AUSTIN EDITION COL Schools move forward

Austin superintendent cites progress in annual address

The Austin School District teachers, staff, students and parents have earned at least an "A" for effort and the results are pretty good, too.

It is an understatement to say the school district has many "challenges" -- low test scores, poor graduation rates and budget woes. Those were the issues sitting on administrators and teachers desks at the start of this school year.

And those issues have not gone away, but significant progress has been made as was evident from new Superintendent Candace Raskin's State of the District report Monday.

Some highlights include positive results from new grade outcomes for kindergarten and first grade students, more participation in reading and math intervention programs, the new ninth-grade teaching teams, the implementation of a new K-12 math curriculum, yearlong teacher-training sessions and a proposed all-day kindergarten program.


These moves are showing results in more actively involved parents, better prepared students and up-to-date teachers.

Such improvements do not come easily. Just as students need to do homework to be successful, the district is putting in the time to make this happen.

Raskin credited the improvements to "phenomenal" teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and support staff for doing "lots and lots of hard work."

And she should include herself in that list, because her leadership certainly is moving the district in the right direction. Moving forward requires the effort of slowly cutting a new path through heavy underbrush.

As school board member Kim Jacobson said, "It's very exciting to see these things happening."

None of them would be happening without the drive and work from everybody involved with the schools, starting with Raskin.

We look forward to more good report cards like this in the next few Januarys.

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