Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | March 2022


News from Austin ISD

HIGHLIGHTS AUSTIN ISD The new Rosedale School campus held a grand opening ceremony March 7. The campus was funded through Austin ISD’s 2017 bond project to create a modernized facility for students with severe special needs. AISD originally opened Rosedale Elementary School in 1988 to serve students ages 3-22 who were medically fragile or needed intensive behavioral support. Prior to the recent opening of the new campus, the school was operated at 2117 W. 49th St., Austin. AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE Amazon is partnering with nine colleges in Texas, including Austin Community College, to fully fund tuition for hourly employees. The project is part of Amazon’s expanded career opportunities programs and oers 750,000 employees the chance to access education from 140 institutions nationwide. TEXAS The Texas Education Agency announced March 10 that it has formed a task force to examine hiring problems that many districts are facing. The Teacher Vacancy Task Force will bring stakeholders, such as superintendents, teachers and human resource oficers, together monthly to address stafing shortages. On March 15, the TEA announced it would add 24 teachers to the task force. Austin ISD Next meetings: March 28 and April 14 at 5:30 p.m. 4000 S. I-35, Austin Dripping Springs ISD Next meetings: April 18 at 6:30 p.m. and April 25 at 6 p.m. 510 W. Mercer St., Dripping Springs Meetings are being held virtually and in person. MEETINGSWE COVER

Data: SomeAustin students are disproportionately disciplined

DISPROPORTIONATELY DISCIPLINED Austin ISD trustees received an update on disciplinary data March 10. The district has a goal of eliminating disparities in disciplinary action by 2026.


incidents dropped by 47% for Black students and 39% for special educa- tion students since 2018-19, the last pre-COVID-19 year when data was collected. The district is working to decrease these disparities to zero by August 2026. Campuses with disproportion- ate disciplinary action data will be required to create an action plan to foster equitable outcomes for Black and special education students. AISD’s Central Discipline Oce will work with the schools to provide indi- vidualized support on a campuswide and classroom-specic level. Superintendent Stephanie Eliz- alde emphasized the importance of moving away from a zero-tolerance policy toward disorderly conduct to

AUSTIN ISD Trustees reviewed data during the March 10 school board meeting showing that Black and special education students are dispro- portionately disciplined. The data shows that as of Febru- ary, Black students made up 19% of students who received disciplinary actions—deined as in-school or home school suspensions for full or partial school days, and discre- tionary removals to the district’s Alternative Learning Center—despite being 6.3% of AISD’s student popu- lation. Special education students were involved in 32% of disciplinary action incidents. They represent 13% of AISD students. The overall number of disciplinary



of AISD students have special needs

of AISD students are Black



of disciplinary actions were taken against Black students

of disciplinary actions were taken against special needs students


lower rates of disciplinary actions in the district. “I hear a lot about zero-tolerance philosophy,” Elizalde said. “I need everyone to remember that one of my students is somebody’s child.”

AISD removesmaskmandate AUSTIN ISD As of March 7, students in Austin ISD are no longer required to wear a mask as long as COVID-19 community spread remains low or moderate. Prevention guidance, which states students do not have to wear masks in areas of low or medium transmission for COVID-19. Travis County is low risk as of March 21. “We learned that masks work along with our BY DARCY SPRAGUE

GATHERING OPINIONS Prior to lifting the mask mandate, Austin ISD asked community members to weigh in. Of the more than 26,000 responses, 75% of individuals identied as parents.

50% lift mask mandate

45% maintain mandate

26,000 community members

The decision was made March 2 during a school board meeting. Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said the district would lift the mandate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and

layered protocols,” Eliz- alde said. “These layered protocols eectively got us through delta and omicron, and for that, and our entire community, we are eternally grateful.”

5% unsure


BEGINS EARLY GOOD DENTAL HEALTH There’s nothing more important than your child’s smile!

(512) 892-0013 3755 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Suite 292 Austin, TX 78704 We take pride in providing a fun, comfortable visit for your child.



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