Pillow Elementary is a wonderfully diverse neighborhood school. There are over 35 home languages spoken. Students at Pillow feel safe and happy and are supported by their teachers who provide equitable learning experiences giving each child the tools they need to be successful. There is parent involvement with the PTA hosting several Spirit Nights a year to raise money for the school. In addition, the school opens its doors four times a year with a night dedicated to celebrating the each of the 4 content areas. My favorite is their Literacy Night where children come in and have fun with literacy, guided by their teachers, and leave with a free book! Lastly, Students in 1st-5th grade are exposed to foreign languages once a week (Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Latin). This really is a wonderful school and one of Austin's best kept secrets.
Pillow Elementary School is an incredible school. The teachers are so caring and nurturing to each student. They always go above and beyond to make sure each student learns what they need to succeed in the next stage of their education. The teachers take a personal interest in each student to give them confidence in finding what motivates them not only in school but in life.
My son attended PK here in the year 2013-14. We found this school to be quite good, the teachers and staff are friendly and involved. The school had regular field trips which helped keep the students interested. The parents were encouraged to be highly involved. I do not know why the school fell in the ratings but our experience has been good so far.
This review is for 6 years ago (06'/07')- not sure if the same principal is there. My son loved this school. He only attended in 5th grade, but as a senior now he looks back and says 'I really liked Pillow. I learned so much there.' The principal was really the key I believe. She was terrific. She hand picked a group of teachers that truly wanted the best for the kids. They taught in a way that made the kids think, not just memorize facts. Thank you!
We love the school, my son is happy there, since PK he has great grades, we're taking an active part in his education by reinforcing what he learns at school at home, I wish more parents take the plunge an volunteer more at school , the opportunities are there.
Pillow is overcrowded and has a high percentage of low income students. Because this does not reflect the neighborhood it has taken some adjustment. The teachers range from extraordinary to tired and probably need to retire. My child's experience was very good in kindergarten with an environment that was nurturing and safe. Crowd control is a major part of the principle's challenge and, as well as, teaching children to speak English. I have not agreed with a policy that no one has playground time or be involved in activities that might disturb when the older children are taking state tests. I also wonder why the 1st and 2nd graders are in portable buildings. There are good people who care about the school but the declining scores must be addressed. The past reputation is no longer valid. Probably symptomatic of the entire district.
Things to love about Pillow: Great "family feeling" morning assembly, with "College Monday", "Fitness Thursday", and "Spirit Friday". (Parents are welcome to attend, and all students get experience public speaking over the course of the year.) Super diverse -- students whose parents come from all over the world and are very motivated to improve their children's lives. Cultural education -- There's the dual language program, and next year (2013-2014) they are starting a grant funded program with the other Anderson-highschool feeder schools to introduce each grade level to a different language. My daughter is super excited to get a chance to learn some German. Academic focus -- Every student learns and is pushed, regardless of background or level. A strong focus on academics. Fun, low key extracurriculars -- running club, math club, chess club... this year a parent did an "Korean culture" class. Spirit nights out roller skating and a school dance party. Most classes participate in Marathon Kids and Science Fair. What I don't like is how overcrowded the school is (as many classrooms in portables as inside; lunch times that start super early to get all the kids through).