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RRISD Superintendent Talks Innovation, Development

by: Kara Nuzback / Community Impact Newspaper

Flores urges chamber businesses to partner with district

The Round Rock Chamber hosted a lunch May 24 during which Round Rock ISD Superintendent Steve Flores talked about the district’s ever-growing options for students.

Architecture firm O’Connell Robertson, which was recently hired by RRISD to design its next comprehensive high school, sponsored the lunch.

Flores said RRISD comprises about 48,000 students on 52 campuses, and said RRISD is the second-largest employer in Round Rock next to Dell Inc. Its goal is to ensure its students are workforce-ready upon graduation, he said.

RRISD’s strategic plan includes fostering partnerships with local businesses. As the district progresses, the community will also progress, Flores said.

A partnership program between RRISD and the chamber allows teachers to apply for externships with local businesses. If accepted, teachers visit businesses and bring their knowledge into the classroom to teach students.

Flores said this year, 48 educators have applied for summer externships.

Other RRISD programs allow students to job shadow professionals, network with business leaders and find employment at local businesses.

Jake Erney, a graduating senior at Cedar Ridge High School, participated in the district’s business and industry academy and works as an applications developer for Dell. Upon graduation, he told chamber members he plans to study cyber security.

“I’ve been able to start my career actually still in high school,” Jake said.

Other students who spoke to the chamber participated in RRISD health science, science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM academies. Matthew Dixon, a 10th grader at McNeil High School said he wanted to find cost-efficient ways to fly food to isolated areas of the world. Barbara Jardine, a graduating senior at Stony Point High School, said she wanted to improve public health by expanding proactive, rather than reactive, health care.

Flores said the students were part of Generation Z.

“They’re who you will be hiring,” he said. “Generation Z, make no mistake, is the most caring generation of all time.”

Flores also spoke about new RRISD facilities opening in the coming years, including early college high schools—which allow students to graduate with a diploma and 60 hours of college credit—a world language academy and a career tech high school with an engineering and robotics program.

Flores said his goal is to draw students into the public education system who would otherwise go to private or charter schools.

“We’re bringing them back,” he said.