May 8, 2014

Texas House Representative Jim Murphy (District 133) visited KIPP SHARP Lower School in Southwest Houston today during National Charter Schools Week. Pictured left to right: Mike Feinberg, Co-Founder of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation and Rep. Jim Murphy. Read the Press Release.  See the Governor's Proclamation.

Gov. Perry Proclaims May 5-9, 2014 to be Charter Schools Week in Texas 

... Charter schools increase the choice available within the public school system, creating a competitive environment to attract new teachers and providing accountability for public schools by allowing parents and students to vote with their feet. Each year, a week in May is designated to raise awareness of charter schools and the great benefit they can provide to our communities. See the Proclamation.   


U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Celebrating National Charter Schools Week

The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution in honor of the 15th annual National Charter Schools Week (May 4 - May 10, 2014). The resolution was introduced by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and passed the Senate by unanimous consent. Read the Press Release. Read the Resolution.  


Rep. Jim Murphy visits KIPP SHARP in Houston
Receives Charter Appreciation Award; Dallas charter is first to have PSF backing 

(Houston, Texas) ... Rep. Murphy was presented with the Texas Charter Schools Association Charter Appreciation Award, in recognition of his support and efforts on behalf of public charter school students during the 83rd Legislature, and specifically his bill, House Bill 885, which extends the permanent school fund (PSF) bond guarantee to qualified public charter schools for refinanced bonds achieving lower interest rates for charter schools and returning funds to be used for instructional purposes in the classroom ... Last week, Life School, a public charter school in Dallas, became the first charter to receive the backing of the PSF bond guarantee. Read the Press Release.

Balloon release at Leadership Prep, Frisco, TX. Watch the video.

TCSA Celebrating National Charter School Week in Texas

educationweekWaiting Lists Grow for Charter Schools, Says an Advocacy Group
By Denisa R. Superville; May 5, 2014
The number of names on public charter schools' waiting lists rose by 13 percent in the 2013-2014 school year, an increase that shows the continued demand for access to high-quality public education, according to a report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In the 2013-2014 school year,  1.04 million student names were on the waiting lists, compared with 920,007 the previous year ... It was the first time the number of names on the list had exceeded 1 million, she said. Read the article.
NAPCS logoStudents Names on Charter Schools Waiting Lists Top 1 Million for the First Time -- Press Release, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS)

National Alliance Applauds House Passage of Charter Schools Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act in a bipartisan vote of 360 to 45 ... Read the Press Release.

... The federal CSP's primary purpose is to help expand the number of high-quality charter schools across the country through targeted grants. H.R. 10 includes several key improvements to existing law, such as:
  • Giving priority in the state grant competition to states that do not limit the growth of charter schools;
  • Supporting federal grants for the replication and expansion of high-quality public charter schools;
  • Clarifying and codifying the Department of Education's recent guidance to allow charter schools to use "weighted lotteries" to give a preference to disadvantaged children in admission lotteries;
  • Making state charter support organizations eligible to receive and disburse grants to fund the start-up and expansion of high-quality charter schools;
  • Allowing students to remain within an existing family of charter schools as students move from elementary to middle to high school without having to reapply through a lottery;
  • Strengthening state application requirements to ensure that start-up funds are awarded only to charter schools with fundamental autonomy over budget, operations, and personnel; and
  • Providing increased flexibility for schools using start-up grants. 
educationweek As House Is Set to Consider Charter Legislation, Key Senators Write Own Bill
By Alyson Klein on May 6, 2014
... Like the House bill, the forthcoming Senate legislation would combine federal grants to help charter school developers open new schools, with money to help charters find and fix up facilities. Read the article.

Only 5 Days Left to Save -- $100 off Regular Rates per Person 

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

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. In addition, charter schools that calendar a Professional Development Day for their teaching staff can take advantage of our special $100 rate for each Teacher One-Day Pass to attend the workshop on Friday, December 12.* See the draft schedule.
register now  
TEA logo
Financial Accountability Survey
House Bill 5, 83rd Legislative Session, directs the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop a new financial accountability system for school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. TEA is currently in the process of evaluating potential financial accountability indicators to measure the financial stability and solvency of school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. The TEA is asking you for your input on how to determine whether a school district or open-enrollment charter school is financially stable and solvent. Thank you in advance for participating. Please submit your input by May 18, 2014. Take the survey.

image with white outlineMembers, join us for a discussion on May 14th about these critical issues regarding financial accountability. A focus group on this topic will be held during the afternoon portion of our Member Council meeting. REGISTER or Read the Draft Agenda
charter news
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TEA submits Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System details to U.S. Department of Education
As part of the state's waiver from specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has submitted to the U.S. Department of Education specific details of a new teacher evaluation and support system that will be piloted in as many as 72 school districts and charters in the 2014-2015 school year ... Beginning in the fall of 2014, the new teacher appraisal system will be piloted in school districts and charters across the state. TCSA Members Charters that have expressed initial interest in piloting the system are:  Houston Heights Learning Academy and Jubilee Academic Center.

Related News from the Houston Chronicle:
NCLB waiver would place teacher evaluation mandates on Texas school districts
Texas releases details of new teacher evaluation method

Money keeps rolling for local charter school expansion
By Maria Luisa Cesar; May 2, 2014
Choose to Succeed, the local nonprofit working to grow six charter school operators here using philanthropic donations, announced two gifts this week that put their efforts over the $40 million mark. The Walton Family Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation will contribute a total of $5.2 million toward the group's goal of putting 25,000 students in charter schools in San Antonio over the next five years - and 80,000 by 2025. Read the article.

In Other Charter News

COMMITTEE:   Public Education  
TIME & DATE: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, May 14, 2014  
PLACE:       E2.036   
CHAIR:       Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock   
The committee will meet to consider the following interim charge: 
Explore innovative, research-based options for improving student achievement beyond standardized test scores. Evaluate standards for effective campus management as well as teacher preparation, certification, and training. Review current teacher evaluation tools and instructional methods, such as project-based learning, and recommend any improvements that would promote improved student achievement. Engage stakeholders on how to recruit and retain more of our "best and brightest" into the teaching profession. Public testimony may be limited to three (3) minutes. 

 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 includes a luncheon. REGISTER
Questions? Contact:  Melodie Wahlert.

TCSAAL_logo Arts Festival State Competition
Bailey Middle School
4020 Lost Oasis Hollow, Austin
May 17, 2014; 9am-5pm
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.   
Charter Application Consulting Services for Generation 19-20 Charter Applications -- TCSA Deadlines  
Charter Application Interview Preparation Services for Generation 19 Applicants - Be Prepared Today!
TCSA's team of charter school experts breaks down the dos and don'ts of the TEA and SBOE interview process. We provide you with the best in class support for your team to prepare a compelling message for your final stage in the charter application process. (Service fees apply) Written intent to enroll in services due to TCSA by June 23, 2014 -- email Art Serna to indicate interest. By this date, you must have completed the online application

Charter Application Development Support Service for Generation 20 Applications - OPEN NOW! 
In this full service process (e.g., 6-9 months), TCSA's charter school experts work with the charter hopeful in a series of strategic one-on-one training and application development support sessions to help the applicant create the best application possible for Texas requirements. Real-time feedback and steering during the application development process - do it right the first time. (Service fees apply) Written intent to enroll in services due to TCSA by July 25, 2014 -- email Art Serna to indicate interest. By this date, you must have completed the online application.     
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. 

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.
job post of the week
Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering
San Antonio, Texas

Job ID: 748672                 Application Deadline: Posted until Filled
Posted: May 6, 2014       Starting Date: July 1, 2014

TEA logo

News from the Division of Federal Fiscal Compliance and Reporting
2014-2015 Indirect Cost Rates 
The Division of Federal Fiscal Compliance and Reporting has calculated new indirect cost rates for open-enrollment charter schools and independent school districts. These rates are effective July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. More information. 

State Board of Education Rules 
The following rule action was filed with the Texas Register on Thursday, May 1, 2014, for publication in the May 16, 2014, issue:
Adopted Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 66, State Adoption and Distribution of Instructional Materials, Subchapter B, State Adoption of Instructional Materials
Summary: The adopted amendments update and clarify specific processes for the review and adoption of instructional materials. The amendments were adopted without changes from what was published as proposed.
Effective Date: May 21, 2014.

Texas Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Incentive Program-Funded Components for School Year 2013-2014
Read the letter.

State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Transition to New Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Mathematics Read the letter.

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