We are done. Moving on to AISD. The icing on the cake was this was the second year the teacher we wanted and were assigned to left before the school year started. We stuck it out last year - but when the replacement teacher hired to replace our requested, wanted, very good teacher this year was found to NOT be qualified, that was it. This school has had four principals in four years. EPA has lost all of its good teachers to AISD. (Rats jumping ship comes to mind) The quality of the education is NOT exemplary; it is sub-standard. Our local AISD school has higher scores than EPA - we wanted to try out the promised IB curriculum but its not coming in for real until our child is in the 6th grade. A day late and a dollar short. DO NOT ENROLL IN THIS SCHOOL. It used to be exemplary, but now with all the changes to staff and the curriculum, it performs as just what it is- average. I cannot stress enough how much we wanted to love this place, but our child's education is just too important to keep waiting for promises. The only good thing I can say it that the other parents are pretty groovy, trying to keep that south Austin weird vibe going. But with the incorporation of EPA into Wayside Schools ( a corporation hidden in the guise of a charter school entity) EPA has lost all of its unique charm. We cannot take the risk that our child fall so behind she cannot keep up with regular students in AISD. Take my advice, if you are zoned to a lesser AISD elementary school get a transfer to one that is higher ranked and stay away from EPA.
Sheets, sheets, sheets and more sheets. Repetitive dribble. No outside learning projects are assigned, nothing is given to those students who find the work boring . NOTHING. It's just to prepare the students to pass the STARR.
My child has no respect for this school. She was promised a stronger curriculum to challenge her, that was not delivered. She is bored in class and just reads her own books from home. The teachers she had left her for better jobs, so she feels completely let down by the staff.
We just finished up an amazing first year at EPA! I am so happy we decided to place my daughter here for Kindergarten and will not hesitate to have my younger daughter go here in 2 years. My child has absolutely flourished since the start of the school year, both socially and academically. I cannot speak to what it was like before Wayside, but we love it for what it is now. The community is close knit and involved, but not in an exclusive way. Teachers are so engaged with every student. (Bummed about there not being a music program though).
We have been at EPA since 2010 and we have seen the many changes that have occurred since it decided to expand into Wayside schools. I wish I could say they have been good changes, but it has been very disheartening to watch our close knit creative school be slowly changed into a test driven, money motivated campus. Our good teachers are leaving. We've gone through 3 principals and our parent groups are fractured. They let go of the music teacher. The Spanish teacher runs her classroom like a drill Sargent. We don't even have fun fundraisers anymore like bake sales or bingo night. It's just "write us a check." The few field trips they take are expensive as the parents have to pay to charter a bus. $14 for a movie is expensive! My son will be moving on to AISD next year for middle school. Our daughter will stay for at least one more year, but if the administration continues to turn a deaf ear to the parents, we may move her out too. And I'm pretty sure the administration does not care if we leave because there is a waiting list of folks ready to move in. I used to be a strong advocate for Eden Park, but I can no longer recommend it and that makes me sad.
This will be our last year at the school. There are so many things that are wrong with it is hard to pinpoint for this review. First and foremost, the teachers are not all qualified to teach. Some are simply parents with nothing better to do. They haven't been able to keep the principal at this location or there are others. It's a shame really because when we started with the school it was quite awesome until it became very corporate centric. The good people started leaving. And those that need to leave, are the ones that simply will not go. Don't get me started on the PTO, especially the president and vice president. Honestly, they should just go start their own little club somewhere and stay away from the school. We recently had our two children tested and both are a year behind in reading and in math. That cannot be coincidence. Do yourself a favor, if you are looking for a school, do research. The few comments before mine on this website are clearly statements from the PTO and teachers at the school. Most of what is brought out in their comments is not factual. Best of luck in your search.
My son started here last year in Kindergarten with Mrs. Garcia and is currently in 1st grade with Mrs. Chester. Our experience has been amazing. My son started encountering setbacks academically in kindergarten. Mrs. Garcia was supportive and encouraging as she helped him to reach his potential. She worked with him outside of regular class time and gave me suggestions on how to help him at home. Her positive attitude with her nurturing personality was an obvious plus. Here we are in 1st grade and he seemed to "stall" again. While my son is a hard worker he just seemed to have trouble retaining some information and then had trouble applying it. Mrs. Chester has been another godsend! While working with him at school she recomended a speech/language assessment. What I considered to be a minor articulation impairment, turned out to be multiple language impairments including receptive languahe. Both of his teachers have stood beside me through his setbacks and helped to guide him toward successes. The entire EPA community including the parents are extremely supportive.
Eden Park Academy is a breath of fresh air. My shy son thrives socially, emotionally, and academically. He doesn't know just the kids in his class (20 or less), or even the kids in his grade (60 or less). He seems to know most of the children in the school. My outgoing boy in kindergarten has a 6th grade reading buddy he adores. The community is rich in this way. Teachers knows all the students, students know all the teachers, families are ever present to volunteer, help one another, and just enjoy the atmosphere. It is magnificent to watch the interactions across age and grade level, genders, roles, and socioeconomic status. This is what makes Eden Park special. And this allows the teachers to do their jobs better as well. They know my kids very well (and genuinely seem to care about them). They know they can reach out to parents for support. They communicate in depth about our children on a daily basis- not just twice a year in a required conference. My family is so glad we found EPA; it is a wonderful village to raise your children in.