March 14, 2014

Harris County Department of Education Board Trustee, Erica Lee, visiting Southwest Schools Bissonnet Elementary Campus
charter news
Washington Post
SAT revision: The reaction
By Nick Anderson; March 09, 2014

Donald Kamentz, managing director of college initiatives for YES Prep charter schools in Houston, who is on an SAT committee of the College Board, said his schools offer test prep through a partnership with the private company Princeton Review. "My gut tells me, right now, we will probably still continue to do some deliberate and intentional test prep," he said. But he said the free Khan Academy tutorials could be woven into the YES Prep program. Kamentz said students will benefit from the College Board's effort to produce a more straightforward test. "With the redesign, they're being open and transparent," he said, "removing the mystique." Read the article. 

Rapoport students win at 'Future City' contest
March 09, 2014
About 80 Rapoport Academy seventh- and eighth-grade students joined more than 30,000 students nationwide to compete in the National Engineering Week's "Future City" competition at the University of Texas-Arlington. The students invested more than 100 hours and a large amount of recyclable material per team. Read the article.

U.S. House Committee Convenes Wide-Ranging Hearing on Charters
By Katie Ash; March 12, 2014 
A wide variety of subjects-including how to close failing charter schools, how charter schools are funded, and how to ensure high-quality charter school authorizing-were discussed at a hearing convened by the House education committee today. Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., highlighted the work of charter schools like YES Prep in Memphis, which has made gains toward its goal of improving college-going rates among its students. Read the article.

Push to bring quality charter schools to San Antonio
March 12, 2014
SAN ANTONIO - Many colleges and universities are complaining that high school graduates are not prepared to go college, and many don't make it through high school at all. Some might call it an education crisis. More and more jobs will require a college education, but many of our kids aren't qualified. So are charter schools the answer to help San Antonio students? Watch the interview.  

13th Annual Youth Fiction Writing Contest
This year marks the 13th annual Fiction Writing Contest. The theme for this year is "The People Our Parents Warned Us About." The Fiction Writing Contest encourages and rewards creative writing in Texas schools. Junior and high school Texas students are invited to submit a piece of original fiction, no more than 2,000 words in length. The submissions are judged by Texas Book Festival authors, local educators, and leaders in the publishing industry. Each year the Festival provides a unique theme. Judges look for excellence in use of dialogue, character development, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution. Submitted entries are considered in three divisions: grades 7-8; grades 9-10; and grades 11-12. Deadline: June 2, 2014 Enter here.

Aggie STEM Teacher Professional Development Opportunity
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) awarded Texas A&M University $256,000 to improve instruction in Texas middle school mathematics and algebra classrooms. The grant funds 110 hours of professional development over the course of one year for teachers who qualify to participate in the program. More information.

COMMITTEE: Public Education
TIME & DATE: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, March 26, 2014  
PLACE: E2.036  
CHAIR: Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock 
The committee will meet to consider the following interim charges:  Implementation of HB 5 (83R) and review of TEKS.  Public testimony may be limited to 3 minutes. 
More information

INTERIM PUBLIC HEARING for the Committee on Education, TEXAS SENATE
COMMITTEE: Education
TIME & DATE: 10:00 AM, Monday, April 14, 2014  
PLACE: E1.028   
CHAIR: Senator Dan Patrick

The Committee will hear invited testimony followed by public testimony on the below interim charges:  redesign of high school English EOC exams & STAAR and HB 5. Public testimony will be limited to two (2) minutes per person. More information 

"Hefting of the Tools" at Rapoport Academy (Quinn Campus)

You are cordially invited to help Rapoport Academy celebrate the beginning of the renovation of the Gomez Administration building on Quinn Campus. This once-beautiful building is the center of Quinn Campus on Elm Street.  We are dedicated to restoring it back to the "Point of Pride" that it once was for the East Waco Community. Please see the attachment for the complete invitation. 

NAPCS logoFREE Webinar on Student Discipline -- Policy & Practices in Public Charter Schools 
Tuesday, March 18, 2014  1pm  
Please join the NAPCS for a master class webinar, in partnership with the National Charter School Resource Center, to learn about recently published Dept. of Education/ Dept. of Justice guidance on student discipline and related requirements for public charter schools. View a comprehensive overview and agenda. 
register now 

Houston Community College Seeks Charter School Management Partner 
Houston Community College  is interested in understanding the level of interest from high-performing charter school educational partnership to create a Healthcare Career oriented charter high school within HCC's premier facility located in the Texas Medical Center. More specifically, HCC is interested in learning what organizations may be interested in leasing a portion of HCC's facility and providing the necessary educational management services to provide world class healthcare related teaching and learning environment focused on healthcare careers. HCC is issuing this  Request for Information Request  to known charter school management companies and asking respondents to explain how they might partner with HCC in reaching our goal. Responses shall be e-mailed to  Kerry Doucette, Procurement Supervisor by the submittal deadline of March 19, 2014 by 2PM.

8th annual Gathering of Leaders; April 23-25, 2014, Jackson State University
The Gathering theme, Onward and Upward! Advancing the Affirmative Development of Boys and Young Men of Color, speaks volumes. COSEBOC is extremely pleased that the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans will hold a Town Hall at Jackson State University immediately following our Gathering of Leaders. Led by our colleague David Johns, this event will feature an extraordinary roster of nationally renowned speakers and opportunities for discussion. You can sign-up to attend the White House Town Hall for free, as part of our Gathering online registration.

Save the Date for Charter Summer Summit! 
The Network is sponsoring a state-wide Summit June 16-17, 2014, "Charting the Course."   This 1-1/2 day event features keynote speaker Mark McLeod and more than 45 breakout sessions on the standards of Operations, Finance, Governance, and Education. Charter school experts from the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Charter School Association and Education Service Centers, as well as leaders of charters in Texas will provide timely and valuable professional development.

Registration is $50
and is now open
and includes a luncheon. REGISTER

For more information, please contact
Melodie Wahlert.

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  

Help Us Thank A Million Teachers and Give A Million Dollars to Teachers 
Farmers Insurance is giving away $2,500 grants to America's teachers and you can help! Take this opportunity to say "Thank You" to an educator that's made a difference in your life and your community.  

The Texas Charter Schools Association Charter School Business Officer Certification (CSBOC) program takes the diverse, complex and ever changing responsibilities of a Charter Business Officer and creates an environment where you learn the responsibility, competencies and strategic vision to ensure your charter school is viable, stable, fiscally sound and has a foundation of continuous improvement and growth. The certification program is a combination of online courses, live training days, and documentation workshop days. All training classes are open to everyone and fulfill required credit hours. Trainings also count toward the program if you choose to pursue certification.   

Don't Miss Out on the 2013-2014 TCSA Training Series in the Rio Grande Valley, (Edinburg); April 28-30
Ignite Public Schools
4701 S. Sugar Road, Se. D 
Edinburg, Texas  78539
For your convenience, a room block will be arranged for training attendees at the
Hampton Inn & Suites in Pharr. Details and pricing will be provided as soon as we have finalized the contract.

Successful Leadership of Instructional Programs for Charter Schools, April 28, 2014; RGV 
(6 Commissioner Hrs.: (3) School Law, (3) Accountability to the Public)
$125 TCSA 2014 Member; $195 Non-member

Confirmed Faculty: Veronica Garcia, Maxine Longoria-Nash, and Eric Rodriguez (Walsh Anderson); TCSA Staff and Tenured Charter Operators

register now 
This session will equip charter school leaders and board members to design and implement curricula and strategic plans that enhance teaching and learning in direct alignment with a school's charter contract. The proper leadership culture at your charter school over instructional programs will promote the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a charter school district culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.


Training Sponsored by: 

Employment Law and Payroll Requirements for Charter Schools, April 29, 2014; RGV
(6 Commissioner Hrs.: (2) School Law, (3) School Finance, (1) Accountability for Public Funds)
$125 TCSA 2014 Member; $195 Non-member
Confirmed Faculty:
Joe Hoffer (Schulman Lopez Hoffer); Mark Chi and Jennifer Clark (TRS, Benefit Counseling Department) 


register now    
This session will equip charter school business and finance staff to proactively review the soundness of their current employee policies and procedures, including their payroll practices, to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements for charter schools. We will cover hot topic areas that have previously been a source for litigation and audit findings for charter schools and develop solutions to reduce the risk of those events in your school.

TRS representatives will discuss various reporting topics including:
  • Membership Eligibility Rules - who should and should not be reported to TRS
  • Compensation - what is creditable and non-creditable
  • Employment After Retirement - employment rules for retirees
  • Surcharges due from Employers - when the employer is required to pay surcharges for work done by a retiree
  • Reporting Requirements and Employer Contributions - Regular Payroll report, New Member report, Federal Funds reports.
Training Series Sponsored by: 

Instructional Coaching and Leadership to Improve Student Achievement, April 30, 2014; RGV 
(6 Commissioner Hrs.: (3) School Law, (3) Accountability to the Public)
$225 TCSA 2014 Member; $375 Non-member 
Confirmed Faculty:
Kyle Seipp, Institute for Public School Initiatives, University of Texas at Austin 
This session will equip charter school officers, administrators, and teachers to implement principles of instructional coaching to facilitate and guide a school-based professional learning program for groups of teachers in specific content areas. These groups focus on the intersection of school and student needs and district reform initiatives with the goal of building a professional learning community that supports collective leadership, continuous improvement of teaching practice, and, ultimately, improved student learning.
register now
Attention vendor members! Sponsorship still available! Interested in connecting directly with charter school Superintendents, Chief Academic Officers, Principals, and Teachers?
Contact:  Erin Tholen at ph. 512.584.8272 ext.316 

Dallas: Starting a Charter School Beginner Workshop
April 9, 2014; 9am-5pm
A+ Charter Schools Conference Room
This one-day training session is designed for all persons thinking about applying for a charter school through the Commissioner of Education and the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE).This eight-hour training session aims to empower future charter leaders with knowledge for the development of a competitive charter application and an effective charter school. REGISTER 

FREE Webinar: So You're a Priority School, Now What? 
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  TEA news release.
View the complete list of 2013-14 Priority and Focus schools.

FREE Webinar: What is the Texas Charter Parent Teacher Alliance?    
Tuesday, March 25, 2014; 10am to 11am REGISTER
OR Friday, March 28, 2014; 12pm to 1pm REGISTER

Join us for a webinar to learn more about the Texas Charter Parent Teacher Alliance  (TCPTA) and how it can help your school! Phase 2 of this statewide grassroots network pilot is launching and we want you on board. 2014 is the year we will build an army of support to advance the cause of public charter schools.  
What is the Texas Charter Parent Teacher Alliance?
The Texas Charter Schools Association is working with member schools to build a durable, sustainable campus based network of parents and supporters throughout Texas. For schools with active parent organizations it could become an extension of your existing group. Some schools are creating new TCPTAs as stand-alone organizations. Our mission is to build and mobilize a network of 6,000 parents and supporters in support of public charter schools. The Texas Legislature will return to the state Capitol in less than a year, and we need to be ready when they do. 

TCSA members saved 13% on fourth quarter purchases
Preferred vendor, CDW-G, can assist Member schools with software, network communications, notebooks/mobile devices, data storage, video monitors, desktops and printers and solutions such as virtualization, collaboration, security, mobility, data center optimization and cloud computing.
Contact: Kathryn Haran
Texas Sales Manager K12
Toll Free: 866-339-5674 
job post of the week
Harmony Science Academy-North Austin
Harmony Schools-Austin, Pflugerville, Texas

Job ID:  199912                  Application Deadline: Posted until Filled  
Posted: March 11, 2014      Starting Date: Immediately

Job Description:

Harmony Public Schools-Austin cluster is currently looking for enthusiastic, highly qualified teachers. We will be hosting a job fair on Saturday April 12, 2014 from 9 am to 12 pm and call backs will be from 2 pm to 5 pm.

TEA logo

Clarifying Revision to Online School FIRST Application
Read the letter.

Principal Surveys to Evaluate Texas Educator Preparation Programs(1)

Read the letter.

Adoption of New Commissioner's Rule, 19 Texas Administrative Code Section 109.3001, and Incorporation of Guidance Handbooks
Read the letter.

Middle School Students Taking Algebra I

Read the letter.

Requirements for Awarding Credit and Appropriate Grade Placement
Read the letter.

Instructional Materials Allotment Certification and Access to EMAT(1)  

Read the letter. 


House Bill 5 Resources from Region 4  

Read the letter. 


NCLB Highly Qualified Teachers -- 6th Grade Teachers
Read the letter.

New SC5010 for All Charters, State Schools
Deadline: 4/7/14 
Read the letter.
2013-2014 Data Validation Monitoring
Deadline: 4/9/2014
Read the letter.