Austin’s Eastside Memorial working with new partner

More than five years after becoming the first school to be closed down under the Texas public school accountability system, the former Johnston High School in the Austin Independent School District (AISD) is working with a new partnering entity to implement a plan to strengthen academic performance for the 504 students attending what is now Eastside Memorial High School.

The contract with Talent Development Secondary, a school improvement organization based at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, is the latest effort to keep the school open after previous reconstitution efforts failed to meet required improvements.

Under Education Code, sec. 39.107, campuses identified as unacceptable for two consecutive years must be reconstituted by the commissioner of education. As part of the reconstitution plan, AISD agreed to select an entity with proven expertise to help the district ensure successful implementation of the plan. A previous contract with a partnering entity was terminated by the AISD Board of Trustees in December 2012.

The plan for Eastside submitted by AISD and approved in June 2013 by the commissioner of education includes:

  • on-site, embedded professional development for teachers;
  • an early warning system to identify students at risk of not graduating on time;
  • specialized curriculum and instructional coaches for core subjects;
  • increased daily time for math instruction; and
  • strengthening instruction in elementary and middle schools feeding into Eastside.

The AISD plan requires the school to achieve academically acceptable ratings for both 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years or the campus will be closed for at least one full school year.

by Janet Elliott

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