Hays CISD approves autism training for 47 teachers, paraprofessionals

Hays CISD will receive the lion's share of a $1 million grant that will be used to train teachers and staff how to work better with autistic students. (Courtesy Sewcream/Abode Stock)
Hays CISD will receive the lion's share of a $1 million grant that will be used to train teachers and staff how to work better with autistic students. (Courtesy Sewcream/Abode Stock)

Hays CISD will receive the lion's share of a $1 million grant that will be used to train teachers and staff how to work better with autistic students. (Courtesy Sewcream/Abode Stock)

The Hays CISD board of trustees voted unanimously in favor of a one-year contract with STAR Autism Support LLC using a grant awarded by the Texas Education Agency.

The $1 million grant will be split among HCISD, Lockhart ISD, San Marcos CISD and Liberty Hill ISD.

HCISD will receive $554,925 of the grant over a two-year period and will use $515,000 for the contract with STAR. The remaining $39,925 will be used to pay district personnel being trained.

According to a district official, 27 teachers and 20 paraprofessionals working with students age 3-9 years old will receive training that would affect roughly 140 students.

HCISD has the option to renew the single-year contract with STAR twice by the end of April 2022.


"The grant was also written to help support students in inclusion better," HCISD Early Childhood Services Coordinator Shelli Cervenka said. "Part of that is partnering with our Early Learning Center staff and our Head Start staff to help them understand how to respond to students with disabilities better."

The program was required to submit goals to the TEA, and those will be reviewed at a future date to measure the success of the grant's use, according to Cervenka.
By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.