February 14, 2014

Jason Nicholas, with U.S. Rep. Carter's office, pictured with his student tour guides for the STEM Festival at Harmony School of Political Science and Communication in Austin.

image with white outline

Renew your TCSA Membership to Enjoy Upcoming Benefits    

 Our first Member Council Meeting of the year will take place Tuesday, February 18th, in Austin. At this meeting, we will be announcing 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.
charter news

Rhee/Combs: Are education funds being wasted?
Too much money is going to overhead. We need to measure where funds most help students.
February 9, 2014
We both believe that nothing is more important to America's economic future than a world-class public education system. We also believe that limited education dollars should be invested in proven programs that benefit kids, not in unnecessary administration, overhead or red tape. Read the Opinion.

statesman logo
Texas' school finance trial wraps up; final court ruling won't come until spring
Friday, Feb. 7, 2014
By Kate Alexander - American-Statesman Staff
Arguments in Round 2 of Texas' sweeping school finance trial wrapped up on Friday, but all sides will have to wait for the final word from the judge. State District Judge John Dietz must sift through thousands of exhibits containing more than 1 million pages of evidence before issuing a final written order sometime this spring. The case can then be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. Read the Article.

TEA logo
SB 2 mandatory revocation of six charters to proceed
Feb. 10, 2014
AUSTIN - The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has notified six open-enrollment charter schools that the revocation process of their charter -- established under Senate Bill 2 - will continue. Read the Press Release.

Texas adds 52 charter schools, 4th most nationwide
The Associated Press
February 12, 2014
AUSTIN - Texas added 52 new public charter schools and 36,000 students statewide this school year, fourth most in the nation. A report released Wednesday by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools shows that 600 new public charter schools opened nationwide in 2013-2014, with about 288,000 students.  Read the Article.

image with white outlineFREE Webinar: So You're a Priority School, Now What?
Monday, February 17, 2014

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

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.
 View the complete list of 2013-14 Priority and Focus schools.

 register now

Brienza's Academic Advantage (BAA) is an academic solutions company with decades of experience in partnering with School Districts in several states. Because of BAA's experience with the seven critical factors of transformation and the seven turn around principles, we would like to offer our services to Charter Schools that currently have schools in the Priority or Focus category. This service will be offered without charge, with the belief that it will provide the foundation for a lasting partnership. For more information, contact: Julie DeLucca-Collins, Executive Director of Programs, ph. 800-581-0887

TCSA Training Series to Continue Next Week:
February 19-21 in San Antonio -- Some seats still left! 
All trainings will be held at The Anne Frank Inspire Academy (11216 Bandera Road) which is scheduled to open for classes 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 Bryan Cowsert (United States Postal Service); Robby McGowen, Ph.D.  (Region 4 Education Service Center); PR and Branding Experts (Creative Link); 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 -- second session is scheduled for  Friday, March 7, 2014. For session details, including the required preregistration form, visit the TEA website. 
image with white outline 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

East Austin Coll Prep 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:  Tuesday from 8:30 am to 10:00 am: 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. See the full list and descriptions of activities.
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.  
House Student APP Challenge 
Established by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, this competition is a nationwide event that allows high school students from across the country to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or "app," for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. Throughout the completion period, participating students will be provided opportunities to engage with various STEM educational partners located within the community to mentor and assist them with their app development. The "House App Challenge" is open to all high school students in participating districts.  DEADLINE: April 30, 2014

Financial Aid Saturdays, Central Texas 
The Financial Aid Saturdays Program provides FREE assistance to Central Texas high school seniors, prospective/current college students, and parents/guardians needing help to complete federal and state financial aid applications to fund college enrollment. The program is a key element of the Chamber's regional matriculation effort aiming to increase direct-to-college enrollment from 61 percent in 2010 to 70 percent by 2015 to ensure our region is able to meet future talent demands. REGISTER

FREE Webinar: How to Improve School-wide Behavior for Charter Schools 
Feb 20, 2014; 1:30 - 2:30PM
This webinar, within the free SchoolReach Professional Development Series, will address an issue that most school face at some point: student behavior. Negative student actions and attitudes can drag down school culture and lead to high staff turnover. With effective school-wide systems, your school can create a positive environment that drives student learning. REGISTER 
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

Thank you to our meeting sponsor:

TEA logo

New SC5010 for All Charters, State Schools
Deadline: 4/7/14 
Read the letter.

Permanent School Fund hits record high value

Special Charter School Report of Students Enrolled and Students with Disabilities

2013-2014 Data Validation Monitoring
Deadline: 4/9/2014
Read the letter.

2012-13 School Report Cards