This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Cunningham Elementary School5
Posted March 08, 2015
- a parent
I have two kids at Cunningham - one is in kindergarten and the other is in 2nd grade. Both kids love the school and feel appropriately challenged by their teachers and course work. Both kids have been identified as above grade level in multiple subjects and I have been impressed by the opportunities they have been given to stretch themselves. I feel the leadership and communication have been strong. We will not likely be able to continue at the school because of skyrocketing rents in the area which have pushed many families like ours out to areas surrounding Austin, which I'm sure has much to do with the decline in enrollment. Our family has been pleased with Cunningham.
We moved from out of state last year and I admittedly had my doubts about our neighborhood school, Cunningham Elementary, based on the Great Schools rating. I did like that they offered dual-language, however, so I contacted the office and arranged for a tour. The Principal, Ms. Lloyd, gave us more than an hour of her time to show us around and answer our questions. Every staff member that we have had contact with has shown equal pride and dedication to the students and the school. I was still hesitant that the coursework would cater to the lowest students in the class, but they are broken up into groups so my son is challenged and given the opportunity to work at a higher level. I think the fact that it is an under-enrolled school makes class sizes more manageable for individual attention. It has also given him the opportunity to take a leadership role in his class to develop socially as well as academically. The art program is incredible, we just had a phenomenal musical, I love the community garden and as we wrap up the first half of our first full year at Cunningham, we are very happy to be part of the Cunningham community. It's a great little school and only getting better!
I'm so sorry this parent feels negatively about our wonderful little school. I'm the proud principal and love our students, teachers and families! We have such great learning happening. Cunningham has 4 initiatives supporting academics - Green; SEL/Social Emotional Learning; Dual Language; and Creative. We're launching a new framework as the FIRST MicroSociety school in Austin! Visited, tweeted & Facebook posted by State Rep Donna Howard. While there is always room for improvement, we're strong. Yes, we did lose some very good teachers - one is an AP, one a Tchr Mentor, one an SEL Coach, all in AISD. So, we grow teachers well at Cunningham! A current teacher is featured in a new book, American Teacher Heroes in the Classroom. And, yup, we're Green to the core, winning COA awards! We're an Ashoka Changemaker School, one of two schools in TX and just received our display banner. Learning is more than test scores. Many schools shrink in numbers, including ours. Families across Austin choose schools for various reasons. I hope that all families find the best school for their kids. We'll continue to build on our strengths. And, I'll continue to better my communication. Go Cobras!
I am wondering as a parent what schools are these children coming from, to say we have leadership from our principal? There is a HUGE lack of communication from Mrs. Lloyd. If you look over the last 2 school years, (18 months) Cunningham has lost at least 15 teachers (meaning teachers CHOOSING to leave Cunningham), and over the last 3 years we have lost over 180 students. This is public information, look it up yourself and see the numbers. Green shcool? Yes, but, what happen to educating our children academically before we teach them how to grow a carrot? Shame on A.I.S.D. for not looking at our numbers, and seeing teachers and students dropping like flies, or is it because we just had a facelift ( in 2010) and can't afford to close our school due to the money taxpayers just put into it. Shame on me as well, as a parent for still allowing my child to still be involved with a failing school, that cares more about becoming "GREEN" and not preforming well with academics. I ask you to look at public records to see these numbers yourself.
Cunningham Elementary is on a quiet street called Berkeley Ave. With an active Principal, Counselor and some really great teachers I'm very happy with academics over all and the many programs there. The 5th Grade Ted Talks were a big hit with students and parents! S.E.L, PEAS FARM, FITTEST FAMILY CONTEST and many upcoming exciting projects like large Art Murals, Rain Gardens through out our campus are up and coming on our School grounds. The Office of Sustainability has given us 2 grants for being the brightest green school. Our Micro-Society After School Program will soon be added to our school curriculum which will give children the opportunity to learn their academics in a "real world" setting with banks, businesses, government and more! It is hard to believe how many people do not even know our school exists. I'm so glad our children are students there!
There are many great teachers at this school! They have been growing their environmental programs for years now. The community farm on campus is an awesome resource for the classes and the entire community. The outdoor classroom is a certified wildlife habitat.
I recently moved to the neighborhood and found a wonderful school tucked away in South Austin. There are lots of great teachers willing to go the extra mile for the students. I was surprised by all of the community events: Art Night, Family Movie Night, PEAS Farm, MicroSociety, College Night, Literacy Night, Fall Carnival, Math Night, and Bicycle Rodeo just to name a few. I have noticed that people tend to have a view of the school that's stuck in the 1980's and are missing all of the exciting opportunities this school has to offer. Great schools are developed through community support and this school is doing a great job reaching out.
Campus is always covered in trash. The one time it wasn't was when they had the kids take a morning off from their work to clean it. I am very disappointed in many aspects of this school, but that is because my child got a bad teacher there. There are definitely good teachers at Cunnningham, but you will never get an honest representation of the school from the princial or administrative staff. They try to create programs to make the school appear successful (P.E.A.S., Microsociety, et al) but the academics are mediocre and geared for low-functioning kids. I would highly recommmend getting on the wait-list now for the charter school across the street, Edan Park Academy.
Cunningham is a fantastic school with bright, dedicated teachers and a wonderful principal. The special programs (art, music, PEAS farm, gifted program, PTA, etc) are excellent. I was worried about my daughter being ignored because she's very bright, but she is constantly challenged without leaving other kids behind. Each child is given the attention she needs and the teachers are there to help at every turn. We feel very lucky to be in the Cunningham district and look forward to our future here.