District Initiatives

Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble performs original theatre on teen relationships for youth audiences. Local middle and high school age youth develop scenes, scripts, props, and scenery for a new production each year. Audience talkbacks and teacher’s guides provide opportunity for dialogue after the show. For more information, contact Meg Greene, at mgreene@safeaustin.org or (512) 356-1591.

Creative Action, formally the Theatre Action Project, uses the creative arts to activate the academic, social and emotional development of young people. Through interactive classroom performances, after school residencies and community based programs, a team of professional teaching artists inspire youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers and confident leaders in their community. For more information, contact Shobie Partos at shobie@creativeaction.org or (512) 442-8773 Ext. 108.

Communities In Schools of Central Texas addresses bullying by providing an array of counseling, mediation and social service supports. Staff members work full-time at 43 Austin ISD campuses and are available to provide individual counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention and related supports for victims of bullying, as well as counseling for the aggressors. The CIS Pebble Project provides abuse prevention presentations to elementary students that include responding appropriately to bullying. CIS also helps to create a safe school environment by supporting campus-wide initiatives such as No Place for Hate, A Week Without Violence and Gay/Straight Alliance. For more information, contact:

Council on At-Risk Youth provides mentoring, case management and anger replacement training for youth in Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement. Six middle schools, ALC and three high schools currently participate. 

Expect Respect, a program of SAFE—This program promotes safe and healthy relationships for K-12 students. Serving Austin schools since 1988, Expect Respect provides school-based support groups and counseling, youth leadership activities and educational programs in schools and community settings. For more information, contact Barri Rosenbluth at brosenbluth@safeaustin.org or  (512) 356-1628.

Gay Straight Alliance, Texas GSA Network—This high school-based program creates a safe environment to educate students and fight discrimination, harassment and violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth. 

Learning Support Services—Second Step curriculum is taught in some elementary and middle schools. Child Study Teams and PALs programs also are being used. The curriculum is being implemented throughout the Austin High and Crockett vertical teams.

No Place for Hate, Anti-Defamation League—These clubs create schoolwide projects to prevent bullying and increase inclusivity. Austin ISD has been the largest No Place for Hate district in the nation for two consecutive school years: 2013–14 and 2014–15. For more information, contact Jillian Bontke, Education Director, at jbontke@adl.org or (512) 717-5235.

Rachel’s Challenge is a national organization that inspires, equips and empowers K–12 students to make a positive difference in their world to replace bullying and violent behavior on school campuses with kindness and compassion so students can learn in a safe, respectful environment. 

Social Emotional Learning involves the processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. The SEL initiative in Austin is being implemented through the vertical team structure. SEL is implemented through explicit instruction, using district curriculum and resources, within a positive school climate. For more information, contact Caroline Chase, Administrative Supervisor, at caroline.chase@austinisd.org.

Where Everybody Belongs, WEB Leaders—This national organization is an anti-bullying program for middle school students provides campuses with a cadre of student leaders who identify bullying behavior and help stop it. WEB gives older students permission to be aware of and report any negative behavior they see, creating a safer school for everybody.