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Eastside Memorial Students Seek Meeting With Ed. Commissioner

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

A group of Austin students from Eastside Memorial High School plan to deliver a letter to Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams this morning.

They want to meet with Williams to share their concern over proposals to have the school taken over by a charter school operator.Eastside Memorial has failed to meet state academic standards for years. The Austin Independent School District’s deal with IDEA Public Schools was going to allow the charter school company to take over operation. But the AISD board voted to cancel that deal late last year.

The school faces the threat of closure.

A copy of the letter is below. The students are also sending it to Senator Kick Watson (D-Austin), Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin), the AISD Board of Trustees and Eastside Memorial Principal Bryan Miller.

Dear Commissioner Williams, Thank you for taking your time to read this letter.  The students and families of Eastside Memorial HS are in need or your help. Eastside Memorial HS at the Johnston Campus has faced constant change, disruption, and even threat of closure since it opened 5 years ago.  We have gone through over five principal changes and we have lost teachers who we loved and who loved us.  Despite all of this turmoil, we have still maintained a loving, family environment and community full of school pride.  Students at Eastside are leaders. We are very proud of our school and the progress we have made and Eastside has been earning recognition and awards for many or our student groups and campus accomplishments.  Our academics have shown great improvement, our athletics have thrived with teams and individuals going on to district and state level competitions, our fine arts organizations perform all around Austin and beyond, we have grown into an amazing family and Eastside is a safe and exciting place to learn.  We have many students excelling in challenging courses including AP and dual credit curriculum.  Students who didn’t care about school before, started caring when they came to Eastside. We are requesting a meeting with you, based on the fact that you are responsible for making sure our schools are successful through campus-level planning and decision-making, which is in state law.  We invite you to join us for lunch from 12:15-1:00 on a day of your choosing before February 25th.  Please contact Elijah Cofield, our Student Body President at (512) 903-4784 to set a date for this meeting. We would also like to invite you to our Panther Pride Fest on March 23rd from 1-4pm in our back parking lot to celebrate the many wonderful things happening on our campus.  Sincerely, Elijah Cofield and Eastside Memorial HS Students

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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