On Friday, I got the terrific news that Eastside Memorial High School in East Austin has met state accountability standards for the first time in 13 years! According to the Statesman, attendance has increased to 90% and test scores have improved by 15% in the last year alone.
I’m very, very proud of our Eastside students and their families for the hard work they’ve done over the years to get to this point. Eastside Memorial has gone through some tough times. Ever since my earliest work on education policy, going back to the late 1990s, it has been a personal priority for me to ensure Eastside (then Johnston) stays open and gets the resources it needs to enjoy success. I’ve worked directly with state and local leaders to advocate for Eastside. It has all been worth the effort.
Many students, parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, alumni and neighbors rightfully can share in the credit and celebration of this milestone. But let’s bear in mind too that we have more work to do to, to bring Eastside up to Exemplary status. I will continue to work with the TEA, AISD board members, school leaders and parents to ensure that we continue moving forward. It continues to be a whole-community effort.
Uban Roots + Chipotle + Movie
I love serving on the Urban Roots Board of Directors. This Austin nonprofit is dedicated to engaging youth with healthy eating and outdoor farming during the summer.
Tonight, they are teaming up with Chipotle to show Growing Cities, a documentary on urban farming across America. Proceeds will benefit Urban Roots, and all attendees will receive a card good for a free burrito. Click here to reserve your seat for the $12 showing at the Alamo Drafthouse on Anderson Lane tonight at 6:30 p.m. Sounds like a great way to escape this 106º Texas heat!
The Jeff Statue Needs to Go
Since the tragedy in Charleston, The University of Texas campus has been buzzing this summer over the appropriateness of Confederate statues on the 40 Acres. Earlier this week, a task force released its report that included recommendations for the removal of the statues away from glorified pedestals and into museums.
Symbols matter. Students of color should never have to constantly validate their right to feel comfortable at our state’s top university. Recently, I wrote a letter and visited with UT President Greg Fenves to express support for the UT Student Government’s initiative in getting the Jefferson Davis statue moved. I look forward to a positive outcome and a more inclusive community at my alma mater.
Backpacks for Neighborhood Kids
We are in week two of our backpack fundraising drive! Two neighborhoods in the heart of Texas House District 51 are hosting back-to-school backpack drives for low-income families. Last week, the Statesman reported that many parents struggle to make ends meet to get their kids set up and ready to go for the new year.
Let’s step up to the plate and help our community! Please donate what you can so that we may purchase backpacks for drives that will take place in Montopolis and Dove Springs.