Northwest Austin schools in line for fine arts, dual-language programming under proposed Austin ISD changes

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While school closures are anticipated throughout the rest of the city in Austin ISD’s newest release of its school changes plans, no campuses are expected to close in Northwest Austin.

Instead, several campuses would undergo programming and curriculum changes to focus on fine arts, dual-language immersion and International Baccalaureate programs, if the plans are approved by the AISD board of trustees Nov. 18.

In all, a total of eight campuses in the Northwest Austin area, as defined by Community Impact Newspaper, are affected by AISD’s school changes.

The following map shows all schools in Northwest Austin. Click on a school to read details from the draft scenarios that could impact that campus.

Nicole Conley Johnson, AISD chief of business and operations, said at a news conference Sept. 6 that the savings in deferred maintenance on buildings that would be closing would total $240 million. She said that money is equivalent to about $350 on an average tax payer’s tax bill, and could be reinvested into other campuses and programs across the district.

For schools that close but had bond funds attached to them for improvements, Operations Officer Matias Segura said those funds would likely follow the student population to invest in their new campuses.

Anderson High School International Baccalaureate track

Five elementary schools—Doss, Davis, Hill, Pillow and Summitt—would begin offering students an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Those students, in turn, would feed into the International Baccalaureate programs at Murchison Middle School and Anderson High School.

AISD spokesperson Cristina Nguyen said the scenarios show a “wealth of programming that is going to be infused into our schools.”

“Yes, schools will close and facilities will be repurposed for community use or other things, but there are some really great opportunities for our students that are going to really going to help close achievement gaps and get our students to opportunities later in life,” she said.

There is no defined cost yet for the new program integration, according to AISD documents.

Burnet Global Languages School

Burnet Middle School would become the Burnet Global Languages School, according to AISD documents. The middle school would build curriculum based around dual-language programs, including options for Mandarin, Spanish, Vietnamese and Arabic courses. Documents show the district plans to expand the school’s Career and Technical Education programs with dual-language focuses.

The school would additionally feature an entrepreneurship program for students, AISD plans show. District documents have not set a defined cost for these programs.

Northwest Early College High School Expansion

AISD plans to expand Northeast Early College High School, formerly Reagan High School, to serve grades 6-12. Elementary and middle school students who feed into Northeast Early College High School would have the option to attend the school beginning in sixth grade.

According to district documents, this move would allow students to begin earning college credits beginning in the ninth grade. AISD has not listed any specific costs for this expansion in the district’s plans.

Wooten Fine Arts Academy

Wooten Elementary School would transition into the Wooten Fine Arts Academy, according to AISD’s plans. The campus would feature “specialized programming and studio lesson opportunities” to support fine arts curriculum.

AISD documents outline programming would include dance, theater, instrumental music, chorale music, visual arts and digital arts.

Plans additionally show the campus will have “modernized and improved” facilities dedicated to fine arts students. The district has outlined a $9.7 million price tag using deferred maintenance savings for the campus improvements, according to AISD documents.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.
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