Murchison Middle School is one of Austin's best kept secrets! It consistently outscores magnet schools, as well as other middle schools, both public and private. That's the academic part. It also has an IB program that kids can be a part of that requires them to take a well rounded smorgasborg of electives. We have been very pleased with the quality of instruction and program offerings at Murchison--and we will have had three children go through there.
The administration and faculty at Murchison are very dedicated, and parental involvement is good, but the school is so large (1200-plus) that students who have difficulty coping with the fast-paced world of middle school can get lost in the crowd. All three of my kids have attended Murchison, but only one got through it successfully. Seventh grade appears to be the make-it-or-break-it year, and I've had one flunk out and another develop behavior problems due to social pressures. We've had problems with discipline (food fights in the lunchroom) and security (locker break-ins, etc.).
Murchison Middle School has something very unique to offer students who are gifted or otherwise motivated to go the extra mile--it is the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program. Even if your child is not gifted or participating in the IBMYP, he can benefit by doing community and service projects or just be taking part in the international and interdisciplinary units that are for every student. My son is not gifted, but he plans to take part in this program for as long as he can--at least while he is at Murchison. This is not your typical public middle school--my husband and I rate it very high.
I do like the team approach to this school but there doesn't seem to be any follow through with the teachers.
Two of my children have gone through murchison middle school; one was a part of the international baccalaureate middle years program, and the other was involved in a couple of school sports. Both grew tremendously in spite of adolescent ups and downs and we found most teachers to be very enthusiastic about teaching and learning. We believe Murchison is reaching out from the educational desert that many schools are caught in. It seems to be evolving into something better each year. My husband and I give it a big thumbs up.
Our second child is going through Murchison right now and is having the same great experience the first did. Exceptional Fine Arts programs in a real-world environment. We have been very pleased, especially with the 7 Habits training and time management skills the students receive.
Nice school, but not for all. Teachers seem to lack enthusiasm and the ability to control students. This could be due to large class sizes and 1,300 6th-8th graders in one place. No tutoring available after school, limited after school activities.
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