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Get Educated by AISD at SXSWedu

District shares the most up-to-date teaching practices at SXSWedu

Austin ISD kicked off its own film premiere last week in preparation for SXSWedu. In addition, the district is participating in a variety of SXSWedu events throughout this week.
Last week, AISD and KLRU held a special showing of "AISD: Champions," films from AISD students about their personal champions who have supported, challenged and encouraged them to succeed.
The student filmmakers captured the richness and diversity of life in AISD's high schools.
In addition to SXSWedu events, Spotify is helping build a recording studio at Kealing Middle School. After Spotify's SXSW event, The Spotify House, wraps up, its materials will be recycled to build a recording studio and given to Austin ISD. In partnership with DPR Construction, MINDPOP, Acoustic Spaces and Rebuilding Together Austin, Spotify will help expand the school's music production class.
AISD will also be participating in the following SXSWedu events:
1:30-3:30 p.m. Monday, March 7
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K
Speaker: Adam Holman, assistant principal at Murchison Middle School
An Edcamp is an innovative form of professional development, often called an "unconference," that brings educators together to talk about the things that matter most to them: their interests and passions. The session agenda is crowdsourced the day of the event and is based solely on the wants of the participants at SXSWedu.
5-6 p.m. Monday, March 7
Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABC
The Rather Prize is a $10,000 prize given to the person behind the best idea to improve education in the state of Texas. The statewide prize is open to students, teachers and administrators in Texas. During the session, the winners will present their idea as part of a discussion with former TV journalist and Rather Prize co-founder Dan Rather and Rather Prize Operational Director Martin Rather. This session includes a discussion of Dan Rather's Texas education, shifting to Martin Rather discussing the Rather Prize details and then the winner's presentation and an open Q&A.
Finalists include Austin ISD's Eastside Memorial High School, Claudia Taylor "Lady Bird" High School, Dallas Baptist University, Fort Bend ISD, Klein Collins High School and Dallas ISD, Meridian School, Northwest Independent School District, South Texas College, town of Friendswood and Woodrow Wilson High School Academy of Engineering.
9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 8
Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4
Thousands of AISD students, parents and employees participate in SXSWedu each year, especially during the free Education Expo. This year's expo showcases middle and high school programs. More than 200 students will perform on two stages, beginning at 2 p.m.
Visitors to the expo are encouraged to tag their tweets with #AISDSXSW. AISD will also be tweeting live from the convention center, with special help from high school students and teachers.
As part of a partnership with Compass Learning, student journalists from LASA, Austin and Akins high schools will cover the SXSWedu Expo on March 8. Follow the student coverage by following the #CompassBloggers and #AISDSXSW hashtags.
During the expo, Blazier and Harris elementary schools will participate in a day of coding with Microsoft using their Minecraft Coding Program. Students and teachers will get the opportunity to connect and hear from the designers of Minecraft and learn more about Minecraft EDU.
10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8
Austin Convention Center, Room 10AB
Speakers: City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt

This invitation-only SXSWedu event on the Greater Austin Area MBK is a community dialogue called, "My Brother's Keeper: One Year Later." Educators, nonprofit directors, government officials, thought leaders and area experts will convene for presentations and discussions about the progress made in the past year as well as next steps.
The event will feature a keynote by Michael D. Smith, special assistant to President Obama and senior director of cabinet affairs for My Brother's Keeper, as well as a presentation by E3 Alliance's Susan Dawson of data that has been collected for the GAAMBK Initiative.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.  Tuesday, March 8
JW Marriott, Salon 2
Join the Paramount Academy for the Arts and Science in a Suitcase for a three-hour intensive session dedicated to the roboARTS program. RoboARTS is a new partnership combining robotics and the performing arts. During this session, attendees will join the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) train to explore the parallels between the creative writing and the engineering design processes. Students enrolled in the roboARTS program at Lamar Middle School will mentor participants throughout the process. Participants will write original stories, program and create robotic characters, compose original songs based on their stories and characters, and share their creations through an informal performance.
2:30-3 p.m.  Tuesday, March 8
Austin Convention Center, NEXT Stage-Exhibit Hall
Speakers: Trinity Douglas and Alicia Withers, poets and Crockett High School students
AISD Crockett High School student duo Trinity Douglas and Alicia Withers will take the NEXT Stage featuring their slam poetry as part of "I Am Somebody." 

From Research to Recess: Early Learning in Practice

3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8

Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 400-402

Speaker: Early Childhood Director Jacquie Porter

A surge of multi-disciplinary research, from neuroscience to psychology to cognitive science, has demonstrated the increasingly vital importance of early education for healthy development and long-term success. In this panel, experts in the science of early learning, practice and advocacy come together to discuss how to translate research into practice across the myriad settings in which young children learn, how evidence-based research can help bridge the gap between formal and informal learning environments and what role technology should play.

5-6 p.m.  Tuesday, March 8
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon J
Speaker: John Sperry, teacher at Anderson High School, with other presenters
To inspire students in STEM and prepare them for future jobs, educators should provide hands-on experiences to keep them motivated. With the demand for effective STEM programming in schools at an all-time high, states are starting to make robotics an official after-school program. This panel of experts represents the tech industry, robotics and education. They will discuss the challenges and benefits of implementing competitive robotics programs statewide and address how to keep the "robotics as a lettered sport" movement going strong.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.  Wednesday, March 9
JW Marriott, Salon 2
Speakers: AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz, AISD Administrative Supervisor of Physical Education Michele Rusnak, AISD Director of Social and Emotional Learning Sherrie Raven, and AISD Coordinator of the Creative Learning Initiative Yesenia Garcia-Herrington
AISD is weaving coordinated school health, creative learning strategies and social and emotional learning in all classrooms. National and local research demonstrates that whole child education increases attendance, reinforces positive behavior and improves academic achievement. In this session, participants will gain the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to implement whole child education in their classrooms.
3-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9
Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG
Speaker: Elizabeth Mikeska, librarian at Wooldridge Elementary School

This session is meant for novices and experts alike. Be prepared to engage your heart, mind and hands to explore the fundamentals of constructivism.
After an overview of the cultural and educational contexts of making, participants will delve into concepts like tinkering, making thinking visible, human-centered design and best practices for technology integration, followed by a Q&A.
3-6 p.m.  Wednesday, March 9
JW Marriott, Salon 3
Speakers: Paul Cruz, AISD superintendent; Edmund Oropez, AISD chief officer for teaching and learning; Laura Brady, Austin Opportunity Youth Collaborative director; Mark Madrid, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and CEO; Susan Dawson, E3 Alliance president; Ty Davidson, AISD Travis Early College High School principal
Hosted by: Public Consulting Group
Learn proven strategies that will position students to gain the physical, emotional and cognitive preparedness to succeed. The six milestones of My Brother's Keeper are designed to ensure youth success throughout the nation. Through this summit, learn to engage in meaningful dialogue and share best practices that help school districts, agencies and community stakeholders advance the six goals of MBK.
4-6 p.m. Wednesday, March 9
Austin Convention Center, Room 9C
Speakers: Lupe Velasquez, Allison Elementary School principal; Sara Hirsh Bordo, Women Rising CEO
"The Lizzie Velasquez Story" is a documentary that follows the inspiring journey of 26-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different and, later online, as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her "The World's Ugliest Woman." The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie's physical and emotional journey up to her TEDx talk-which has now been viewed millions of times-and follows her journey to Capitol Hill as she lobbies for the first federal anti-bullying bill.
11:15-11:45 a.m. Thursday, March 10
Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG
Speakers: Sloan McLainMINDPOP education director; Theresa WoodPalm Elementary School teacher

Teachers, administrators and non-academic professionals are using creative teaching strategies from the Creative Learning Initiative to build community and enhance learning. These CLI strategies based in the arts and digital media are drastically transforming teaching and learning in AISD. This school year alone, more than 2,500 administrators and teachers have participated in CLI trainings to learn these techniques, realizing their potential to engage students, deepen understanding and make learning more personal and fun. This hands-on session will actively explore versatile, easy-to-learn, creative teaching strategies that can be used in a variety of places and spaces.
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (media check-in 9:30 a.m.) March 10
Crockett High School, 5601 Manchaca Road
This science fair-meets-"Shark Tank"-type event will allow students to create and pitch innovative learning projects to judges and experts. All participating teams will be awarded $100 funding credits to kickstart their projects; the top-ranked project will receive $1,000.
The event includes appearances from Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker, representatives of The Entertainment Industry Foundation and AISD.
5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10
Travis Early College High School, 1211 E. Oltorf St.
The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce education committee is hosting its second annual "Start-Up Superstars" entrepreneur competition.
High school juniors and seniors were invited to participate in a business "idea, plan and pitch" contest. Students developed an idea for a new business or product, created a business plan and then pitched the idea and plan to a panel of judges.
A grand prize winner will be selected at the finals competition and will receive an education scholarship donated by the GAHCC Foundation.
Schools in the competition and their committee liaisons include:
  • Lanier High School-Dr. Victor Saenz and Dr. Hector Aguilar
  • Reagan Early College High School-Dr. Heather Elias
  • Travis Early College High School-Dr. Teresa Granillo        
  • Akins High School-Veronica Stidvent and Anne Dapremont
  • LBJ High School-Dr. Melissa Biegert
  • Eastside Side Memorial High School-Stefan Molina
Austin ISD is the largest school district in Central Texas, serving more than 83,000 students at 130 schools. Follow AISD on Twitter at @AustinISD or on Facebook at