Partnering by Choice Discussion Lively and Informative at #TribFest19

Partnering by Choice Discussion Lively and Informative at #TribFest19

by: Bibi Yasmin Katsev, Executive Director, District Charter Alliance


The tagline to the Texas Tribune Trib Fest session today was “when charter school operators and public school districts put aside their differences and join forces, students win.” We could not agree more. Moderator and journalist Bekah McNeel started off with the broad question, “why are districts and charters doing partnerships. It would be so much easier not to.”

The leaders on stage shared they came together for the benefit of kids and reaching students across the district and the region they serve. Midland Superintendent Riddick said, “When families can choose their path, students succeed.”

The panel’s discussion touched upon the complex work of two large organizations collaborating and negotiating the many aspects of partnerships. They talked about vulnerability, trust and being open and transparent along the way. They talked about accountability on both sides of the equation, equity and finding areas and students where the need is great.

The “why” question was particularly moving when the discussion turned to helping schools that have been struggling for multiple years. Midland’s superintendent stated, “The community has not given up on the school. [We have to] design a school for the students who did not have options, and to attack the work for this generation who are under attack.”

The panelists all agreed partnership work with turnarounds and innovations is not easy, and it is important to focus on creating sustainable changes that will remain to serve students well in the future. Collectively, the four school leaders shared, “It takes a courageous superintendent and board to do this work. It involves getting the right leader. It takes changing sometimes fixed mindsets in education. It takes cooperation and finding a team that works well together.”

Thank you to District Charter Alliance members Traci Davis from Grand Prairie ISD, Yasmin Bhatia from Uplift Education, Orlando Riddick from Midland ISD, and Bethany Solis from IDEA Public Schools for sharing their partnership stories, struggles and successes. On behalf of the members of the District Charter Alliance, we wish them all the best this school year as they work hard for the students they serve.

The Texas District Charter Alliance (DCA) represents 21 organizations; Aldine ISD, Democracy Prep Charter School, El Paso ISD, El Paso Leadership Academy, Fort Worth ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Great Hearts, KIPP Texas Public Schools, IDEA Public Schools, Leadership Academy Network, Longview ISD,  Lubbock ISD, Midland ISD, Responsive Education Solutions, Rural Schools Innovation Zone, San Antonio ISD, School Innovation Collaborative, Spring Branch ISD,  Transformation Waco, Uplift Education, and YES Prep.


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