Broad Foundation Ranks AISD Among Nation’s Top Districts in Key Areas

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen announced today the results of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation’s diagnostic audit, which ranks AISD among the nation’s top performing districts in several key areas, including strategic planning and financial resource systems (financial transparency).

To support its vision of becoming a nationally recognized district that instills a passion for life-long learning in all students, AISD invited the Broad Foundation to conduct a rigorous review of the district’s practices and procedures based on the high standards the foundation uses to assess finalists for its $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education.

AISD was one of only two “promising practice" districts throughout the United States selected by the Broad Foundation for the diagnostic audit and among only 14 districts the foundation considered. According to Dr. Carstarphen, the district participated in the “toughest assessment in the country,” to ensure it was taking the right next steps and focusing available resources toward achieving excellence for students and families.

The Broad Foundation assessed the district’s policies and procedures against 33 indicators, which are associated with excellent student achievement outcomes, including: performance on state assessments, closing the achievement gaps between student groups, increasing graduation rates, and preparing students for college and career success. AISD’s policies and practices ranged from “Meets Expectations” to “Exemplary” on 28 of the 33 indicators.

School districts participating in the diagnostic audit are held to the same high standards as finalists competing for the prestigious Broad Prize. Therefore, ‘meeting expectations’ on an indicator demonstrates excellent performance, while a designation of ‘exemplary’ distinguishes the district’s practices as among the best in the nation.

According to the diagnostic results, several AISD policies and practices are among the nation’s best, including:

  • The district strategic plan is regularly monitored for implementation, evaluated for effectiveness and revised to respond to changing priorities (exemplary);
  • The district provides a cohesive, comprehensive system for assessing and reporting student performance (approaching exemplary)
  • The district holds schools accountable for academic performance and intervenes as needed to ensure high performance (approaching exemplary); and
  • The district is financially sound ... uses its funds efficiently, and seeks additional external sources of funding to support strategic plan implementation (approaching exemplary).

The diagnostic also identified some areas that need improvement, including:

1.   Implementing evidence-based instruction as standard practice;

2.   Providing effective instructional supports for all students;

3.   Supporting and evaluating the effectiveness of professional development;

4.   Board of Trustees working collaboratively, efficiently, and effectively to fulfill responsibilities for district governance oversight; and

5.   Implementing a district system and culture that promote positive relationships between and among district and school staff.

Following Austin’s #1 and #2 ranking on the National Assessment of Education Program, the results of the Broad audit reinforce AISD’s commitment to continue to examine and improve its practices related to teaching and learning, district leadership and operations and support. Many such interventions are underway as the district addresses its strategic plan priorities, which include improving student academic performance, eliminating achievement gaps among student groups, transitioning from a testing culture to a whole-child-centered approach and ensuring that every student graduates ready for college and the workforce.

AISD is committed to continuous improvement, and will continue to review the findings of the Broad audit in more detail during the next few months to help shape and define its work for the upcoming school year.

Click here to read the full press release, learn more about the Broad Foundation’s diagnostic audit and download copies of the reports and supplementary materials.