My daughter has Down syndrome and is in PPCD (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities) at Kiker. We were very worried about her going there since she'd been at Open Door for the previous year, which is a very child-led, discovery-based style of preschool education, somewhat similar to Montessori. The Kiker educational model is definitely more academic, even at the preschool level, yet our daughter is thriving there! She's only three (almost four — she's been there one full academic year so far) and is already recognizing/reading several letters, she can put the letters of her own name in order, etc. She's very bright, despite her intellectual disability, and her teacher and the aides in her class love her and see her intelligence and potential. Best of all, Kiker is a FULLY INCLUSIVE school (which means kids with special needs, receiving Special Education, are in class with typically developing kids. Unfortunately, this is not the norm in AISD. Fortunately, it IS the norm at Kiker. It benefits everyone — kids with special needs get all-important modeling from their typical peers, and the typically developing kids develop the compassion that comes from learning firsthand that everybody is different and THAT IS JUST FINE. Yay, Kiker!!!
You'll be hard pressed to find a better public elementary school education for your child than Kiker. My child had an amazing Kindergarten teacher, nothing short of stellar in her commitment to the class and to each child. My child loved being there every day. Wonderful school.
If you have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder do NOT send him to Kiker. They have a profoundly systemic dependence on excessive use of physical restraints on children with ASD and anxiety. He was physically, emotionally and mentally harmed at Kiker. They have inadequate and poorly trained staff and put their resources and priorities on getting neurotypical students to test well. PLEASE do not put your ASD child at Kiker.
I have a 4th and a 1st grader at Kiker and we love it. We are new this year and were nervous about our 4th grader getting used to a new environment as she has a very hard time with change and getting involved in new groups. Her teacher, Ms. Jeffrey, is the bomb. She loves the kids and lets them know who is in charge. Our daughter loves her and takes her classwork seriously. This has been the easiest year for us since she started school. Our 1st grader is pretty happy go lucky and enjoys her teacher, Ms. Watson. Her reading has improved dramatically since being in her class. The staff at Kiker are kind. They listen to our concerns and give us honest answers. We recently had a death in the family that was very difficult for my kids. They have been so understanding and gentle with our children during this time. I cannot explain how helpful they have been during the process. We live about half a mile from the school and our kids frequently ride their bikes or walk to school. It has been great exercise and exciting for them to gain a tiny bit of independence. We love it here.
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.