A list of links of the news coverage for Travis Heights ISP
“Prior to ending the IDEA partnership, trustees voted unanimously Monday night to approve a full-scale charter partnership for Travis Heights Elementary. The charter will be managed by a board representing teachers, community members, the district’s labor group Education Austin, and Austin Interfaith. But unlike IDEA, school leaders agreed not to move forward on the charter unless it had the support of a majority of its teachers and the neighboring community. The school’s leaders will have greater power over their budget and curriculum, which next year will focus on dual language instruction; technology and digital learning; and service learning, which teaches through community service projects.”
“On Monday, trustees are also expected to take action on another charter partnership, this one noncontroversial. The Travis Heights Elementary charter will be managed by a board representing teachers, community members, the district’s labor group Education Austin, and Austin Interfaith, which works to address community issues. By becoming a charter school that remains under the district’s umbrella, the school will have more autonomy in its academic program, scheduling and curriculum. The school agreed not to move forward on the charter unless it had the support of a majority of its teachers and the neighboring community. The school surveyed 90 percent of its households, with 99 percent approving of the charter partnership and 97 percent of all teachers and staff members responding favorably.”
AISD: IDEA Down, Travis Heights Up
“AAFRs likely for adoption get attention: Travis Heights is looking to partner with Education Austin and Austin Interfaith to start an in-district charter model allowing the school to have more autonomy. The school would focus on curriculum with its dual-language program, service learning model and a piloted blended learning program that incorporates digital media, Carstarphen said. “They’re not asking for more money; they’re asking for more flexibility,” she said.
Trustee Robert Schneider called the project a grass-roots effort. “I’d really like to find a way to set this as a standard,” he said. A meeting to discuss the charter will be held Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. on the Travis Heights campus.
“That someone was Lisa Robertson, the principal at Travis Heights Elementary. Once they teamed up with her, the group held neighborhood meeting after neighborhood meeting. They knocked on doors and talked to parents, teachers, even cafeteria workers. They had to get at least 80 percent of teachers and parents to sign a petition supporting the in-district charter to get approval to move forward. They surpassed that goal. Austin Interfaith’s Minerva Camarena Skeith says it wasn’t easy.”
“Separately last night, the Austin school board voted to approve another in-district charter school at Travis Heights Elementary. But that one was three years in the making, and was a homegrown initiative led by Austin Interfaith and the AISD employee association Education Austin. They got more than 90 percent of parents and employees to sign a petition of support. The school board approved it unanimously.”
The Future of Travis Heights
School Board to vote
While the relationship between IDEA and AISD may have come to a close, the board also approved a plan to turn Travis Heights Elementary School in South Austin into an in-district charter.
Parents championed the idea because they want more control over their children’s education. They rallied support from more than 80 percent of the school’s parents. They say they disagree with the district’s method of standardizing teaching across the city. Supporters at the meeting called it a victory.
“The first in the district, the first truly engaged parents, teachers and community members in a productive positive experience in what reform can actually be like,” Ken Zarifis with Education Austin said.
The change would keep teachers and state funding in place, but give parents and teachers more control over curriculum.
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