Superintendent Paul Cruz Welcomes Students, Staff back for Game-Changing Year

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz will welcome students and staff to the new year while visiting 10 campuses Aug. 20 and 21. 

Campus visits will highlight back-to-school events and programs throughout AISD, including the campuses with new academic partnerships, work from the 2017 bond and student supports in social and emotional learning.  

Media will also have the opportunity to visit key programs within AISD campuses-a detailed list is outlined below. Cruz will be giving Superintendent Coins to staff members at each school who have created a positive impact on the campus community. 


Detailed Itinerary and Timely Information 

Tuesday, Aug. 20

7:30-8 a.m.: Blazier Elementary School, 8601 Vertex Blvd. 

Visuals: Cruz will greet students and families and drop off to start the year on a positive note. Cruz will also visit Austin ISD Elementary Teacher of the Year Ashley Rivera. 

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Uphaus Early Childhood Center, 5200 Freidrich Lane

Visuals: Media will have the opportunity to view the Pre-K expansion made possible by the Head Start grant and United Way partnerships. Cruz will also visit the campus' new daycare classrooms and have coffee with parents and families in the library. 

Timely Information: Uphaus is benefiting from the district's Head Start grant, which will allow the district to serve more than 250 more families in Pre-K3 with a strong early childhood education and wraparound services for the whole family. Those services include support for children's physical, mental and oral health, nutrition, and the needs of students who receive special education services. Additionally, parenting instruction and other family engagement activities are included.

9-9:45 a.m. Akins Early College High School, 10701 S. First St. (Press Conference at 9:30 a.m.)

Visuals: Press conference on the ECHS expansion that will allow students to earn a high school diploma and associate's degree at the same time. The campus also launched the new Career Launch program focused on real estate. 

Timely Information: Akins is one of 82 schools in AISD offering free breakfast and lunch to all students for the 2019-20 school year. The Community Eligibility Provision program will allow families to have one fewer thing to worry about as students will be receive free, healthy meals twice each day. 

10-10:30 a.m.: Bailey Middle School, 4020 Lost Oasis Hollow

Visuals: Cruz will meet the Fuzzy Logic robotics team that has earned awards at the state and national levels. He will also visit the campus woodshop.

11:10 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Highland Park Elementary School, 4900 Fairview Drive

Visuals: Cruz will serve lunch to students and join Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, Austin ISD Police Chief Ashley Gonzalez and Assistant Chief Chris Evoy to eat lunch with students. Cruz will also learn how to shoot an archery arrow from the state champion Highland Park Archers. 

12:30 p.m.: Navarro Early College High School, 1201 Payton Gin Road

Visuals: Cruz will have a roundtable discussion with student leaders. 

Timely Information: Navarro ECHS, formerly Lanier ECHS, will transition to its new name Aug. 20 after the Board of Trustees approved the renaming last spring. The campus is one of four schools or facilities to start the year with a new name. 


Wednesday, Aug. 21

11:45 a.m.12:15 p.m.: Zilker Elementary School, 1900 Bluebonnet Lane

Visuals: Cruz will take a tour of Jabo's Garden, a partnership between the campus and Odd Duck restaurant, which provides support and items to sell in fundraisers. Cruz will also visit a fifth-grade classroom to see how students focus on literacy. 

12:45-1:15 p.m.: Pickle Elementary School, 1101 Wheatley Ave.

Visuals: Cruz is focus on Social Emotional Learning and participate in an SEL circle. He will speak with parents about parent engagement efforts and learn more about innovative ideas 

Timely Information: Pickle is one of eight campuses in AISD to comprise an Innovation Zone, which allow the campuses to reimagine the student experience. Innovation Zone opportunities include increased flexibility and autonomy to design strategies to address student needs, a Texas Education Agency grant to fund technical expertise and guidance in innovation zone design, and a community of peer schools that will open doors to collaboration and shared learning.

1:45-2:15 p.m.: Metz Elementary School, 84 Robert T. Martinez Jr. St.

Editor's Note: Metz and Sanchez is located at the Metz Elementary School campus. 

Visuals: Metz and Sanchez will kick off its first day with a pep rally. 

Timely Information: This is the first year Metz and Sanchez joined into one campus as part of the 2017 bond project to modernize Sanchez. The campus will be completely modernized with $25 million from bond funds. Students will be housed at the Metz campus until the modernized campus is complete. 

2:45-3:15 p.m.: Austin HS, 1715 W. Cesar Chavez St.

Visuals: Cruz will be greeted by a drumline, cheerleaders, football players and a dance team before visiting the band hall to direct the musicians. The American Heart Association will also present the campus with CPR kits and dummies.