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Mendez Middle School hosting community meeting after its near closure

The southeast Austin school is gearing up to reopen for the fall semester.

AUSTIN — After Consuelo Mendez Middle School faced closure due to its failure to meet academic standards four years in a row, school leaders have decided the school will reopen for the Fall 2018 semester.

The school will host a community meeting on Aug. 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the school's library in the PAC building. There, community members will meet the school's new director, Joanna Carrillo-Rowley, and learn about Project Based Learning and STEM systems. Attendees will also get the opportunity to learn how the campus is changing in preparation for the first day of classes with new furniture, computers and communal spaces for students.

The school will reopen as an Austin ISD in-district charter school under the direction of the Texas STEM Coalition. It will be supported by partners Communities In Schools of Central Texas and the UTeach Institute.

A Campus Cleanup Day at Mendez is also scheduled for Aug. 11. Fifty volunteers are expected to help prepare the school from landscaping to power washing.

State and district leaders gathered at the school in southeast Austin for a pep rally on Feb. 26 to fight to keep the doors open.

Superintendent Paul Cruz said Mendez has the school board's support.

"A rally is something about what you believe in,” he said. “Look at all the important people here. All the students over here. Look at yourselves. We all believe in Mendez."

State representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gomez and Travis County Precinct 4 Constable George Morales were also in attendance.

Many of the officials encouraged the students to work hard and continue their education.

“You can do anything that you set your mind to,” said Cindy Anderson, AISD at-large position 8 board member. “All of you in this room – you are our future elected officials, our future teachers, doctors, lawyers, business owners – anything that you want to do.”

AISD said there are a few options it is considering instead of closing the school. Those options are made possible by Senate Bill 1882.

Those options included partnerships with open enrollment charters, colleges or universities, non-profit organizations, and governmental entities.