The 6 Things I Learned from AISD Superintendant Dr. Cruz

By: Jess Zimmerman

Dr. Paul Cruz, Austin’s school district superintendent, wore a proud face as he presented at the September Speaker Series. 

The surprising things I learned about AISD:

  • High school students can earn an associates degree, free of charge
  • Now offering education to ages 3-26 years old (previously offering Pre-K only to four-year-olds)
  • AISD incorporates social and emotional learning
  • Dual language across the district; Spanish speaking students learning directly from English speaking students, and vice versa
  • Since Dr. Cruz has been with AISD, the graduation rate has reached 86.3%, it’s highest percentage ever
  • Partnership with Nike to incorporate more fitness and movement into the classroom

A huge bonus:

  • AISD provides students, as well as staff, with nutrition education.  Although food plays a crucial role in our success, focus, and well-being, that is rare!  As a dietitian, I was pleasantly surprised!

Dr. Cruz encourages his district to “strive for excellence everyday,” and leads by example.  Children are our future, and in Austin, that future is looking very good!

Shout out to Snap Kitchen for providing nourishment.  I especially enjoyed the Grilled Kale Hoppin’ John!

About the writer: Jess Zimmerman, RD, LD relocated from Chicago to Austin in August.  In addition to warming up her winters, she is excited to regularly explore and experience Austin’s farmers markets, natural springs, hiking trails, kayaking, and events!  Jess is a registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition by Jessica.  She uses a food-as-medicine approach to educate and motivate you to thrive and grow, working with you to become empowered, focused, and energized through your food choices!

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