Austin ISD Previews How Data Is Used To Engage Underserved Communities In Long-Range Planning


Austin ISD families got a preview on Tuesday of how data is being used for Austin ISD’s long-range planning, which could determine which improvements and new facilities are included in the next bond. 

“Long-range planning helps us anticipate student needs and align our resources to serve our students better," said Director of Planning Melissa Laursen. "Understanding where we are today and working with our communities to develop a vision and goals for where we want to be is key to the success of our students and district."

The first step in Austin ISD’s long-range planning is to identify underserved communities, and to do that, staff analyzed data about its students and schools. Austin ISD used this data to determine which groups of families were left out of the process previously and plan to include them this time.

Factors they are looking at as part of the long term planning are students, neighborhoods, and facilities, which the district is calling its three lenses.

For example, using the student lens, district staff worked with community members to create lists of historically underserved student groups and which schools have the largest percentage of underserved students.

“Unlike previous processes, this is one of the first times we are incorporating this human element looking at student-based data, not just facilities-based data," said Director of Equity Joseph Allen.

Another factor Austin ISD staff are looking at while developing its long-term plans is social vulnerability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the social vulnerability index to determine the level of support a neighborhood needs in a crisis. It uses both demographic data and information about resources in a neighborhood to determine the level of vulnerability.

The index found that 68 schools with high proportions of historically underserved students are located primarily on the eastern crescent of the district.

At the end of the presentation, community members were able to ask questions on how the processes work.

One community member asked where Austin ISD will start filtering their decision making on plans and if the data from the last census will affect the data.

Austin ISD staff responded saying it will not affect the data because the social vulnerability index uses 2014 through 2018 five year American survey data.

For more information on the data or to use an interactive map, please click here to visit the district’s story map.