As 2013 comes to a close, AISD looks back on the first half of the school year.
In August, AISD entered the back-to-school season on the heels of great summer news: the district’s graduation rates have reached an all-time high. To ensure the next classes of AISD graduates enter school prepared and ready to learn, the district welcomed thousands of students and family members to the eighth annual Back-to-School Bash and school-based events throughout Austin.
School bells at more than 120 schools across Austin rang, ushering in a new season of teaching and learning, Monday. Aug. 26.
Revisit some of the semester’s highlights:
It takes thousands of hardworking people—more than 11,500, actually—to serve our 86,000 students at more than 120 campuses. No matter our job, we’re all working toward the same end goal: to make sure our students are ready for college, career and life.
In seeking equal opportunities for African Americans, Martin Luther King, Jr., ignited movements among women, Hispanics, people with disabilities, and other groups. His calls for equal treatment under the law changed and improved the lives of millions of Americans, not just African Americans. He showed us how to seek change by working within the system, while still challenging injustice.
More August stories.
Austin ISD continues to earn recognition for its commitment to financial accountability. For 2013, the district received a Superior Achievement rating and the highest possible score in all 20 indicators for the Financial Integrity Ratings from the Texas Education Agency. AISD also earned the Gold level in the Comptroller’s Leadership Circle for the fourth year in a row. The district is one of a handful of Texas governmental entities that has achieved this level of consistent financial transparency.
When students aren’t in class, they have to work twice as hard to catch up with the material that they missed. Teachers lose class time helping those students catch up. And, the district loses state funding—about $45 per day—for every day that a student has an unexcused absence. In 2010, AISD launched its own attendance campaign—Every Day Counts. During the past three years, our focus on improving attendance has produced results.
The district has wanted to find a way to expand access to health insurance benefits to meet the diverse needs of our employees and their households. While there were a few legal and logistical obstacles to overcome since the administration first included funds for this expansion in its preliminary budget in February 2013, a clear path forward emerged to allow all regular and full-time employees to add new qualifying individuals to their existing coverage.
More September stories.
Austin ISD's Board of Trustees approved resolutions to honor two iconic figures of Austin's education scene—Willie Mae Kirk, a longtime educator who played a pivotal role in the district’s desegregation during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and Dr. Charles Akins, who has dedicated more than 50 years of his professional career toward the success of Austin's schools.
AISD’s Emily E. Smith is one of 50 teachers featured in Random House and Welcome Books’ “American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom."
More October stories.
The community and Austin ISD donors showed generous support to district students and staff members affected by the Oct. 31 flooding in Central Texas with a combined contribution of $142,900 to date. About 360 students and 25 AISD staff members lost their homes or were temporarily displaced due to extensive flood damage.
Students from all over the world were at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Austin competing in teams to develop F1 cars of the future. F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own Formula One team which is commissioned to design, manufacture and race the fastest miniature Formula One Car of the Future; a 21cm. long scale model designed using 3D solid modelling software and machined from a block of balsa wood, incorporating 3D print technology in its front and rear wings.
More November stories.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s report card, reported AISD students ranked second in fourth grade math and third in eighth grade math in the percentage of students scoring at the proficient or advanced levels. In reading, the students ranked third in both fourth and eighth grade. AISD’s English-language learners outperformed their peers in both the nation and large cities.
Austin ISD's Board of Trustees established the Distinguished Level of Achievement as the district's prescribed graduation plan beginning with the Class of 2018.
St. David’s Foundation awarded a $1.06 million grant to the Austin Public Education Foundation to expand Austin ISD’s Social and Emotional Learning initiative. SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle challenging situations constructively.
More December stories.
Interested in highlights from the 2012-13 school year? Please visit the district’s 2012-13 timeline.