Perspective from Dad. As with plenty of parents, we wanted our children to go to one of the best elementary schools in Austin! Expectations were high from both my wife and I, as well as our children. I must say that we're not impressed with the quality of leadership, behavior of the children and parents, but most importantly the quality of education for the amount of money we pay to live in Circle C. The complete chaos and noise in the cafeteria at lunchtime is abhorrent. When was the decision made to take away the control of the caf' monitors to maintain order and a level of ear comfortability, and instead give them mustard and ketchup bottles to "serve" the kids of Circle C. What are the kids learning by this practice? The GT program is not pushing our kids to think decisively or with multiple perspectives of the world we live in, but is actually giving the kids an extra Bonus Problem at the end of a worksheet! Test scores show Kiker to be exemplary, but so is St Elmo Elementary. There seems to be an issue with kids with major behavioral problems (I believe stemming from the parents), and leaving our kids to have a "par" education. We can not recommend this school.
My daughter just completed the 3rd grade at Kiker and my youngest will start Kinder in the fall. I continue to be impressed with the high caliber of teaching and genuine compassion displayed each year by my daughter s teachers. Whenever I comment about the family feel of Kiker and how incredible our experience has been at the school, her teachers give credit to the principal for her leadership, vision for the school, and love for the students. We are extremely grateful to be at a school that cares just as much about our children s academic success (by teaching our kids to love learning and knowledge, instead of just teaching to the test), as well as their character development through kindness, dignity & respect!
We moved the Circle C to attend Kiker and have not been disappointed. Our two children have thrived. They have been loved, educated and cared for. The Principal and the Admin staff are very professional, set a great tone for the school and know each and every child individually. The school itself has a great feel to it, the facilities are great and parental involvement is highly encouraged. I feel that Kiker is a great stepping stone into preparing my children to excel in Middle School, High School and life. I thank my lucky stars every day that my children are going to such an outstanding school and get to spend their day with such devoted and dedicated educators.
This school can either be great or horrible for you. If you want your child to be a drone, with no personality, never using their creativity or reasoning skills then by all means send them here. If you are more concerned with test scores than your child developing into a well rounded little person than this is the school for you. If you think the definition of a good school is hours of homework every night, complete silence in the classroom at all times, drill sergeant like teachers, and adult like 6 year old - then you have found your perfect school. If this does not sound like what you are looking for then send your child to Patton Elementary near the soccer fields by the YMCA in Oak Hill. It's a short drive and your child can be more of a kid, yet still be challenged academically. To me this is was a more caring, creative, and nurturing environment. And guess what? They still test great!
We have had nothing but positive experiences at Kiker for the past 3 years. I am impressed with the leadership of the principal and her over arching message of treating others with kindness, dignity and respect. We have had wonderful teachers and have been impressed with the level of involvement of parents.
My children both switched to our neighborhood public school, Kiker Elementary, after many years in a Waldorf school. I was concerned about their transition into a large public after all their years at Waldorf. I was immediately impressed with Kiker, from the minute I enrolled my children for school. First, the principal and the counselor took the time to sit down and have a meeting with us, to address our concerns. Every spring, the teachers and administration sit down together and hand pick each student's teacher for the next year. They did this for my children as well, placing them both with amazing teachers. Academically, they're first rate, but it's the sense of community that i appreciate the most. Children are greeted by name, parents are made to feel welcome and encouraged to volunteer at the school. The principal begins each and every morning with an assembly to discuss with the children issues such as treating others with "dignity, kindness, and respect", and always encouraging and expecting the students to do their best. Teachers are smiling, children are laughing, my children thrived and continue to do so at Kiker. I am forever grateful for the amazing staff!
Kiker has been a wonderful school for my daughter for 5 years and my son for 2. We have been lucky enough to have teachers that have gone the extra mile to make a difference in helping my kids learn. Programs like Take Flight for children with dyslexia, is just one extra I wouldn't expect at a public school. The teachers are really dedicated to making sure that all children of all levels have a chance to learn. Parent involvement is amazing as well. If you don't jump on an opportunity to volunteer for something, the spot will be taken in no time! Both my kids love it!
Wow - I can't believe all of the conflicting reviews on this site. In my experience as the mom of a 3rd grader who started at Kiker in kindergarten, I have nothing but positive things to say about the school. I LOVE the morning assemblies which teach the children about strong character, personal accountability, and healthy living and leaning habits. All of my son's teachers have been fabulous. Homework has been manageable. We supplement with Mathnasium and Sylvan just b/c it can't hurt. My son isn't special needs or gifted - just an average kid, so I can't comment on those areas or how responsive Dr. Schneider is. My impression, though, is that she really cares about the students and teachers, and I believe that most people have a high opinion of her.
I am writing this review so to bring some balance to the conflicting reviews I've been reading. We moved to Austin a few years ago. We have one special needs child and one in Kiker. This a public school, and therefore is dependent on test scores and attendance measurements for funding. As a public school it does its job really well. It is diverse. Your child will come in contact with other kids from a variety of nationalities. It is safe, well run, with a good staff. Of all the schools, public and private we have visited or have had a child attend, its been the best so far. It isn't a silver bullet school for every child. The teachers do their best to accomodate learning and emotional disabilities, but the have their limits as all public schools do. So look into private schools if your child has learning or emotional needs. Within every good school their is a bad teacher or staff member. Although we have yet to run into one, i am sure Kiker has there share. The car line needs to be improved as well as their second language courses. Those are our only compliants.
As a former elementary school teacher and a mom to 3 precious kids I had very high expectations for the school they would be attending. I have been on the teaching side of what i would consider an average school and also an extremely poor performing school. So I was well aware of the red flags to look for when entrusting my first child to the teachers, staff and administrators at Kiker. Well three years later and all kids now enrolled at Kiker, this momma couldn't be any happier. This school is full of amazingly talented teachers, a wonderful support staff, dedicated assistant principals and an exemplary principal. Kiker has been a blessing to my family. A safe and caring place for our daughter with special behavior needs. A safe and caring place for our sweet adopted son after a very tough transition out of foster care. A safe and caring place for a mom who had questions and concerns about how my child was doing in school... Just to name a few examples. I am not saying everything about kiker is perfect but it has been my experience that at Kiker the best interest of my children are put first. So Kiker is close enough to perfect for me (and more importantly my 3 kiddos)!
I am very surprised to read the comments of the previous parents who complained about Kiker. Kiker it's a school that gives structure to the Kids. The teachers are great and they care about the students. Every time that I hear a parent complaining about the school is because their kids are extremely difficult to handle and when a teacher tries to give them structure, responsibility and discipline then the parents do not like that. This is my kid 3rd year and I could not find a better school to forge caring citizens and leaders. If you have a problem with the way things are going with your child see if the reason lays at home... not enough parental involvement at school and at home can really affect the way your child performs and socializes at school. I LOVE KIKER AND SO DOES MY KID!
After much contemplation, I'm writing this: After years working to obtain the best possible public ed for 3 children, I'm watching my grandchildren in a totally disgusting school. Physically, the facility has awful smelly, unsanitary portable classrooms. The mental part is even worse with huge quantities of bubble sheets, standardized tests, and they are learning nothing about the earth, the world around them, nor do they know what social studies are...yet, the lion's share of my property taxes go to fund the schools, and Kiker is not in an urban development zone. I hear about bullying, complaining that they're not learning, and a whole lot about very long testing which is producing more stress than I could ever have imagined. While my own children were good students and loved school, both of my very bright grandchildren don't even want to go there. The only good thing I have to share is that my grandchildren presently have good teachers and the office staff is pleasant. The principal is a bully and a lot of bullying goes on in the school. Kiker is not a safe place to be in or in which to accomplish academic learning. They are already in 3rd and 5th grade.
Teaching to the test is what Kiker does best. Two years was all we could stand. We hated to leave our neighborhood school, but our kids weren't learning much. Some of the teachers were really great, but the principal only cares about the "Exemplary" rating. Over the years, she has run off a lot of great teachers and many wonderful families. Don't let the "Exemplary" rating fool you.
This is our first year at Kiker, and thankfully, our last. Nothing could have prepared us for the emotional and intellectual suffering that our daughter has endured at this school. Initially, we attributed our daughter's constant complaints about bullying, excessive homework and a punitive learning environment to a rough transition to a new school. She has since transferred to a different classroom and her school experience has improved greatly, thanks to a kind and caring teacher who is genuinely concerned about students. I am writing this review today because I do not want to see another family suffer the way we have suffered at Kiker. After speaking with many of our neighbors, we have since learned that our experiences at this school are not unique. Each year, increasing numbers of families in our community leave Kiker and enroll their children in nearby private schools or choose to homeschool their children.
Hey I'm in 7th grade now, and I thought Kiker was amazing!! Everyone was so smart, and the principal really did help us be nicer and respect others more. She talked to us almost everyday before our classes started, and I still remember her 'kindess, dignity, and respect' saying. I would say kiker helped me alot. It got me so involved with other activities. I thought challenging academic programs helped me better with some subjects, and most of my teachers were great!!
It's sad to see how two irresponsible parents blame the school for their own neglect. Kiker was a great school for both my kids and staff, teachers and principal go above and beyond. They make children better by not comparing them to others, but to themselves. As for the parent who mentioned the teacher in a previous comment: shame on you. A "C" student at Kiker is far better than an "A" student elsewhere. Own up to your responsibilities and stop blaming the teachers.
If you love your children, DON'T send them to Kiker. This school is totally obsessed with test scores and your child will spend the vast majority of their instructional time engaged in test prep. The administration caters almost exclusively to the 1%; the parents who volunteer, donate money and serve on the PTA. Good luck trying to discuss instruction, curriculum or academic programs with the principal; she is nothing but a bully and a complete incompetent when it comes to addressing the needs of students.
Kiker was a great school! However, in science class, it was hard for me to focus because most of the time, we only read out of the book. We would visit the lab maybe once or twice throughout the whole year. The GT Program was great for the upper grades because that was when we really started doing GT stuff. In fourth grade, we did Sunshine Math. In fifth grade, every Monday and Wednesday, we would do math stuff, like Sunshine Math and worksheets. On Tuesday and Thursdays, we would do Language Arts stuff, which most of the time was a project, for me, one was a project on Homes Around the World, and the other one was free choice- I chose Food- it was the best project EVER! Overall, Kiker was a fabulous school!
Kiker is a strong school for 95% of the school population. Because of lack of funding, be aware that there are some drawbacks. Students do not go to weekly technology lab. Nor do they have hands on science learning daily or even weekly. My fourth grader (who is a straight A student) has not even been taught the scientific method yet. This is something that falls on the parents to do once a year during science fair time. As for GT students, there is no GT program. They are lumped in with bright students and given a lot of homework to do. Our GT student feels bored and reads a ton of books, and helps other students who are on grade level or who need help. The administrators talk about every students' needs being met...but they do not understand or meet the needs of GT students. Even if the teachers have GT certification, that does not translate into the teacher having the time and support to tailor curriculum to meet the GT students' needs.
Kiker has made a huge difference for my 1st grader. His Kindergarten experience was challenging to say the least. His teacher at Kiker has been phenomenal (Mrs. Diane Henry). She has the structure and attitude and genuineness that my son needed! We were concerned about changing school when we were rezoned and it has been a blessing!
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