DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Nearly 600 students fill the classrooms of Edward H. Cary Middle School in Northwest Dallas’ Preston Hollow neighborhood.  95 percent of those students are Hispanic.  More than 60 percent of those students have English as their second language.  70 percent of all students met testing standards in English and Language Arts. 64 percent  of all students passed state math standards.

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Those numbers only add up to trouble, when you factor this equation:  For the fifth consecutive year, Cary Middle School has not matched state standards in math and English/language arts.  As a result, the school has been placed on a mandated Restructuring Plan.  School leaders must formulate approved strategies to improve academic performance of students.  But veteran teachers at the school scoff at the label of poor performance.

“The reality is everyday these kids are learning,” Elske Cordero said.  Cordero is a Language Arts teacher for Cary.

She said too little attention is paid to the incremental gains students at the school are making.

“Come and see us. Come into my classroom and see,” she encouraged.   Community volunteers, who partner with students and staff, have also expressed a supportive view of the school, despite the continued failure of not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress.

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“I don’t think the problem is we don’t have the wrong teachers or wrong kids here,” Adam Griffin said.

Griffin is a volunteer from a nearby church.  He is involved in the school’s Site-Based Decision Making team (SBDM).

Griffin says Cary isn’t failing students, although there is room for improvement.  There is a public hearing Thursday at 5 p.m. at the DISD Administration Building.  The meeting allows members of the public a chance to offer their opinion about the restructuring plan for Cary Middle School and Hillcrest High School.

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