[gallery] Monte Vista Historical Association 4th of July parade and picnic for 2014

Monte Vista Historical Association 4th of July parade and picnic 2014 | San Antonio Charter MomsMy kids and I marched in the Monte Vista Historical Association 4th of July parade and picnic again this year. It’s a family tradition—here’s an earlier post. Here is a photo gallery with some highlights from the 2014 parade and picnic.

For the parade, everyone gathered at the corner of Lynwood and Howard. Except for the grand marshall’s convertible, most of the vehicles were people-powered: bikes, trikes, and scooters. Pets, wagons, and strollers were festooned with red, white, and blue streamers, bandannas, balloons, and—of course—American flags. Continue reading

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CLOSED [Giveaway] A parent-activist reads Richard Whitmire’s “On the Rocketship”

A parent-activist reads Richard Whitmire's "On the Rocketship" | San Antonio Charter Moms

Richard Whitmire‘s new book, On the Rocketship, starts off right, with this dedication:

To the true disruptors: Rocketship parents pressing for better middle schools and high schools.

The author gave me a copy to give away to my readers. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment, no later than July 9, 2014 about what you hope to learn from the book; I will choose a winner at random and notify him or her by email on July 10. I hope, after you read it, you are just as excited as I am about the potential for fast-growing, high-performing charter schools like Rocketship to improve educational opportunities in San Antonio and beyond.

Rocketship is a charter management organization that operates clusters of elementary schools (K-5) serving predominantly low-income families who speak Spanish at home, helping those students to advance quickly and earn remarkably high scores on assessment tests.

Whitmire, a columnist and author, had remarkable access to Rocketship leaders in California as they dealt with setbacks and adjusted strategies. Whitmire also accompanied Rocketshp personnel into expansion cities, including Milwaukee and San Antonio. Continue reading

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Charter school parents band together for transportation solutions

Parent-organized transportation solutions | San Antonio Charter Moms

Charter schools can choose whether or not to offer transportation; see “Charter School Finance” at the Texas Education Agency.

KIPP San Antonio does offer bus transportation to students, at no charge, in several areas of San Antonio. Specific routes and stops are designed to serve students and use resources as efficiently as possible. KIPP San Antonio receives a small allotment of state funds and contracts with First Student to provide student bus transportation for daily routes, Summer School, Saturday School, and field trips. The picture above (and in this earlier post) shows a KIPP San Antonio bus near KIPP Esperanza.

BASIS San Antonio does not offer transportation, but last summer a group of parents banded together to contract for bus service with First Student. The parents who shared the bus program tell me that it was “a very positive experience” and “a God-send.”

As mentioned in this earlier postGreat Hearts Texas does not offer transportation. But, a group of parents is organizing a private bus group, and they are looking for more members. Organizer Jennifer Jones asked me to share this information: Continue reading

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BASIS San Antonio families experience success, heartbreak, and everything in between

BASIS San Antonio families experience success, heartbreak, and everything in between | San Antonio Charter MomsBASIS San Antonio has completed its first year of operation. Here is an earlier post about its opening in August 2013, and a post about the dedication ceremony in September 2013.

My kids weren’t old enough, or I would have enrolled them in BASIS for 2013-14. But I keep in touch with a lot of BASIS parents, some of whom learned about the school from me. For many, the school has exceeded their expectations, giving their children a new level of maturity and sense of purpose. For some, the pressure and culture of the new school was a source of stress and heartbreak.

The BASIS parents have been buzzing about a blog post, “Parent Horror Stories from BASIS: Corporate Charter Hurting Children?”, Julian Vasquez Heilig, Cloaking Inequity, June 8, 2014. Dr. Vasquez Heilig relates the tragic stories of two families who experienced heartbreak at BASIS San Antonio. Continue reading

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CLOSED [Giveaway] San Antonio Symphony 75th anniversary concert and celebration

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed.

San Antonio Symphony 75th Anniversary Concert; interview with Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing | San Antonio Charter MomsThe San Antonio Symphony is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a concert and celebration on Saturday, June 14, 2014. An anniversary is a good time to reflect. I shared some deep thoughts in this recent post, and here are some more: What is the role of the arts, and specifically music, in building a community? How do we bridge the distinctions among different types of music? In teaching our children about music, what values are we passing on to them?

The Symphony put me in touch with Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing for an interview, and gave me two tickets to the 75th Anniversary Concert with Joshua Bell to give away to my readers. For a chance to win the pair of tickets to this special concert, just leave a comment on this blog no later than Wednesday, June 11. I will randomly choose a winner from among the commenters, and will send a notice by email on June 12.

Lang-Lessing designed the program for the 75th anniversary concert to mirror the program of the original June 12, 1939 concert, including: Continue reading

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May 2014 runoff primary election and the impact on education in San Antonio

May 2014 primary runoff election results and impact on education | San Antonio Charter MomsThe results are in from the May 2014 runoff primary election. How will these results impact education in San Antonio, Bexar County, and Texas? What can we expect at the general election on November 4, 2014?

U.S. Congress

Will Hurd defeated Francisco “Quico” Canseco in the runoff and will be the Republican nominee for District 23 in the United States Congress. “Hurd wins GOP primary for 23rd District”, Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, May 27, 2014. Read my interview with Hurd on education issues in this earlier post. Hurd will face incumbent Democrat Pete Gallego (Alpine) in November; here is Gallego’s official site and his campaign site. Continue reading

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Travis Park is a fresh place to play in downtown San Antonio

Historic Travis Park just got a makeover, and the newly-refurbished park is now a fun place for everyone to play in downtown San Antonio.

Travis Park in downtown San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

On a breezy spring morning, I walked through the park with my son, F.T., to see the new features, including landscaping and seating. Continue reading

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