GSA is a good school. Sending our second there for kinder, the first going into 4th having attended previous years. I will speak to detractors only. Sometimes a kid and a school simply don't mesh. It's not necessarily either party's "fault". I'm very wary of parents who say the school isn't up to academic snuff, as if they've done an exhaustive study. Sure, good feelings can be deceptive, but so can bad feelings. When half a grade leaves at once, what does Occam's Razor tell you? Suddenly in 6th the school turned bad, or, there's a bit of Hop on Pop going on? It's all too easy to point at the institution and declare it at fault. A lot harder to to look at the kids and say maybe they've got it wrong. My point: seems an anomaly. Guess we will see. While my daughters attend GSA, and I do think it's a fine school, I am neither a partisan nor apologist. It's not for everyone, nor should it be. Nor can it be. Hurt feeling speak loud, so, just be careful, prospective parent: give consideration to all viewpoints. Don't be unduly influenced by a vocal minority.
GSA is an amazing combination of challenging academics, employing socratic and experiential learning methods that embrace and enhance critical thinking, and enrichment from the arts and music, physical education, and spanish programs. The result is a community of intelligent young ladies that are self responsible and poised to be leaders in their communities. The administration is dedicated to the students and supportive of the staff/guides/teachers. The staff/teachers are qualified, dedicated, and superb. We could not be happier with GSA! Come visit and see for yourself!
Is there a K-8 school with award-winning teachers and students, the highest accreditation rankings, engaged, confident students and graduates, who go on to become independent thinkers and national merit scholars? Yes. It s The Girls School of Austin. Whenever we are asked why we chose GSA, the first thing we say is the teachers. They are enthusiastic experts in their fields who know how to teach and pass along their enthusiasm. Check out the school in person, talk to parents and graduates. They will be your best source of information on any school. Best of luck with your decision. Parent of a 5th grader.
Aside from moving to Austin itself, picking the GSA as the place for our daughter to start Kindergarten was among the best decisions of our lives. She is now in 5th grade and the myriad ways this school has nurtured, challenged, and expanded her are impossible to enumerate. Moreover, we have formed a truly fantstic community with other families in her class and within the school at large. The school's only "fault" may be being too inclusive and tolerant of malcontent or ignorant parents who emerge now and then. But for those who want a creative environment that is nonetheless rigorous, teachers who are as warm as they are significantly overqualified, and a head as serious as an old Northweastern prep school but as tolerant and energetic as Austin itself--well, this is the place to call home.
My daughters will be entering third and fifth grades this year (2010). Both of them have been at the school since kindergarten. In this time, the school has really grown and improved. The teachers have been uniformly outstanding. I oculd not be more pleased with the quality. The small classes (limited to 16 girls) are to everyone's advantage, and I can't say enough for the all-girls environment. There is much more cooperation than competitiveness, and the girls are encouraged to be supportive to students of all grades. Because the campus is small, all of the staff know all of the girls. The girls engage in "specials" which include PE, art, music (strings or piano), Spanish, and drama two or three times a week, which is a much richer cirruculum than is offered by AISD.
Single sex education is beneficial for both girls and boys. My daughter loves her school, her teachers, and her friends. She is not afraid to try new things or speak in public. She has no preconceived ideas of her academic abilities and takes on academic challenges with an openness to learn. I credit the GSA teachers for this and the all-girls environment. She comes home talking about what she did in science not about the latest fashions or gadgets. Very refreshing. It's been a wonderful experience in every way.
Love it so far. Much more academically challenging than the 'recognized' AISD school she was attending. At least 2 wonderful 'specials' a day like art, music, Spanish, drama, emotional intelligence (!) etc., but they pack a full day's worth of academics into the remainder of the day. The only downside is that the grounds are a bit small; would be nice to have a bigger playground or a cafeteria. Best of all: No TAKS test, which means creative teaching!! The families are much less snobby than what we saw in Eanes.
The Girls School of Austin is the most unique and diverse school I've ever been involved with. Girls are taught to see each other as peers and friends rather than adversaries. They are also pushed to explore their minds in the realms of art and music as much as science and math.