Q&A with Principal Brandi Hosack

Goals, changes, and breakfast discussed


Brenda Amaya-Rangel, News Editor

News Editor Brenda Amaya-Rangel interviewed Principal Brandi Hosack about her goals and new initiatives for the school year.

Eagle’s Eye: What are your goals this year for Akins?

Brandi Hosack: I thought last year was a great year, I was very pleased with the outcomes and the progress that we made. My goals last year were to really work on decreasing discipline and finding alternative ways to do that and to increase student performance and we did that. So this year it’s really about making sure that we continue to push in the right areas as adults on the campus so our goal is to make sure that you guys as students leave 100% ready to go to college. So that means that we need to make sure that we are providing the most rigorous course work that we can to you. I know that a lot of seniors want off periods, but if we do that our numbers show that our students are getting to college and they are becoming frustrated because they weren’t necessary pushed hard enough they were not prepared well enough. My goal this year is to make sure that when you guys walk the stage this year that I know when you receive that diploma you’re ready to go to college and you’re going to be successful.

My goal this year is to make sure that when you guys walk the stage this year that I know when you receive that diploma you’re ready to go to college and you’re going to be successful.

— Principal Brandi Hosack

EE: What are the major changes that students will face this year?

Hosack: Seniors are seeing that this year we are not just handing out off periods until they pass their TSI test, which lets us that you are college ready, or they had to score high enough on their SAT/ACT. One of the changes students will see us use this year is Edgenuity, which is just a supplement to classroom instructions to help you become exposed to that level of question that you will see on the TSI/SAT/ACT tests, and this is for everyone 9-12 graders will see that. In some classes you will do TSI prep and some classes will do ACT prep. That’s a major change you guys will face and this is not just for the teacher. It’s another way for the students to interact with the curriculum.

EE: What are your thoughts on breakfast in class?

Hosack: The reason that we choose to do the Breakfast in the Classroom is because we know that students are barely making it out of bed on time to make it to school and they are not taking the time to eat in the morning, which has a direct effect on how you are able to carry through the day. When you’re hungry it’s hard to concentrate in class. We know that we were only serving somewhere around 400 breakfasts each morning, and I have almost 3,000 students. I know that there are way more students coming to school hungry. The point with doing (Breakfast in the Classroom) is to provide every opportunity for a kid to eat so they can not be hungry and they can focus in class and can be successful throughout the day. We want the students’ needs to be meet, if there’s something that I can fix for you then we are going to fix it. We decided to put the Breakfast in the Classroom so that you know that when you get to school you don’t have to worry about getting fed. Breakfast in the Classroom will be available to all students. This is not free and reduced lunch based.

EE: Why did we start the Student Sharing program? Where did the idea come from?

Hosack: This is a district initiative and it was implemented last year in the north side of the (school district). The idea is that there are students in this campus that don’t find their nitch. For example we don’t have culinary arts or cosmetology, so for those small handful of students those programs already exist in a school nearby. So rather than hiring staff here and try to build up a new program, we can let those students go and be a part of that program since it’s such a small number. The same thing goes for those that are coming to Akins. We have a very successful engineering program so we have kids coming from Bowie, Travis and Crockett to take part in that. It’s really about trying to spread out our resources.

EE: How will you face any potential problems that the Student Sharing program might cause?

Hosack: There’s always potential for issues to come up with any sort of change but the biggest obstacle to Student Sharing is transportation; getting students from one location to another because of traffic and whatnot. The district is steadily working on those issues and so far so good. It just depends on the Austin traffic that day as to how bad that’s going to be. However, the way that all the high schools are structured are all now in the same bell schedule and on the same A/B day schedule so now we are all doing the same thing. I think transportation is probably the biggest hurdle, but is working just fine now.

EE: Any advice you would like to give to Akins seniors or underclassmen?

Hosack: I want everybody to come to school every single day with a good attitude knowing that we as adults in this building want the best for everybody. We want you guys to leave here knowing that you are ready to take on whatever your next challenge is>, we want y’all to trust us in that. For example, I didn’t take away the off-periods to be a cruel principal; I did it so that you would have the opportunity to be college ready because nothing stings worse than going to college and feeling like you were not prepared. My advice to everyone is just to really enjoy your time in high school and to do the very best you absolutely can every single day and it will be a great experience. All your teachers are here to help you, the administrators are here to help you and we are just so excited for what you guys have in store for your future. Take care of your school and take care of each other.