AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - It's another school year and more than 80,000 students in Austin ISD are returning to class.
“I want to be in 5th grade so I can do some division the best,” Blazier Elementary student Dean Marks said.
But students and parents should be aware of some changes as the school year kicks into gear. One update is that Akins High School is now the seventh school in the district to provide an early college program.
“Students earn and walk out the door with an associate’s degree in one hand and a high school diploma in another," Superintendent Paul Cruz said. "That's a $20,000 investment. Our students, I know they can do it. But when the Austin school district provides access, and opportunity, we are truly changing the game."
To promote inclusivity, the district relaxed their dress code a bit. Also, some changes will occur at the district police department as something that is a huge concern in the headlines is school safety.
“We're looking forward to new technologies that we are implementing for the police department, some of it is body cameras," Austin ISD Police Chief Ashley Gonzalez said. "We've been able to acquire body cameras for every officer, with the latest technology."
Gonzalez says along with new tech, his department has added more police cars to the fleet, and they are prepared for anything.
“Our emergency management division plays a critical role in our safety," Gonzalez said. "They work incredibly hard to train all our staff, all our faculty to prepare and how to respond to emergencies. We need to keep up with our times. I think technology changes and we need to look at what's out there that can help us do our job better."
In addition, four schools have different names this year. The John T. Allan Facility is now the Anita Ferrales Coy Facility. Zachary Fulmore Middle is now Sarah B. Lively Middle School. Sidney Lanier Early College High School is now Juan Navarro Early College High School. Also, John Reagan Early College High School is now Northeast Early College High School.