Monday, March 5, 2012

Mission: School Transformation highlighted at SXSWedu

TASA staff shared information about Mission: School Transformation Monday at a pre-conference event for SXSWedu. SXSWedu focuses on innovations in learning and is part of the hugely popular SXSW music, film and interactive conference.

Executive Director Johnny Veselka and Associate Executive Director Susan Holley gave attendees background on how the document “Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas” and the Texas Visioning Network came to be and how the vision has morphed into Mission: School Transformation.

Holley called the mission “incredible work by some very courageous educators.”

Veselka gave on overview of Senate Bill 1557, which gives the Texas Commissioner of Education authority to create the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium for the purpose of informing the governor, legislature, and commissioner about ways to transform public schools to improve student learning through the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems. The bill permits up to 20 school districts and eligible open-enrollment charter schools to apply to be included in the consortium, and those selected must include a representative range of district types and sizes and diverse student populations.

Final rules for the consortium and the application process should be out soon and districts are scheduled to be selected in July.

“This legislation certainly was driven by the work of our visioning institute,” Veselka said. “We have the foundation here for building the future for education in this state.”

Texas Education Agency associate commissioner Anita Givens, who led sessions on TEA’s Project Share, said every time she hears about Mission: School Transformation, which has a goal of Student-Centered Schools, Future-Ready Students, she realizes more and more what an exciting opportunity it is for public education in Texas.

Givens and colleagues from TEA discussed Project Share, a portal through which teachers and students can communicate, collaborate and access 21st century digital content, at the pre-conference. Project Share leverages several technology platforms to provide multiple levels of access and flexibility for educators and students.

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