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'All hands on deck' to improve scores at Mendez Middle School

Mendez Middle School faces possible closure if test scores don't improve. (Photo: CBS Austin)

The Austin Independent School District is focusing on improving test scores at Consuelo Mendez Middle School in order to keep their doors open.

For the last several years, the school has failed to meet state accountability standards in education.

If the school can’t improve scores by the end of this school year, the Texas Education Agency Office of the Commissioner could close the school or assign it to another governing body.

“It’s all hand on deck, and the goal is to meet accountability this year,” said Associate Superintendent for Middle Schools Terrence Eaton.

English is not many Mendez Middle School students’ first language. Eaton says they’re now spending more instructional time on literacy and reading.

Eaton said the school is also focused on providing more support for teachers this school year to help combat the schools high teacher turnover rate.

If scores don’t improve, another option for the district is to partner with an outside entity like a Charter school, a University or a non-profit with a focus on education.

David Perez has two children set to attend Mendez in the next few years.

“It would be pretty devastating for them to close,” said Perez. “It’s been here for years. And I know it means the world to the people who live in this area.”

Perez said bringing in an outside entity to run the school may end up being a good thing for the community.

“I think that will be a new fresh start for the kids and the community to all get involved and hopefully see the rise of test levels and just the school period,” said Perez.

Eaton said he is hopeful scores will meet state standards and AISD will be able to maintain control of the school.

Student scores for this school year likely won’t be available until August. In the meantime, the district will begin taking applications from other agencies interested in a partnership.

The district held a community meeting Tuesday night for parents to give their input on the issue.

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