Review highlights from the End of the Year Timeline for the 2012-13 School Year. The interactive, timeline format allows you to relive the past school year through print, photos and videos. You may concentrate on a certain event, navigate the timeline, or follow it chronologically. If you would like more information about events on the timeline, simply click on a video or text link and you can learn more about that topic on the AISD website.
The timeline provides us with a great way to take stock of where we are and what we’ve been through and accomplished during the past year. It gives us a springboard from which to jump into the summer and the coming school year. This year, we have expanded the timeline from about 70 entries to more than 200 to provide more snapshots of our work—from campus events and board activities to district-wide celebrations and achievements.
We entered the back-to-school season on the heels of great summer news: graduation rates had increased for the third year, post-secondary enrollments rates increased five percentage points and AISD led the Big 8 in the percentage of schools meeting AYP, the federal requirement for progress under No Child Left Behind. This is where the 2012-13 timeline begins.
In August, we welcomed 9,000 participants to the seventh annual Back-to-School Bash. We welcomed our staff to the new school year by starting convocation with our own AISD video version of the song, “Call Me Maybe.” The video quickly became a hit on YouTube.
We announced the district’s "Be Healthy, Here and Hooked" attendance incentive program with the University of Texas at Austin to promote healthy living and recognize employees for improvements in daily attendance.
A big focus this year has been arts education. With funding and other support from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, AISD joined local arts organizations to develop a city-wide vision for creative learning in Austin, a city whose identity and economy are built on ideas and innovation.
In November, the next generation of musicians, performers and innovators performed at the AISD 2012 State of the District showcase, where we not only highlighted our excellent fine arts programs, but we put the spotlight on the district's achievements and goals.
On Dec. 17, the Board of Trustees voted to approve four Annual Academic and Facilities Recommendations, including expanding and extending dual language programs, continuing the work of Responsive Education Solutions to strengthen graduation pathways, creating an in-district charter at Travis Heights Elementary School and move the district from arts-involved to arts-rich education.
Our highest achieving students continued to distinguish themselves at the local, state and national level. U.S. News and World Report named four AISD schools—Anderson, Bowie, LASA and McCallum—among the best in the country. Within weeks, Bowie joined these four schools on the Newsweek/Daily Beast ranking of top schools. Six students competed in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science competition and four won awards in the “Best of Fair” projects division. As part of two students’ award, an asteroid will be named in their honor.
In May, Austin voters approved more than $489 million in bond funding to support technology, transportation, energy conservation and address facility repairs and improvements across the district. We are so grateful to Austin voters for showing their support for public education by supporting these bond programs.
The transition to STAAR has been a challenge, but our students and staff members have been up to the task and AISD students exceed statewide STAAR passing rates amid increasing standards and declining resources. According to preliminary STAAR data for grades 3-8, the percentage of students passing went up in four out of five subject areas (reading, mathematics, science and social studies) and remained unchanged in one (writing). On end-of-course exams, while the state declined in three areas, AISD’s passing rate increased in four subject areas and remained unchanged in one area (world geography). The largest gains were in biology.
We closed the year by congratulating nearly 4,400 students from 15 schools as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. At about the same time, we learned that the district’s 2012 graduation rates had increased by 2.5 percentage points, to 82.5 percentage points, an all-time high. Graduation rates increased for African-American students by six percentage points and Hispanic students by four percentage points.
In AISD, we have thousands of dedicated staff members working in the classroom and throughout the organization to improve education for all of our students. This end-of-year timeline constitutes the new floor of our expectations, the base on which we will continue to build in the upcoming years.