News from Dr. Cruz: Facility Master Plan—A Road Map For the Future
Your dedicated efforts toward educating our students have resulted in significant improvements in student achievement in AISD, including higher high school graduation rates and ACT and SAT scores that are above the state and national average.
The district, as a whole, exceeded all targets of the state accountability system and earned a rating of Met Standard—the highest rating districts can earn. For the first time, Austin ISD was one of 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada and one of 23 districts in Texas honored by the College Board with placement on the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll. But we know we still have work to do.
Our students must have experiences every day that include critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, cultural proficiency, communication and connection, or as we like to call them – the six C’s.
The Facility Master Plan, recently approved by the board of trustees, is a high-level guide designed to support increased levels of student performance, as well as provide a road map to address our facility needs during the next 25 years.
The FMP represents many long hours of hard work by our Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee and AISD staff. Composed of 18 community members, many of whom are parents or otherwise involved in their school communities, FABPAC met 32 times and held four rounds of community engagement meetings to enable stakeholders to provide input into the FMP’s development.
During these meetings, FABPAC members pored over mountains of data and spent significant time listening to many people about what AISD needs to do to prepare students for their futures.
From the input gathered, FABPAC created a draft FMP, received community feedback, modified the plan based on that feedback, and in the end, made it even better. I cannot thank them and our staff enough for their focus and work to support all our students.
- Modernization of 62 existing schools and renovation of 38 others;
- Replacement of three existing schools;
- Construction of five new schools;
- Upgrading lighting, air conditioning and other systems at six campuses;
- Relocating two programs from portable classroom buildings to permanent structures, and repurposing two other facilities; and
- Implementing Target Utilization Plans at selected schools.
The FMP will enable us to meet the many major facility challenges we will face in the years ahead. Many of our facilities are aging, new educational approaches are emerging and competition is fierce and growing. We acknowledge that these challenges will not be easy, but we will meet them head-on to avoid creating academic inequities.
As we move forward with implementation, our focus must remain on investing our resources in rigorous academic programming to prepare our students for success in college, career and life.
Further formal action by the board is required to implement each of the FMP’s recommendations. FABPAC and AISD administration will review the plan’s data at least every two years to ensure that we are making the right facility decisions for our students.
As we know, a facility can only do so much—it is our teachers, staff and principals who truly turn a classroom and a school into something special. Thank you to all of you who dedicate your days to improving our students’ futures.
Paul Cruz, Ph.D.