The Texas LEADS Project was formed to address access and equity issues that resurfaced in 1996 when the Texas legal system prohibited the use of affirmative action to promote diversity in admissions at the state’s largest universities. Texas LEADS (Local Empowerment for Accessible and Diverse Schools) aims to affect the educational pipeline by improving public education in order to make higher education more accessible to all. It does so by using processes of public engagement and participation with both parents and the community in two Austin-area middle schools.