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Old 04-15-2020, 11:21 AM
 
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We are moving to Austin from NYC for my husband's new job (in Downtown Austin). Our son is in a specialized middle school (currently in 6th grade) with accelerated academics. We are looking for a challenging academic curriculum for him. What are the best middle school options in AISD or the neighboring towns.

We plan to rent for a year or two - looking at $2000-3000 for a 3BR home. Commute and good schools are both priority.

We have inquired about the magnet programs at AISD, but since this is an out-of-state move, these are not open to us until the following year (21-22).

Looking for your valuable advice! Thanks.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:09 PM
 
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the best academic middle schools are

westridge/hill country (westlake high) in the eanes district

canyon vista ( westwood) in the round rock district

canyon ridge (vandegrift) in the leander district

Kealing magnet/lamar magnet in AISD

The AISD middles arent very good in general.

We feed into murchison which might be the best AISD non magnet middle (live in NW hills) and send our kids to private (Magellan)
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Old 04-15-2020, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX via San Antonio, TX
6,923 posts, read 9,449,071 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin97 View Post
the best academic middle schools are

westridge/hill country (westlake high) in the eanes district

canyon vista ( westwood) in the round rock district

canyon ridge (vandegrift) in the leander district

Kealing magnet/lamar magnet in AISD

The AISD middles arent very good in general.

We feed into murchison which might be the best AISD non magnet middle (live in NW hills) and send our kids to private (Magellan)
Gorzycki is probably the best middle option in AISD. Murchison is very overcrowded and while feeding into Anderson and their IB program it gets overwhelmed by diverde needs of its population.

With a 2k-3k budget I don’t think they’ll get into Eanes and it would be tough to get into Gorzycki at that budget. Maybe Small and their green tech academy while living in oak hill? But I’ll also throw out Bailey as a long shot. You could get into a house in 78748 in that budget..

Last edited by ashbeeigh; 04-15-2020 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 04-15-2020, 06:55 PM
 
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Thank you for the feedback. We are a little flexible with the rent - but really keen on a great curriculum.

From the different AISD middle school websites (Gorzycki, Small, Murchison, Covington) it looks like all schools have Pre-AP / Advanced/ G&T programs. However, I am unable to make out if there are separate class sections for these programs. Do we need to apply for these programs? Is there testing? Are these really advanced?
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Old 04-15-2020, 07:38 PM
 
6,789 posts, read 12,167,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashbeeigh View Post
Gorzycki is probably the best middle option in AISD. Murchison is very overcrowded and while feeding into Anderson and their IB program it gets overwhelmed by directed needs of its population.

With a 2k-3k budget I don’t think they’ll get into Eanes and it would be tough to get into Gorzycki at that budget. Maybe Small and their green tech academy while living in oak hill? But I’ll also throw out Bailey as a long shot. You could get into a house in 78748 in that budget..
oh yeah gorzycki isnt terrible (better than murch). It is just sad how bad AISD schools are.
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Old 04-15-2020, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX via San Antonio, TX
6,923 posts, read 9,449,071 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nytown View Post
Thank you for the feedback. We are a little flexible with the rent - but really keen on a great curriculum.

From the different AISD middle school websites (Gorzycki, Small, Murchison, Covington) it looks like all schools have Pre-AP / Advanced/ G&T programs. However, I am unable to make out if there are separate class sections for these programs. Do we need to apply for these programs? Is there testing? Are these really advanced?
You don’t need to apply for Pre-AP classes. Kiddos get tested for GT. But, if your kid’s schedule is advanced they’ll probably try their best to accommodate and provide similar classes. GMS and SMS will be the best at doing that, I think. Bailey may have some options as well.
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nytown View Post
Thank you for the feedback. We are a little flexible with the rent - but really keen on a great curriculum.

From the different AISD middle school websites (Gorzycki, Small, Murchison, Covington) it looks like all schools have Pre-AP / Advanced/ G&T programs. However, I am unable to make out if there are separate class sections for these programs. Do we need to apply for these programs? Is there testing? Are these really advanced?
Middle school parent here. Gorzycki is definitely the overall highest performing middle school in AISD. You can see that from the test scores and TEA rating. They have made some strong curriculum improvements in the last few years. They added a Geometry in 8th grade track, strengthened their foreign language options, etc. The fine arts are quite strong. The one thing that I don't like about Gorzycki is that they don't have block scheduling with A/B days (Small, Lively/Fulmore, Kealing all have block schedules).

Pre-AP classes are separate, but it is almost the default at Gorzycki. They have regular classes, but my understanding is that more kids probably take the Pre-AP route there. You can apply for GT once you're here, or maybe it transfers if your child is already in a program, but it generally isn't required for enrollment in Pre-AP courses. There are some requirements with the advanced math paths. My understanding is if a kid is in the "master" level on their 5th grade STAAR test (state test), they can take the Algebra in 8th grade path. If they want to take the Geometry path, there is a test involved and math is double blocked in 6th grade. I believe the other middle schools that offer Geometry in middle school determine placement into that track at the end of 6th grade and have a summer learning component.

Small is an interesting alternative in Southwest Austin. The Green Tech program is very unique and interesting if you have a science minded kid. They also have a Geometry track and more extensive foreign language options. The vibe at Small is different than Gorzycki and much less pretentious. We've played club sports with families from Small and they have all been just really nice people. I have a pretty high opinion of Small.

I can't really comment on Murchison (generally viewed as overcrowded, but the families I know with kids there seem reasonably happy) or Covington (I believe they have a fine arts program). Lamar has come a long way academically since we moved here in 2010. It has a fine arts academy (not a magnet).

If you have a current 6th grader, you probably won't have an opportunity to apply to the middle school magnets (Kealing and Lively/Fulmore). They take a handful of 7th graders, but generally don't accept 8th graders.
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Old 04-17-2020, 01:07 PM
 
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AMJ27 Thank you. This is very helpful. I am not really familiar with the block A/B scheduling. What does this mean and how does this effect student organization/learning etc.?

Do you know what the differences are in the GT vs the Pre-AP curriculum in 7th and 8th grade, specifically in Math at Gorcyzki? I am unable to find the information on their website.

Any specific reasons whey Small doesn't show up as a well-sought after school as per the different websites (Schooldigger/Nice/greatschools)?

Regarding the Lamar Fine Arts academy - is it focused on Fine arts and has less of other courses (Math/Science etc)?

Thank you again for your time.
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Old 04-17-2020, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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A/B scheduling, briefly, is fewer courses in a day, but for longer period of time. Instead of going to a class for 50 minutes 5 times a week (250 minutes/week), you go 100 minutes twice once week and 100 minutes three times the following week (500 minutes every two weeks). You actually get a small amount more time (~15 minutes per day) in class due to fewer class changes in any given day.
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Old 04-17-2020, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX via San Antonio, TX
6,923 posts, read 9,449,071 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nytown View Post
AMJ27 Thank you. This is very helpful. I am not really familiar with the block A/B scheduling. What does this mean and how does this effect student organization/learning etc.?

Do you know what the differences are in the GT vs the Pre-AP curriculum in 7th and 8th grade, specifically in Math at Gorcyzki? I am unable to find the information on their website.

Any specific reasons whey Small doesn't show up as a well-sought after school as per the different websites (Schooldigger/Nice/greatschools)?

Regarding the Lamar Fine Arts academy - is it focused on Fine arts and has less of other courses (Math/Science etc)?

Thank you again for your time.
A&B day schedules is having 4 classes a day instead of 8. GT is usually a step above Pre-AP. Think 8th graders are taking Geometry (a 10th grade level class) and Pre-AP are taking a 9th grade class (a freshman level classes).

Lamar has a regular academic program and then the fine arts academy.
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