The Round Rock Chamber of Commerce is involved on several levels with enhancing education quality. The Chamber often plays a leading role in advocating for passage of school bond issues and collaborates with the Austin Chamber of Commerce and Round Rock ISD on the annual Education Report Card. The Chamber also serves on the Board of RRISD Partners in Education and plays a major role in their Career Day and other programs. The Chamber fosters communication throughout the year between employers and school board members and administrators.
The Chamber has also played an instrumental role in the establishment of three higher education campuses in Round Rock in recent years: Texas State University Round Rock, Texas A&M Health Science Center, and Austin Community College.
Major employers in Round Rock are leaders in such fields as IT, corporate headquarters, clean energy, medical care, health sciences, advanced manufacturing, call centers, construction, business services, and destination retail. Areas of talent concentration include software, hardware, electrical and mechanical engineering; nursing and medical professionals; sales and marketing; project and business management; retail management; and more.
Roughly 45,000 students attend Round Rock ISD’s five high schools, 10 middle schools, 31 elementary schools, and two alternative learning centers. The Round Rock Fine Arts Department has been recognized by the University of Texas Center for Performance Excellence.
ROUND ROCK ISD 2012 PROGRESS OVERVIEW
With its 2012 roll out of the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), Texas took an important step in addressing the issue of college- and career-readiness in our public schools.
Students for the first time took a more rigorous standardized test meant to truly measure whether they are graduating with the knowledge and skills needed to be competitive in our 21st century global economy.
But it was only the first step.
In this first year of the STAAR phase-in, 87 percent of students in the Round Rock Independent School District passed the End-of-Course writing exam, 93 percent passed reading, 97 percent passed biology and 96 percent passed Algebra I.
In three short years, however, the state’s standards for college- and career-readiness will go up dramatically. There was one test, writing, where 58 percent of Round Rock students met the 2016 standard.
Now is the time that schools, businesses and community leaders need to focus on that future. We must bridge the gap between where we are today, and where we need to be in order to ensure our students’ success.
Another challenge for Round Rock will be in aligning student intentions post-graduation with where the best job opportunities are in Central Texas, especially in areas where we are still seeing a talent shortage in sectors of our economy that are growing.
The chamber was pleased to see that performance gaps for four-year graduation rates have narrowed. Direct-to-college enrollment rates also went up slightly from 70 to 71 percent in 2011, the most current year for which such data is available. Meanwhile, college- and career-readiness rates dropped slightly but are still at 70 percent.
A major focus for Round Rock will be starting the process of finding a replacement for Superintendent Jesús H. Chávez, who announced that he will retire at the end of 2013. Chávez has said that the district may ask voters to approve nearly a $200 million bond package in May 2014.
Projects being considered include technology updates, a new middle school and second performing arts center.
The Austin Chamber this past year recognized Stony Point High School for having the second highest Financial Aid Saturdays Attendance at its 7th Annual Austin Chamber Education Award ceremony.