November 04, 2015
When my son was ready to start kindergarten, I visited almost every school open to transfers. I saw many good schools, but they all felt sort of… homogenous. There was something missing. Then I heard about Pease. I walked through the doors, and I knew immediately--this was it. Pease boasted the same academic ranking as the other schools, but it felt different. It felt like a community. It was, and continues to be, the most racially and economically diverse environment I have found in Austin. We’re the best kind of neighborhood school, because we represent almost every Austin neighborhood.
As the years have gone by, the school has only gotten better. Matthew Nelson is a fantastic principal who looks for reasons to say yes. Yes, we will build an outdoor science classroom. Yes, let’s bring a Holocaust survivor to speak to the 6th graders. Yes, let’s install an apiary and develop a curriculum around it. Yes, let’s host an after-school musical theater program, Spanish class, Math Pentathlon, and Science Olympiad.
Other reasons to love Pease: There is virtually no teacher turnover; it's small; class sizes are tiny; there is a 6th grade; the after-school program is not just a babysitting service but run by teachers who engage the kids, help with homework, and offer extracurricular classes like photography, soccer, coding, and chess, as well as plenty of free play. The 5th graders learn and perform scenes from Shakespeare. The 1st and 2nd graders go to the library to read to Tucker the dog. The kindergartners can’t wait for Fridays, when they get a visit from their 6th grade buddies, who mentor and nurture them.
Above all, what I appreciate most about Pease are its teachers, and the diversity of its families. Both of my kids have friends from all over the city. They are not Black, but they attend African-American Heritage Night. They are not Hispanic, but they attend Hispanic Heritage Night. And when the 4th graders complete their ancestry projects, the halls are filled with posters covered with copies of antique photos of families from all over the world, and from all walks of life.
Pease is a place where everyone’s heritage is celebrated, where individuality is valued, and where creativity, kindness, respect, and acceptance are not just encouraged, but expected. Best of all, it's also a place where kids love to learn.
- submitted by a parent