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Old 01-11-2019, 07:33 PM
 
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Do any of you have experiences with any of these at the high school level? Could you please share your thoughts about the school experience for your child? Thanks!
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:48 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,062 posts, read 12,712,783 times
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I do. But I am not sure what exactly you are asking?



Schools that are a good fit for one child aren't always a good fit for another. I know many families and mine is one of them who have had siblings attend different high schools. What kind of school do you think would fit your kid best? If you tell me what you are looking for I might be able to share insight about SAS and Griffin where I have direct experience as to whether they might meet those expectations.
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Old 01-12-2019, 08:11 AM
 
33 posts, read 11,242 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centralaustinite View Post
I do. But I am not sure what exactly you are asking?



Schools that are a good fit for one child aren't always a good fit for another. I know many families and mine is one of them who have had siblings attend different high schools. What kind of school do you think would fit your kid best? If you tell me what you are looking for I might be able to share insight about SAS and Griffin where I have direct experience as to whether they might meet those expectations.
Great, thanks. Yes, I'm a teacher as well as a mom and I understand that every school meets some students' needs better than others. I tried to leave the question open to hopefully hear some people's unfiltered impressions/experiences, because sometimes people might have important info to share that you never even thought to ask about.

But to answer your question, some of my wonderings include:

Does the school really only want to work with gifted or above-average learners, or do they also welcome hardworking students of average ability? My son makes A's & B's at a good school, but he has to work for those grades (self-motivated) & he isn't ever going to be at the top of any class.

What does the homework load tend to be like? What is the stress level among most students?

Does the school tend to have significant problems with bullying or drug use?

I'm looking for a school with small classes and good teachers, that will give my son a solid education. I want to avoid the standarardized test emphasis that pervades public schools, and I also want a safe environment for my son.

We are practicing Episcopalians, which makes the Episcopal schools particularly attractive, but I understand that those schools' class content is secular, so religion or lack thereof is not the primary factor.

Last edited by Pretzeltwist; 01-12-2019 at 08:29 AM..
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:53 AM
 
Location: central Austin
7,062 posts, read 12,712,783 times
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holy cow! I wrote out a huge reponse and then had it lost when I previewed the post! Will have to try again later
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:34 AM
 
Location: central Austin
7,062 posts, read 12,712,783 times
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Okay, trying this again! Still can't believe I lost my previous post. Anyway . ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzeltwist View Post
Does the school really only want to work with gifted or above-average learners, or do they also welcome hardworking students of average ability? My son makes A's & B's at a good school, but he has to work for those grades (self-motivated) & he isn't ever going to be at the top of any class.

Both SAS and Griffin would be very happy to have a self-motivated student. I know students with on the autism spectrum, dyslexic, ADD, and with various medical issues at both schools. Often among the reasons that families chose private schools over public is some sort of learning or medical issue and these two schools aren't an exception. You don't have to be gifted to do well at either school. Second hand, I have heard from parents who have kids at St. Stephen's that they are less forgiving of learning issues and most students are strong students in most areas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzeltwist View Post
What does the homework load tend to be like? What is the stress level among most students?

I would say that SAS will have a somewhat heavier homework load than Griffin, more of their classes are "flipped" with material to be reviewed at home before class. Both schools have study periods built into their schedules and both emphasize wellness. I would say that there is more class anxiety at SAS and "keeping up wit the Jones." There is more social anxiety at Griffin. Many families are attracted to the small class sizes particularly if they have kids with social anxiety, so as a result, you can have a lot of anxious kids but they come in that way AND of course, high school can be tough and anxiety producing for everyone. St Andrews can be a tough place socially, especially for those who did not come up through SAS lower school. You can go through all 4 years at SAS and never find a solid social group. Griffin works hard to create a sense of community (SAS does too) but its smaller size means that every student is known to pretty much every other student and staff -- can have HUGE pluses but also minuses (can feel suffocating to some). More openly LGBTQ students at Griffin.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzeltwist View Post
Does the school tend to have significant problems with bullying or drug use?
Both schools emphasize social-emotional learning and both have strict drug policies but of course neither are completely drug or bully-free. St Andrews high school is 4x as large as Griffin, and this means that there are more social groups and more sections of classes, at Griffin it can be hard to move away from toxic relationships since the school is so small. But I wouldn't say that either school has a "significant" bullying or drug problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzeltwist View Post
I'm looking for a school with small classes and good teachers, that will give my son a solid education. I want to avoid the standarardized test emphasis that pervades public schools, and I also want a safe environment for my son.

Both schools are safe environment, both schools can quickly expel students who violate their policies or norms. SAS has an honor code that applies to both students and families, Griffin has "community values" that apply to all. You will find small classes at both schools (around 12-15 at Griffin and 15-18 at SAS) and good teachers. Although there isn't state testing both schools will offer the PSAT and SAT/ACT prep classes as well as AP tests etc. FWIW, I have a kid in an Austin public high school as well and I have nothing but great things to say, there has been no "teaching to the test" or emphasis on STARR testing. Both SAS and Griffin offer a solid eduction. They do have very different vibes. Both require shadow days as part of the admission process, so I would imagine that would make the choice clearer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzeltwist View Post
We are practicing Episcopalians, which makes the Episcopal schools particularly attractive, but I understand that those schools' class content is secular, so religion or lack thereof is not the primary factor.

SAS does have daily chapel and an Episcopal chaplain -- so there is a definitive Episcopal flavor to the school although they are welcoming to all.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:20 PM
 
33 posts, read 11,242 times
Reputation: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by centralaustinite View Post
Okay, trying this again! Still can't believe I lost my previous post. Anyway . ..




Both SAS and Griffin would be very happy to have a self-motivated student. I know students with on the autism spectrum, dyslexic, ADD, and with various medical issues at both schools. Often among the reasons that families chose private schools over public is some sort of learning or medical issue and these two schools aren't an exception. You don't have to be gifted to do well at either school. Second hand, I have heard from parents who have kids at St. Stephen's that they are less forgiving of learning issues and most students are strong students in most areas.





I would say that SAS will have a somewhat heavier homework load than Griffin, more of their classes are "flipped" with material to be reviewed at home before class. Both schools have study periods built into their schedules and both emphasize wellness. I would say that there is more class anxiety at SAS and "keeping up wit the Jones." There is more social anxiety at Griffin. Many families are attracted to the small class sizes particularly if they have kids with social anxiety, so as a result, you can have a lot of anxious kids but they come in that way AND of course, high school can be tough and anxiety producing for everyone. St Andrews can be a tough place socially, especially for those who did not come up through SAS lower school. You can go through all 4 years at SAS and never find a solid social group. Griffin works hard to create a sense of community (SAS does too) but its smaller size means that every student is known to pretty much every other student and staff -- can have HUGE pluses but also minuses (can feel suffocating to some). More openly LGBTQ students at Griffin.



Both schools emphasize social-emotional learning and both have strict drug policies but of course neither are completely drug or bully-free. St Andrews high school is 4x as large as Griffin, and this means that there are more social groups and more sections of classes, at Griffin it can be hard to move away from toxic relationships since the school is so small. But I wouldn't say that either school has a "significant" bullying or drug problem.





Both schools are safe environment, both schools can quickly expel students who violate their policies or norms. SAS has an honor code that applies to both students and families, Griffin has "community values" that apply to all. You will find small classes at both schools (around 12-15 at Griffin and 15-18 at SAS) and good teachers. Although there isn't state testing both schools will offer the PSAT and SAT/ACT prep classes as well as AP tests etc. FWIW, I have a kid in an Austin public high school as well and I have nothing but great things to say, there has been no "teaching to the test" or emphasis on STARR testing. Both SAS and Griffin offer a solid eduction. They do have very different vibes. Both require shadow days as part of the admission process, so I would imagine that would make the choice clearer.





SAS does have daily chapel and an Episcopal chaplain -- so there is a definitive Episcopal flavor to the school although they are welcoming to all.
Wow! Thank you so much- that is very helpful.

My son has applied to St. Andrews and Griffin for next year and did shadow at both, and I have also visited both schools. We both liked each one, and he liked St. Andrews just a tad more than Griffin, because he liked the bigger layout, but he genuinely liked both and said the classes were similar and that is what I observed, too. I'm just trying to decide what's best in case he gets accepted by both. He had not applied to St. Stephens because of its more academically rigorous reputation (great for some students but not my son), but I thought I'd ask about it before its application window closed, and your comments confirmed my decision not to have him apply there.

I'll create another post to ask about prospective public high schools (because I'm a teacher, and because his father and I live in separate homes, there are three possibilities for his public high school). I can't wait until we've settled on a school for him next year! Just a few more months...

Last edited by Pretzeltwist; 01-13-2019 at 01:31 PM..
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:57 PM
 
509 posts, read 926,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzeltwist View Post
Wow! Thank you so much- that is very helpful.

He had not applied to St. Stephens because of its more academically rigorous reputation (great for some students but not my son), but I thought I'd ask about it before its application window closed, and your comments confirmed my decision not to have him apply there.
Have had a kid at SSES, and despite the fact that it is academically rigorous, there are definitely some students there that I would describe as solid/average but are motivated, put the work in, and can still have a very positive experience there. While it's true that SSES has a lot of very bright students, several fall solidly in the center of the academic bell curve. It definitely wouldn't be a good place for a struggling student, but there is some variance in the abilities of its student population, with a skew toward academically strong kids. Admissions is holistic, however, and there are other qualities sought to create a diverse, engaged and interesting class.

I say this only to tell you that I wouldn't rule it out completely if your son likes it. On the other hand, I'm not sure how the admissions office decides how to balance the class and whether some of the academic leeway is reserved for children of teachers, siblings, etc. (I do know some teachers who had kids who weren't cut out for it and didn't get a spot, so there's not automatic admission, but definitely some preference.) Admissions for 9th grade is competitive and I think skews more heavily to strong academic students, but with holistic admissions, SSES' admissions office is also looking for other qualities in its student population.

There's a whole lot more I could say about it, but I'm assuming for now you are considering SAS and Griffin. If not, feel free to DM with with more questions.

Last edited by blakely; 01-13-2019 at 10:25 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 PM
 
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St. Andrews kids are the most normal. I have many friends that went there. St. Stephens on the other hand...

In terms of preparing you for college, they're the same. Some real freaks at St. Stephens, though. I looked at that school many years ago. Have a few friends that went there, too. It's like Evergreen College meets Middlebury.
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Old Today, 12:28 AM
 
6,111 posts, read 11,157,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldAustinHigh View Post
St. Andrews kids are the most normal. I have many friends that went there. St. Stephens on the other hand...

In terms of preparing you for college, they're the same. Some real freaks at St. Stephens, though. I looked at that school many years ago. Have a few friends that went there, too. It's like Evergreen College meets Middlebury.
pop culture allusions may not be useful. Can you be more specific about what you mean?
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