After week of education-focused panels, SXSWedu wraps up today

Sara Goldrick Rab, professor of higher education policy & sociology and founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, discussed the cost of college during her SXSWedu keynote speech on Tuesday, March 7.

Sara Goldrick Rab, professor of higher education policy & sociology and founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, discussed the cost of college during her SXSWedu keynote speech on Tuesday, March 7.

Thursday is the final day of SXSWedu 2017, the education-focused component to the SXSW family of conferences.

SXSWedu organizers predicted up to 8,000 students, teachers, administrators and education professionals would participate this year in the four-day conference, which took place at several venues across downtown Austin, including the Austin Convention Center.

The conference wraps up ahead of the Friday opening of SXSW Interactive and the SXSW Film Festival. The SXSW Music Festival starts March 13.

On Thursday, SXSWedu programming included a keynote speech from author Tim Ferriss, who is also an entrepreneur and investor in major tech companies such as Uber, Facebook and Shopify.

Ferriss also joined SXSWedu Executive Director Ron Reed and Charles Best of for an off-stage chat on Facebook Live.

Standardized testing in schools was the topic of one Wednesday panel titled, “Now Trending: State Assessments Worth Taking.”

Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction for the Ohio Department of Education, Christa Krohn, instructional mathematics coach with the Orange School District in Ohio, and Jennifer Poon, director of the Innovation Lab Network, discussed the implementation of performance-based assessments in Ohio.

In Ohio, districts like Orange are embracing performance-based assessments that promote a “link between engagement and deep learning.” Performance-based assessments measure a student’s ability to apply the skills and knowledge learned rather than simply internalize it.

DeMaria said while states can act as a catalyst to move an agenda forward, to truly reform assessment practices, teachers must act as advocates to demonstrate the need for change.

“You need to create a foundation where people are aware of [performance-based assessments], understand its power and demonstrate that it is working,” he said.

Krohn said the first step in transforming state assessments is cultivating a supportive environment.

“Having an environment that is nurturing and supportive allows teachers to take that risk,” she said. “You can’t take the step forward until you have a support administrative team. I would also look to like-minded districts in the area to partner with.”

Another panel Wednesday focused on transgender student rights in K-12 education.

Among the panelists was 17-year-old Ezra Morales, a transgender student from Austin ISD who testified to a Texas Senate committee in opposition to Senate Bill 6, which proposes to mandate that people use bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings that match the biological sex listed on their birth certificates, regardless of whether that matches their gender identities.

The controversial bill garnered six hours of invited testimony and more than 13 hours of public testimony ahead of the Senate committee’s vote Wednesday to move the bill forward to the full Senate floor. 

Morales said school administrators should ensure transgender students feel welcome among their peers. He took exception to SB 6 supporters’ claims that the proposed legislation does not target transgender people but rather is meant to protect individual privacy, adding that he believes the bill’s backers have spread rhetoric that “is very damaging to students like me all across the nation and all across the world.”

SXSWedu's final day includes keynote speaker Brené Brown, founder and CEO of Brave Leaders Inc.. The Houston-native is well-known for her TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.”

Brown's keynote Thursday will focus on how risk and vulnerability in the classroom can lead to teachers and students choosing courage over comfort, what is right over what is fun, fast or easy, and how to practice values rather than profess them.


Austin, Travis County and Austin ISD officials gathered Sept. 24 to discuss local resilience planning. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin, Travis County, AISD look to build collaboration on community disaster hubs

The governments and school district are looking to grow a network of facilities that can provide resources to residents amid weather emergencies.

Screen shot of Desmar Walkes speaking at a press conference
Austin Public Health eyes possible shift to Stage 4 guidelines

Local health leaders said they want to see the current downward trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations persist before making any changes.

Kyle City Council voted 6-1 and approved the new citywide trail master plan that will utilize 2020 bond election funds for trails that will help connect Austin to San Antonio. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI Nation roundup: Perfect Game coming to Cedar Park; Kyle City Council approves trail master plan to connect Austin to San Antonio and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 24.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said Sept. 23 though the district has been awarded emergency funding, it has only had access to a fraction of it. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD superintendent lays out barriers to receiving emergency funding

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said while it seems that the district has received "millions and millions," it has been able to use a fraction of granted emergency funds.

Austin is one of five cities worldwide included in the company's new integration. (Benton Graham/Community Impact)
Electric scooter company Bird will now show available Capital Metro bikes in its app

Riding a scooter this weekend? Keep an eye out for Bird’s new integration with Capital Metro’s bikeshare.

Wayback Burgers specializes in cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
Wayback Burgers coming to Leander; former Round Rock Steak N' Shake to become Whataburger and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Kevin Foster, an Austin ISD board trustee, alerted the board Sept. 23 to his concern about a police response at LBJ Early College High School last week. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD trustee questions police response after hoax 911 call

After a large police response to a falsely reported school shooting last week, one member of the Austin ISD board of trustees is concerned about police scaring students.

The Dripping Springs City Council voted to approve the budget and the ad valorem tax rate Sept. 21. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Dripping Springs' FY 2021-22 budget increases about $1 million over last year

With about an 8% increase in property tax revenue and more in sales tax revenue, Dripping Springs increased its fiscal year 2021-22 budget by about $1 million over last year's.

Darin Dement, owner of Hillside Liquor, works in front of a poster of Austin's 1980s skyline. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rapid development closes the gap between south, South Congress corridor and downtown

The 2-mile stretch of South Congress Avenue from William Cannon Drive to Slaughter Lane has changed dramatically in the last decade, with development accelerating since 2019.

The Far Out Lounge owner Pedro Corvhalo spends many days at the restaurant
with his puppy Billie. (Photos by Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Far Out Lounge: Owner of venue with history hopes to keep South Austin spirit alive

The building that now houses The Far Out Lounge has been “something” since 1908, owner Pedro Carvalho said.

Several parents of New Caney ISD students spoke at the district's Sept. 20 board meetings about recent allegations that a student brought a firearm to Porter High School's Sept. 18 homecoming dance. NCISD Superintendent Matt Calvert stressed that no gunshots were fired at the event, and that the district is investigating the allegations. (Wesley Gardner/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI Nation roundup: Round Rock ISD trustees considered for censuring; New Caney ISD addresses allegations of student with gun at campus event and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 23.