DALLAS, March 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Commit Partnership and Educate Texas are proud to announce the launch of the Texas Impact Network, a joint venture focused on collectively building capacity within school systems across the state of Texas through strong regional partnerships supporting effective implementation of optional state-funded, student-focused policies.
All support from the Texas Impact Network will be funded principally through philanthropic contributions and will be provided at no cost to participating school systems.
In June 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3 (HB3), a landmark multi-billion dollar school finance package that drove substantial funding toward equitable strategies to directly benefit students who need it the most.
"The opportunities funded by HB3 have been explored in other states but never at this scale or with this kind of state financial support," says John Fitzpatrick, executive director of Educate Texas, an initiative of the Communities Foundation of Texas. "Our state is positioned to impact American education for the better as a result of this legislation."
The passage of HB3 was a huge success for public school systems and students across the state. But the new bill also introduced additional, significant opportunities for school system leaders. That's because, in addition to its budgeted funding of $3.25 billion annually, HB3 also provides the ability for Texas school systems to collectively access significant amounts of additional annual, equitable funding by taking advantage of one or more of three optional funding streams.
"While excited about the potential for additional funding streams, school system leaders have expressed concerns about their ability to effectively access and implement these resources within the capacity of their current systems," said Todd Williams, CEO of The Commit Partnership. "We hope that the Texas Impact Network will enhance system capacity building and promote the critical sharing of ideas and best practices while providing direct technical assistance to those systems who need it."
The strength of the Texas Impact Network lies in the deep knowledge and experience of its various partners, including current system superintendents across the state. Learning Communities will be organized around each of the three optional funding streams described below and each will be informed by innovative superintendents who have agreed to strategically support and champion the work within their specific Learning Community. To support the adoption of these resources and ensure broad state impact, the Learning Communities will seek to have representation that mirrors the mix of the state's rural, suburban, and urban systems. They will also join a Texas Impact Network Advisory Council that will be chaired by former TEA Commissioner and school superintendent Jim Nelson.
- The Teacher Incentive Allotment provides school systems with the ability to access additional funding for identifying and rewarding their most effective educators to help keep them in the classroom while further incentivizing them to teach at rural and/or low-income campuses. The lead superintendents are Michael Hinojosa from Dallas ISD and Kathy Rollo from Lubbock ISD.
- The Additional Days School Year opportunity provides elementary schools with additional funding to provide up to 30 additional days of school to enhance teacher pay and prevent summer slide for students who tend to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. The lead superintendent is HD Chambers from Alief ISD.
- The College, Career, and Military Readiness Outcomes Bonus grants school systems additional equitable funding for every student who both graduates from high school ready for college, career, or the military and completes a successful postsecondary transition. Lead superintendents are LaTonya Goffney from Aldine ISD and Steve Flores from Round Rock ISD.
Four regional organizations have already joined the Texas Impact Network: The Commit Partnership which serves Dallas and Tarrant counties; Good Reason Houston, serving Houston public school systems; E3 Alliance, serving the central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Bastrop, Caldwell, and Williamson; and RGV Focus, serving Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties. Grateful for these pioneering organizations, the Texas Impact Network will continue to seek other organizations throughout Texas with the capacity and content expertise to support school districts within their region.
"The word 'Impact' was chosen intentionally," said Bridget Devlin, the effort's Executive Director. "At full scope, it's envisioned that the Texas Impact Network will serve a geographic span of schools which today educate around 60% of the state and over 5% of the nation's public school children. Our strategies will complement the efforts already taking place in these districts and provide deep, customized technical assistance provided by content experts."
About The Commit Partnership
The Commit Partnership helps drive student achievement in North Texas from cradle to career by leveraging data, community expertise, collaboration and effective state policy to measure what matters, identify effective practices and spread what works. For more information, please visit www.commitpartnership.org. Follow The Commit Partnership on social media: www.facebook.com/Commit2Dallas and twitter.com/Commit2Dallas
About Educate Texas
Educate Texas, an initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, is a trusted change agent in Texas education. For more than a decade, Educate Texas has worked side by side with partners to empower students to realize their dreams and fuel a thriving Texas. For more information, visit www.edtx.org.
About Communities Foundation of Texas
Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) is a hub for philanthropy. With the goal of building a thriving community for all, CFT leads strategic grantmaking initiatives, professionally manages more than 1,000 charitable funds for families, companies, foundations and nonprofits, and has awarded more than $2 billion in grants since its founding in 1953. For more information, visit www.cftexas.org. Follow CFT on social media: www.facebook.com/CFTexas or www.twitter.com/GiveWisely.
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SOURCE Texas Impact Network