I have 3 kids currently enrolled at Becker. When we started the Dual Language program was still very new. Even with some growing pains, the school has done a wonderful job keeping my children challenged and safe. I love the diversity of the population. My kids get to see people that are different from them every day and I think that only adds value to their education. The programs that have been implemented in our tenure have always improved the environment of the school. There are several free/grant-supported programs that kids from all backgrounds can enjoy. Ms. Borchers has had a magnificent impact on the children. She is a determined and thoughtful person and she takes specific action to instill good character traits in her students through Social Emotional Learning and creating a most inclusive environment at the school. As Becker continues to strengthen its staff and programs, we attract even more passionate teachers who want to be involved in a school with such wonderful opportunities. I'm not sure why GreatSchools has our ranking so low. I don't think it's accurate, and the parent comments can attest to that.
I am a parent at Becker and my child has been going since PreK. If I did it over again I would have pulled my child years ago. I want consistency in my childs life and my child has a wonderful group of friends at the school. I wanted to have the bond with other children etc. The school Bi Lingual program isn't what as immersed as I think most parents think. My bad experience is the teachers. My child is finishing 5th grade and hasn't had teachers who are understanding that each child learns differently. Our first year we had a new teaching teacher it was her first teaching iob and she was still learning herself. I requested an advanced teacher for 1st grade (Ms Lopez) and the acting principal then would not allow my child in the class and sadly we had another entry level teacher. 2nd grade was fine but 3rd the grade teacher was never there and the substitute teacher wasn't up to par. 4th grade was amazing and now 5th we have a teacher who is a repeat of the bad experiences. I honestly wish I had pulled my child out earlier or fought the principal then to move my child into another class room setting. I would not only interview the teacher your child will have but find parents who had a personal experience with that teacher.
If it hadn't been for a Bouldin mama, I would have not found out about Becker in 2011. My son was still in daycare when I was trying to decide whether he should stay at the pre-k class of his childcare center or go to a public school. I was immediately interested once I learnt that Becker had a dual language program. Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I learned that Becker also had a chicken coop, a green classroom and a very involved PTA. My son is now a fourth grader at Beckers and has had amazing teachers. A big shout out to Ms. Campney, Ms. Lopez and Ms. Champion. They are some of the best teachers led by an outstanding principal, Ms. Borchers!! We are a transfer family and we are so proud that our kid is a Becker Bobcat!!
Consider listening to your kid and his friends presenting in an audience - "speaking and writing" a GT project or Science fair in a language you may know nothing about. How many schools do that in town?
So, ruling out one important assumption - Becker cannot be compared to other public schools or even some private ones for that matter. Thanks to the well experimented dual language structure / implementation unlike any extra language class once a week.
What are the benefits of our system? Neurogenesis is one of my favorite picks. Yes, our kids mental faculties are put to work at an appropriate age - scientifically, it is proven that they are engaged, have superior motor skills and have more neurons created (often termed neurogenesis). Learning a new skill will do that. For our family, sending my child to a dual language school had these clear reasons than just communicating in Spanish or getting around in an unfamiliar situation. So bottomline, Becker bobcats are working harder than they would at another school. Another reason to add to that - they aren't in their "comfort zones" all along, for a skill that will enable them as stronger adults. They learn frugality, listening skills, self control, empathy, economies of scale, daily grinds of different households to say the least. This will exponentially build their EQ.
How many schools let their kids grow, watch and cook their own greens in one of the best Vegetable gardens a school could own, feed a variety of chicken or have access to the coolest STEAM camps and classes right at school? Last year we had Skillpoint Alliance help scratch video making, aquaponics and an early exposure to robotics / choir.
Becker is an urban school in the middle of the city (you could essentially walk to a cafe, a dentist or a food truck before/after picking up your kid) - the school isn't extra fancy or overly manicured although the vibrant wall murals, the uber stocked cafe, a huge gym, skyrocketing transfers, skilled staff and the wonderful village shouts aloud of who we are, what we believe in and what talent we attract/retain. Many of these parents speak more than one language, have brought meaningful experiences in their kids world and are interested in raising well rounded citizens, not just well scoring robots at an elementary age.
A big shout out to Becker!
Becker Elementary is one of the finest schools I have had the opportunity at which to volunteer. I have four grown children and I am so amazed at the superior experience the Becker children are receiving. I am a grandmother of six and two of our grandchildren have the privilege to attend Becker. I volunteer in several capacities and observe almost daily the high quality and stellar education these children are receiving.
Becker is such a great school with wonderful faculty and staff who continually make the campus a comfortable home for the kiddos. The community of Becker is such a lovely aspect of this unique creative gem of a school. Principal Borchers is so valuable to the success of the school with the aim of educating the whole child at the utmost. The collection of families that make Becker their home is pretty special. It's a wonderful community. With a comprehensive dual language program, chicken coop, garden classroom, and so much more...it is a pleasure to be a part of Becker.
My son has been at this school a short time, but both he and I are really happy with it. Principal Borchers does a great job--she greets the students by name at the door almost every morning is very accessible to parents. My son's teacher is great--she is very supportive of the unique aspects of his personality and doesn't try to get him to conform to a mold. Even the school receptionist is so warm and caring with the students. What I like most about the school, in addition to the staff, is how devoted it is to the dual language program. I transferred my son to Becker specifically for that program and it is well worth our additional commute time. My least favorite things are the criticisms I have of any public school--too formalistic, too much emphasis on order and structure, etc. If you live in Austin and want your child to grow up bilingual, it's an easy choice--Becker.
Our first-grader has been in the dual language program at Becker since pre-K. Each teacher she has had--two per year (they often switch classrooms for language arts), in addition to the "specials" teachers and librarian--has been fantastic. The current principal is warm, enthusiastic, and supportive. We don't speak much Spanish at home, but our daughter now seems to understand most things said to her in Spanish, and she often chooses to write in Spanish even when it's not required. The school environment is vibrant, and the kids are, generally and in our experience, compassionate, empathetic, and interesting. My husband is an educator who works in a financially richer school/district where we could transfer our kids if we wanted to, but our experience at Becker, even though its resources are at times limited and heavily supported by the fantastic PTA, continues to blow the other school out of the water.
There are many things I love about Becker. The unique mix of parents and students create a very accepting environment. The facilities are one-of-kind, with the best garden in the district, a chicken coupe, multiple playgrounds and a beautiful building with lots of history. We have met many wonderful parents and had many wonderful teachers. My daughter is in second grade and I am starting to see her Spanish skills emerge. There is always room to improve, but overall we are very happy with Becker!