IDEA Public Schools plans to hire 60 positions for the new Austin Independent School District in-district charter school, dubbed IDEA Allan. According to IDEA, phone interviews will begin in March, and those hired will include teachers and professional and administrative staff for the 2012-13 school year.
IDEA will install a college-prep charter program at Allan Elementary School and will be part of the Eastside Memorial Vertical Team—composed of Eastside Memorial High School and its feeder schools.
The district is partnering with IDEA in the hopes that it can raise Eastside graduation rates, increase standardized test scores, retain students that would otherwise depart to out-of-district charters and improve Texas Education Agency accountability ratings.
IDEA has not yet clarified whether teachers who currently work at Allan Elementary will have preference during the hiring process, but affected teachers and staff at Allan Elementary and Eastside Memorial are guaranteed an interview if they express interest to the district.
"Assuming they notified the district of their interest and they meet IDEA's standards, they will be offered a position," Senior Communications Manager Vanessa Barry said. "The truth is, we hope to fill several of the spots with current AISD staff to help marry the two cultures and provide the best transition for IDEA Allan students."
According to IDEA, the announcement was made at a meeting Feb. 6 where Chief Growth Officer Matthew Randazzo educated those present on the proposed curriculum IDEA will implement, as well as the open positions.
“We are excited to start the hiring process for IDEA Allan,” Randazzo said. “IDEA’s teachers and staff are the foundation for the great work that we do, and we are ready to start building a great program and team for East Austin students.”
This is IDEA’s first big move since CEO Tom Torkelson signed the contract following the Dec. 19, 2011, board meeting.
Those teachers who will be displaced as a result of the rehiring have been guaranteed jobs elsewhere in the district by AISD. A press release sent out by IDEA said it is a misunderstanding that those teachers currently employed by AISD who did not want to work for the new in-district charter would not have a job come the fall 2012 semester.
“AISD has guaranteed current Allan employees that they will be placed at a school within the district should they choose not to seek a position with IDEA Allan,” Randazzo said. “Now that they have received all of the information about our program, we trust that they will make the best decision for them and their families.”
IDEA will start as K–2 and sixth-grade classes in 2012–13, and parents of Allan students will be given the choice for their child to opt out. The program will grow to K–12 by 2018–19, serving 125 children between K–5 and 225 from grades 5–12.
AISD is providing IDEA a license to use and occupy designated space at Allan Elementary School beginning with the 2012–13 school year—a space that will be maintained and operated by AISD in accordance with district policy and regulations.