Austin Interfaith Did Not 'Pull Out' of Johnston

RECEIVED Tue., Dec. 11, 2007

Dear Editor,
    The recent article on Johnston High School [“The Slow Dying of Johnston High,” News, Nov. 30] talked about Austin Interfaith’s relationship with Johnston High through the Alliance School Initiative. Austin Interfaith worked in partnership with Johnston High School for three years under four separate principals to organize staff, parents, and the community to improve the school. During that time parent-involvement hours increased fourfold, parents and teachers organized afterschool programs and a summer youth employment program, and the initiative brought in more than $50,000 in additional state grant funding. Johnston was rated “acceptable” in all academic areas in 2001-03, the last year of intensive organizing. Johnston’s participation in the Alliance School Initiative ended for two reasons: 1) After repeated turnover of principals, the new administration, unfamiliar with the initiative, lost interest and support for the relationship; and 2) The district’s increasing directive to campuses to focus primarily on standardized test preparation squeezed out the public space necessary to build a strong collaboration among staff, parents, and community. Overall, this was an informative article on recent history at Johnston. But we do want to clarify: Austin Interfaith did not “pull out” of Johnston. The relationship was not supported by the administration.
Doug Greco
Lead organizer
Austin Interfaith
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