Carstarphen talks same-sex schools, Eastside Memorial resignation
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Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen briefed the media Friday about a few of the fluctuating details of her Facilities Master Plan.
During the meeting, Carstarphen weighed in a proposal within the plan to bring more same-sex schools to the district. Right now, there is one all-girls academy, serving grades six through 12, in South Austin.
• Click here for more information on Facilities Master Plan, set to be adopted Dec. 12.
• Click here to read the AISD board’s agenda for their Dec. 5 work session.
• Click here to read phone survey results and community input on creating more same-sex schools within the district.
The district has proposed joining the attendance areas of Garcia and Pearce Middle Schools, and putting all the boys in one school and the girls in another.
The plan had been to do that as early as next fall, but Carstarphen said she wants to postpone the change in order to work on the curriculum and to recruit staff, not due to any lack of support from the community.
"We’re seeing the preliminary results of all of the phone surveys directly to parents and some of the community meeting results, and there is interest, even for 12-13 school year, to have single sex schools at Garcia and Pearce, especially from Spanish speaking families," Carstarphen said.
AISD trustees can still adopt the single-sex plan in their upcoming board meeting, Dec. 12.
The superintendent also addressed the resignation of Eastside Memorial principal, Joseph Coburn.
Coburn held an emergency staff meeting Thursday to say he was leaving.
AISD officials say Coburn will step down when the winter break begins on Dec. 21. The superintendent said Coburn is leaving to resume his own studies in a doctoral program.
"That is, of course ,his choice. But what's important about the Eastside Memorial vertical team and making that school successful is really about having the right program that families want, that is appropriate for the students and their need for that school. Yes, marrying that to good leadership and high-quality teaching," Coburn said.
Carstarphen said Eastside Memorial continues to struggle to meet state standards. The campus has been repurposed several times since the state closed the school in 2008 due to its low academic performance.
AISD trustees will vote Dec. 12 whether to convert Eastside Memorial into an in-district charter school.