Here is a summary of the presentation:
The district has made steady academic progress over the past year and throughout the history of the TAKS testing program, which is being replaced this spring by the new STAAR assessment system. Achievement gaps between student groups have been cut in half since 2003, and for the second year, at least 80 percent of all students met or exceeded state standards in every subject. On top of that, more students are applying and are ready for college than ever before!
In looking at the budget, AISD is on sound financial footing. We have the second lowest tax rate compared to surrounding districts. This year, there will be no layoffs and no declaration of financial exigency, so that our staff can feel secure in their jobs and focus on the work of educating children.
There are still challenges ahead. We need to improve educational outcomes by boosting early literacy and graduation rates and by meeting the needs of our growing population of English Language Learners. We have a lot of work to do in transitioning successfully from TAKS- centered test preparation to the “Whole Child” model under STAAR. We need to improve special education performance to meet federal standards for Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. And, using the Facility Master Plan Framework, we must address inefficiencies and inequities that have plagued the district for years.
The McCallum students and staff really shined today, with performances by the Jazz Band, Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, First Edition Choir, Men’s Choir, Chamber Orchestra, and the Knights of Steel.
I never stop being impressed and awed by the level of student talent in our district, and by the amount of effort that our teachers and other staff devote to encouraging and supporting these students. The students who performed today were simply amazing. I’ve been basking in their glow all day!
Hats off and a huge thanks to these great McCallum staff members and their students for a terrific performance today.
Principal Mike Garrison
Choir Director Malcolm Nelson
Jazz Band Director Carol Nelson
Austin Chamber Music Coaches Margaret Ayer and Jeni Gossard
Fine Arts Academy Coordinator Lanier Bayliss
Chamber Orchestra Director Ricky Pringle
Technical Theater Director M. Scott Tatum
Knights of Steel Director Matt Ehlers
The State of the District Address will be broadcast on AISD Channel 22, and can be viewed here .
Thanks again to all who helped me who why I have such High Hopes for AISD!