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AISD taking preventative measures for 2 schools

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TWC News: AISD taking preventative measures for 2 schools
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During an Austin Independent School District board meeting Monday night, officials discussed the future of Reagan High School and Pearce Middle School.

The state has put both schools back on the chopping block due to low test scores.

The state education board recently reneged on Pearce's five-year improvement plan after the school failed to meet academic standards for the past five years. Reagan High School has failed for the past four years.

Both schools are waiting for results from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. Those are expected to be released in June.

Meanwhile, the board is trying to avoid a situation the district faced last year when the state school board commissioner decided to close Pearce less than a month before the 2009-2010 school year started.

Now, AISD board members and Superintendent Meria Carstarphen are planning early. They’re proposing repurposing plans for both schools before they know the TAKS results.

They're optimistic the scores will show what both schools have worked hard for the past several years to achieve acceptable ratings on the TAKS test.

If not, they have back-up plans they hope will keep students from having to transfer to schools further from their homes.

"When you've got issues of attendance and things like that and have students going five miles further to school, it's just going to compile those issues," St. John Neighborhood Association President Allen Weeks said.

There are a lot of ideas on the table to keep the schools open under a new repurpose or redesigned plan.

"We've got to do a much better job of preparing kids so we're not trying to remediate and solve problems in high school, but addressing the middle school feeder pattern," AISD Board President Mark Williams said.

"I think having a repurposing plan on the table that's creative and has had the involvement of the community, and the TEA, and a possible partner with the Texas High School Project, we feel better about being prepared, in the event that the accountability standards are not met this year," he said.

The school board approved the repurposing plans for both schools late Monday night, but both the commissioner and the TEA will have to review the plans.

They’ll talk more about possible reassignment of students at Reagan High School during a meeting June 7.

2009 TEA School Rankings

To look up how a school or district in your area rates, visit the Texas Education Agency's AEIS page.

You can also take a look at the 2006 rules which indicate the TEA commissioner can revoke a districts accreditation if it fails to meet certain guidelines. TEA also has a list of districts ratings.

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