Trustees approve Third Future Schools to turn around Mendez Middle School

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees has approved Third Future Schools to turn Mendez Middle School’s academic performance around as part of what’s called an 1882 partnership.

Why it matters: Mendez has been rated as an “F” school by the Texas Education Agency since 2013. If the campus doesn’t improve academics during the 2022-23 school year, or the Texas Education Agency could take over the district. 

  • The new partner has outlined a plan to improve the campus to a “D” rating in the 2022-23 school year,  improve to a “C” rating in the 2023-24 school year, and a “B” rating by the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years.

How we got hereDistrict leaders began exploring ending the previous partnership with T-STEM Texas in December. That same month the board terminated the partnership and the district started engaging with the Mendez community to find a new partner.

  • On Feb. 8, the district made a call for 1882 proposals due Feb. 25.
  • The district began screening the received proposals on Feb. 28 and notified the finalist on March 1.
  • Throughout March, a transition oversight committee received presentations from the finalist and made a final recommendation to the administration.
  • The contract was brought to the Austin ISD Board of Trustees for final approval March 24. 

Zoom out: Along with this new partner, Austin ISD leaders announced in February that sixth-grade would be transitioning to 10 elementary schools that feed into Martin and Mendez middle schools. This transition would reduce the number of fifth graders who unenroll from Austin ISD instead of attending those two middle schools.

  • After the announcement, preliminary data showed that a majority (66.41%) of sixth-grade families intend to stay enrolled at their elementary schools.
  • Another 17.67% said they are transitioning to another AISD middle school.
  • Before, on average, 40% of sixth-grade families from those schools went to Martin and Mendez middle schools.