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ERIC Number: EJ1076460
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Cultivating Community Schools: Austin's Grassroots Effort
Dubin, Jennifer
American Educator, v39 n3 p12-17, 43 Fall 2015
In 2007, Walter P. Webb Middle School faced a crisis. One evening in January, the superintendent at the time held a meeting at the school in Austin, Texas, to let students, parents, teachers, and community members know that at the end of the academic year, their school would close. Thanks to a new state law focused on accountability, the superintendent, with the approval of the school board, could close a school because of low test scores. The superintendent told the community that students would be sent to two other middle schools in the Austin Independent School District, both of which were struggling academically. This article tells the story of how a group of parents, teachers, and community members decided to save their school. They had one month to convince the school board to reject the superintendent's plan for closure. They agreed that Webb most needed a way to support student achievement by bringing social services to the school. So the group wrote a proposal to the school board calling for the creation of a family resource center where a coordinator would connect parents with housing, immigration, counseling, and other resources, so that teachers could focus on teaching and students could focus on learning. The school board accepted the group's proposal and declared that Webb would remain open. While transformation at Webb resulted from times of crisis, the school district would like to move away from change born of crisis to change born of need. To support this philosophy of change, and to engage community members, neighborhood dinners and other strategies are used to get community members together for the purpose of discussing what they need and to share their thoughts on the future of the schools. It's a start on having the community recognize that the education and development of the children is a shared responsibility. It takes strong communities in order for schools to achieve positive outcomes for the children.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A