AUSTIN (KXAN) - A brand new East Austin school is feeling the pressure to perform after months of debate on whether it should even open at all.
All eyes are on IDEA Allan, the Austin Independent School District' s first in-district charter school.
They have hired 20 teachers, plus teaching assistants and support staff to welcome 600 students Monday.
Juan Bautista will be one of them.
"I'm excited about knowing my teacher and knowing all the skills we are going to learn," said Bautista, an incoming sixth grader who attended Austin's McBee Elementary last year.
IDEA hired 13 teachers from other schools in the Austin area, and three moved from IDEA charter schools in South Texas.
This first year, the school will start with only four grades -- kindergarten, first, second and sixth.
There is still work to do before Juan and his classmates arrive. Staff members moved boxes full of computers into classrooms Monday, but they have already hung new decor that will help spread the college-minded culture.
The hallways are full of bright blue posters displaying college graduation dates and mottos that will be drilled into teachers and students' heads.
"These are our core values. It starts with 100 percent everyday," said Larkin Tackett, Executive Director of IDEA Austin.
Other signs include "no excuses," "whatever it takes" and "sweat the small stuff."
Classes will be structured much like IDEA's South Texas campuses which KXAN toured last fall where teachers always greeted students at the door and gave them more individual attention.
"For those who are behind or below grade level, we want to see them improve by a year and a half because in order to catch them up, they've got to grow more than just one grade level at a time and direct instruction has weekly assessments," said Tackett.
Separate art and music classes will not be offered unless kids participate in afterschool programs.
Tackett says teachers will mix it into their lessons so more time can be devoted to core subjects.
Students will spend several hours a week in the i-Learning Hot Spot, a classroom full of computers where they will be able to build on math skills they will be learning the the classroom.
While IDEA tries to get their first year in Austin off to a smooth start, they know there is still work to do outside the campus.
"We have bridges and relationships to rebuild with members of the community and we're really focusing on listening to their concerns," said Tackett.
The Austin school district is paying an outside company to evaluate IDEA Allan's progress the first year. Consulting company ICF International will compare the cost with academic outcomes, and look at the charter school's impact on students, parents and the community.
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