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Board Briefs - October 13, 2008
October 14, 2008 - President’s Update—Superintendent Search
Board of Trustees President Mark Williams reported that in late September, the District sponsored 12 Community Forums and numerous focus groups to receive community input on the qualities the Board should look for in AISD’s next Superintendent. Community members have also provided input by completing a survey on the AISD Website or calling the AISD’s Hotline.
Mr. Williams thanked the community who took the time to offer thoughts and suggestions about this important decision. He said the Board looked forward to receiving the results of the survey and Community Forums later this month, as compiled by ProAct, the executive search firm engaged by Trustees. During November and December, the Board will screen candidates and conduct initial interviews. Mr. Williams said Trustees hope to select finalists for the position early next year and will continue to keep the community informed of our progress in their coming months.
For more information about the Superintendent Search, visit the District Website at http://www.austinisd.org.
New programs for Eastside Memorial High School
Trustees approved New Tech High as the instructional model at the two new high schools to be introduced at Eastside Memorial High School on the Johnston Campus in August 2009 — one with a global studies theme, and on environmental studies with a science/math/technology/engineering focus for the second.
In a presentation to Trustees on September 22, Dr. Ann Smisko, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction; Kent Ewing, Executive Director of the Office of Redesign, along with key staff from the District’s Redesign Initiative, said that New Tech High was recommended because of all models evaluated, it provides the best foundation to deliver engaging instruction that will make learning relevant to students’ lives, and thereby, increase attendance and decrease drop-out rates.
In addition, the New Tech model embeds 21st Century skills in every part of its operation. Not only does it expect college enrollment through dual college credit, it provides the skills students need to be successful when they enroll in college or enter their career pathway. Finally, the on-going technical assistance provided by the New Tech Foundation to principals and teachers, and the technology platform that is part of the model, are critical to the School District’s efforts to build an effective education for Eastside students.
The selection of New Tech High culminates a community engagement process that included site visits, and 21 meetings and other activities in which more than 1,200 individuals provided input into the vision for the new schools. The Eastside Parent/Community Leadership team, made up of representatives from the PTSA, the Campus Advisory Council, alumni, and the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, strongly endorsed these models.
Trustees also approved a contract for $900,000 with the New Technology Fund to implement the New Tech High model at Eastside Memorial through August 2012.
Elementary Level Performance Report
In a presentation led by Interim Chief Academic Officer Claudia Tousek and the administrative instructional team, the achievement of elementary students in 2007-2008 was reported to Trustees. The performance summary was charted in three focus areas — Intellectual Development and Achievement; Personal, Social, and Cultural Development; and Equitable Opportunities and Outcomes.
The complete report is available online at http://www.boardbook.org/apps/bbv2/public/detail_wrapper.cfm?MeetingKey=MjAwMjE1Nzc%3D.
Teen Safe Driving Program
Trustees approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to offer the Texas Traffic Safety Program at Akins, Eastside Memorial, Lanier, Reagan, and Travis high schools. The program, funded through a TxDOT grant of $22,253, will provide a 56-hour driver education course free of charge to students.
The Texas Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) highlights teen drivers as a serious safety concern, noting that drivers under the age of 19 represent only 5.7 per cent of licensed drivers in Texas, but are involved in 17.8 per cent of the average annual fatalities, and 24.7 per cent of the average annual serious injuries. The Texas Traffic Safety Program is designed to:
Solar Energy Curriculum
Trustees approved an agreement with Austin Energy to develop a solar energy curriculum within the District’s science program. The project is funded by a grant of $49,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Initiative.
Trustees recognized the following school-related observances:
The next Regular Meeting of the ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, October 27, 2008, in the Auditorium of the Carruth Administration Center, located at 1111 West Sixth Street. All Board meetings are carried live on Time Warner and Grande Communications Cable Channel 22 and the AISD website at www.austinisd.org.
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