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Board Briefs - May 23, 2011

Facility Master Plan

Austin School Trustees approved a timeline presented by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen for completing a comprehensive Ten-Year Facility Master Plan. The schedule is as follows:

  • September 2011- Presentation of Final Administrative Recommendation
  • October 2011- Board Reviews Final Administrative Recommendation
  • November 2011- Approval of Final Facility Master Plan
  • December 2011 - Begin Execution of Plan

On March 7, 2011, the Facility Master Plan Task Force (FMPTF) chairs, and the consultants from DeJong-Richter, met with Trustees and presented the final draft of the Facility Master Plan and its ten-year time line. On March 28, 2011, the Board received the Ten-Year Facility Master Plan, developed by the Facility Master Plan Task Force, and referred it to the Administration for the development of administrative recommendations.

As staff proceeds with its four-month analysis to develop the Administrative Recommendation, it will utilize the Facility Master Plan Task Force Report, School Community Proposals, Facility Master Plan Task Force Minority Report, Board Policy, and Census Data. In addition, meetings will be held with selected representatives from Board-approved committees and District-established advisory bodies to gather their input.

The Facility Master Plan will provide guidelines for the next 10 years for AISD to meet changing facilities needs, along with a strategy to allocate facility resources to achieve the District's educational goals and objectives. A review process also will enable adjustments to ensure the plan optimizes resources, while being aligned with the AISD Strategic Plan.


Reconstitution Plan for Eastside Memorial Green Tech High School

Trustees approved a final Reconstitution Plan for Eastside Memorial Green Tech High School, as required by the Texas Education Agency, based upon the school having been rated Academically Unacceptable for the past two years. If, for the 2010-2011 school year, Eastside Memorial Green Tech High School receives a rating of Unacceptable for a third consecutive year, the TEA Commissioner must order one of three things: repurposing, alternative management, or closure. Therefore, the Commissioner may or may not approve the District's proposal for reconstitution.

The Reconstitution Plan details how the District seeks to go about implementing staffing changes and a new academic program at Eastside Green Tech.

Staffing Changes – Since there will be only one school instead of two, then there is only one principal position that is available. The principal position has already been advertised.
Discussion on Name Change – There are community discussions regarding a possible name change from "Eastside Memorial Global Tech" and "Eastside Memorial Green Tech" to either Johnston Eastside Memorial High School or Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston Campus.
Rigorous & Relevant Academic Program – The Eastside Memorial schools are included in the plan to strengthen the educational foundation for the Travis and Eastside Memorial vertical teams. The Reconstitution Plan outlines the five tenets of the academic program to be implemented, and explains that the District will explore a partnership with The Harvard Education Innovation Laboratory or another entity that has proven expertise with similar approaches in urban districts.
Personal Attention & Guidance – The plan outlines how short cycle assessments and interventions will be used to target instruction.
Curriculum & Instructional Changes – The plan includes the following curricular and instructional changes: the New Tech program will be continued in a smaller learning community; ninth graders will receive high dosage tutoring in Math at, ideally, a 1:2 tutor-to-student ratio; the school day may be extended 45 minutes for all students, (at minimum, a re-thinking of existing scheduling options for more instructional time will occur); students who continue to struggle will be double-blocked in Math or Language Arts in tenth and eleventh grades; and the District will bolster STEM programming in the Eastside vertical team and to implement an academic program similar to what is outlined in the Reconstitution Plan for three other schools in the vertical team — Martin Middle School, and Allan and Govalle elementary schools.


2011-2012 Late Start Dates for High Schools

Trustees approved 10 high school "late start" dates for next school year. All dates are Thursdays:

  • September 22.
  • October 6 & 27.
  • November 17.
  • December 1.
  • January 12 & 26.
  • February 2 & 9.
  • March 22.

"Late starts" provide the necessary professional development time for on-going support for teachers, sharing of best practices, and built-in time for assessing the effectiveness of programs.


Facility Maintenance

From the District's Maintenance and Operations Budget, Trustees approved the following contracts:

  • Travis Cox Plumbing for $73,600, to replace gas piping at Murchison Middle School.
  • Hill Country Tennis and Tracks, LLC, for $165,411, to resurface tracks at Austin, Bowie, Eastside Memorial, and LBJ high schools.



Trustees recognized and congratulated:

  • Caroline Sweet as the AISD Teacher of the Year for 2011. Ms. Sweet is a fourth grade bilingual teacher at Metz Elementary School. She was also the District's Elementary School Teacher of the Year.
  • David Bellesen as the 2011 High School Teacher of the Year. He teaches Audio and Video Production teacher at Travis High School.
  • Kim Ross as the 2011 Middle School Teacher of the Year. He is a Language Arts teacher at Dobie Middle School.
  • Students and supporting teachers from Martin Middle School and Anderson High School who qualified for International and National levels in their Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs).
  • The Austin High School Red Dragon Players and their teachers for winning first place in the 5A UIL State One Act Play Competition. This the fifth year in a row that Austin High School qualified to compete at the state level, and the second time in three years winning the state competition.
  • Seventy-six students who ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in newspaper and yearbook awards at the Interscholastic League Press Convention and the UIL state academic competitions; students who received the Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association; and LBJ High School Journalism Advisor Janet Elbom for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Journalism Education Association.
  • Four students from Anderson and Bowie high schools, LASA, and Lamar Middle School, who placed in the top five percent on the National French Exam.
  • Fifty-six students who placed in the top five percent on the National Spanish Exam. They are from Austin, Crockett, LBJ, and Travis high schools and LASA; Gorzycki, Kealing, Martin, Murchison, and Small middle schools; and the Ann Richards School.



Trustees approved the following administrative appointments:

  • Stacia Crescenzi as principal of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. Ms. Crescenzi has been Academy Director at Lanier High School since 2008, a summer school principal, and assistant principal. She taught Science and Language Arts at Dobie Middle School, and has taught at South Texas Community College, University of New Mexico, and Gallup (NM) High School, and with the Peace Corps. She earned two bachelor's degrees from Pennsylvania State University, and master's degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin. She was the District's Teacher of the Year in 2004-2005.
  • Marla McNeal-Sheppard as principal of Kealing Middle School. She has served Houston ISD as a middle school principal, dean of students, and Math and Science teacher. She earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a master's degree from the University of Houston.
  • La Kesha Drinks as principal of Becker Elementary School. She has served as assistant principal of Becker since 2009, and was a teacher at Graham and Houston elementary schools. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master's degree from Concordia University.
  • Leticia Peña as principal of Blazier Elementary School. Ms. Peña has served as an assistant principal at Blazier and Sunset Valley Elementary. She was a bilingual teacher at Sunset Valley, Rodriguez, and Widen elementaries, and a summer science camp principal and teacher. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Wendy Mills as principal of Cook Elementary School. She currently serves AISD as an administrative supervisor, and has been an assistant principal at Ortega Elementary and with Lockhart ISD. She has taught in AISD and with Bastrop ISD. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Cynthia Gonzales as principal of Winn Elementary School. Ms. Gonzales has been assistant principal of Campbell Elementary since 2008, and also taught in Temple ISD. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.