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Austin’s Comprehensive Source for Parents About Schools and Education




What is a School Placement Consultant?

Real Moms Real Talk

A Look at Texas Mompreneurs

Scholarship Spotlight Ages 6 & Up K-12 Private and Independent School Guide

7100 Brodie Lane ▪Austin, TX 78745 ▪ P: 512.892.2706 ▪ F: 512.899.1161

Discover Explore Embrace Experience Bannockburn Christian Academy combines affordable Bible-based teaching with accredited higher-level learning. At BCA, the mission of our teachers and staff is to guide generations to become passionate followers of Christ one child at a time.

Students, Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade, will receive a firm foundation is reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and Bible, as well as enrichment experiences in foreign language, art, technology, physical education, music, and Library skills. Small class sizes provide daily opportunities for the development of a nurturing environment and close relationships among teachers, children and families.

Visit us online @ 2

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School Choice

Like us on Facebook: SchoolChoiceMag Like us on Twitter: #AustinCityKids

Education. Your Kids. Your Choice.


Calendar of Events


What Exactly is a Charter School

8 The Private School Difference

We graciously thank our advertisers for their support of School Choice magazine.

INTERNS Meleena Louske Nicolle Hiddleston


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steve Balak Joe Bruno Bethany Bennett


School Choice is a publication of Our Austin City Kids School Placement Consulting Agency. Our Austin City Kids assumes no responsibility for errors, changes, or omissions. Information may have changed since press time, so please verify all information when contacting a school or educational resource. Views expressed in School


2011 Fall School Guide


Student Diaries


Principles of a Montessori Classroom


School Placement


Real Moms. Real Talk I really Don’t Know How She Does It


Kids Korner

Choice do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Reproduction in whole or in part of any element of this publication is strictly prohibited without the written permission of the publisher. For

additional copies or further information please contact: OUR AUSTIN CITY KIDS P:512-537-OACK (6225)

Parent to Parent Letter from the Editor By: Brandee Davis

More than just a SLOGAN!

This summer when my daughter first joined our neighborhood swim team, I remember her practicing every morning for two straight weeks before the very first swim meet. The morning of the big meet, we were all nervous. The officials called up her age group (6 and under) and about seven little girls walked onto the pool deck.

“On your mark. Get set.” POW! And 6 little girls dove in the pool and swam to their heart’s content toward the finish line. The seventh little girl was my 6 year old still standing on deck-crying. Fast forward eight weeks, and that same six year old has won four first place ribbons and received a 5th place ribbon from the city meet!

us as well. Here I am “standing on deck” with the very first issue of School Choice. After months of planning and preparation, I’m excited to bring to you a magazine that shines a spotlight one of the most important issues that we face as parents: Educating our children! Steve Balak, Head of School at St. Gabriel’s gives a fresh perspective on the Private School Difference ( pg. 8) Exploring all your options? Read the article on What’s a Charter School? (pg. 6) The cornerstone of this magazine is the K-12 School Guide (starting on page 12) Take time and become informed on all your options. Because that’s what it’s all about. Your kids. Your choice. Happy Reading!

Brandee Davis

Many times the trials and tribulations that our children go through are life lessons not only for them but for

Ask An Expert

Q&A from a School Placement Consultant


I’m looking for a private school for next year for my future kindergartner. What is an open house and how do I make the most of one? - LR, mom of one


The K-12 School Choice Fair marks the start of open house season for many of Austin’s private schools. An open house is a chance for perspective parents like yourself to go an visit a school, listen to a presentation about the school’s academic program, extracurricular programs, a chance to meet administrators, and take a tour. In order to make the most of an open house, start with writing down what you are looking for in a school (ie small class size, fine arts program) Then do your homework. Go to the schools website and find out information about tuition, application fees, if there is a student or parent interview, and what is that’s school admission process. While you are gathering facts, start a list of questions to ask. When you attend the open house be sure to take plenty of 4

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School Choice

notes and let your criteria list be your guide as to whether or not the school would be a good fit for your child. Our Austin City Kids School Placement Consulting Agency provides affordable customized services that take the anxiety out of finding the right school. Visit us at

School Choice Picks

Around Town

Fall Open Houses

1. Khabele School

Jackson Pinnow, a 7th grader this year at Khabele, competed in the AAU Junior Olympics in New Orleans earlier this

Girls School of Austin Oct 6th, 10:30 am


2. Back to School

St Paul Lutheran School Oct 19th, 12:15 - 1:30 pm

3. Just Having Fun

Trinity Episcopal School Oct. 11th, 8:30pm

The dog days of summer are over. Welcome back to Kirby Hall! Super excited about the launch of School Choice magazine!

St. Gabriel's School Nov. 15th, 8:30 am

4. Austin Partners in Education

Bannockburn Christian Academy

With just one hour a week, you can help local students achieve academic success.

5. The New Griffin School

Look who got a new address? Come to the grand re-opening October 14th from 6 - 8 pm.



Community Events Oct. 1st Marathon Kids Mike

Myers Track and Field Stadium 9am sharp Oct. 1st National Night Out Oct. 30th JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Mueller Lake Park (check-in 9am)

For full list of open houses go to:

Nov. 12th Savvy Kids Conference St. Gabriel’s Campus 10am - 4pm

Submit Your School Events Including Open Houses to

Nov. 12th GENaustin - We Are Girls Conference Austin High School - starts at 9am




School Choice

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What Exactly is a Charter School? by Texas Charter Schools Association


harter schools are free public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students. Charter schools vary in mission and model, serving a wide range of students, many with needs beyond the one-size-fits-all traditional public school. Often, charter schools provide a personalized learning environment that promotes greater student achievement. Although charter schools have some autonomy, they still must meet the rigorous academic standards dictated by the state for all public schools.


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School Choice

On charter campuses, school leaders are permitted more freedom in managing their school, allowing them to respond in the best interest of both parents and students. Teachers at charter schools are encouraged to structure lessons to the specific needs of their students. Some charter schools even provide curriculum that specializes in a certain field such as the arts, mathematics or science. Others provide a more efficient, general education based on the educational model set forth in the charter.

Charter schools offer FREE quality nontraditional public education options. How are charter schools funded? Charter schools receive state funds based on the average daily attendance of students (same as traditional public schools); however, they do not receive funds from local tax revenue and the

majority, including Texas charters, do not receive state facilities funding. A recent independent analysis of revenue differences between charter school districts and independent school districts reveals a persistent funding gap exists. An average charter school student in Texas receives $2009 less per student than independent school districts when examining all funds.1

What is the purpose2 of charter schools?

nnImprove student learning ooIncrease the choice of learning opportunities within the public school system

ppCreate professional opportunities that will attract new teachers to the public school system

qqEstablish a new form of accountability for public schools rrEncourage different and innovative learning methods

“There are over 4,900 charter schools across the country, educating over 1.5 million children 3.” i

1 Comparative Analysis of Revenues Generated from the Texas Foundation School Program for Independent School Districts and Charter School Districts, R.C. Wood and Associates, Feb. 2011. 2 Texas Education Code §12.001 3 National Alliance for Public Charter Schools 2011.


harter schools were authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1995 to provide an alternative to traditional public schools. Texas has a 215 state cap on charters. Open enrollment charters serve approximately 120,000 students on 463 campuses across the state.1 In the state of Texas, charter schools operate under and receive academic accountability ratings from the Texas Education Agency. All charter students in Texas take the same Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test as traditional public school students. Enrollment in Texas charter schools has increased. This year, there are over 56,000 students on waiting lists for charter schools.2 Where space at a charter school is limited, admission is frequently allocated by lottery-based admissions.

1 AskTED 2010 2 Self-reported survey of 364 Association member campuses, 2011 School Choice

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The Private School Difference Perhaps the Best Investment You Will Ever Make! --Steve Balak


y friend’s first words surprised me. “Now you can see why I chose to spend money on private schools” were her first remarks at her son’s recent high school graduation. I expected her to recount her son’s many academic and athletic accomplishments as any proud parent might do or talk about which colleges were interested in him attending their schools. Instead, she offered an unexpected reflection on the reason for all his success: In her words, his success was the direct result of quality years spent in a private elementary and a private high school. While I am a proponent of private school education for lots of good reasons, I know that all private schools are not created equal. Some are phenomenal; some are less so! When you trace the distinguishing qualities that mark private schools, keep in mind that great schools have all these qualities in some way. You should expect your child’s school not just to have one or several of these attributes, but all of them in some meaningful way. All of these make a difference to the “bottom line” in your child’s education.


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­The Private School Difference


Family buy-in (the consequences of choice and tuition): When parents choose a private school, they are committing some portion of their income and their child to a particular school culture and educational mission. For families who dismiss private school education as an expensive luxury and a waste of a family’s income may be short-sighted at best and selfish at worst. Simply put, if you value education and your child’s future, then a private school education may be a necessity now, even more so in these tough and uncertain economic times than ever before. In making a significant investment in their child’s education and her future, parents necessarily take an active role in everything related to her education and are watchful of all that the school does. As a result, strong parent-school partnerships characterize private schools; a village comprised of concerned and committed parents is definitely raising a child.


Quality of classmates: Disappointing graduation rates and low standardized test results are certainly two measures of a school’s quality; but, they tell only part of the story. When you read the headlines almost daily about bullied students, growing class sizes, eliminated programs, large and cumbersome bureaucracies, and declining quality in public schools, this should give any parent pause to question the educational foundation that her child is receiving. Since private schools usually have selective admissions criteria they are choosing students who can be successful in their programs allowing children to learn from their peers and develop positive relationship that contribute greatly toward a child’s growth, maturation and achievement.


Learning is valued: A natural off-shoot of having families who value education is having children who value learning. The excitement of learning pervades the classroom and culture of a private school. In a private school the unique talents and gifts of each student are cultivated and nourished, celebrated and recognized; all these are part of the private school DNA.


Accountability and ideal teaching conditions: Parents in private schools have easy access to teachers and direct contact with school administrators who have the power to make all curricular and personnel decisions. By contrast, local school administrators in public schools have limited curricular and restricted personnel powers. Private schools provide parents with easy access to teachers and administrators who can respond almost immediately to any circumstance. More importantly, teachers have greater control over texts, materials, and teaching pedagogy, as well as more opportunity to deal with issues and implement needed changes than their public school counterparts.


Small class sizes and low teacher-student ratios: With small class sizes and low teacher-student ratios it is easier for each student to be known and cared for in a private school; with the individual attention that students receive they are likely to be more successful and to find mentors and advocates in their teachers.


Educating the whole child: Whether a private school is religiously affiliated or is non-denominational, virtue and manners matter. Not only are clear boundaries present and enforced, but good-to-great private schools hold clear expectations for what is good, right, just, and noble and hold students accountable. These schools eschew moral relativism in favor of connecting individual choice with personal responsibility, social order with the responsibility of citizenship, liberty with morality, and self-esteem with the responsibility of work and earned achievement


Affording tuition: Unfortunately, in many cases, a decision against private school is less about the quality of the educational experience and more about the impact on a family’s standard of living. Most private schools offer aid needbased, and, in some cases, merit-based financial aid to students and families.

Decisions At the end of the day, the right school for your child is one that is a best match between resources, personnel, programs and philosophy of the school and your child’s unique gifts, needs, and interests. Your decision about where your child will spend most of his days is about so much more than sandbox banter. The decision you make now launches a successful career, trains a leader who will make a difference in the world, gives 21st century tools and skills that will allow for the navigation of any path, and nourishes the virtues and values that will help your daughter lead a meaningful and productive life and be a world-ready citizen. Can you think of any better way to spend your time or your money? --Steve Balack is the Head of School at St. Gabriel’s School in Austin and is a proud product of private schools (20 years +), both of his children attended private schools (16 years +), and he has taught, coached, and served as an administrator in private schools for over 30 years.


Small school culture: Most private schools typically have 100-600 students. The largest independent schools top out at 1200 students. Compare these numbers with public schools where 2000-4000 students are the norm and you can understand why a student in private school is more than just a number. Building and fostering community is highly valued and prized in private schools because it reinforces all the skills and values being taught.


21st century curriculum and skills: If a school is teaching students the same material and skills, in the same way that their parents were taught, then the school cannot produce world-ready citizens who can succeed and flourish no matter the challenges and opportunities that the 21st century might throw their way. Since private schools have greater control over all aspects of their curriculum and programs, they can determine their futures with greater clarity, shift focus and implement necessary changes with greater speed than their counterparts in the cumbersome public system.


Bottom line considerations: The most obvious discrepancy between public and private schools comes down to cash; public schools are financed through local, state and federal taxes, while private schools require tuition and donations for their funding. In this independent role, private schools can be specialized, offer differentiated learning, unique programs, and advanced curriculum. School Choice

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International Academy

Study with students from over 40 countries! Grades 9-12 Full boarding accommodations World-class faculty

40-minute train ride to New York City Safe & secure campus Located on the banks of the Hudson River

21st century education

International Baccalaureate Curriculum

EF International Academy, 100 Marymount Avenue, Butler Hall, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Admissions Director: Therese Agerberth Admissions Manager: Kristina Cherubino phone: (914)597-7241 email:

Visit us online at


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School Choice

Scholarship Spotlight JIF Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest

St. Paul

Lutheran School

Ages: 6 - 12 The Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest is open to children who are age 6 to 12. The grand prize is a $25,000 scholarship fund. The four runners up receive a $2,500 scholarship fund. The deadline is mid-November. The contest is sponsored by the J.M. Smucker Company.

Doodle 4 Google Scholarship Competition Grades: K- 12

New Family Information Session Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:15-1:30 Lunch included OR 5:30-7:00 Light snacks included

Reserve a spot by 10/17 Contact Mary Eifert 512-472-3313 or

3407 Red River, Austin, Texas 78705 ▪ 512-472-3313

Google is famous for the doodles that occasionally replace the Google logo. The Doodle 4 Google competition challenges children in grades K-12 to create their own play on Google’s logo. Doodles are judged in four grade groups: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. There is one national finalist in each grade group. One national winner receives a $15,000 college scholarship, a trip to the Google New York office, a laptop computer, a digital tablet and a T-shirt with his or her doodle. (The winner’s school or after-school program also receives a $25,000 technology grant.) The other three national finalists receive a $5,000 scholarship, a trip to the Google New York office, a digital tablet and a T-shirt with his or her doodle. The registration deadline is in early March and the doodle entry deadline is in mid-March.

Learn. Lead. Create. Collaborate.

A private independent school for girls

Grades k-8 | 478-STAR | w w w. t h e g i r l s s c h o o l . o r g

School Choice

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School Choice K-12 school Guide 2011

K-12 School Guide 2011 -2012 Austin Area Private Schools Name of School

Admission Contact

Grades Offered

Avg. Class Size


ACE Academy 3901 Shoal Creek Blvd, 78756

Donna Hulsey Phone: 512.206.4070

PK - 12th



Austin International School 12001 Oak Knoll Drive, 78759

Christine Christy Phone: 512.331.7806




Bannockburn Christian Academy 7100 Brodie Lane, 78745

Mandy Maclay Phone: 512.892.2706

PK - 5th



Girls' School Of Austin 2700 McCall, 78703

Frances Ramburg Phone: 512.478.7827




Hill Country Christian School of Austin 12124 N. RR 620, 78750

Shannon Ficklin Phone: 512.331.7036




Kirby Hall School 306 W. 29th Street, 78705

Helen Roberts Phone: 512-474-1770




Odyssey School 4407 Red River St, 78751

Elizabeth Moore Phone: 512.472.2262



Call for details

Paragon Prep 2001 Koenig Lane, 78756

David McGrath Phone: 512.459.5040




The Griffin School 5001 Evans Ave, 78751

Caroline Wilson Phone: 512.454.5797




Parkside Community School 1701 Toomey Road, 78704

Elizabeth Kalbacher Phone: 512.472.2559

PK - 5th



St. Gabriel's Catholic School 2500 Wimberly Lane, 78735

Erin Guerra Phone: 512.327.7755




St. Paul Lutheran School 3407 Red River Street, 7805

Mary Eifert Phone: 512.472.3313







Boarding Schools (9th - 12th grade) Name of School

Admission Contact

Emma Willard School

Jeffrey Pilgrim


Troy, NY


EF International

Kristina Cherubino


Tarrytown, NY



Patrick Finn


Stevenson, MD


Indian Springs School

Jack Sweeney


Pelham, AL


Lawrence Academy

Tony Hawgood


Groton, MA


St. Timothy's School

Deborah Haskins


Stevenson, MD


Stevenson School

Bernadette Sotak


Pebble Beach, CA


The Baylor School

Marilyn Purdy


Chattanooga, TN



Geoff Blum


Tilton, NH


Name of School


Grades Offered

TEA Rating*

Austin Discover School, 78724

8509 FM 969 Ste 200 Phone: 512.674.0700


2010 Recognized

East Austin College Prep, 78721

6002 Jain Lane Phone: 512.462.2181


Meridian School, 78664

2555 North I-H 35 Phone: 512.660.5230


Opened in Fall 2011

Responsive ED, 78704

1701 W Ben White #100A Phone: 972.316.3663

9-12th, Night Campus

N -------

Harmony Science Academy Austin

930 E Rundberg Phone: 512.835.7900


2010 Exemplary

Texas Charter Schools


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School Choice

Type Of School

Extracurricular Programs

Open House Dates

Tuition Assistance 6% of students

Independent, Gifted and Talented

Multiple [Mandarin, Chess, Fencing, Robotics, more], After Care

2nd Wednesday of each month

Not Reported

International education Foreign Language Immersion

Multiple [Acting Club, Chess, Dance, more] including before and After Care

Nov. 5th


Bible based Christian Higher -level

Yes including After Care

January 12, Feb. 9, March 8, April 12


Girls school

Multiple - Various Clubs, After Care

Jan. 24

Yes 20% of Students

Classical Christian College Prep

Multiple [Cheer leading, Baseball, more], After Care

Call to schedule a tour


Christian College Prep

Multiple [Piano, Yoga, more] After Care

Call to schedule a tour

Call for details

Alternative Moderate Learning Disabilities

Drama, Art, Culinary Arts, Spanish

Call to schedule a tour


College Preparatory

Multiple [Football, Volleyball]

Oct. 9th

Yes 25% of Students

College Prep Emphasis on arts

Multiple [Fine and Performing Arts, Academic Enrichment]

Oct 27th

Not Reported


Before and After Care

Call to schedule a tour

Yes 17% of Students

Catholic, non-church affiliated

Yes, Aftercare

Nov.15, Jan. 10, April 3



Yes, Before and After Care

Oct. 19

"Financial Aid Available"



Type of School

Yes | 52% of Students

Not Reported

All Girls, College Prep

Yes| 25% of Students

Model UN, Swimming, Newspaper, more

International Baccalaureate

Yes| 30% of Students

Arts, sports, community service, more

All Girls, STEM program

Yes| 34% of Student

Athletics, Arts, Choir, Clubs

Co-ed, College Prep

Yes| 29% of Students

Sports, Music, Art, Drama, more

Co-ed College Prep


Team Sports, Equestrian, Performing Arts, more

All Girls, International Baccalaureate

Yes| 21% of Students

Radio Station, Dance Program, more

Co-ed, College Prep

Yes| 30% of Students

Full range athletics, arts, more

Co-ed College Prep

Yes| 40% of Students

Sports, music, theater, more

Co-ed, College Prep

Texas Charter Schools Name of School


Grades Offered

TEA Rating

Harmony School of Science Austin

11800 Stonehollow Drive Phone: 512.821.1700


2010 Exemplary

1421 W. Wells Branch Pkwy, Ste 200 Phone: 512.251.5000


2100 E. St. Elmo’s Phone: 512.693.0000


Harmony Science Academy of N. Austin Harmony School of Excellence NYOS- Not Your Ordinary School NYOS - Magnolia McCullough

12301 North Lamar Blvd Phone: 512.583.6967

4 4-12th

1605 Kramer Lane Phone: 512.275.1593


2010 Recognized 2010 Not Reported

2010 Exemplary School Choice

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School Choice K-12 school Guide 2011

"Financial Aid Available"


a.m. I wake up to my alarm clock radio playing Justin Bieber, a voice that can always be heard in at least one room in the dorms, and wait patiently as my roommates and I take turns using our bathroom; and, I put on my St. Tim’s uniform for the day.


a.m. By now I’ve made my way into the academic building and I’m seated in Spanish class, waiting for Senora Garcia to take roll call. It is wonderful to take Spanish with a native speaker from Madrid!

aries – i D t n e d Stu the Life n i y a D A thy’s o m i T . t S of udent School St s of ’13 s

ett, Cla any Benn

by Beth


a.m. Time for my absolute favorite class: American history with my teacher, Mrs. Reed. As a sophomore, American history is a huge deal; in fact, we spend two weeks during Winterim traveling to historical sites in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC and Maryland to apply what we learned in the classroom lectures to specific places where the events actually happened.


a.m. Now we’re seated in our chapel for morning meeting - a special time where the whole school gathers to make announcements about fun weekend events, sports updates, or recognize academic achievements.


a.m. LUNCH TIME! Before I eat I check my table seating for the day. We eat family style at St. Timothy’s, with one teacher at each table so that we can get to meet everyone in the school as well as have conversations with our teachers outside the classroom. It also gives us a chance to do fun things as a group. If it is someone’s birthday the whole school will sing traditional St. Tim’s birthday songs to celebrate. Mid way through lunch, if we had a victorious sports team the day before, we will ring the victory bell in order to ensure good luck in upcoming games. Lunch is dismissed, and I’m back off to class.

ges my pa h off is in f s well a pes as o r e h nt l start to lear ts wil kers r o editors submission. p s a nd al lubs a my sne pe. for fin t of c o I lace up u ha o s in ’m s p.m. I y minutes, lane to keep ys find a nt e in twe so around th d I can alw or to n r a o it , g e w h p.m. Math was always a bit of a challenge for me until I came relievin ations n a mil and ru itely stress k up convers to St. Tim’; Mrs. Jaber - my math teacher- is so dedicated to fin o pic Its de eople t go by. e p h making sure I always know what I’m doing and never lets me fall behind. Mrs. t f o o plenty e to as I over t ere y a Jaber lives right on campus with her family, too, so it is easy to find her for il w h m my , w just s make e class who c some extra help! n I a d . p.m for inda enter Ms. L dancer Arts C exuberant e t p.m. I’ve changed into my sports clothes and I am headed to yearbook ica d by the ”. As a ded a rekindled d e t e m e d club. As the future editor of yearbook, I work closely with the other o r in g m L t rm I’m Ms. o no my “do o St. Tim’s, urages me t ge o ls a t is co en and en coming o chall before n for dance asics but t b sio ’m my pas perfect the oves. times upcake ner, I m o lot of t r od din e A o d my c g r .” a only e a h ith and e tim e cupcakes in ax because w r m e “ lf w e o s le m sh tt my to bak r our inutes fter a or a li p.m. A my room f riends and I ke thirty m o we gathe f a . S back in for my best h fun and t ead of eggs baking! c t s u d et e g in m v r d r e o ate res re s ic an w a is s u d r s r two e m u e t o k a y raz self fo rbon c cupca this h y a c t m s m r r s la o o cu db la . D d I fo maker use coca co kitchen an ms an e r o h n d t a c o e th dt we gin in ls, hea has a urs be . o materia h rmally hts t o g ie n u in Q a y d d g p.m. d stu Ms. Lin of the highli to of har ck in. e e k n h c o c a hours , b o k t d e snac nd hea and go stairs s as a bedtim my snack a p u d a he ru for p.m. I ked good fo a profusely a d b in t L a gre Ms. of my lights she thank h I ig h . g e evenin out th es, but of the . her ab hirty minut ll e t t m to o my roo up. enty t y mom call m r a good tw er and hang I . o h f p.m e v I lo e talk day. W o I tell her s , d th tire are bo I d n a






7:30 9:45



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School Choice


p.m. So m uch for g oing to b a crazy dan imagine m ed on tim ce party issing out. e! My flo in the ha or h llway. It ’s so much as started fun I can p.m. Light ’t so off the li ut, the prefects an d dorm pa ghts and make sure rents com e around we are a to turn p.m. My ro ll okay. ommates and I sta weddings rt so or last- m inute revie me silly discussion about our w for a t p.m. After future est. an excitin g and ready and event to recharg fu e for anot l day as a St. Tim her great ’s girl I’m day. pooped

11:00 11:05 11:15

ALL ABO UT Betha ny

Call Mom before bed.

What she’ s re at the mom ading: Usually wha tever is a ent I’m w ssigned fo Favorite d r school orm snack orking on Pride an d Prejudic : Cupcakes Favorite pa e or Oreos rt of St. and peanut Tim’s: BRO Weekend butter WNIE-SP act IDER! Panera or ivity of choice: Pro bably goin Chipotle a g out to nd then ca What’s on dinner at tch her dorm walls: Pic ing a movie from hom tures of m e, pictures e and my of me an pictures fr friends dm om camp, personal re y family at Disney currently minders, m W I’m in a superhero ovie poster orld, inspiration phase, so s al quotes Superman Favorite sp posters an ot on cam d pus: Either the dance the old tra studio, or the trees ils in the campus behind th e small po woods, nd on

School Choice

FALL 2011


Principles of a Montessori Classroom – Joe Bruno, Co-Founder & Executive Director Parkside Community School


rinciple 1: Respect Montessori classrooms have one rule. That is respect. The students show respect for themselves, others around them, and they show respect for the environment. In a Montessori classroom, the idea is simple idea. If everyone behaves with respect, most other rules are not needed. Of course, when a specific incident occurs, teachers try to help students understand the consequences of their actions and how it relates to the idea of respect.


rinciple 2: The 3 Graces - Passion, Restraint and Beauty In the classroom, we may say to the students, “it’s time to show your restraint because your passions are boiling over”. The introduction of the three graces to elementary children begins with a discussion about anything that is beautiful is a balance between passion and restraint. On one side of the equation unbridled passion, anger, love and excitement can be very destructive. However exercising too much restraint can hinder you from experiencing life at its fullest. In any situation, whether it is social or one of performance, passion and restraint must be balanced for beauty to emerge.


rinciple 3: The 3 Keys to Happiness “Humility, Perseverance and Adaptability evoke a response from the universe and fill one with divine light” - Lao Tzu. In a Montessori classroom we emphasize to the children that this means if you build your life around humility, perseverance, and adaptability, good things will happen to you. Each one of these keys to happiness is elaborated on in the classroom and we encourage parents to incorporate them in the home as well.


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School Choice


rinciple 4: The experience of success after an initial difficulty is the essence of effort When a child chooses challenging work at school, struggles to succeed, finally gets it and has an “Aha, I did it!” moment, that child also has the intrinsic experience of I AM ADEQUATE, what’s next! The student starts to build a strong foundation of who they are and what they can accomplish. It is this self-worth that is the end reward, rather than a smiley face sticker or praise from the teacher. In a Montessori classroom it is our goal to create an environment where students can experience over and over again their limitless potential in their journey to become their best self. This, to me is the most beautiful secret of a Montessori experience during the early childhood and elementary school years. This article was submitted by Parkside Community School. Parkside has offered Montessori from the heart in the heart of Austin for 20 fabulous years. Our dedication to the development of a strong community centered around love, kindness and respect and the implementation of Dr. Maria Montessori’s brilliant and inspirational teachings is stronger than ever. Here is a review of some basic principles we use to guide us through this experience.

Trinity Episcopal School 3901 Bee Cave Road Austin, TX 78746 ● 512-472-9525 At Trinity Episcopal School, we nurture each child academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We offer a comprehensive kindergarten through eighth-grade educational experience, enriched by extracurricular activities and programs that serve a broad spectrum of student interests: athletics, the arts, community service, technology and more. Our 15acre campus in Westlake provides dedicated learning spaces for each developmental level: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, and sixth through eighth grade.

Academically Our academic programs teach students to make connections, strive for deep understanding, honor the complexity of life and thrive within a diverse community of learners. The Lower School curriculum supports an active learning environment that best suits the needs of our students. Students explore information, derive meaning, solve problems and increase comprehension through practices that promote active engagement. Rather than simply a “junior high” environment, our Middle School program is tailored to the unique social, emotional and academic needs of young adolescents. Beginning in fifth grade, Trinity offers expanded opportunities – sports, theater, community service, class trips and extracurricular programs such as the Model UN – for students to explore new experiences as they discover who they are. For sixth through eighth graders, we offer a oneto-one laptop program; each student in those grades is issued a school-owned computer, which they can use while at school and can take home as well.

Physically Physical education and athletics are integral to the Trinity experience, cultivating an understanding

and appreciation of physical activity, promoting the development of athleticism, and encouraging students to grow personally and as part of a team. We field intermural teams in volleyball, flag and tackle football, cross-country, basketball, soccer, lacrosse and track.

Emotionally We keep class sizes small, emphasizing a environment in which students feel secure in taking academic and creative risks. Family commitment and diversity, two of our core values, promote a welcoming, inclusive family atmosphere that is palpable when you step on our campus.

Spiritually A Christian foundation and Episcopal identity help foster each student’s moral and ethical growth regardless of faith. Daily chapel connects our community with what is sacred, and a vibrant service learning program ensures that students learn to respect the dignity of every human being and to engage the challenges of life with compassion and understanding.

Open Houses October 11, 2011, 8:30am November 10, 2011, 6:30pm December 7, 2011, 8:30am January 10, 2012, 8:30am RSVP to 512.472.9525 or School Choice

FALL 2011


Why Use a School Placement Consultant?

Parents often ask why they can’t just research and apply to schools on their own, especially with so much information on the internet. They certainly can, and sometimes it works out fine. 18

FALL 2011

School Choice

At Our Austin City Kids our consultants are parents and educators that have researched and developed relationships with local and out of state schools. Families who base the decision of which schools to apply to on old reputations, comments from friends, or solely on school marketing materials often end up disappointed. School Placement Consultants are experts on school choice and can give you the advice and guidance to help your family make the best decision for future education.

Types of School Placements

Created by Parents for Parents

School Placement Consulting Agency Helping Families Find the Right School

New to Austin? Looking for the Right School? Don’t have much time?

Preschool Placement - Sending a child to school for the very first time is very emotional while searching for a high-quality preschool can be a nerve-wracking experience. We help parents find and choose a preschool that is a good personal match, which will foster their child’s cognitive, developmental, physical and social-emotional growth. Magnet and Charter School Placement - We offer help to parents who are looking at charter schools, which is increasingly becoming an interest for students. While magnet and charter schools are public schools they vary in philosophy. We will work with families to help them understand the differences and explore their options versus other public schools. Private School Placement - Navigating the admission process for a private school program can be a daunting task if parents do not have help. Many private schools have admission directors who can help with this process but they are affiliated with a specific school. We work independently to provide families with guidance through this process. Boarding School Placement - We provide help to parents looking for a traditional, co- educational or single gender boarding school. Many independent private schools have different admission policies. This is a unique opportunity for these students, to develop socially and academically. We arrange for visiting the schools, as well as walking parents through the admission process from start to finish. Schedule Family and Student Tours of Programs - We work directly with schools to arrange tours with families before making a placement decision. Many times a consultant will ask a family to visit a school before addressing the placement options. Before each school visit families will be given a list of specific questions to ask while on a tour plus an evaluation form to fill out once the tour is complete. The evaluation form will help parents analyze what they see when on a tour and how it translates to meeting or not meeting their best match school criteria. Educational Testing Referral System - We provide a list of professional education testing services to help students prepare for private school admission test like the SAT. These facilities can also provide educational assessments of children to determine Kindergarten readiness and if a child is classified as gifted and talented. Many of their services include review of school report card, IEP and/or educational assessment.

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School Choice

FALL 2011


Real Moms. Real Talk.

I really Don’t Know How She Does It - The Life of a Mompreneur


woman in a hustling, bustling city tries desperately to juggle her children, marriage, and business, all while putting on a happy face and convincing the world she still has her sanity. Sound familiar? Maybe not the hustling and bustling city but the truth is this could be any woman you know including yourself. In the comedy “I Don’t Know How She Does It” starring Sarah Jessica Parker, moviegoers get an inside peek into the life of Kate Reddy (Parker), a finance executive who is the breadwinner for her husband and two kids. From completing the infamous things to do list, to handling mommy guilt of missing her kids’ firsts, and the struggle to keep the spark in her marriage, the movie begs the question can women do everything: be a mother, a wife and a businesswoman? School Choice took the time to meet with some amazing Austin-area moms who are taking the notion of doing it all a step further. These momprenuers successfully blend their family and business lives into one, balancing the requirements of running a business with the demands of raising her children (and even keeping the romance alive!)

Name: Alice Forgey Kids: 3 kids (Ages 10, 7, and 2 years) Local Business: SnugZee Baby Company How she gets everything done: I’m a big list maker and I’m extremely organized. Everything is labeled, everything is mapped out, everything is planned out on paper. Name: Janine Van Dellen Carpenter Kids: 3 kids (Ages 17, 15, 3) Local Business: The Butterfly Garden | An All Outdoor Forest Kindergarten serving children ages 3-6 Her opinion on “Women can do everything”: I think there are so many people who would love to help if they knew how and that we should take advantage of this in order to have something left ourselves to give to our families Name: Kristen Vest Kids: 2 kids (Ages 3 and 18 months) Local Business: Kristen Vest Photography Advice to aspiring mompreneurs: Take advantage of groups with other momprenuers. It’s great to have a network of friends who are going down the same path as you. Network, network, network! Visit School Choice online to read our other interviews with some amazing Austin-area momprenuers.

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Real Moms. Real Talk.

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Riddle Me This... What type of house weighs the least?

I’m a four-digit number! My 2nd digit is twice greater than my 3rd. The sum of all my digits is thrice greater than my last digit! The product of my 3rd and 4th digits is 12 times greater than the ratio of my 2nd to 3rd. What am I?

Kids Korner

1. Lighthouse

2. 7638

Sand Jack O Lantern Craft What you'll need:

• Clean, empty baby food jar • Black sharpee marker • Green paint • Paint brush • Green construction paper or foam • Glue • Scissors • Colored sand (available at craft stores)

• Spoon

1. Paint the lid to the baby food jar

green. We found it easiest to dab the paint on - it's not the easiest surface to paint. 2. Draw the face of your jack-o-lantern onto the jar using the marker. 3. Fill the jar with sand. We used orange for one and all the fall colors for another. A spoon and a funnel make this fun. 4. Screw the lid back onto the jar. Cut a leaf out of green paper or foam and glue it to the top of the jar. 22

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School Choice


e offer programs for all ages and abilities. Whether your child is looking to learn at a casual pace or building skills sets necessary to join a competitive team, we have the coaches, facility and experience to help your child reach his or her full potential. Gymnastics is considered a “gateway” sport-start here and go anywhere. The physical and mental skills developed in gymnastics provide a great foundation for any sport! • • • • • • • • • •

Summer Camps Licensed Afterschool Program Preschool Gymnastics Classes (5 Years & Under) Mother’s Morning Out (Potty-Trained to Age 5) Parent & Me Classes (18 mo - 3 years) Girls Gymnastics Classes Ages 6 & Up Boys Gymnastics Classes (Ages 6 & Up) Power Tumbling Classes (Ages 8 & Up) Beginning Cheer Classes (Ages 4 - 9) Birthday Parties

OHG Austin 222 Park 35 Cove N Buda, Texas 78610 (Near Cabella’s)

Olympia Hills Gymnastics 990 S. IH35 Svc Rd. SB, Bldg. F-950 Austin. Texas 78748 (Southpark Meadows)

Phone: (512) 295-3073 or 1-800-906 FLIP (3547) ● Fax: (512) 295-3804 Email Us:

School Choice

FALL 2011


Multiple Choice. What’s the best kept secret in school choice?


Austin 78724 Ph. 512.674.0700


Austin 78721 Ph. 512.287.5000

a. traditional public school b. private school c. public charter school*

Austin 78753, 78758, 78660, 78744, 78717 Ph. 713.343.3333

* Charter schools are open-enrollment, tuition-free, public schools that have the exibility to employ creative education methods and personalized learning environments to promote greater student achievement. Serving Williamson County

We can help you find an answer: Discover a charter school near your home by visiting our online map: or call 512.584.8272 to speak with a charter school representative.

FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF CHOICE 700 Lavaca Street, Suite 930 Austin, Texas 78701 Ph. 512.584.8272


Round Rock 78664 Ph. 512.660.5230


Austin 78753 Ph. 512.583.6967


Austin 78704, Online Ph. 972.316.3663

School Choice Magazine Fall Edition  
School Choice Magazine Fall Edition  

School Choice is a publication of Our Austin City Kids that will debut in the Fall of 2011. It is a bi -annual magazine that will feature ar...