This school is great for learning, but the students that go there are mostly stuck up, and are just rich white people. You could put any group if teachers with these students and they would do well. That's because they all have family's that can help them out every second of their life, which most students in Austin don't have. The secret to this schools success is the student, not at all the teacher. Unless your white and wear nike and other name brands you probably won't fit in. To add to that this is probably the least diverse school in the Austin area.
The academic level of this school is fairly decent, it is a safe environment, however; most kids are judgemental and they won't welcome your kids in, unless he or she is up to become a fully "Westlakian" and follow the sheep.
An excellent school, but it's true - the principal does not allow students in the building before 7:45 and they do sit outside patiently waiting to get in. I think that's heartless, especially since four or five months out of the year its 90 degrees out at 7:45 am, 100% humidity. They also need lockers, it's insane the weight of the kids backpacks. I put my daughter's on a scale and it was 36 lbs. That is what she has been carrying for years now, at least since 4th grade and she's in 7th now. I know that publishers have to abide by weight limits on textbooks, but it's not textbooks they carry - it's folders with every single piece of paper they ever worked on, organized in binders, plus calculators, library books, PE uniforms. There's no safer school around - I have never even heard of a fistfight and we've been here since Kindergarten. They do not offer afterschool programs whatsover - but they think these are stay-at-home millionaire moms with nannies, so what's it to them??
I have had dealing with this school off and on for many years. The staff tend to lean toward self intitelment over protection and education of the children under thier care. The Special Education Program at this school is particullary poor for this district. There are great individual teachers. The choir program is absolutly wonderfull. It is particullarly concering that the principle has chosen to force these young children to sit outside unprotected in the mornings because she finds it inconvient to her self and her staff to allow them inside Her biulding. The out of pocket expenses required for completion of home work and participation in school activities is often very high. Many of the teachers assign far too much home work. My child does not complain about having to stay up untill up to 2 am to complete her home work, I do not think this is right.
HCMS is an extremely challenging school. Our 7th daughter regularly has 2-3 hours of homework each night. Despite concerns about compeition in all areas, I am very impressed with the educational opportunities at HCMS.