Kellogg Grant W.K. Kellogg program officer Jon-Paul Bianchi, Austin ISD Parent Support Supervisor Claudia Santamaria, AISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz and AISD Executive Director of Innovation and Development Michelle Wallis[/caption]

Improving communication with families in the Rundberg area is the goal of a nine-month Austin ISD planning initiative as a result of a $330,000 grant from The Kellogg Foundation.

The district wants to revamp the way it addresses challenges with communication, according to a May 12 news release.

Hart, McBee, Padron and Wooldridge elementary schools and the Lucy Read pre-K Demonstration School staff and parents will receive training on community engagement strategies. Staff and volunteers will then conduct meetings, home visits and interviews with parents and families. Families will also be encouraged to communicate with each other to boost the network of communication among the five schools.

Staff training will be optional and will take place this summer and again in the fall, said David Dean, principal of Bernice Heart Early College Prep Elementary School on 8301 Furness Drive.

“I think this is a great opportunity,” Dean said. “If you look at schools that have built grass-roots [efforts such as] family resource centers like at Webb Middle School and Dobie Middle School, it allows those schools to really help provide wraparound services. … If [families] come to us, we can guide them in the direction of where they can go to get what they need.”

The district eventually plans to use this community engagement process throughout AISD.

"So often in education we assume what families need to be successful without asking them," AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said in a news release. "With the support of the Kellogg Foundation we can take time to really listen to families and design services to enhance their strengths and address their challenges."

In 2012 the Austin Police Department received a $1 million grant from the Department of Justice to launch Restore Rundberg, an initiative focused on long-term planning and implementation of neighborhood-based strategies to revitalize the neighborhood.