“John H. Reagan High School is located in northeast Austin. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Reagan’s student body became increasingly poor as middle-class families left the area. In 2003, a student was stabbed to death by her former boyfriend in a school hallway. The incident made headlines and scared away neighborhood families. Students left Reagan in droves. Enrollment dropped from more than 2,000 students to a new low of 600, and the graduation rate hovered just below 50 percent. In 2008, the district threatened to close Reagan.
In reaction, a committee of parents, teachers, and students, brought together by Austin Voices for Education and Youth, formulated a plan to turn Reagan into a community school. The district accepted their plan.
Today, five years after adopting the community school strategy, Reagan isgraduating 85 percent of its students, enrollment has more than doubled, and a new early college program has made it possible for Reagan’s students to earn two years of college credits from a nearby community college while still attending high school.
Reagan High School, or any community school for that matter, doesn’t immediately look different than any other school — that is, until you spend some time there.”
What do you think? Can community schools improve the future of education and the lives of students?