In the month of October more than 100 ResponsiveEd campus directors and corporate office staff members gathered at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine for ResponsiveEd’s conference as well as the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) annual conference on October 11-13.
ResponsiveEd CEO Chuck Cook, who was recently named interim executive director of TCSA,, believes the conference was beneficial for the dozens of dedicated employees that took part.
“TCSA does great things to ensure that parents have a choice when it comes to their children’s education and, since we are based in North Texas, this year was a perfect opportunity to be highly involved in the conference held nearby in Grapevine,” says Cook. “We wanted to share what we’ve learned, in the last 20 years, with other charter operators and learn about the successes they have had in pursuit of the common goal of providing the best education for our children.”
On Tuesday October 10, campus directors gathered together to celebrate 20 years of providing hope and learn about future growth. Throughout the day, several media arts students from iSchool High Hickory Creek and iSchool High Lewisville took professional headshots of the attendees as part of a class project. For the remainder of the week, the campus directors joined more than 1,600 other Texas charter school leaders and innovators for the TCSA conference.
During that week ResponsiveEd’s STEM Academy received a special visit from State Senator Larry Taylor along with Texas House Representatives Ron Simmons of District 65 and Jim Murphy of District 133 on Friday, October 13. They got to see, first-hand, in a student led tour, how ResponisveEd is using its state-dedicated dollars to provide a unique learning environment, complete with observation classrooms, collaborative project areas and virtual learning labs. They heard directly from students Nathan Baugh, Benjamin Tung and Jessica Rosales about how the school is helping them reach their goals.
The three legislators took time during the school tour to impart wisdom to a classroom of juniors and seniors.
Representative Simmons, who has been a supporter of ResponsiveEd and its expansion in his North Texas district said, “As you guys go on about your careers and as you solve the world’s problems, remember that this opportunity was given to you and you should give back to society outside of where you go with your career.”
ResponsiveEd Presenters at the Texas Charter Schools Association
- Religious Expression in Public Charter Schools: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Applying the First Amendment: ResponsiveEd’s Chief Legal Officer Chris Baumann discussed how to determine the legal boundaries of religious expression by staff and students in public schools. What types of religious expression are–and are not–allowed in public charter schools? Do the rules differ for students and staff? If so, how? What steps can be taken to ensure that a school is complying with applicable law? Baumann explored answers to these questions and provided practical guidance using real-world examples relating to the most common forms of religious expression found in public charter schools today.
- Socratic Seminar 101: Building Critical Thinkers K-12: Adrienne Freas, ResponsiveEd’s director of classical methodology, led a seminar with John Heitzenrater, ResponsiveEd’s director of K-12 History on how to implement the socratic method in the classroom. The session was a hands-on workshop where attendees got to experience question and dialogue.
- Recruiting and Hiring for Cause – The noble pursuit of working in charter education and how we find and engage these candidates: ResponsiveEd’s Director of Recruiting Joey Holland led participants through questions to ask potential teachers and staff to find the ideal candidates.
- Personalized and Blended Learning: Learning Belongs to the Learner: ResponsivieEd’s Director of Learning Systems Elizabeth Camarena, Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Instruction Steven Bourgeios and Premier High School Campus Director Jennifer Kasapi teamed up to talk about how to develop and implement a successful learning program that makes the student the focus of the program.
- Transformational Leadership in High Poverty Schools: Ericka Johnson-Allen, a regional director for ResponsiveEd, shared a research based theoretical framework used by campus leaders to improve student academic achievement. Transformational leaders employ common practices that promote a shift in culture by creating an environment that inspires others to perform at a rate that they never thought they could.
- Leadership Development – Brand YOU: ResponsiveEd’s Vice-President of Marketing and Communications Gary Arnold drew from his marketing, communications and HR experience to provide attendees with the tools necessary to blend their individual personality with that of the company culture they represent to determine their own specific brand. During the interactive session, they worked through an exercise to help them establish a personal brand as well as how to communicate it effectively. It addressed ways in which to interject that brand as they work through the school year in order to motivate and encourage those around them.
- Creating High-Performing High-Poverty Schools: Ericka Johnson-Allen, a regional director for ResponsiveEd, detailed practices used by a campus leader to transform a high-poverty low-achieving campus to a high-achieving high-poverty campus in one year. Participants learned best practices such as shared leadership, parent and community engagement, data driven decision making and several others.
- We’re gonna PLYMOUTH Rock your world! ResponsiveEd Director K-12 English Language Arts & Reading Joy Morris and Director of K-12 History John Heitzenrater combine their years of experience to engage participants in innovative ways to incorporate historical informational text into their English Language Arts classroom. They walked away with ideas to immediately implement to help their students learn History contextually while utilizing literacy skills to fully comprehend text, draw conclusions, infer and make connections across text.
- Excel at ELL: Administrators in Action on Behalf of English Language Learners: ResponsiveEd’s District Director of English as a Second Language (ESL) Sandra Gonzales presented an ESL survival guide session to help participants safely navigate their program through challenges while empowering them with answers to help their students develop the gift of the English language. The training provided insights into building leadership capacity and strategies to improve student performance.
- Moving Students from Dropout Recovery to College Readiness: A Case Study: ResponsivieEd’s Director of Learning Systems Elizabeth Camarena and Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Instruction Steven Bourgeios presented their research on campuses that succeeded in moving students from dropout recovery to college ready.
- Transformational Marketing: ResponsiveEd’s Director of Marketing Jeff Evans and Director of Creative Services Aaron Wimberley discussed transitioning effective marketing to increase student enrollment has transformed from traditional approaches into a digital realm. They shared what they have learned from making the transition to recruiting through integrated campaigns utilizing traditional methods such as direct mail and grassroots activities and new approaches such as OTT, Google AdWords, email and social media all through storytelling.
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