Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath authorized five new charter schools to launch in August 2020. The final step of authorization shall take place this Friday, June 14th when the State Board of Education meets.
These schools began a rigorous authorization process in August 2018 and successfully navigated a lengthy and arduous authorization process with external reviewers, internal TEA staff, and the State Board of Education. These five teams represent just a small portion of the over 35 teams that started the journey to authorization.
At maximum enrollment, these schools will create over 8500 new seats for families in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.
Launching simultaneously in both Austin and Houston, Royal Public Schools, led by Dr. Soner Tarim, formally of Harmony Public Schools, will provide a holistic education through the implementation of STREAMS-360, a curriculum developed by Dr. Tarim. Each cluster will launch with grades K-2 and scale over time to include 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 high school in each geography, serving roughly 2,300 children per region.
Joining Dr. Tarim in Houston are Rebecca Francis of Elevate Collegiate Charter School and Deyvis Salazar of Houston Classical Charter School. Opening in the Greater 3rd Ward, Elevate shall educate children in Prek3 to 5th grade, starting with students in Prek4, Kinder, and First grade. Elevate seeks to put children on the path to college by building essential foundational skills in elementary school and preparing them to enter the most rigorous middle and high schools the area.
Mr. Salazar also seeks to educate children in Kinder and first grade at Houston Classical Charter School, to be located in Alief. With experience launching a high-performing independent charter school in New York City, Mr. Salazar seeks to educate high-needs students with a blend of classical and contemporary educational approaches. Fully scaled, Houston Classical shall enroll students in grades K-8 in preparation for the rigors of the most rigorous high schools in Harris County.
Launching in northeast side, San Antonio Preparatory Academy shall serve students in an extended middle school (5th to 8th grades) and transitioning into a 9-12 high school. Founder Stephanie Hall Powell seeks to provide a college preparatory education to students in an under-served area of San Antonio which currently lacks a charter school. Enrollment will begin with students in grades 5 and 6.
The Gathering Place will educate students in grades K through 8 utilizing Project Based Learning with a heavy emphasis on the arts on the northwest side of San Antonio. As a diverse-by-design school, The Gathering Place aspires to bring together students from various socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds to build a community celebrating each child. Founders Ryan York and Joanna Klekowicz will open their doors to 378 students in grades K-2.
After fulfilling any contingencies set forth by TEA, the new charters will receive an initial contract for five years of operation, subject to maintaining successful academic and financial accountability.
All five schools moving forward with authorization partnered with TCSA to receive either extensive application development and review services prior to submission or preparation for TEA interviews after completing the external review process.
All of the schools will have the opportunity participate in a series of year zero “launch” trainings, offered at no cost to the schools by TCSA through grants from the Walton Family Foundation to prepare the schools for their openings in Fall 2020.