Transformation Waco, first partnership of its kind, marks first year

Aug 17, 2019

The five-school charter system created under the authority of a 2017 law, Senate Bill 1882, Transformation Waco is the first partnership of its kind in the state, created to prevent the closure of five Waco ISD schools that failed state accountability ratings for five consecutive years. It just completed its first year in a three-year contract with Waco ISD to improve student success. “We’ve found our place,” McDurham said. “We know ways that we can make a difference. We’ve had a glimpse of how to use our resources to move the needle, and I think we have a better, stronger sense of how to move forward.” (To read more)

Dallas misses a big opportunity on arts feeder school

Oct 24, 2019

Dallas school Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has announced he is abandoning an effort to create a performing arts feeder school in South Dallas in partnership with CitySquare, a respected nonprofit advocacy foundation. That’s sad news on its face.

But worse, in dropping the ball on this one project, Hinojosa bows to a larger opposition to creative reform across the district. The opposition is to expanded partnerships with entities outside the school district. It is based mainly on narrow notions of political control and also on agitation by the teachers unions. But before diving into those particular weeds, we need to back off and look at a glaring, overarching reality. (To read more)


Fehl-Price Elementary to begin charter partnership with ResponsiveEd

ResponsiveEd is partnering with Fehl-Price Elementary to 'improve student achievement' at the school. The biggest difference will be 'individualized instruction' for students and 'moral education.'

July 16, 2019 (To watch)

Walsh: School Choice Is Not a Zero-Sum Game — How a Texas Superintendent Championed District-Charter Partnerships to Help All Kids Succeed

June 26, 2019

What is the future of public education? That question is igniting debates on the campaign trail, on picket lines and in communities across our country. People are asking about everything from equitable funding and school choice to the quality of education and how to design public school systems that work for every child. What role should traditional districts and public charter schools play? Is it possible for both to not only coexist but collaborate? I, for one, am an optimist, because I know that the groups so often at odds in these district-charter debates can work together in ways that benefit all kids. In Houston, we’re proving it can be done.

Spring Branch Independent School District, which serves 35,000 students on the city’s west side, launched a partnership with KIPP Texas Public Schools-Houston and YES Prep Public Schools in 2012 to meet students’ diverse needs. Scott Muri, who has served as superintendent since 2015, calls it a system of “collective greatness.” Muri, who is stepping down to lead the Ector County Independent School District in West Texas, has a long list of accomplishments, but his greatest contribution may be championing these unconventional partnerships that are creating new and better opportunities for kids.

In Spring Branch, the charter programs are co-located at three district-owned campuses: KIPP Courage at Landrum Middle School, YES Prep Northbrook Middle at Northbrook Middle School and YES Prep Northbrook High at Northbrook High. Overall, the co-located schools serve nearly 4,500 students: 98 percent are non-white, 92 percent are economically disadvantaged and 43 percent are English learners. Thirty-five percent of the children attend the charter programs.

In each building, the principals meet regularly, and teachers and staff have opportunities to engage in professional development, learn from one another and share ideas.

Academically, performance on multiple measures has improved over time. For the cohort of eighth-graders who attended district schools for all of middle school, college readiness levels on the state exam have increased at Landrum Middle and KIPP Courage by 27 percentage points in reading and 17 points in math;  at Northbrook Middle and YES Prep Northbrook Middle, the increases in performance were 23 points in reading and 33 points in math. (To read more)

Will a partnership with Texas Wesleyan create high-achieving schools in Fort Worth?

Feb 12, 2019

A new education partnership between Fort Worth schools and Texas Wesleyan University aims to sustain academic gains made at five campuses that long struggled with low ratings.

If the project gets final approval, Texas Wesleyan will operate and manage five Fort Worth campuses under the new Leadership Academy Network starting next school year. But the five schools will remain Fort Worth schools, will be staffed by district teachers and will serve about 3,000 students who live in the district.

“We firmly believe that all students can succeed and thrive, given the right learning environment,” said Kent P. Scribner, superintendent of Fort Worth schools, in a press release. “Between the demonstrated successes of the Leadership Academy model and the institutional resources Texas Wesleyan will bring to these campuses, we expect strong results going forward as we prepare these students for college, career and community leadership.” (To read more)

Parent expresses hope Fehl-Price will improve

Feb. 8, 2019

Ashely Glover attended the community meeting at Fehl-Price Elementary Thursday night to learn about the changes to the school her 10-year-old daughter attends — the school Glover says has failed the fourth-grade student repeatedly in the past.

“The last couple years, it has been bad, and my child is a student that is failing, so I’m hoping that it will make a change,” she said.

She said if things don’t improve drastically, she plans on moving her daughter to a school where her needs will be better met.

“She’s been failed by the system,” Glover said. She has been voicing her concerns to the Fehl-Price for the last two years, but said she hasn’t seen improvement.

The nonprofit charter school system ResponsiveEd has partnered with Beaumont ISD to take over Fehl-Price Elementary School, which has been in improvement-needed status for four consecutive years.

The in-district charter will allow BISD to maintain ownership of the campus and provide all of the same services, like transportation and meal-assistance programs, while ResponsiveEd takes control of the curriculum and educational approach in the hopes of meeting the standards set by the Texas Education Agency.

Glover said if the partnership leads to the changes she feels are needed in the school, she would keep her daughter at Fehl-Price. (To read more)