What About Reagan?

While Pearce Middle School is in administrative limbo, Reagan High School is working on a simple understanding. If staff and students can't get the school to "academically acceptable" status this year, the campus will probably close. That's frustrating for Principal Anabel Garza, because they came so close last academic year. She explained, "The big news is that we only missed the target by one student, so what we're pitching this year is that everyone makes a difference."

The educational plan, which grew great dividends last year, will stay in place this year. Now the challenge is to adapt the curriculum to the learning styles of individual students – whether they learn fastest by writing, hearing, or doing. Garza explained: "You hear the word 'rigor' way, way, way too much. What we're trying to do is get the kids to synthesize the information. You learn quicker, and it makes your brain grow."

The strategy is changing the teacher workload and requires professional support and development, provided by California-based nonprofit education services agency WestEd. Student success will be evaluated every two weeks. In addition, teachers will hold 180 minutes a week of subject-specific meetings to track success, plus 90 minutes of cross-subject meetings. The school will also host a family resource center, to assist students with everything from day care to housing. Dropout prevention and tracking will remain a challenge: Garza explained that with a roughly 40% mobile student population, "when you assemble a team that can finally handle the situation, then the children disappear." Then there's the worry about additional stress on the students. "They know, 'It could be me that makes the school close.' How can you have normalcy?"

Whatever happens, and whatever metric the state decides to use, Garza said she's sure of one thing: "These kids will learn."

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Reagan High School
Where There's a Heartbeat, There's Hope
Where There's a Heartbeat, There's Hope
Author Michael Brick and Principal Anabel Garza on saving Reagan High School

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 17, 2012

On Having Heart
On Having Heart
Reagan Principal Anabel Garza just wants time

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 17, 2012

More by Richard Whittaker
Angels, Devils, and Jim Cummings at <i>The Last Stop in Yuma County</i>
Angels, Devils, and Jim Cummings at The Last Stop in Yuma County
The indie icon breaks down his new dusty noir and its ensemble

May 17, 2024

Fifty Years of Movie Magic at the Alamo Village
Fifty Years of Movie Magic at the Alamo Village
Oldest operating theatre in town adds Vulcan Video rentals

May 16, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Reagan High School, AISD

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle