|(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when
used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) Consortium--A group of school districts selected
to participate in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium as
established under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.0561, for
the purpose of informing the governor, legislature, and commissioner
of education concerning methods for transforming public schools in
Texas by improving student learning through the development of innovative,
next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability
(2) Consortium principles--The following four principles
shall be addressed by the consortium as mandated by the TEC, §7.0561:
(A) digital learning--engagement of students in digital
learning, including, but not limited to, engagement through the use
of electronic textbooks and instructional materials adopted under
the TEC, Chapter 31, Subchapters B and B-1, and courses offered through
the state virtual school network under the TEC, Subchapter 30A;
(B) learning standards--emphasis on learning standards
that focus on high-priority learning standards identified in coordination
with school districts and open-enrollment charter schools participating
in the consortium;
(C) multiple assessments--use of multiple assessments
of learning capable of being used to inform students, parents, school
districts, and open-enrollment charter schools on an ongoing basis
concerning the extent to which learning is occurring and the actions
consortium participants are taking to improve learning; and
(D) local control--reliance on local control that enables
communities and parents to be involved in the important decisions
regarding the education of their children.
(3) Curricular goal--A measurable learning outcome
expected as a result of student participation in instruction covering
a specific portion of the curriculum.
(4) High-priority learning standards--Learning standards
that are manageable in number and of high importance in student learning
such as those that have been identified by the Texas Education Agency
(TEA) as "readiness standards." Additional high-priority learning
standards will be identified no earlier than the 2013-2014 school
year in coordination with school districts and open-enrollment charter
schools participating in the consortium.
(5) Learning standards--Standards that a student must
master to be successful in a competitive, postsecondary environment,
including standards approved by the State Board of Education as part
of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
(6) School district--For the purposes of this section,
the definition of school district includes an open-enrollment charter
school unless otherwise specified.
(b) Eligibility. To be eligible to apply for participation
in the consortium, the following criteria must be met, as applicable.
(1) A school district and its participating campus(es)
must not have been awarded the lowest performance rating as its most
recent state academic accountability rating under §97.1001 of
this title (relating to Accountability Rating System).
(2) Either a school district or its participating campus(es)
must have received either national, statewide, or regional public
acknowledgment, from an organization relying on expertise in the field
of education, for district-wide or campus-wide excellence in academic
performance or innovative practices in one of the areas described
by the consortium principles in subsection (a)(2) of this section.
(3) In accordance with the TEC, §7.0561(c), an
open-enrollment charter school must have been awarded an exemplary
rating as its most recent state academic accountability rating under §97.1001
of this title.
(4) A school district and an open-enrollment charter
school must be in compliance with the TEA audit requirements determined
under §109.41 of this title (relating to Financial Accountability
System Resource Guide).
(5) A school district and an open-enrollment charter
school shall also meet other criteria determined by the commissioner
and specified in the request for application (RFA).
(1) An eligible school district must apply through
the RFA process to be considered as a participant in the consortium.
(2) An eligible school district must submit an application
fee not to exceed $500 to cover the costs of the application review
(3) In the application, a school district must:
(A) identify the individual who will serve as the school
district's coordinator for consortium activities and point of contact
for participation in the consortium;
(B) designate which campus or campuses will participate
in the consortium;
(C) provide a detailed action plan to support improved
instruction of and learning by students that includes the following
(i) a description of how the school district and its
campuses currently are addressing or plan to address the four consortium
principles specified in subsection (a)(2) of this section;
(ii) a detailed description of the curricular goals
to be addressed in the action plan;
(iii) a description of how resources will be acquired
to support teachers in improving student learning;
(iv) an analysis of evidence that demonstrates the
accuracy of any assessment(s) used or planned to be used in the school
district to measure the quality of learning, including the methodology
and metrics employed; and
(v) a description of any waiver(s) for a prohibition,
requirement, or restriction for which the school district wishes to
(D) provide evidence that school district stakeholders,
including parents, teachers, students, and community members, have
participated in the development and/or review and approval of the
(E) provide evidence that the application and action
plan have been considered and approved by the school district's board
(F) include assurances that the school district and
its board of trustees will conform to the policies and procedures
governing the operation of the consortium, as established by the commissioner,
addressing such issues as attendance, reporting, financial support,
and mentoring; and
(G) meet any additional requirements specified in the
(d) Criteria and methodology for selecting participants
in the consortium.
(1) Applications will be selected based on quality
of the application and the extent to which the district's participation
ensures representation in the following categories in compliance with
the TEC, §7.0561(c).
(A) Type. Using definitions of type as set forth in
the TEA's District Type Data for 2009-10, the commissioner shall select
at least one district in each of the following categories:
(i) urban, as represented by categories titled Major
Urban and Other Central City;
(ii) suburban, as represented by categories titled
Major Suburban and Other Central City Suburban;
(iii) non-metropolitan, as represented by categories
titled Independent Town, Non-Metropolitan: Fast-Growing, Non-Metropolitan:
(iv) rural, as represented by the category titled Rural.
(B) Size. Using student enrollment figures reported
to the TEA for the previous school year, the commissioner shall select
at least one district in each of the following categories:
(i) large district: district with a student population
of 10,000 or more students;
(ii) mid-size district: district with a student population
between 1,000 and 9,999; and
(iii) small district: district with a student population
of 999 or fewer.
(C) Student demographics. Using the most recent available
data in the TEA's Public Education Information Management System,
the commissioner shall select districts whose student demographics,
when aggregated with other consortium participants, will result in
a diverse student population that is representative of the state's
overall public school student population in the following categories:
(i) ethnicity and race;
(ii) economically disadvantaged;
(iii) English language learners;
(iv) students identified to receive special education
(v) students identified as gifted and talented.
(2) In selecting school districts, the commissioner
shall ensure, in accordance with the TEC, §7.0561(d), that the
aggregate number of students enrolled in campuses participating in
the consortium does not exceed 5.0% of the total number of students
enrolled in Texas public schools based on student enrollment figures
reported to the TEA for the previous school year. In order to ensure
compliance with this statutory requirement:
(A) a school district may designate in its application
the entire district or only one or more campus(es) to participate
in the consortium; and
(B) the commissioner may require a school district
to reduce the number of campuses designated in the school district's
application as a condition for participation in the consortium.
(3) The commissioner may select no more than 20 school
districts to participate in the consortium.
(e) Notification. The TEA will notify each applicant
in writing of its selection or non-selection for participation in
(f) Financing of consortium.
(1) For the purpose of implementing this section, the
commissioner or a school district participating in the consortium
may accept gifts, grants, or donations from any source, including
a private entity or governmental entity.
(2) To recover TEA costs, the commissioner may charge
a participation fee of at least $2,500 annually and not to exceed
$10,000 annually to each school district selected to participate in
the consortium. The commissioner may adjust the fee proportionate
to the number of campuses the district has designated to participate
in the consortium. Each school district's participation fee shall
be reduced by the application fee amount paid in accordance with subsection
(c)(2) of this section.