7 things Austin ISD parents should know heading into August

Classes in Austin ISD will begin Aug. 18 for the 2020-21 school year. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Classes in Austin ISD will begin Aug. 18 for the 2020-21 school year. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Classes in Austin ISD will begin Aug. 18 for the 2020-21 school year. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

August marks the beginning of the 2020-21 school year in Austin ISD. From the upcoming board election filing deadline to virtual learning and administrative personnel changes, this is what AISD families should know heading into the year.

Want to discuss your plans for the coming school year? Email ncicale@communityimpact.com, and you could be included in an upcoming story about virtual learning, home schooling and other education options for the 2020-21 school year.

School will still start Aug. 18

According to the district, classes in AISD will resume for the 2020-21 school year Aug. 18, although all classes to begin the year will be taught remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person learning will not start until at least Sept. 8

AISD announced last month that only virtual learning will be offered in the district until at least Sept. 8.

The Sept. 8 date corresponds with the date set by Travis County health officials, which Dr. Mark Escott, the interim Austin-Travis County health authority, said July 31 was determined after having conversations with local superintendents. However, according to state guidelines released by the Texas Education Agency, AISD’s board of trustees may officially have to vote to suspend in-person classes until Sept. 8.

The district could request an extension from the TEA beyond Sept. 8 if needed. Plans are also subject to change as the pandemic’s impact changes locally, according to the district.

Candidate filing period for upcoming board election closes Aug. 17

Four Austin ISD board positions will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, and the candidate filing period to appear on the ballot, which began July 20, ends Aug. 17. So far, no incumbent trustees have filed to hold their positions.

In District 2—which is currently held by Jayme Mathias and covers parts of Southeast Austin—Patrick Sherrill has filed as of Aug. 3.

In District 3—the North Austin district Ann Teich has held since 2012—Kevin Foster has filed so far.

Three candidates have filed for Amber Elenz’s District 5 position, which she has also held since 2012. Those candidates are Lynn Boswell, Jennifer Littlefield and Piper Stege Nelson. District 5 covers portions of downtown Austin and Southwest Austin.

Four candidates have filed for the at-large position on the ballot, District 8, which is currently served by Cindy Anderson. The candidates as of Aug. 3 are Jared D. Breckenridge, Mike Herschenfeld, Noelita L. Lugo and Leticia Moreno Caballero, according to the district.

Meet AISD's new superintendent

Trustees on July 21 named Dallas ISD Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde as the lone finalist to lead as AISD's next superintendent.

The district has scheduled three events with Elizalde in the coming week, beginning with a sit-down with board President Geronimo Rodriguez Aug. 4 at 5:30 p.m., which will be streamed live on the district's AISD.TV website and Facebook page.

Virtual meet and greets are also scheduled for Aug. 5 at noon and Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. on AISD.TV and Facebook, and questions for Elizalde can be submitted for the event.

AISD's chief of business and operations resigns

Chief of Business & Operations Nicole Conley, who has served the district for 11 years, has submitted her resignation and will leave the district at the end of the month.

In a reply to the Ann Richards School on Twitter on July 31, which posted about the resignation, Conley said, "It has been such an honor and privilege to serve AISD students and families."

Family pulse survey ends Aug. 3

District parents have until this afternoon to complete a district family pulse survey about their feelings about in-person learning in the coming year. A link to the survey can be found here.

“We want to give you a clear picture of what our reopening will look like, and answering this survey will assist that effort by helping us understand what you think is best for your child,” the district said in its July 30 Summer Vision newsletter.

Upcoming board of trustees meeting schedule

The following meetings are scheduled to take place in August:

  • Aug. 3: special board meeting with executive session and transfer student application appeals and grievances

  • Aug. 10: monthly board information session

  • Aug. 24: regular board of trustees voting meeting

By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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