We were disappointed to see an incomplete portrayal of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in The Austin Chronicle
[“In the Name of Ann Richards
,” News, Aug. 30]. Our devoted teachers and staff work diligently to assure the success of our wonderful students, in the spirit and values of Ann Richards. While we cannot comment on the claims made by a former employee, let us set the record straight on our application process, student retention, and teacher satisfaction.
Our application process is transparent and fair. We are a public institution, accountable to the people of Texas, and any insinuation of favoritism is baseless. We have accepted students from all AISD elementary schools and at least 60% qualify for free or reduced-cost meals. Last year, 100% of our first graduating class was accepted to a four-year college or university. Seventy-three percent of them represent the first generation in their family to go to college.
Student retention at a new and high-performing school is a priority, especially for one that specializes in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Our counselors and teachers engage students and families regularly, making every effort to help girls who are struggling so they can thrive. Still, some students transfer to other schools because they want more elective choices or their family has moved out of the district or they find the curriculum too challenging. No matter what, we consider every one of them to be part of our sisterhood.
We are proud of the hard work, dedication, and energy of our teachers. We have one of the highest participation rates and scores in the district on anonymous teacher and staff satisfaction surveys. Indeed, 97% report that the school is a good place to work and learn and 95% report a shared vision with the leadership of the school.
The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders is an exemplary school. We are pleased with our progress, but will continue to look for ways to improve as we learn and grow along with our extraordinary students.