Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, Garcia and Pearce will operate as single-gender schools, where our exemplary staff will deliver focused, customized curriculum that results in students’ continued academic success and provides them with the opportunity to thrive socially and academically.
The goal of the Austin Independent School District is to ensure that all students, regardless of background or circumstance, will graduate ready for college, career and life in a globally competitive economy. To achieve this, on Jan. 28, 2013, the AISD Board of Trustees voted to combine Garcia and Pearce Middle Schools into two single-gender middle schools that will open August 25, 2014. This unique opportunity will be instrumental in providing a safe and welcoming environment that is conducive to teaching and learning.
AISD recognizes there are various strategies for enabling student achievement, and providing students with an education within a single-gender environment is a proven and effective method for helping students excel. With a single-gender model, students will learn in an inclusive atmosphere that is free of some of the social distractions that exist in mixed-gender classrooms—an environment which is further shaped by second-to-none professional uniforms that enable students to focus more intently on their schoolwork. When this is paired with experienced teachers trained in gender-specific strategies, students from single-gender school environments can often better comprehend and internalize their studies. In this new model, which aims to shape students to be responsible and capable adults, students will study a college board curriculum and acquire leadership and technical skills that prepare them for the 21st century job market, while also enjoying access to the same fine arts, athletic and elective programs available in mixed-gender schools.
As part of this new model, students will be given the tools and options for taking their education to a higher level. Through rigorous curriculum and pre-AP course offerings alligned with Early College High School programs, Garcia and Pearce middle schools will give students the opportunity to graduate from high school with up to 60 college credit hours, enough to earn an Associate’s degree and save up to $20,000 in tuition costs. And AISD’s commitment to helping students take their education further extends beyond coursework. Under this enriched model, the schools will sponsor university visits each year to help students begin thinking early one about their paths to excellence. Students will also receive career and college counseling that directly align with high school graduation requirements defined by House Bill 5, so students can identify a path for themselves that ends with success.
Developing the Whole Child
Through the single-gender model, students will have an opportunity to develop in a number of ways. Students will learn respect, responsibility and honor. AISD’s core values are to focus on children, excellence, integrity, equality, respect and health and safety—values reiterated and practiced diligently within the single-gender model. We look forward to working together with you to provide your child with the safe and nurturing space needed to achieve greatness.
The schools are scheduled to open Aug. 25, 2014.