austin isd

Jon Shapley for KUT News

Public school districts in Texas are required to follow a lot of state rules, but a new state law allows those districts to receive exemptions from various regulations. It’s called a district of innovation plan and at least four Central Texas school districts are developing plans. 


Mengwen Cao for KUT

This summer, it was reported that all elementary schools in the Austin Independent School District would be required to provide half an hour of recess every day.

But, the policy isn’t in place just yet.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

For many middle and high school students, this year’s presidential election is their introduction to American politics and it’s an unusual election to start with. At Kealing Middle School, about a dozen students are taking an elective called Presidential Politics. They study the current presidential election — and local races, too. 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

It was a muggy morning on the Long Center Terrance in downtown Austin. Central Texas school superintendents and their staffs fanned themselves as they listened to a local student mariachi band play.

But these education leaders weren’t there to just hear the music. They were there to address a major issue in Central Texas schools: student attendance.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Jonathan Hernandez started attending Austin public schools when he was ten. He didn't speak any English when he started fifth grade at Andrews Elementary, but with the help of teachers in his bilingual classes, he was able to learn the language. 


Audrey McGlinchy / KUT

At some schools in Austin ISD, most students who take Advanced Placement tests fail those exams. But students at the same schools are passing dual credit classes, college courses taught through Austin Community College. 


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

LBJ Early College High School and the Liberal Arts and Science Academy share the same building in the Austin Independent School District. But the schools have different philosophies when it comes to how their students should pursue college credits in high school. 


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin ISD offers Advanced Placement courses and tests at all of its schools, but the percentage of students who score high enough on the AP tests to receive college credit varies from campus to campus. 


Nathan Bernier/KUT

South Austin residents hoping Austin ISD will open a public magnet school in their neighborhood, similar to the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, may be waiting a while. This week’s school board meeting revealed just how far away the district is from making a decision. 

The number of school districts in Texas that did not meet state standards in 2016 rose slightly over 2015, though almost 94 percent of districts statewide did pass.

1,131 districts met the standards, while 66 failed. At the individual school level, 7,667 campuses met the 2016 standards, which is a small improvement over last year.

As the Texas Tribune notes:

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Austin public school teachers and principals say they believe students of color are disproportionately disciplined in Austin ISD schools, according to a recently released results from the District Equity Self-Assessment. The survey results show many stakeholders believe there is room to improve equity in student outcomes, student access to academic programs and discipline.


US Army Corps of Engineers/flickr

When Austin resident Katy Ludlow was pregnant, she remembers how concerned many parents were about vaccinating their children. Actor Jenny McCarthy was speaking openly about her belief that her son’s autism was linked to vaccinations and Ludlow grew worried.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

This week, students from across the city are getting the chance to interact with Austin police in a summer camp called Gang Resistance Education and Training, or GREAT.

The camp is part of a larger program to reduce gang activity in Austin.

At Martin Middle School, rising fifth graders were taking a tour of an Austin Police Department helicopter at one of several events scheduled for GREAT camp this week.

Texas Tribune

The next legislative session is still more than six months away, but the Austin Independent School District has already chosen its focus issues for the next session. The first one isn’t surprising: school funding. The other is mental health. Austin ISD provides nearly 2,000 students with on-site counseling every year. 


Mengwen Cao for KUT

For some Austin residents in the Windsor Park neighborhood, the problems began two years ago. That's when charter school Austin Achieve built a new school right next to the neighborhood — 16 feet away from some homes, to be exact. 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

These stories were produced in partnership with PRI's Global Nation project.

For many first-generation college students, high school graduation is seen as a major milestone for them and their families.

Many of those students in Austin say they wouldn’t have graduated or been accepted to college without the help of Breakthrough Austin. It’s a non-profit that helps first generation college students get their degree.

Many immigrant parents who did not graduate high school or college struggle to navigate the education system in the United States. 

Breakthrough meets these students in middle school, pairs the students with a counselor and help them get into good high schools in Austin and succeed academically.

They also help them understand the college application and the financial aid processes.

This week, some of those graduating students and their families share their stories. 

Mengwen Cao / KUT

School’s out, but the Austin School Board is already thinking about classes next fall. The board wants to talk about adding an ethnic studies course in the district, and some school board members want to make the class a graduation requirement.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For nearly five million students in the U.S., English isn’t their first language. In Austin ISD, some of those students are sent to a special school for international students, a school where dozens of languages are spoken. There, the idea is to help the students learn English before sending them back to their neighborhood high school. But something else happens as well.


Photo by KUT News

Most of the Austin School Board members want a larger salary increase for teachers than the district recommended. At a meeting Monday night they urged district officials to consider large pay bumps before bringing the budget back to the board for a vote, but that could mean deficits in future budgets.


Kate McGee/KUT

Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Hyde Park will get a new name later this spring.

Last night, the Austin School Board voted to start the re-naming process. It’s been a long conversation that has divided members of the community, but the school board ultimately opted to change the name of the school on a vote of 8-0, with one board member abstaining.


Pages