Austin ISD's Magnet Programs Are Getting More Diverse

Mar 4, 2020

There are more Hispanic and black students attending Austin Independent School District’s magnet programs this school year than in past ones, according to data the school board reviewed this week. Getting more students of color into magnet programs, which are academically tougher and require students to apply to get in, has been a goal of the superintendent and the school board.

Two schools in AISD offer magnet programs — Kealing and Lively middle schools — and a third school, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, is a magnet high school. Traditionally, the students in these programs have not reflected the demographics of the entire district. 

So the district has been trying to do a better job of making sure all AISD students know about magnet programs and fill out their applications. This school year, the data reflected those efforts. 

Kealing Middle School’s magnet program saw an increase in black and Hispanic students (the two races specified for needing higher enrollment), and a decline in white students. Lively Middle School’s magnet program also saw similar changes in student population.

LASA’s numbers were a little more stagnant with slight increases for black and Hispanic students and white student enrollment remaining steady.

The board reviewed the data, and while many members were happy with this trend, they did want to make sure the district is still focused on making minority students successful in magnet programs.

“There are recruitment strategies for LASA mentioned, but not necessarily retention strategies for keeping those kids successful at LASA, for example,” Trustee Ann Teich said. 

Correction: This post has been updated to remove a pie chart that did not accurately reflect the demographics of magnet school programs in Austin ISD.

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