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Austin Forms District- Charter Collaboration Compact

Austin, TX— In an effort to better provide high-quality instruction and academic opportunities for all Austin-area students, Austin Independent School District and local charter school leaders have come together to form the Austin District-Charter Collaboration Compact. Austin Compact partners are committed to providing students – especially those with the highest needs – the best possible schools, whether they are run by the district or charter operators. At an event today at KIPP Austin Public Schools, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation congratulated the partnership and welcomed Austin as the newest member of the District-Charter Collaboration Compact cities.

The Gates Foundation awarded $100,000 to the Austin Compact to support its work. This project is part of an overall initiative of the Gates Foundation to support communities where district and charter leaders agree to collaborate in a meaningful way to increase college and career readiness for all students. Austin has the opportunity to compete for significant additional funding for ongoing collaboration and improved student achievement.

The Austin Compact is comprised of the following district and charter operators: The Austin Independent School District, Eden Park Academy , Harmony Public Schools, IDEA Public Schools, KIPP Austin Public Schools, NYOS Charter School, Responsive Education Solutions, and UT Elementary School. Additionally, education nonprofits Educate Texas and the Texas Charter Schools Association are members.

"Today Austin joins a special group of cities," said Vicki L. Phillips, director of Education, College Ready, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "District and charter leaders in Austin have signed this historic compact as an outward symbol that they are ready and willing to make an unprecedented, public commitment to work together for the benefit of all students in their city. The Gates Foundation is proud to support this community where education leaders want to learn from each other and build upon successful practices, whether those practices are found in district-run or charter-run schools."

Austin joins 15 other cities - Baltimore, Boston, Central Falls, Chicago, Denver, Hartford, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester, Sacramento and Spring Branch - who have signed compacts.

The objectives of the Austin District-Charter Compact include: improving student achievement through teaching and learning, enhancing human capital, maximizing resources, and creating opportunities for collaborative leadership and problem-solving. "A formal collaborative creates the opportunity to provide higher quality educational programming and services for all Austin students in the public education system," stated Austin ISD Superintendent, Meria Carstarphen.

The compact partners have been working to create a shared vision for uniting around how we can provide a world-class education for all students and improve student achievement.

"All of us agree that all students can achieve and deserve the highest quality public schools," said KIPP Austin Chief Academic Officer Steven Epstein. "That is what our compact is all about."

"It is great to see charter leaders and the Austin Independent School District working together on common challenges and opportunities facing students in Central Texas," said John Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Educate Texas (formerly the Texas High School Project). "Innovative partnerships focused on creating learning environments that produce quality teaching and personalized learning for all students, regardless of governance structure, are key to Austin's long-term success."

Click here to see photos from the press announcement.

For more information, please contact Austin ISD's Department of Public Relations and Multicultural Outreach at 512-414-2414, or KIPP Austin's Director of External Affairs Evelyn Nazro at 512-638-2552 or enazro@kippaustin.org

Austin Independent School District
AISD is a diverse, urban district that is making great progress in student academic achievement. AISD is the fifth largest school district in Texas, and serves approximately 86,000 students at 124 schools.

Eden Park Academy
Eden Park Academy has been an Exemplary-rated, open-enrollment charter school, for the past four consecutive years. This fall, Eden Park Academy will expand its educational program to include a pre-k and high school program, increasing enrollment from 250 to 700 students. By 2019, Eden Park will serve 2,500 students on four campuses in southeast Austin.

Harmony Public Schools
Harmony Public Schools are high performing K-12 college preparatory charter schools that focus on math, science, engineering and computer technologies.

IDEA Public Schools
IDEA Public Schools is focused on the singular goal of "College for All Children." With an emphasis on "No Excuses," IDEA prepares students from underserved communities for college and citizenship. For the past five years, 100% of IDEA students have enrolled in a four-year college or university.

KIPP Austin Public Schools
KIPP Austin Public Schools is part of the national "Knowledge Is Power Program" network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. KIPP Austin serves 1,500 students across five schools in East Austin.

NYOS Charter School
NYOS, Not Your Ordinary School, was founded in 1998 by a group of parents who wanted better for their children. A better academic program. A better learning environment. Better instructional tools. Meaningful relationships. We strive toward these ideals every day.

Responsive Education Solutions
Responsive Education Solutions is combating the enormous social and economic problem of increasing student dropout rates with its Premier High Schools. Premier High Schools operates 2 of its 27 campuses in Austin, serving over 470 high school students in Premier High Schools of Austin.

UT Elementary School
The University of Texas Elementary School's mission to develop students into lifelong learners through rigorous, research-based curricula, individualized instruction, high expectations, and a nurturing environment; provide opportunities for professional development for the University's academic units; and to serve as an exemplary educational model for diverse learners.

Educate Texas
A leading catalyst for progress, Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, is an innovative alliance of public and private groups that share a common goal: improving the public education system so that every Texas student is prepared for success in school, in the workforce, and in life.

Texas Charter Schools Association
The Texas Charter Schools Association is the statewide Association representing approximately 390 charter schools and educating more than 100,000 students in every part of our great state. In total, an estimated 135,000 Texas students attend open-enrollment charter schools with an additional 56,000 students currently on waiting lists.