AUSTIN (KXAN) - This week, the Austin Independent School District cut ties with one in-district charter school, IDEA Allan, and unanimously approved another one on the campus of Travis Heights Elementary in South Austin.
Travis Heights teachers and the principal remain on cloud nine over the school board's decision.
Unlike IDEA Allan, the Travis Heights charter school has been four years in the making and has had overwhelming community support.
"We do not have an outside company coming in and taking over to run the school," said Special Education Teacher Britt Adams.
"Our same students are going to be here, our same teachers are going to be here," said Sherri Woolley Ancipink, who has a fourth grade daughter at Travis Heights.
The campus has been working closely with local teacher's union Education Austin and Austin Interfaith, a group of 30 congregations, schools and labor groups, to research a new idea.
"It was the idea that parents and teachers coming together could actually make a lot of the important decisions about what their school should be like," said Education Austin President Ken Zarifis.
Moms like Minerva Camarena Skeith and Sherri Woolley Ancipink walked the neighborhood, made house visits and met other parents on the playground -- trying to get the answer to two questions.
"What are your hopes and dreams for your child? What do you want to see in your neighborhood school?" said Ancipink.
Survey results revealed parents wanted an emphasis on technology and a connection to the community.
The group visited dozens of schools and studied various programs in other schools. They zeroed on a concept called service learning. It is something fifth grade teacher Mary Friedman is excited about.
"It's thinking of a problem within your community and education children through that lens," said Friedman. "Right now we're looking at childhood hunger and our children are very excited."
First grade teacher Lisa Etzel hopes having more control over the curriculum will bring creativity back to her classroom.
"When I started at this school we were a multi-age school. I had kindergarten and first [grade] together," said Etzel. "We had the freedom to do very different and fun activities. Then as testing came in it became so hard because the accountability was so high for us that we went down to single grades and then we started following a curriculum very strictly. It took away that freedom to do more, and I want to have that freedom to be a teacher again the way I used to be."
Flexibility is what the plan all about. For example, the campus will have control over how many practice tests, or benchmarks, they administer leading up to the state STAAR tests.
"That's something the school will have to decide. The difference is it's a campus decision," said Skeith.
The hope is, if the learning styles works at Travis Heights they could spread to other Austin schools.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
A 13-year-old girl who told police she had been kidnapped from her school and assaulted on Monday, admitted to police she made the story up.
TxTAG’s customer call center lines are jammed as toll road violators scramble to pay up and avoid staying on a published scofflaw list.
The U.S. Grand Prix race in Austin next year will be held Nov. 2 and F1 weekend will not coincide with a UT Longhorns home football game.
One woman died early Wednesday after several shots were fired at a North Austin mechanic shop.
Bomb squad officials reported to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after a suspicious package located in a cargo area Wednesday.