Mendez Middle School

Richard Tuttle, a longtime school crossing guard in Southeast Austin, died last week.
Lynda M. González / KUT

At the intersection of Palo Blanco and Pleasant Valley, near Mendez Middle School, there’s a makeshift memorial: Signs, balloons, candles and handwritten notes have been hung to pay homage to the man who guided school kids to safety at that intersection for the past 15 years.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Report cards are out, and the Austin Independent School District received a preliminary grade of B for the 2018-19 school year from the Texas Education Agency. But the district also received failing grades at elementary and middle schools in the TEA's first-ever evaluation of individual schools.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When students at Mendez Middle School return to school next month, there will be new curriculum – and a new principal.

After Mendez failed state standards four years in a row, the district agreed to let an outside group run the school, and that group hired a new principal this summer, Joanna Carrillo-Rowley from Midland.

Austin Price for KUT

The community's pick to run Mendez Middle School would revamp the way students learn by focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and hands-on learning.

Austin Price for KUT

Two organizations presented plans last night to parents, teachers and community members about how they would help Mendez Middle School improve.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District has received no offers to run Mendez Middle School, which is on the brink of state takeover. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Mendez Middle School in Southeast Austin has failed to meet state standards over the past four years. If it doesn’t improve academics by summer, it will face takeover.

Mendez is the only school in the Austin Independent School District in its fifth year of failing the annual state assessment, or STAAR, test. What’s going on?

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A new Texas law allows organizations, rather than the state, to take over schools that repeatedly fail the state's standardized assessment, or STAAR, test.