Austin chamber releases 2013 education progress data

Helping to raise awareness about the mismatch between local job openings and student aspirations is one of the goals of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce's annual Education Progress Reports, said Kimberly Reeves, vice president of talent alignment with the chamber.



On April 3 the chamber released its 2013 reports, which include K–12 student performance data from the 2011–12 school year as well 2013 STAAR results and highlight key factors such as graduation rates and college readiness.



As school counselors throughout Central Texas help students transition to new Foundation High School Program graduation plans under House Bill 5, part of the message the chamber wants to convey is what opportunities are available for students, Reeves said.



"We are in one of the fastest-growing communities in the country with a lot of high-demand jobs and a lot of mismatch between the jobs that we have and what kids think they want to do," she said.



The chamber has partnered with school districts and other Central Texas chambers for the past nine years to put together the reports. This year the reports cover 12 school districts in Central Texas including Austin ISD, Hays CISD, Hutto ISD, Leander ISD, Pflugerville ISD, Round Rock ISD and San Marcos CISD.



The reports examine the number of students who say they intend to attend college, how many students applied for financial aid, and the percentage of a school district's graduating class that is deemed college- and career-ready, a classification based on state performance measures.



In LISD, 70 percent of the students in the class of 2012 were considered college- or career-ready in both reading and math, and 52 percent applied for financial aid. Veronica Sopher, LISD senior executive director of community and school relations, said LISD is working to improve its number of students who apply for financial assistance by partnering with local churches to offer financial aid seminars on Sundays.



"We've started several new awareness programs to help parents understand the importance of early applications," she said.



Additionally the reports include direct-to-college enrollment rates—the percentage of high school students who actually went on to enroll in a university, community college or technical school immediately after graduating.



JoyLynn Occhiuzzi, RRISD's executive director of community relations, said the district has seen an increase in its direct-to-college enrollment rate, which was 71 percent for the class of 2012.



"We still want to focus on the 29 percent of students who aren't going directly to college and see how we can help them overcome obstacles to enrollment," she said.



Districts statewide are continuing their transition to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, exams. The reports include information on how fifth- and eighth-graders performed on STAAR exams in math, reading, science and social studies. Fifth-graders are preparing to enter middle school, and eighth-graders are preparing to enter high school.



"All [LISD] fifth- and eighth-graders who do not meet Level II Satisfactory Performance on the first administration of STAAR receive targeted, accelerated instruction ... one-on-one and/or [in a] small group before, during and/or after school," Sopher said. "An individualized plan is developed for each student based upon their areas of strengths and needs."



Overall the reports provide business owners, educators and parents with an overview of what is happening in local school districts, Reeves said.



"We have the highest graduation rates that we have ever had in the region," she said. "Even in the face of budget cuts, [school districts] are doing a good job meeting the standards. Now the standards are going to change and they are probably going to be even more challenging."



The full reports can be accessed at www.austinchamber.com/edureports.



Additional reporting by Emilie Lutostanski and Lyndsey Taylor

By Kelli Weldon
Kelli joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter and has been covering Southwest Austin news since July 2012. She was promoted to editor of the Southwest Austin edition in April 2015. In addition to covering local businesses, neighborhood development, events, transportation and education, she is also the beat reporter covering the Travis County Commissioners Court.


MOST RECENT

Volunteers of Austin Vaccine Angels gathered after becoming fully vaccinated. (Courtesy Jodi Holzband)
Grassroots groups aimed at vaccine outreach look toward the future

For the past five months, grassroots volunteer groups have been working to connect thousands of Central Texans to COVID-19 vaccines.

Leander ISD admin building
Leander ISD board passes $387M budget with 2% raises, new campus staffing

The budget includes 2% midpoint staff raises, campus positions for Tarvin Elementary opening in August, start-up positions for Elementary School No. 29 opening in 2022 and other district expenditures.

Washington Prime Group Inc. owns six area shopping centers, including The Arboretum. (Courtesy The Arboretum)
Owner of Austin-area shopping centers files for bankruptcy; entertainment complex coming to Cedar Park and more top area news

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

Leander ISD is expected to add over 12,000 students in 10 years to its current population of 40,761 students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Committee suggests $933M bond project list to Leander ISD board

The $933.4 million reccomendation includes elementary school, middle school, high school and districtwide projects.

Leander Bryson farmstead
Leander to create plan to preserve Historic Bryson Farmstead

The city plans to improve the historic Leander property for public use.

The Bloomhouse—an 1,100-square-foot home in the hills of West Austin—was built in the 1970s by University of Texas architecture students for fellow student Dalton Bloom. It was featured in the Austin Weird Homes Tour of 2020. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Weird Homes Tour ends; Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Leander homes
Cedar Park, Leander average home prices in May jump at least 40% from 2020

The average home price in Cedar Park was $563,335—a 56.2% year-over-year increase from May 2020.

Z'Tejas
Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant, open new Avery Ranch spot in fall

The last day of service at Z'Tejas in the Arboretum is July 2.

New WCCAC
Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center to get nearly $2M in federal aid for construction budget gap

The funds will go to help the Williamson County Children's Advocacy Center cover increasing lumber costs.

Candlewood Suites Northwest Austin
Williamson County declines lawsuit against Austin over Candlewood Suites saga—for now

Williamson County did not hold a vote to file a lawsuit against the city of Austin over the contentious Candlewood Suites property in Northwest Austin.