Top private schools in Austin? (Houston, Andrews: fit in, how much, home)
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Looking to move back to Austin--knew it well as a college student, and not at all as middle-aged parents! Will likely live in Westlake Hills, but not interested in public schools. What are the very best private schools in the area--we have a girl who will be in 6th grade when we move. Currently, we go to a very progressive, liberal K-12 private school on East Coast. Not interested in Catholic schools or anything too stuffy/conservative/rigid. Thanks!
St Andrews and St Stephens are probably the top 2. In your situation, I would look at St Stephens as it is 6-12 and your daughter will be entering with everyone else. Both schools are failry progressive compared to Regents and some of the other local schools. Frankly, Westlake HS offers a similar education to these 2, and any other private in town would probably offer an inferior education to Westlake.
I agree with the previous poster - I have done a ton of research on Austin area schools (both as an educator and parent) and the only 2 private schools I would put my kids in are St. Stephen's and St. Andrew's (looking for as "lite" on the religion as possible, and college acceptance rate high as well as out of state college attendance being encouraged). I was a lifelong New Englander until last year, and it surprised me moving here how different the majority of private schools are compared to the MA/RI/CT area - most private schools here are very small and ultra religious, it seems.
That being said, if I could move to the Eanes school district, I would not hesitate to put my kids there. I think you will get equal or in many cases superior educational and extracurricular opportunities there.
Agreed. Westlake Highschool is really an elite private school that is disguised as a public school. Drive by the campus... it looks like a friggin' university.
For private universities, I've gotta plug my alma matter: Welcome to St. Edward's University. It's supposed to be a "Catholic School" but is very liberal (gay students association, etc.) and doesn't really push religion at all.
What are the very best private schools in the area
It's really very subjective and based on how well a school "fits" the needs of your child. I suggest going and visiting several different schools and forming your own opinion.
We've had kids in the Austin Waldorf School (K-12) for 8 years. It's a great school for some, not so great for others. You should go visit and learn more if you believe in the merits of a Classical Education.
Although I love the school, and even served on the Board of Trustees for 3 years, we're sending our 9th grade daughter to Westlake High next year, because I think her particular needs will be better met in that environment, and she's ready to leave the somewhat sheltered bubble that Waldorf provides. We may make a different choice for our 5th grader when the time comes.
What I like about Waldorf is that they haven't been sucked into the false notion the technology is important in the learning process. It's not important at all, in my opinion. In fact, the opposite is true for younger kids. There are no computers in the classrom before high school and the kids actually learn to think and write without the aid of computers.
Also, you must agree to limit media exposure to your kids (no TV, video games, etc. during the week, and recommended not at all) as well as junk food (all lunches brought from home must be healthy - no chips, sodas, candy, etc). There are no soda machines on campus. At a volleyball game once, a parent from another school asked where the soda machines were, and when told there are none, she exclaimed "what kind of school is this anyway?" Interestingly, there are no fat kids at Waldorf, I suspect because they are not sedintary and they eat right.
We've been to many of the other private schools in Austin for Volleyball and Basketball games and, although I don't think one can make a complete judgement based on that, most of the kids seem happy and energetic. I wouldn't rule out the smaller, lesser known schools in your search. The Aug 10 issue of the Austin Business Journal (out last Friday) has a list of the 25 biggest private schools in Austin.
St Andrews and St Stephens are probably the top 2. In your situation, I would look at St Stephens as it is 6-12 and your daughter will be entering with everyone else. Both schools are failry progressive compared to Regents and some of the other local schools.
St. Andrew's is a K-12 school, but 6th grade is a big 'entry year' with lots of new kids, from what I understand. Frankly, Westlake HS offers a similar education to these 2, and any other private in town would probably offer an inferior education to Westlake.
It all depends on what you're looking for. Westlake is HUGE. St. Andrew's and St. Stephens are much smaller. If that's important to you, it makes a difference, especially if you want your child to experience everything in school- art, dramatics, sports. At Westlake, only the 'best' can participate. Also, private schools have connections at colleges all over the world, which can help with admissions. And if religion is important to you, private/religious schools may fit into your home life better than secular schools. Good luck.
I agree with minimom. From the original post, I assumed (maybe incorrectly)the parent wanted the best available education at a school that wasn't super conservative. There are many other factors that will go into how satisfied the student and parents will be with a school. I know several families that have pulled their kids from Westlake b/c of its size and their perception of drug and alcohol problems. For others, that will not be an issue.
I attended Kinkaid in Houston and my son is in the G&T program at Eanes Elementary. Kinkaid is a great private school but, it's like comparing Rice to Texas. Texas has much, much more to offer. Rice might be better if you happen to fit their very narrow scope. When I calculate how much my parents spent to send three of us to a private school, I almost get ill. Add to that the fact that most kids from private schools then attend private universities and it gets even worse. Two of us ended up getting graduate degrees from large public universities here in Texas. So, I see it as a huge waste of money but, I do understand my parents motive and greatly appreciate their sacrifice.
The big difference I do see is that Eanes does a lot for everyone. It is not like a private school. The private schools only take kids that are easy to teach.
For all those ripping Eanes for being a rich district, you should be hapy to know that sixty cents of every dollar raised for the district through property taxes goes to Robbin Hood. Yes, that bugs me a lot.
From what I've gathered from this forum, it seems that the overall opinion of the AISD schools is poor, with the exception of a few individual schools. In your research, what did you find regarding AISD? I'm specifically interested in the fine arts program at McCallum High because it sounds like it would be a perfect fit for my daughter. However, since I'm not in Austin yet, I'm really clueless....
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