Garza Independence High School, which opened in January of 1998, is a public school of choice for any student with 10 or more credits who is classified a sophomore or higher and who wishes to earn a high school diploma. Students may apply anytime, whether they are presently enrolled in school or have not attended school for a period of time.
Like all Austin ISD high schools, Garza is a fully accredited high school. Students completing all local and state requirements, including the required standardized testing, will be eligible to graduate with a high school diploma. Garza provides a nurturing environment, designed to remove the traditional barriers to succeeding in high school.
In 1997, Victoria Baldwin was commissioned by then-superintendent James Fox to create a school dedicated to helping students who had become out of sequence or behind on their path to graduation.
Garza's Mission Statement
Garza High School provides a personalized, authentic learning experience where students are encouraged to pursue academic excellence, with intellectual curiosity. This is accomplished through a climate of respect and integrity that prepares students to positively contribute within their present and future communities.
Awards and Recognitions
- Best Public School Model, The Austin Chronicle
- Best Program Model - CSI Garza, The Austin Chronicle
- Garza National Model To Provide Internet Access To Students Without Technology At Home, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices Corporation)
- The World Congress Informational Technology (WCIT) recognized Garza as their American Model School.
- Recognition for Victoria Baldwin on the Harvard Graduate School of Education Principal's Center, Austin Independent School District Board
- National Advisory Board, Harvard Graduate School of Education Principal's Center
- The American Youth Policy Forum for Youth Development and Policy Research, Washington DC, recognized Garza as an exemplary school.
- 2003 Program of the month for January, AED Center for Youth Development and Policy Research
- 2001 Top 100 Wired School, Family PC Magazine
- 1999 Model School, Vera Institute of Justice New York
- 1999 School Safety Report Recognition, US Department of Education and Department of Justice
- Texas Monthly, July 2004, "One School Left Behind" by Gary Cartwright
- "Solution Focused Accountability Schools for the Twenty First Century: A training manual for Garza Independence High School" developed by Dr. Cynthia Franklin, The University of Texas School of Social Work
- "Solution-focused Alternatives for Education: An Evaluation of Gonzalo Garza Independence High School," Principal Investigators: Doctors Cynthia Franklin and Calvin L. Street, The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work
- Community College Times, June 21, 2005, "One-on-One Connection Eases Entry for High School Students to Community College"
- Austin Family, August 2005, "Youth Speak Out, Garza Students Make the Grade," by Monica Davis
- "Whatever It Takes: How Twelve Communities Are Reconnecting Out-of-School Youth," Martin & Halperin, American Youth Policy Forum, 2006
- Texas School Business Journal, September 2006, "In The Spotlight Austin ISD Principal Vicki Baldwin Empowers Students To Aim For The Stars