There are lots of things that go into making a school great. I think the most important are having great kids and involved parents surrounded by a wonderful faculty who really care with a low turnover rate. Without those traits, no school is likely to excel. Zilker has them in abundance. There are also things that zilker has to work extra hard to overcome: overcrowded classes (with no aides), old and undersized facilities, constant budget cuts from the state and moderately inept administration. Luckily those things are not nearly as important and no amount of funding, small class size, or shiny new facilities could make up for an uninvolved community or disinterested faculty. Zilker has what really counts and manages to overcome all the rest. One metric that is not included in any rating is the number of transfer applications a school receives, that is the number of parents who don't live in zilker but apply to transfer their kids in anyway, zilker gets more than any other campus in AISD. So when it comes to AISD, particularly in the urban core, you will not do better than zilker. But good luck finding an affordable home in its district.
Terrible, by the time we finally decided to get out, our child had to be held back at his new school because he was so far behind. We kept trying to get more help at this awful over rated school but nobody really cared. Most kids at the school are very mean and my son got bullied a lot without any concern from most of the staff. Yea they have lots of field trips, but so what our new school does too AND they addressed all the learning issues that we were left with from Zilker!! Like another review I read on here, if I could I would give it zero stars but I'm not allowed that option! Good luck for others keeping your kids here that may be expecting a change or things to get better because unless your child is on level and having no problems then your child is pretty much on his own!
Could not be at a better school in Austin. Field trips galore, gardens in front of every classroom, involved parents, happy teachers who DO CARE! They strive to make learning fun at Zilker. Do go take a tour and visit.
Zilker as most public schools, is struggling to keep up with the problem kids and they want to box every kid into the same mold. My son has been bullied from day one and the teacher did not care at all. Another problem is at the cafeteria, where the "warden" starts yelling at the kids if the noise level rises a bit -c'mon, they are kust kids- and the scene reminded me of one of those prison movies, where everybody needs to shut up and listen or else... I saw it...if you don't believe it, go to lunch and you may be see it with your own eyes. The kids call her "the Ogre", she is really mean...and nobody does anything about it. Principal seems nice in paper, seems pleasant when talking to you, but no real action taken to correct any problem. If you are late - even one minute- is reported. But if you happen to be one of the moms that volunteer, you can show up with your kids at any time with no repercutions, even if your excuse was - "holiday outing at grandpa's ranch"- really? so if you want to avoid scrutinity or your kid being reported, you better volunteer to avoid any punishment. If you ask me, that's too lame and it's clear that they pick sides. Zilker is WAY overrated...
We chose to live in the Zilker neighborhood solely for the school. It is a spectacular environment. Most of the teachers go way beyond the call of duty, and are there out of a deep commitment to give kids a true learning experience. Most of the teahers could all be highly successful in any other field, but are choosing to give kids something powerful. The principal is superficial, and concerned with being on time, test scores, etc. But the faculty mitigates the rigidity imposed by the system.
My son has been going to Zilker for the last two school years and loves it. I love Zilker as well. The people there go above and beyond to help. Very nice community. Excellent leadership, teachers, and staff.
If there were a zero, that would be my score. I am a room mom, and very involved. My son gets assaulted by another student on a daily basis. Our experience has been so terrible. I'm current looking for education alternatives. My dad was a school teacher, I have nothing against public schools. Seeing your son get hit, choked, kicked and punched is not fun. It has been made even worse by lack of concern from the principle.
Wow. This will start my daughter's 4th year here at Zilker. I think it's one of the best schools in the district and is made that way by the wonderful staff and teachers and the extremely involved parents. I can't imagine someone being so unhappy with the school as to give it one star and call so many names and labels as I just read in another review. We all are entitled to our opinions and anyone can have a bad situation, but I have experienced nothing but good things and concern for the children by all faculty and other parents. There was a lot of action last year when the school board considered closing Zilker along with 8 other successful exemplary inner-city schools. Luckily our parent population was extremely proactive in speaking out and the schools weren't closed. Also as a parent of a child with occasional special needs (we've had 2 surgeries during school years which caused my daughter to be out for a time and then to return to school in a wheelchair) everyone is eager to assist with anything we might need. I could go on and on about my love for this school. There are problems, as with any public school, but any problems we've had were addressed and resolved.
If you have a bright child that seems a bit advanced, which I do, my experience has been that the teachers are too overwhelmed with accomodating the trouble makers and children needing extra help to catch up, to give advanced children the work and attention to keep them excited about their work. It is a sweet school filled with wonderful families and well-intentioned teachers but it is not a place for high-achievers.
My son attended Zilker from Pre K thru 5th grade. Last year was our last. An education is only as good as the teacher and we had an above average one every year. Their were at least two very good ones in each grade we entered. The core of teachers is still in place, but the diversity sets it apart from other schools in the area. It is not all white, so my son was ethnically asscociated early on- an immeasurable quality not listed on Taks tests. 'Zilker is a great place for kids!' The school encourages creativity in kids as well as parents. go there.
We have lived in Georgia, South Carolina and been in many different schools. My youngest son is entering 2nd Grade and has Autism- he is fully included with an amazing support team. Our oldest is going into fifth grade- the fifth grade teachers are amazing and we are very excited about the school year. My niece is entering fourth- has always been at Zilker and has always had amazing teachers. My nephew is entering first grade and again has had great teachers. My other nephew is in the daycare at Zilker and it has not been the greatest experience- but atleast he is on campus and we can all swing in and give him a hug whenever we want! The community is amazing- very hippie- loving, supportive and accepting. The Teachers are the best we have ever encountered! Highly recommend
Despite the new principle, the school has retained many of the teaching staff that helped it attain its Blue Ribbon status. The teachers are fabulous, parent involvement is outstanding and the school as a whole is diverse and provides a quality education as well as unique socialization opportunities. I transferred my son in, and I couldn't be happier.
Zilker had a very strong Principal hired away after bring it to a Blue Ribbon and Exlemplary award. The following Principal was much less interested in the quality of educaion as for the needs of special needs student (may be a easier route). Any way the percent of special needs kids went to 25% and the GT program went out the door. I know we slipped downtwo slots from exeplary the new principals first year dont know what it is now. There are still many good teachers there but a large percentage have left.
This is the kids of school that could only exist in Austin. The parents (several musicians) are highly involved, the teachers are great, & I truly respect Bren, the principal.
Zilker is a great school. My son was having problems with reading and Zilker provided him with free tutoring after school. His reading has improved a great deal.
Zilker is a great school. The teachers and staff are all very caring and really helped my son feel at home during his first year at school.
My son has had a wonderful experience at Zilker Elementary. The teachers truly challenge him everyday in his coursework. The parents along with the PTA truly helps the school succeed in every aspect(providing extra art programs, parents volunteering with events and in the classroom, supporting the teachers when needed, provides extra tutoring programs). Zilker Elementary is a great starting place for your child's education.
I moved into this school's area with the hopes that Zilker would be a great learning experience for my son, but it was not. The teacher was terrible, the principal didn't take control of an out-of-control situation, and my son was not prepared for his next grade level. As a result, he had to learn 2nd and 3rd grade material at the same time. I hope they rectify this issue.
My little girl started kinder at Zilker and I have been so incredibly pleased with the results. She learned how to read, write, do math and more. This school has so exceeded my expectations and we are both very pleased.
Excellent level of parental involvement, extremely diverse ethnic population, high expectations academically.
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