Absolutely the best school for smart kids who love to learn. My fifth grader is loving all her classes, even history. She is excelling and looks forward to school. She is responsible and keeps track of her work and things to bring to school. I cannot ask for more from a ten year old. Thank you, Kirby Hall!!
Kirby Hall has a terrific high school. My daughter is a junior this year, and this is her second year at Kirby Hall. She is challenged in every class but never overwhelmed with homework. The teachers only give meaningful homework, and because of her study hall, she is able to get a lot of it done at school. This leaves time for her to join extracurriculars and sports. I should mention that prospective students shouldn’t be intimidated by the academic rigor of Kirby Hall. Although academics is what the school is known for, it’s not THAT hard. The teachers go out of their way to help the students meet their expectations. It’s a cooperative and supportive, not competitive, environment. At first, we were nervous some of the classes would be too hard for our daughter, but she has done really well. I think it's a great fit for conscientious students looking for a smaller, less stressful environment than you find in some of the public schools. The size of the high school is small and intimate, and she actually has more friends here than she did at the big public schools she used to attend. The parents and students are friendly and open to all newcomers, so it is easy to fit in no matter what your personality. This is hands-down, my favorite school.
I think the high school actually gives a little less homework than some of the pre-AP and AP classes in public school. All homework is for a reason and no busywork. They also get a study hall starting in middle school, which helps a lot in getting work done at school.
Every teacher we've encountered is a professional at what they do. They're the best of the best. The the teacher isn't a good fit, the administration isn't afraid to act fast, which is how they maintain their top standards. The teachers and administrators make this school.
Teachers and administrators treat their students with honesty, integrity, and fairness, and promote these values in their students. It is not uncommon to see an older student holding the door and helping one of the younger students. The close relationships and respect for one another help foster these values.
We moved from NYC to Austin a couple of years ago, and were worried about what we were going to do about schools. Even though we live in a top public school district, I wasn't sure it was going to be the right fit for my son. After talking to a Westlake academic consultant, as well as the admissions director at another top upper level private school, both mentioned that their best students were coming out of Kirby Hall School. It turns out they don't advertise much, because of the simple fact that they don't have to. I called them and was immediately impressed. The principal, Helen, and the admissions director, Ann, are wonderful. They impressed me so much with their knowledge and curriculum that I pulled my son out of the school he had just started losing all of our deposits, (he'd been there a week) to move him to Kirby Hall. It was worth it. He immediately blossomed, becoming a happier, more social child; everybody noticed the transformation. But not only is Kirby Hall School warm, and welcoming, allowing students to grow into themselves, it's also an academic powerhouse. I don't know how they do it, something about the place is magical. My son started in PreK and by the end of that year was working in a 2nd grade math book. Kirby Hall School is beautiful, and whimsical, and perfect for smart, curious children. They make learning fun, so it becomes part of their play. I wouldn't send my children anywhere else, and am so thankful to have found them here in Austin.
Kirby Hall School is a unique and magical place. I think of it as "Hogwart's Up the Block From Ruby's Barbecue." On approach to the building, a stately redbrick former dormitory with tall columns, students immediately feel a strong sense of continuity, history and academic tradition. Inside, they find a thoughtfully curated library, vibrant classrooms and a lunchroom where a science teacher sometimes plops down at the piano to play. A rigorous academic curriculum leads by a full year the education provided at most other schools. At all levels, the experience is well-rounded, including physical education, art, music, computer science and foreign language. Most importantly, the students rise to the challenge on the strength of the staff. Across the board, from the founder to the principal to the full-time teachers to the special subject teachers to the parent volunteers, everyone at Kirby Hall fosters a sense of community, striving to advance together. This place - and the people who run it - have been the best thing to happen to our family. I'm proud to put my name on this post, and I'm happy to discuss it. Call the school office for my phone number - Mike Brick