Austin’s new superintendent says data will drive when kids return to the classroom

Education

It’s the first day of online learning for Austin Independent School District students, and the start of new chapter for the district’s new superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde.

Before Elizalde jumped on Zoom calls to welcome some of AISD’s 80,000 students, she sat down with KXAN for a look at what to expect this school year.

Her number one goal this school year — to keep the health and safety of students at staff at the forefront.

“We have to play the long game not the short game, which means we really have to put health and safety above all else, the next goal is to remain student focused,” Dr. Elizalde said. That includes focus includes equitable instruction and academics and making sure all of the district’s students return to a safe environment.

“I am going to be driven by the data, but I cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that, in parts of our community, even though our positivity rate is going down, among Latinx it’s 7-7.5 times higher and African-Americans are still 1-1.5 times higher,” she said.

“I don’t want the data to mask what may be happening in individual communities, and I think it’s my responsibility to sometimes make some decisions that are going to be very popular but have to make the ones that I think are in the best interest of everyone and not just one particular group.”

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