This weekend, Austin ISD will be honoring the heritage of African-Americans and their legacies, which can be seen throughout the school district. The district also will honor students for academic success and community members for their leadership and service.
AISD will hold its 31st Annual African-American Heritage Celebration at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road.
The event will feature remarks by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and the recognition of fourth- and 10th-grade students who have won a district-wide essay competition and community members who have earned awards in such areas as giving, educational leadership and service.
For the first time, the district will be honoring ten high school seniors for earning the highest grade point average in their grade at their school for the fourth consecutive year. The African-American Heritage Celebration committee will award the students with scholarships for college for their academic achievement.
About 7,000 African-American students are enrolled in AISD, which represents 8.2 percent of the district’s 85,355 students.
During the superintendent's tenure, AISD's most vulnerable student groups have seen increased achievement. In particular African-American, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students have made gains—from increasing attendance and graduation rates, performance on state assessments, school ratings, college readiness and post-secondary enrollment to decreasing dropout rates and disciplinary referrals.
For example, results in performance show that graduation rates for African-American students have increased by 13.9 percentage points to 79.6 percent.
During the past four years, AISD also has decreased discretionary removals for African-American, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students by between 76 and 81 percent at the high school level.