Feb 26. 2009 — Carstarphen (pronounced car-STAR-fin) is named sole finalist to be Austin school district superintendent.
June — Carstarphen proposes, and the board approves, reorganization of top-level positions in the district’s central administrative office.
July — Carstarphen takes the helm as superintendent, becoming the first female and African American superintendent in the district’s history. Pearce Middle School is ordered closed by the state for chronic low performance. Castarphen addresses a $15 million projected shortfall for 2009-10.
August — State officials announce that for the first time, the district has missed federal academic standards established by the No Child Left Behind Act. The school board adopts Carstarphen’s 2009-10 budget. She hosts an allemployee convocation. Carstarphen proposes, and the board approves, reducing the number of regular board meetings, which limits opportunities for public comment. Swine flu, which first significantly affected school enrollment in May, continues to plague campuses sporadically.
November — Carstarphen announces a joint effort to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone, a program that seeks to improve academic success in low-income communities by boosting social services, among other things.
December — The school board approves Carstarphen’s strategic plan, which will guide the district’s goals for the next five years. Carstarphen proposes, and the board approves, a dual-language pilot program, changing the way bilingual education will be taught in the district.
January 2010 — Carstarphen announces that more than 100 positions will be cut to close a projected shortfall in the 2010-11 budget.
February — Carstarphen asks trustees to declare financial exigency, or emergency, which would give the district more power to cut jobs under contract. The school board declines, instead approving an effort to cut jobs by eliminating or reorganizing programs. Carstarphen presents a preliminary 2010-11 budget months earlier than budgets are usually presented.
March — Carstarphen hosts a series of public community meetings on the budget.
April — Teachers say they are underpaid and rally for raises. Carstarphen tells the board that teachers aren’t compensated enough. Carstarphen announces plans to start early college programs at Reagan and LBJ high schools and an early college prep academy at Pearce Middle School.
May — Carstarphen decides to keep incoming Pearce sixth-graders at their elementary campuses to give the district time to prepare the academy. She holds a series of community forums on issue. Carstarphen begins her ‘44 in 4’ campaign, to visit 44 schools in four weeks.
June — Preliminary results of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills show that the district improved dramatically and all but one school will be rated acceptable or higher. However, results indicate the district again might fail to meet federal standards when those results are released in August.