New Education Commissioner
Mike Morath

In December, Governor Abbott appointed a new Education Commisioner, Mike Morath, to succeed Michael Williams.  Mike is an entrepreneur who served on the Dallas Independent School Board of Education before his appointment to lead the Texas Education Agency.  Governor Abbott described him as a "proved education reformer," based on his experience in education policy thus far.

His stated priorities include supporting teachers, improving outcomes for students, and making the agency more responsive to stakeholders.  You can see an excellent interview with Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune here.

TPSA and TEPSAC representatives will meet with the new commissioner to re-establish the standing of accredited private schools in Texas, and touch base with our new education leader!

January Featured Schools

Congratulations to Angelo Catholic Schoolin San Angelo, McKinney Christian Academy, Silverline Montessori in Pearland, St. Paul Lutheran in McAllen, and Victory Baptist Academy in Weatherford. These schools are starting 2016 with a strong reputation for excellence in education while serving students and families well.

It is almost here!  This Friday, January 29th on the south side of the Capitol will be the largest ever National School Choice Week rally.  Thousands of parents, students, teachers and others will gather to celebrate all types of schools, including private schools. 

TPSA was thrilled to partner with National School Choice Week to provide each our member schools with a free kit of supplies to celebrate your school!  Feel free to use these supplies to have an event at school if you can't make it to the Capitol on Friday. 

For more information about School Choice Week or the Texas Capitol Rally, please contact our Texas liaison, RandanSteinhauser at [email protected].

FEMA Webinar on El Niño Preparedness -


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invites national organizations along with faith-based and community leaders to a webinar that will discuss how to prepare for the impacts of El Niño.  The webinar will include an explanation of El Niño, the forecast, and a description of resources available such as flood insurance. This webinar will be facilitated by Nicole Mlade, Director, FEMA Intergovernmental Affairs.

WHAT:  Webinar: Preparing for El Niño
WHEN:  Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)
WHERE: Webinar Link

Additional Information

Sign in as a guest.  The audio will stream through the speakers on your computer, so please turn up the volume to hear the presentation. Please be sure to test your Adobe Connect connection prior to the webinar. Closed captioning will be made available.

Alternative option for listening conference line: 1-800-320-4330; Pin: 635231#

If you have questions about the webinar, please contact FEMAs Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or [email protected].


HB 2610 and Private Schools 
180 School Days vs. 75,600 Minutes

A bill that passed in the 84th session has some private schools concerned about applicability for private school daily scheduling.  HB 2610 sponsored by Rep. Ken King (R - Canadian) was designed to provide flexibility in scheduling and daily funding for public schools who may suffer an interruption for weather or other emergency situations.  It replaces the minimum number of instructional days in statute from 180 days (with an allowance for a waiver for professional development time) to 75,600 minutes.  This allows public schools to schedule longer days in order to avoid some extra make-up days if school is cancelled.  

There was never any legislative intent to affect private schools in any way, and this was confirmed by the Texas Education Agency.  In April, the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission will clarify this in its policies for accredited private schools in Texas.   

Open Carry, Concealed Carry, and Private Schools

There is much confusion about the new gun laws that took effect on January 1, 2016.  While college campuses, public and private, had some decision-making to do, there is no change to policies for K-12 private schools.  Private schools may choose to allow or deny open or concealed carry on their campus, depending on the decision-making entity for that school.  If they choose not to allow guns, then there is an official sign that may be posted that is pictured below. School officials may also tell visitors that guns are not allowed or distribute a piece of paper stating this fact.

However, any licensed child care facility may only allow guns to be carried by commissioned police officers.  If a private school hires armed security personnel that are NOT commissioned police officers, then they are not allowed to enter the licensed child care facility area armed.  TPSA is in discussion with child care licensing to see if a level 4 security officer may be allowed to carry weapons into licensed child care facilities. 



Seminars in January and March in Texas!
Enrollment Blitz, The Laws of the Grapevine, and Campus Safety Lab
Click here for details for seminars on January 28th in Houston, March 8th in San Antonio and March 10th in Dallas!