STAAR test results show AISD’s Mendez Middle School is still failing

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A year ago, Mendez Middle School underwent drastic restructuring due to poor performance, STAAR test scores show the school is doing even worse.

Last year, the district partnered with the T-STEM Coalition to turn Mendez into a charter school. The state forced the change after five consecutive years of failing results.

However, any hopes of rapid improvement proved to be nothing more, after preliminary test results showed the school dropping by four points from 47% of students approaching the grade level standard in 2018, to just 43% in 2019.

“The shortsightedness of testing is that you can turn it around in a year, that doesn’t happen, no meaningful change can happen at a campus in a year that’s sustainable,” said the Austin ISD employee’s union president Ken Zarifis.

Zarafis added that placing so much meaning on one round of testing undercuts the beneficial elements of school that can’t be measured on a test.

In his final year at the school, Pablo Hernandez said he noticed a big change.

“I just felt like that’s not the Mendez Middle School I know,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said he watched as students disrespected administrators and teachers lost control of their classrooms.

The challenges at Mendez extend well outside the school’s walls. Nearly 91 percent of students come from economically disadvantaged families, while 51 percent are English language learners.

The T-STEM Coalition’s contract with the district last one more year. At the end of it if the school is still failing the state will have the option of taking over the school or shutting it down.

It could also elect to do nothing.

Austin ISD reiterates the results are only preliminary.

The Texas Education Agency will use those results to determine campus accountability ratings, which will be announced in mid-August. Those ratings are subject to appeal.

With two younger siblings in the Mendez pipeline, Hernandez hopes the school improves quickly.

“I don’t really want them to be having like the same experience as I did,” he said.

AISD released the following approaching the grade level preliminary campus STAAR test results:

High:
LASA >99%
Richards 96%
Bowie 95%
McCallum 90%
Anderson 89%
Rosedale 88%
Austin 87%
Akins 78%
Eastside 73%
Crockett 72%
Lanier 71%
Reagan 67%
Travis 65%
LBJ 60%

Middle:
Gorzycki 95%
Kealing 88%
Lamar 88%
Murchison 84%
Small 84%
Bailey 82%
O Henry 81%
Covington 73%
Fulmore 72%
Bedichek 68%
Garcia YMLA 62%
Paredes 61%
Sadler Means YWLA 60%
Dobie 56%
Burnet 54%
Martin 54%
Webb 50%
Mendez 43%

Elementary:
Kiker 97%
Casis 95%
Clayton 94%
Graham 94%
Mills 94%
Baranoff 92%
Bryker Woods 92%
Doss 92%
Gullett 92%
Hill 92%
Barton Hills 91%
Highland Park 91%
Reilly 91%
Zilker 91%
Blazier 90%
Baldwin 89%
Brentwood 89%
Mathews 89%
Lee 87%
Becker 85%
Cowan 84%
McBee 84%
Boone 83%
Ortega 83%
Pease 83%
Ridgetop 83%
Summitt 81%
Wooten 81%
Brooke 80%
Guerrero‐Thompson 80%
Maplewood 80%
Patton 80%
Zavala 80%
Cook 79%
Hart 78%
Padron 78%
Blackshear 77%
Davis 77%
Oak Hill 77%
St Elmo 77%
Dawson 76%
Norman 76%
Allison 75%
Galindo 74%
Jordan 73%
Menchaca 73%
Overton 73%
Travis Heights 73%
Widen 73%
Blanton 72%
Linder 72%
Palm 72%
Winn 72%
Pickle 71%
Pleasant Hill 71%
Rodriguez 71%
Joslin 70%
Odom 70%
Sanchez 70%
Sunset Valley 70%
Williams 70%
Casey 69%
Cunningham 69%
Kocurek 69%
Pillow 69%
Sims 69%
Perez 68%
Campbell 67%
Govalle 65%
Harris 65%
Langford 65%
Walnut Creek 65%
Brown 64%
Houston 64%
Metz 64%
Pecan Springs 64%
Webb Primary 62%
Wooldridge 61%
Andrews 59%
Oak Springs 57%
Barrington 56%

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