This is great news! Eastside Memorial High School in Austin will NOT be closed! For years, the school has been threatened with closure or conversion to a charter. The students, parents, teachers, and educators fought to keep their neighborhood school open. It is high poverty and 96% students of color, but the school refused to die.

School leaders brought in the Johns Hopkins Talent Development Group to help them. Everyone rallied to save their school, and they did it.

“At Austin’s Eastside Memorial High School, a new school year began for the first time in years without the familiar threat of closure, mass layoffs or reorganization from above. Its students earned a passing grade from the state last year, ending a run of more than a decade in which at least part of the campus came up short in the state’s ratings. In 2008, it became the first school in Texas closed for poor test performance. Austin ISD has been frantically trying to right the ship ever since.

“So on Tuesday, it was especially sweet to hear Education Commissioner Michael Williams in the school library delivering the good news: “We ain’t closing the school.”

The above quotes come from the Austin Statesman and they are behind a paywall.

The story appears also in The Texas Observer.

Eastside met state standards and raised its graduation rate. It is no longer a”failing school.”

A few years ago, I was in Austin to speak to the state’s school boards and administrators. When I had some free hours, I visited Eastside and spoke to a large gathering of educators, parents, and students. I felt their spirit. I knew they would resist. I urged them to keep fighting. They did. They elected a new school board member who supported the school. They worked together and they won.

Congratulations, Eastside Memorial!