This school, in a word, is underwhelming.
I have noticed significant disorganization, poor communication with parents, limited community building activities for the children, and a discouragement of parent participation. I have made numerous attempts to be a part of the Baldwin community; offering time and energy for volunteer opportunities that have, for the most part, been ill-received. We were assigned to another school last year (we moved since then), where the communications were so abundant, I was almost OVERWHELMED, but in retrospect, when it comes to my child's education, I much prefer an excess of communication, rather than the opposite.
I gave this school an "average" rating because my child seems to be learning the basics, and comes home happy after the day, but we are (hopefully) transferring next school year
My child came to this school in Kinder halfway through the year from a very esteemed private school in town. Even though we still had to pay for the rest of the year at her private school, we are SO HAPPY we made the switch. Sure our daughter was doing just fine in private school, but we felt she was not being challenged enough, and was getting a very limited view of the real world. Baldwin offers the perfect mix of academics, caring staff, and the arts. The commenter who gave it a bad review due to a mean lunch lady must have had a child who needed to be spoken to - and thank goodness for that! The rules are in place for good reason, and need to be enforced to keep our children safe. Baldwin is the best school in Austin, and we are so grateful.
I love our School, great discipline is what we need to be successful and I feel we accomplish that on Baldwin. Everybody it's very friendly, from the janitor to the principal. There is a lot of parent involvement and that makes the difference.
My daughter has attended kindergarten, and is now in first grade at Baldwin. Academically speaking, I think Baldwin is OK. I am happy enough with the education she has received so far, and happy with her teachers. I believe children will get an adequate education at this school, but don't look for anything innovative or creative in their approach. Sadly, innovation and creativity need to be nurtured privately, AFTER SCHOOL. I am unhappy with the lack of P.E. and recess time. These kids have a seven-hour school day and only one 20-minute recess. They have P.E. only every third day. This is absurd. It is common knowledge that this complete lack of exercise or movement is totally at odds with a productive learning environment, and only exacerbates the very real problem of childhood obesity. Everyone knows this, but seems content to ignore it. Don't even get me started on the cafeteria food....it is a disgrace. Be prepared to pack a lunch.
This school is fine in terms of academic standards, but there are certain things that need attention. The school's behavior management policies are very strict. The draconian discipline has left a lot of kids unhappy. They are bullied in the cafeteria by the Cafeteria lady. I have witnessed several kids being bullied by her and kids have come home crying. They are not allowed to move after they have finished eating. They just sit for 1/2 hr without talking or moving otherwise they face consequences. They get only 20 min of free play time in the play ground and the rest of the time they are confined to their classrooms under strict rules. The last thing I wanted to say is that the school teaches to the test. Few months before the STAAR testing, all they do is practice test so they keep up the scores.
The school is great so far. This is our 3rd year. dr. pena is great and I feel she knows each kid by name. I feel like there shoudl be more programs like chess and DI programs for the kids to be more challenging.
I have no other experience with public Austin schools but I think Baldwin is an extremely unorganized school. My daughter just finished kinder and I regard her classroom experience as chaotic and just covering the basics. I don't think her school really excels at anything and is a so-so educational experience. We are looking to move her to private school to offer her a richer educational experience.