April 11, 2014

Harmony School of Excellence Austin students demonstrate cool science projects for the legislators and staff during an Austin charter schools tour on Monday organized by Representative Marsha Farney. From left to right:  Texas State Reps. Jason Isaac, Dr. Marsha Farney and Dwayne Bohac. (not pictured but in attendance: Reps. Larry Gonzales and Celia Isreal. The tour also included a stop at KIPP Austin.

Pre-sale Registration Opens April 15, 2014 -- Save $100 per Person 

The Texas Charter Schools Conference will be held at the Westin Galleria in Houston on December 10-12, 2014.

Districts and charter schools may request up to a maximum of three days for general staff development, such as training at the Texas Charter Schools Conference,  in lieu of student instruction. This is permitted by section 25.081 of the Texas Education Code as long as your calendar is approved by your charter school board and the charter school notifies TEA's Waiver Unit. The pre-sale rates, available from April 15 to May 14, are the only discounted rates offered in 2014. Register your team early to save $100 off the regular rate on each registration.    
charter news
Goodwill Central Texas to open charter high school for adults
March 07, 2014
AUSTIN -- Goodwill Central Texas will open the state's first public charter high school for adults called The Excel Center. The Excel Center will be a five-year pilot program and will allow people between the ages of 19 and 50 years old to receive the education necessary to obtain a high school diploma. Read the article.

Search Head of School/VP of Education,
The Excel Center for Goodwill Central Texas

Goodwill Central Texas seeks a talented school leader and education professional to lead the first-ever dropout recovery adult charter school in the state, The Excel Center. Responsibilities include planning, executing and managing the educational goals and vision of the school. More information.

Charter Schools: We Want to Break Through the Partisan Gridlock
By Reps. Jared Polis and Todd Rokita; April 08, 2014
As strong advocates for parental school choice, we were pleased that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was open to learning about the tremendous opportunities that charter schools can offer students and families. His decision to allow continued access to high-quality charter school options will ensure that the best curriculum, programs and school performance guide where parents enroll their children in school, not their ZIP code. Read the opinion.

Committee Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Support Charter Schools and Enhance Education Research

Education and Workforce Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 8, 2014
The House Education and the Workforce Committee today approved two pieces of legislation that will improve the nation's K-12 education system. The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10) and the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366) both passed the committee with bipartisan support.  Read the press release.
image with white outlineTCSA Free Webinar: 2014 State Accountability Update
April 22, 2014; 10am-11am
The Commissioner of Education released his final decisions for the 2014 State Accountability Rating System. This webinar will give an overview of the accountability system and discuss the changes to the 2014 Ratings. REGISTER

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 responsibilities, 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, discounted rates at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Pharr have been arranged for training attendees. RESERVE A ROOM.  

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, (2) School Finance, (2) Accountability for Public Funds)
$125 TCSA 2014 Member; $195 Non-member
Confirmed Faculty:
Joe Hoffer and Rick Lopez (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.
Read the Agenda.
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 

Heroes for Children Award
The State Board of Education established the Heroes for Children award program in 1994. Individuals who volunteer time, effort, and support to public schools and students, and who advocate for students and public education in Texas are eligible for these awards. The awards are given annually in recognition of outstanding service and dedication to helping provide each Texas student with a meaningful, positive learning experience in school. Read the letter.

2014 STEM Education Awards: 
Nominations Due April 18th  
This year's 2nd Annual Celebration of STEM Education Week in Texas (CSEWT) will recognize significant contributions in STEM across our region. We are seeking individual and group nominations recognizing excellence and contributions to the STEM field. Complete this survey to submit your nominations for STEM Awards. 
Guidelines and nomination details

Holocaust & Human Rights Educator Conference, Dallas 
August 4--5, 2014; 8:30am--4:30pm 
Registration Fee: $20  (Hotel and Travel Scholarships Available)
This two-day event provides educators at secondary schools with the necessary information to teach on the Holocaust and various Human Rights topics. This Educator Conference includes Echoes and Reflections Curriculum as well as CPE certification. Submit completed applications by email or fax to 214.747.2270 before the June 15, 2014 deadline.   

Texas Interscholastic League Foundation Scholarship 
The 2014 TILF scholarship application is now open. All application items must be submitted by  May 30, 2014. Due to the late competition date of the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest (TSSEC), applicants competing in that contest must have all materials submitted by June 20, 2014.  Read the eligibility requirements. 

Book Festival
13th Annual Youth Fiction Writing Contest -- Texas Book Festival 
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

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.  

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.Thank a teacher now.

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

The Committee will hear invited testimony followed by public testimony on the following interim charges: redesign of high school English EOC exams; the monitoring of  HB 5, relating to public school accountability, including assessment, and curriculum requirements, providing a criminal penalty; review  STAAR accommodations available to eligible students as a result of the elimination of the STAAR Modified exam pursuant to changes in federal accountability regulations, review the redesign of the STAAR Alternate assessment. Public testimony will be limited to two (2) minutes per person. More information 

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.  More information.

Registration is $50 and includes a luncheon. REGISTER
Questions? Contact: Melodie Wahlert. 
job post of the week
Texas Charter Schools Association
Austin, Texas

Job ID: 691112                 Application Deadline: Posted until Filled
Posted: April 8, 2014       Starting Date: Immediately

Job Description: The TCSA Conference Planner will be responsible for coordinating TCSA's annual conference as their primary role within the Association. In addition, during off-peak conference planning, the individual will assist the Quality Services Team with membership, training, quality initiatives and revenue generation.

TEA logo

2013 Snapshot: School District Profiles
now available on TEA website

Student Success Initiative and Accelerated Instruction
Commissioner of Education Rule Filing
Adopted New 19 TAC Chapter 33, Statement of Investment Objectives, Policies, and Guidelines of the Texas Permanent School Fund, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules, 33.1001, Payments for Remittance to Charter District Bond Guarantee Reserve Fund Summary: The adopted new rule establishes procedures for payments by charter holders to the Charter District Bond Guarantee Reserve Fund established under the Texas Education Code, 45.0571. The new rule was adopted without changes from what was published as proposed.
Effective Date: April 22, 2014. View the rules.

Required RF Tracker Data Collection for Local Education Agencies with Residential Care and Treatment Facilities within Their Geographic Boundaries and or Jurisdiction

Read the letter

2015-2016 State Compensatory Education Funding and Implementation of the Community Eligibility
read the letter

PSF is here! First Steps Toward Facilities Help for Texas Public Charter Schools
PSF Application