Austin chamber progress report provides snapshot of Hays CISD The Hays CISD graduation rate reached an all-time high of 92 percent with the Class of 2013, according to the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s annual Education Progress Report for the district.

Isabel Shelton, director of Education and Talent Alignment for the chamber, said the GACC has partnered with school districts and chambers of commerce for 10 years to produce its education progress reports. This year’s reports, which were released at a luncheon April 27, give business owners, educators, parents and the community a bird’s-eye view of area school districts.

“Our hope is that this year we’ll increase our visibility by making [reports] a little more clear and accessible to families, the business community [and] educators,” she said, noting reports have been streamlined.

The reports cover 11 districts, said Drew Scheberle, senior vice president of Federal/State Advocacy and Education/Talent Development.

Scheberle said the reports are the largest regional effort in the country to help communicate progress at the school district level of items of greatest importance to the business community including graduation rates and direct-to-college enrollment.

Examining HCISD

Direct-to-college enrollment remains relatively flat at HCISD, as its population has doubled since 2002, which includes an influx of low-income students. Its four- and five-year graduation rates, however, have been on a positive trend since 2009, according to the report.

HCISD spokesman Tim Savoy said the district is building on its initiatives that promote attending college. Direct-to-college enrollment data does not include students who go from high school to a two-year college, technical college or military service.

In the 2016-17 school year, HCISD plans to launch an early college high school, which gives enrollees the opportunity to earn as many as 60 college credit hours upon high school graduation. The district is partnering with the Austin Community College Hays campus for the program.

HCISD is also boosting its career and technical education offerings by increasing the amount of industry certifications available to students by 8,672 percent, from 11 in 2012 to 965 in 2014. Savoy said Suzi Mitchell, director of career and technical education, has helped meet the district’s goal of increasing that number.

The career and technology education building that will be constructed as part of the district’s 2014 bond program will allow students to hone welding and building trade skills.

“Not only do these certifications equip students with skills for employment right out of high school in the specific career fields, [but] many students say they will use those higher-paying jobs to earn money to pay for their college educations,” Savoy said.

The reports for HCISD and other districts can be accessed online at