increase to 10% on March 1, 2014. 
2013 Conference Certificates of Training Completion In Process 
The Training Certificates for the 2013 Texas Charter Schools Conference held last December in Fort Worth are currently being processed. TCSA is distributing certificates via email as they are completed. Please be patient as there were over 1200 attendees receiving credit and we are working as fast as we can to ensure that all charter administrators, teachers and board members are awarded the appropriate required hours of training for their efforts. We will update our progress in this newsletter and let you know when all certificates have been distributed. If at that time, you have not received your certificate and you think that you are eligible for credit hours, you may then contact our offices for more information about your specific situation. Again, thank you for your patience.

UIL alignments announced        

University Interscholastic League (UIL) has announced the 2014-2016 Reclassification and Realignment.  The newly realigned districts, found on UIL's website, will be implemented for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. Alignments for other activities will be released in the coming weeks.  


Area schools learn fates on UIL's realignment day

By Danny Davis; February 3, 2014  

Cedar Park will be defending its district championship this fall against Georgetown and East View.

The make-up of Cedar Park's district was one of the many questions that received an answer when the University Interscholastic League released its biennial realignment plan on Monday morning. Cedar Park will be joined in District 25-5A by former District 25-4A rivals Dripping Springs, Leander, Marble Falls, Vandegrift and Vista Ridge, and those teams will welcome Georgetown and East View into the fold.

Read the article.


2014-16 UIL realignment: A statewide look
February 3, 2014
- A statewide look at the 2014-16 University Interscholastic League realignment released Monday. Read the article.

Upcoming East Austin College Prep's Parent Reading Workshop
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: 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 Webinar: So You're a Priority School, Now What?
Monday, February 17, 2014
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
Central Time

Under the Texas Education Waiver granted by the US Department of Education, several schools within your district may be designated as Focus or Priority Schools.  These schools will be able to apply for and receive funding to help implement the seven critical factors of transformation. This webinar will discuss the next steps as well as services that TCSA will make available via an exciting new partnership to implement required improvements and meet TEA expectations.
For more information about the identified focus and priority schools and the available funding, refer to the following TEA news release.
Register Today here.

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; San Antonio
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); Robby McGowen, Ph.D.  (Region 4 Education Service Center); TCSA Staff and Tenured Charter Operators

register now 
House Bill 5!?! Learn what you need to know about community and student engagement.  You will be rated THIS YEAR! In addition, 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.

At this training, you will also be introduced to a new marketing strategy called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) from the USPS. You will learn how to use this FREE online marketing tool to enhance your advertising efforts. Topics covered in this session include: how to get started, cost, design, size and creative review. We will also cover target marketing using demographics, using QR Codes to integrate with email / social media, and how to improve your response rate.

Training Sponsored by:

Business Office & Finance Series:
Purchasing & Grants Management Requirements for Charter Schools
February 20, 2014; San Antonio 
(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; San Antonio 
(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) Now Available
The Nineteenth Generation Open-Enrollment Charter Guidelines and Request for Application (RFA) is now available to the public. 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)
  • Register today by completing the TCSA  online application and sending an email to Arturo Serna
  • 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
Better solutions available on school financing
By Bennie Wilson; February 2, 2014

SAN ANTONIO - We have in Texas the continuing saga of the financial management - or mismanagement - of the state's public school system.

A state court is again taking the state to task for failing to do what the Legislature can't seem to do - provide for the "equitable" distribution of financial resources among all public school districts. Read the opinion.    

TEA logo CSCOPE Review completed by SBOE Ad Hoc Committee
AUSTIN - About 140 Texans examined 431 CSCOPE social studies lessons plans and have posted their reviews at cscopereviews . CSCOPE was a curriculum management system that provided lesson plans to participating school districts and charters. While it was not connected to the State Board of Education (SBOE) or the Texas Education Agency, SBOE Chair Barbara Cargill appointed an ad hoc committee to review the material. Cargill said, "The review teams appointed by the ad hoc committee spent hundreds of hours examining the social studies lesson plans and we've made their findings available to the public." Marty Rowley, the State Board of Education member from Amarillo who chaired the ad hoc committee, said: "It is intended that these reviews will serve as a resource for those who are considering using these lessons, and for those who are interested in learning what a cross section of Texas educators, parents and citizens have to say about them." Review and Findings can be found here.
Battle over school finance continues
by Tina Shively/ KVUE News and Photojournalist Kenneth Null; February 5, 2014
AUSTIN -- A decision which will affect the future of public school students' education is expected in a few days. Lawyers for more than 600 school districts in Texas rested their case in court Tuesday. Now lawyers for the state will have their turn. They plan to call just three witnesses. It's the latest step in a case that dates back to 2011 when the Legislature cut the state's education budget by $5.4 billion. Read the article.
Brienza's Academic Advantage (BAA)
Brienza's Academic Advantage (BAA) is an academic solutions company with decades of experience in partnering with School Districts in several states. As a partner organization with the Texas Charter School Association, BAA would like to offer our services to Charter Schools that currently have schools in the Priority or Focus category. 
TEA will be offering funding to Priority and Focus schools to help implement the School turnaround principles  that are a crucial part of the waiver granted to Texas by the US Department of Education. Funding by TEA will be granted after each school completes a comprehensive application not yet released by TEA.   Because of BAA's experience with the seven critical factors of transformation and the seven turn around principles, Brienza's Academic Advantage would like to partner with you and your team to complete the application.  This service will be offered without charge, with the belief that it will provide the foundation for a lasting partnership.
After meeting with Commissioner Williams and his staff, we are confident that we understand TEA's goals and the direction that should be taken to reach these goals.  Our organization has a deep understanding of the requirements for a successful application that will secure your school or school District's funding. 
Brienza's will be available to consult with you in person or by phone in order to answer questions regarding this critical development.

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:  608182                    Application Deadline: Posted until Filled  
Posted: February 4, 2014     Starting Date: August 5, 2014

Job Description: The TCSA Contract Trainer is responsible for the delivery of customized training for charter school clients in Texas. The position involves presenting pro-active customized training solutions, which address charter school needs along with improving the leadership and staff within charter organizations. The result is improved school operations and student success.
tcsa 150 
Member Council Meeting

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Premier High School
1835-A Kramer Lane
Austin, TX 78758

TEA logo

Permanent School Fund hits record high value

Special Charter School Report of Students Enrolled and Students with Disabilities

2013-2014 Data Validation Monitoring
Read the letter.

Notification of change: New SC5010 for all charters, state schools
Read the letter.

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.