Archive by Author

September 24, 2018 Meeting Follow Up

1.      Public Comment:

  • All 30 slots were filled
    • Many speakers shared opinions about the decision to modernize Sanchez Elementary. Concerns raised:
      • The Bond specified a modernization project for the Eastside Memorial Vertical Team, however, Sanchez ES is in the Austin Vertical Team.
      • Does the decision to modernize Sanchez mean that Zavala ES or Metz ES could close?
      • Safety concerns about Sanchez being close to the I35
      • Concerns that the engagement process pit schools against each other for resources
    • Casis ES parents expressed frustrations with leveling of a kindergarten teacher at their campus and how the administration handled it.
    • Community members spoke in support of the East Austin Manifesto

2.      Presentation of AISD School Financial Integrity Rating for 2018

  • No one signed up to speak at the Public Hearing
  • AISD receives a perfect store of 100 and a rating of Superior from TEA
  • Moody’s gives AISD an Aaa bond rating

3.      Consent Agenda & Considerations

  • Consent Agenda passes unanimously 7-0, Trustee Geronimo Rodriguez was absent from this meeting and did not participate in any votes
  • Approval of Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) Roster
    • Trustee Julie Cowan raised concern that the board was unfamiliar with the SHAC appointee process and that this affected diversity of opinion on this team.
      • Lisa Goodnow, Associate Superintendent of Academics and SEL, explained that the board must appoint at least 5 members, and others may apply and be approved by the board.
    • Board approved the proposed SHAC roster 6-0-1, with Trustee Cowan abstaining

September 24, 2018, Regular Board Meeting

KEY ITEMS:  Elementary Modernization Project Approval

 7:25 PM   Public Comment

  • Up to 30 members of the community may speak for 2 minutes

 8:45 PM Presentation of Austin ISD School Financial Integrity Rating for 2018

  • Followed by Public Hearing at 8:45 PM

9:15 PM Consent Agenda

  • Academics & Curriculum
    1. Approval of Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) 2018 – 2019 Roster and Board of Trustees SHAC Member Appointment
    2. Metz, Sanchez, Zavala Elementary Modernization Project
    3. Agreement between ACC and AISD for Dual Credit Educational Partnerships
  • Business & Finance
    1. Contract for Advanced Email Protection and Analysis Solution
    2. Contracts for Security Cameras and Camera Installation
    3. Contracts for Membership and Participation in Purchasing Cooperatives
  • Facilities
    1. Approval of Electric Utility Easement Agreement at New Southwest Elementary School
  • Items for Separate Vote
    1. Interlocal Agreement with City of Austin: Mexican American Cultural Center
    2. Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department
    3. Building Use Agreement with UT at Frank Erwin Center for 2019 Commencement Ceremonies
    4. Advise TX Interlocal Agreement with Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and UT

Attendance, Discipline & TSI in High Schools

By: Avani Chhaya

With information readily available at your fingertips, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at the deluge of facts and figures about high schools in Austin ISD. We have distilled all of that high school information to the three important facets, impacting a high school student: attendance, discipline and college-readiness. Attendance has large budget and academic ramifications. In addition, disciplinary data shows which campuses are suspending their students at higher rates, highlighting disparities for our students of color. With the aim of high school to prepare students for life beyond the secondary level, the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment gives a glimpse at one of the college-ready components for students.

1.Attendance

Students in Central Texas miss 2.4 million days of school every year, according to E3 Alliance.

If a student is absent from class, it results in a loss of learning and a loss of state funding for the school. According to Austin ISD, missing school once a week is equivalent to missing out on a full year of learning every five years. E3 Alliance goes on to state that a student’s absence costs $38 per day, losing $20,000 every week in a high school, totaling over $91 million a year for our schools across the Central Texas region. With higher expectations and an increase in the workload at the high school level, it is much harder to academically catch up if a student is continually absent from school. High school campuses are expected to meet the AISD’s annual high school target of 93.8 percent for attendance. A sample of how districts monitor attendance across campuses can be seen in the High School Dashboard 2017-2018

2. Discipline

In 2017, the AISD school board voted to ban home suspensions and expulsions for preK to 2nd grade students with similar ban resolutions passed in Dallas, El Paso and Houston school districts, along with a bill at the state level banning suspensions.

In reference to the Student Code of Conduct, the state law allows a student to be suspended for up to three days, and there is no limit on the number of times a student is suspended in the semester or school year. The suspended student will have a conference with the school’s administration to explain the situation.

Austin ISD’s Summary of Equity Work indicates that several student groups experienced a higher rate of home and in-school suspensions in 2016. While male students were suspended at a higher rate than female students, special education and economically-disadvantaged students were punished with a home suspension, which was higher than the district average. Middle school rates of home suspensions were higher than high school and elementary school. In addition, there is a clear inequitable gap between students in different racial and ethnic groups. African-American and Hispanic students experienced home suspensions at a far greater rate than their White counterparts. These trends continue to persist with in-school suspensions as well.

Some campuses in Austin ISD, such as Akins High School, are implementing restorative practices to lower the suspension rate. Through a partnership with Life Anew, Akins implements a system of check-ins and classroom circles to build the school community, as well as lessen the occurence and frequency of conflict.

In a 2015 AISD report, seven sixth grade students were asked about the circling techniques at Martin Middle School, as part of the restorative practices program with Life Anew. Circling is where students sit in a circle and confront a problem directly with their classmates, teachers or family members. This strategy is meant to build empathy, perspective-taking, trust and dialogue among a classroom community. While the students spoke of their positive experiences with this circling technique, they mentioned how circling with a shy or disrespectful peer poses challenges.

3. Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment

Students planning on attending college in Texas can take the TSI, which is a standardized test determining college-readiness in reading, writing and math. The district and state scores below represent the number of graduates who scored at or above the set criteria for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math out of the total number of graduates with subject scores. According to the Texas Education Agency, high school students are considered college-ready with a score of at least 351 in ELA and at least 350 in Math. In the most recent school year, only 25 percent of students are college-ready in ELA and only 20.3 percent in Math in Austin ISD.

 

TSI Scores in ELA & Math for District and State From 2014-2016

Source: Texas Academic Performance Report

District State
ELA in 2015-2016 25% 22.6%
ELA in 2014-2015 10.7% 10.6%
Math in 2015-2016 20.3% 18.1%
Math in 2014-2015 6.9% 7.1%

 

August 27, 2018 Meeting Follow Up

1.      Public Comment:

  • All 30 slots were filled
    • Many speakers raised concerns about Celebration Church being allowed to rent out the AISD Performance Arts Center because of their stance on LGBTQ people. Read about it here.
    • Librarians raised an unintended consequence of the decision to halt inter-campus mail due to budget constraints. Previously, librarians could use inter-campus mail to request books from other campuses, providing more options for students. Without it, students only have access to the books in their library. Dr. Cruz said that the district would work to find a solution.
    • Speakers expressed frustration with the proposed MLS soccer stadium plan; as currently written, Precourt Sports Ventures would not have to pay property taxes and AISD would miss out on potential tax revenues.

2.      Consent Agenda & Considerations:

  • Consent Agenda passed unanimously 8-0
  • Board approved an agreement to continue mental health services at Austin HS, Bedicheck MS, Burnet MS, Dobie MS, Eastside HS, International HS, Fulmore HS, Garcia YMLA, Lanier HS, LBJ, LASA, Martin HS, McCallum HS, Reagan HS, Sadler Means YWLA and Travis HS for the 18/19 school year.
  • 2019 Legislative Priorities
  • Interlocal Agreement with Austin Public Health for youth development programs passes 7-0-1, Trustee Wagner abstained because she works for the City of Austin
  • AISD Human Resources presented amendments to the Family Leave policy, removing partial pay for some extended leave and parenting leave. After much discussion, the motion failed 2-6. Trustee Cowan, who voted in favor, said, “If not this, then what?” The board has asked the district to make tough calls, like this one, and Cowan called her fellow trustees to support their plan. Trustees who voted against said that they worried about this policy change not being communicated in time for families to make decisions about having or expanding a family. Trustees also expressed not wanting to balance the budget on the backs of their employees.

3.      Superintendent’s Report:

  • Preliminary Accountability Results
  • Adoption of I&S and M&O Tax Rate
    • Motion to levy a Maintenance & Operation ad valorem tax at a rate of $1.0790, unchanged from previous year, passed unanimously
    • Motion to levy an ad valorem tax to provide a sinking fund to pay principal and interest on bonds at a rate of $0.1130, unchanged from previous year, passed unanimously
    • Motion to grant historical landmarks a partial tax exemption passed 5 –3; Trustees Gordon, Anderson, and Mathias voted no

 

August 27, 2018, Regular Board Meeting

KEY ITEMS:  Accountability Results & Tax Rate

 7:25 PM   Public Comment

  • Up to 30 members of the community may speak for 2 minutes

8:35 PM Consent Agenda

  • Academics & Curriculum
    1. Approval for Memorandum of Agreement between AISD and Texas School for the Deaf, and AISD and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
    2. 2018 – 2019 Service Agreements with Seedling Foundation & Communities in School
    3. 2018 – 2018 Notice of Grant Award: ACE Texas 21st Century Learning Center
    4. Establishment of a Local Graduation Committee as an alternative for students graduating under TAKS
  • Business & Finance
    1. Contracts for Compostable & Reusable Food Trays & Rapid Response Services
    2. Amendment to a contract for School Mental Health Centers at Anderson, Bowie, and Crockett High Schools
    3. Interlocal Agreement with Integral Care for 16 School Mental Health Center
    4. Budget Amendment for FY2018-19
    5. Approval of FY2019-20 and 2020-21 Budget Development Calendar
    6. Annual Review of the AISD Debt Management Policy
  • Facilities
    1. Contract for repair and replacement of selected roof areas at Lamar MS and HVAC units in portable classrooms at various AISD facilities
  • Human Resources
    1. DEC (LOCAL) Policy Revision
    2. Appointment of the Associate Superintendent of Middle Schools for AISD
    3. Appointment of the Executive Director of Middle Schools & Exec. Director of High Schools
  • Items for Separate Vote
    1. Agreement with College Board for PSAT/NMSQT Early Participation Program
    2. 2018-2019 Renewal of Interlocal Agreement with UT for Literacy First
    3. 2018-2019 Educational Experience Affiliation Agreement with UT School of Social Work

9:05 PM Superintendent’s Report

  • Certification of Graduation for students graduating under TAKS
  • Opening of Schools Report
  • Preliminary 2018 Accountability Results
  • Adoption of Ordinance Setting Tax Rate and Certain Exemptions: I&S Tax Rate and M&O Tax Rate

AVID: Jump-start To College

 

By Avani Chhaya

More than 4,500 students across all grade levels are provided with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) services in Austin ISD. AVID is a national program that the district implements to increase post-secondary readiness and to create a college-going culture among some elementary, middle school and high school students. The foundation of the program is around WICOR, writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. The goal of AVID is to have students succeed and graduate from college, yet this is not a district-wide program.

At the national level, 72 percent of AVID seniors in 2015 enrolled in either a two-year or a four-year college after high school compared with 69 percent of seniors in the United States. From Fall 2015 to Fall 2016, 85 percent of AVID graduates continued into the second year of college compared with 78 percent of students in the country.

At the elementary level in Austin ISD, AVID is built on the same learning foundation as the program at the secondary level. With a focus on the early grades, AVID is designed to embed daily instruction in classrooms across all grade levels, providing students and teachers with common language for particular skills. This program leaves elementary teams with flexibility around setting goals and implementing initiatives. According to the Multi-Year Report of AVID Elementary Site Data, there are 66 AVID elementary classrooms with the majority of trained teachers at the 3rd through 5th grade level.

AVID Elementary Students By Grade in 2017

Source: AVID Data from Austin ISD

Grade Number of Students in Each Grade
Kindergarten: 33
1st Grade: 23
2nd Grade: 64
3rd Grade: 350
4th Grade: 539
5th Grade: 500
Total Number of Students: 1,509 Students

 

At the middle and high school level, there is an AVID teacher at each participating AVID school, possibly with more than one instructor. College-level tutors come in twice a week at the secondary level to host tight-knit socratic seminars, taking a student’s question and dissecting it in an open discussion during the AVID Elective.

Bedichek Middle School, an AVID national demonstration school, has an application-based method for students to participate in this elective program. AVID is implemented school-wide with all content teachers implementing WICOR strategies in their lessons. Eligible students are in the 75th to 95th academic percentile, understanding the workload and demands of this program and are eager for resources to help them on their path to college. With 18 sections of the AVID elective and three full-time elective teachers at this campus, this program at Bedichek serves 340 students out of its total student population of 883 students.

Main Takeaways from 2016-2017 AVID Secondary Data* | Source: AVID Data from Austin ISD

  • The average number of AVID middle school students per school is 106
  • The average number of AVID high school students per school is 166
  • 77 percent of AVID students are Hispanic or Latino, 11 percent of AVID students are Black or African American, 8 percent of AVID students are White and 2 percent of AVID students are Asian
  • There are 170 AVID elective sections
  • 13 percent of AVID 9th-12th gradeers are taking a college course for college credit

*Secondary data above includes both middle school and high school students

At the high school level, students are recruited into the AVID program through multiple pathways: through their middle schools, through their teachers identifying eligible students in high school classes and through school-wide events. The AVID curriculum has a specific focus on test preparation, college admission and marketable skills at the high school level. At 10 AVID high schools in the district, seniors can opt into a program through the AVID center to be tracked for the next four years after high school, in order to measure the impact of AVID services on students. Despite AVID starting in Austin ISD in the 1999-2000 school year, the district is not at the 100 percent benchmark of AVID seniors applying to a four-year or two-year college.

AVID Senior Data for Austin ISD* in 2016-2017

Source: AVID Data from Austin ISD

Applied to a four-year college: 89.4%
Planned to attend a four-year college: 57%
Accepted to a four-year college: 77%
Planned to attend a two-year college: 35.1%
Will be attending tech school or the military: 0.4%
Took SAT & ACT: 72.5%
Taking College Courses / Dual-Enrollment: 46%

*10 high schools and 265 AVID seniors are represented in the data above

Do you have a curriculum? Do you have socratic style tutorials? Who has access to AVID?
Elementary Everyone – all elementary students are in AVID
Secondary* Elective – secondary students must select this elective

*Secondary encompasses middle and high school

June 18, 2018 Meeting Follow Up

1.      Public Comment:

  • Speakers identified a lack of cultural proficiency professional development opportunities & suggested that the district’s Race & Equity Office expand from one person
  • AISD offers free breakfast and lunch to all children and teens ages 18 and younger

2.      Public Hearing: Health Services RFP

  • 6 people signed up to speak, main concern was having an RN present on every campus

3.      Public Hearing: FY2018-19 Recommended Budget and Tax Rate

  • 2 people signed up to speak

4.      Consent Agenda & Considerations:

5.      Superintendent’s Report:

June 18, 2018, Regular Board Meeting

KEY ITEMS: Adoption of FY19 Budget, Mendez T-STEM Partnership, & Mainspring Partnership 

 7:25 PM   Public Comment

  • Up to 30 members of the community may speak for 2 minutes

8:35 PM Public Hearing: Health Services RFP  

9:05 PM Public Hearing: FY2018-19 Recommended Budget and Tax Rate

9:35 PM Consent Agenda

  • Academics & Curriculum
    1. Agreement with Mainspring, a charter turnaround partner
    2. Mendez and T-STEM Coalition Partnership and Final Agreement
    3. District of Innovation revisions for Dual Language & Languages Other than English (LOTE)
    4. Approval of extension of the AISD/Austin Partners in Education Cooperative Agreement
    5. Optional Flexible School Day Program for the Graduation Prep Academy campuses at Travis and Lanier HS
  • Business & Finance
    1. Contracts for district-wide professional development services
    2. Agreement for the purchase of Attendance Credits from the state for SY2018-19
    3. Final Budget Amendment for FY 2017-18
    4. District-wide HUB program recommended aspirational goals
  • Facilities
    1. Contract for construction firm for the new Administration Center
    2. Contract for architectural firm selected for Norman ES Modernization Project
  • Human Resources
    1. Appointment of Principal of Bryker Woods ES, Uphaus Early Childhood Center, Covington MS, and Fulmore MS
  • Policy
    1. 2018-19 Student Code of Conduct
  • Items for Separate Vote
    1. Contract for Student Health Services, Request for Proposals
    2. Memorandum of Understanding with OnRamps Program at UT

9:05 PM Superintendent’s Report

  • End of School Year Report (Update)
  • Adoption of the Recommended FY2019 Budget (Action)

Austin Independent School District School Board. https://www.austinisd.org/board

May 21, 2018 Meeting Follow Up

1.      Public Comment:

  • All 30 slots were filled
    • Many spoke in support of Special Education and Special Education teachers
    • Speakers voiced concern about “drill and kill” style teaching, deficit thinking, and Kendall Pace’s comments.

2.      Consent Agenda & Considerations:

  • Consent Agenda passed unanimously 8-0
  • Items pulled from the dais for a separate vote
    • Interlocal Agreement between UT and AISD for district’s 2017-2022 Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Grant passed 6-0-2. Trustee Gordon and Trustee Elenz abstain because of their affiliation with UT.

3.      Superintendent’s Report:

4.      Board Officers:

May 21, 2018, Regular Board Meeting

KEY ITEMS: Recommended Budget and Employee Compensation Plan; Board Officer Selection

 7:25 PM   Public Comment

  • Up to 30 members of the community may speak for 2 minutes

8:35 PM Consent Agenda

  • Academics & Curriculum
    1. Attendance waivers for select campuses
  • Business & Finance
    1. Contracts for heating, ventilation, air conditioning rental equipment
    2. Amendment to a Contract for residential treatment center services for students with disabilities
    3. Resolution regarding hazardous traffic conditions for 2018-19 school year
    4. 3rd Quarterly Budget Amendment Reports for the months of Jan., Feb., and March 2018
    5. Approval of meal price increase
  • Facilities
    1. Contract for HVAC at Baranoff ES
  • Human Resources
    1. Appointment of Principal of Travis Heights
    2. AISD 2018-19 Employee Compensation Plan as agreed through consultation with Education Austin
    3. Appointment of Chief Officer of School Leadership
  • Items for Separate Vote
    1. Interlocal Agreement Between AISD and UT for the district’s 2017 -2022 Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Early Phase Grant

9:05 PM Superintendent’s Report

  • Presentation of Recommended FY2018-19 Budget

9:35 PM Executive Session

10:35 PM Board Officers

  • Consider and take appropriate action to select board officers

Austin Independent School District School Board. https://www.austinisd.org/board