Posted July 27, 2013
On behalf of the school s administration, I appreciate the opportunity to comment upon reviews left at this site. We realize that no school is a fit for every student and no school is a perfect place. We welcome the appropriate sharing of opinion and periodically read the reviews so that we may learn and grow from legitimate feedback. Unfortunately, online review forums also allow individuals to launch personal attacks under the cover of anonymity. As a school, we prefer to resolve conflicts utilizing the biblical principle put forth in Matthew 18:15-19. While that is not possible in this case, we would like to address misinformation put forth in a couple of earlier reviews. The number one priority for our school is to provide a Christ-centered, Classical, college-preparatory education that prepares students to become future leaders for Christ. Our priority is not to increase enrollment. Our recent growth is the result of very high retention rates and a record number of applications, which are two indications of a quality school. We do not accept all applicants and regularly deny admission to a large number of students whom we do not feel are a good fit academically or behaviorally for our school. We do not tolerate bullying and have clear policies in place to deal with behavior issues as they occur. At times, parents who do not have all of the facts may disagree with our application of discipline policies. That is unfortunate, but we strive for fair and consistent application of the policies for the entire student body and cannot adjust policies to please the few. We are committed to being accessible to as many families as possible through our tuition assistance program that historically awards needs- based financial aid to approximately 20% of our student body. The school s administration has never falsely created or seeded reviews on this website. We do have a number of reviews that were posted during a brief time period when we shared information about GreatSchools.org with our school community and encouraged parents to go to the site to rate their experiences with Hill Country. We did not in any way coerce reviews or know what parents would say. I would assume that many parents promptly went to this site, and that is why a number of our reviews occur during a narrow time period. Each year we conduct parent surveys to provide an additional opportunity for feedback, and the vast majority of our parents rate that they are pleased or very pleased with their experience at Hill Country Christian School. We think that these ratings, plus our re-enrollment rate of roughly 90% this year, demonstrate that parents and students are pleased with the education they are receiving at Hill Country. We hope you will take the opportunity to read the large number of positive reviews from parents, students, alumni, and teachers posted on this site to learn more about our school.
My family has been at Hill Country for seven years and there isn't enough space on this website to express what a blessing it has been for our children. My children have excelled academically, socially, and spiritually at this school. They are confident and able to speak in front of their peers without giving it a second thought thanks to the training and leadership opportunities they have been given over the years plus the support and encouragement from their teachers. My kids feel very accepted here for who they are and how God made them and feel loved and known by their teachers. I'm really confused by all the comments on here that people with money get treated differently. We do not have money, we barely make ends meet with both parents working, we only give a small amount per year (under $100) to the annual fund and we can't afford to go to the Spring events, yet I have NEVER been treated any differently nor have my children. I personally am very thankful for the "rich" people that come to Hill Country because if they are generous and give to the annual fund then my children get to benefit from their giving!!! In my opinion, it's a win/win for my family!
We recently went to enroll our child in this school. We were coming from a very high rated private school where our child had done exceptionally well. His overall GPA was 3.56, and he was considered to be one of the easiest students in his grade level to deal with. He had had absolutely NO discipline issues al his years there. The only issue had been his standardized test scores which were in the 55%. This was primarily due to test anxiety. We were told by Hill Country that he did not meet their standards, and therefore he would not be able to attend. Even the school he was coming from was surprised by their decision. Since that time I have been told that Hill Country can be a little discriminatory which is what we found to be the case. Almost immediately after that he was admitted to another Christian school nearby with no problems. They were actually thrilled to get him after talking to his previous school.
My kids have gone to the school for several years, and my family has had a great experience with academics, the teachers, the staff, and other families. I have seen some of the negative reviews on this site, and I think people should know that most if not all of them were written by one disgruntled person I know who left the school a couple of years ago. This person keeps getting different email addresses over a couple of years to write these anonymous negative reviews, and that makes me sad. I am sorry that you are allowing bitterness to rule in you. You were unhappy with the school you went to before this one, you were unhappy here, and I'm guessing you are unhappy at your new school. I hope that you can learn to let go of your anger at some point, for your sake and for the sake of your child. That's no way to live. For others who are looking for a school for your child, Hill Country is a great choice where your child will be known and loved and won't just be a number or a standardized test score. It is a financial sacrifice for my family, but I believe it has been worth it. I know this is the right place for my kids and I am thankful God brought us to HCCS.
If your child is caucasian, conservative, pretends to love God and baby Jesus this is the school for you! If you or your child does not align with the prior description, it's ok....parents and teachers will pray that you and your child will someday appreciate and know God's grace. The pros: Speech Meet - an opportunity to really understand the nuances of public speaking at a young age. Good, solid math, literature and reading curriculum. They have a school wide strategy for teaching grammar, history, reading and math. The cons: A good dose of hypocrisy daily...from teachers to parents. Bullying and inappropriate practices from the younger boys (elementary school) are addressed but never really mitigated. Parents have established cliques and do not handle diversity well. They seem more interested in showing others how they can praise God versus practicing Jesus's teachings.
Our child will be going into their 5th year at this school, and we couldn't be happier!
My child has Type 1 Diabetes and has been here 3 yrs (prek-1st). The care she receives from nurses, teachers, and aides has been wonderful. For starters, most Type 1 parents know the frustration of trying to find a preschool. Texas doesn't require private schools to make accommodations for diabetics. And public schools aren't required to accept diabetics into their prek programs. Beyond that, most preschools don't have nurses, and finding teachers who feel comfortable checking blood sugar, treating low blood sugar episodes, or giving insulin after meals can be difficult. I probably called 20 schools looking for one I could send my child to and not be worried about her passing out from low blood sugar while at school. You can imagine how happy I was when I found out that not only does HCCS have a full-time nurse (even for prek), but this nurse also has a lot of experience with Type 1 Diabetes. She really "gets it", and so does the part-time nurse. I feel like both nurses know my child's pancreas as well as I do, and I love them for it! I am also very happy with the academics, and what my kids learn about Jesus. If God wills, I hope to see my kids graduate High School from HCCS.
Capricious, Duplicitous, and Revenue Driven. That is how I would describe the administration and leadership at this school. I stumbled onto this site today as I was searching for a new school for our children. Although there are positive reviews posted below, our experience at HCCSA aligns to the many negative reviews that have recently been posted. As a departing family from this school, we have experienced numerous issues that cause us to question the foundation of HCCSA's belief statements. The bottom line experience for us is that this school does not truly care about the well being of its students and we are leaving this school heartbroken. We have spent endless hours trying to make this school work for our family, but we receive no reciprocal response from the staff or administration. Their focus is purely on organic growth and not on a Christ-centered environment that values relationships, grace, and excellence in education. If you want your child to be a number that contributes to HCCSA's growth plan, without any commitment that they will actually receive a first class Chris-centered education and experience, then this is your school.
We are leaving the school this year after 3 years of waiting and praying for change. We have seen the school take on behavior problems and bullies and pass off their issues to our kids, telling our kids to simply "model good behavior" and pray that the kids will eventually come around without real consequences. IT'S NOT WORKING! People are really disgusted with this method and it caused a mass exodus last year and another this year. The enrollment last year was stable because new students kept numbers EQUAL but growth was minimal. I wonder if the same will happen this year. We were also very disappointed in the standardized testing scores and the lack of explanations for the dismal scores and the fact that it appears that our kids can memorize but not synthesize information. Other schools use the AR point systems as a mandatory tool, but HCCSA doesn't - there is not reading comprehension REQUIREMENT. The critical thinking component at this school is lacking at both the student, administrative and PARENT level here. Unless you're a big donor ... If you're a person of privilege, then you're good. Enjoy the Kool-aid, Knights!
We decided to enroll in HCCS after a very traumatic experience in public school. We have been very pleased by the commitment to our children's education, spiritual journey, and self confidence. Our children are excited about their experience here and so are we. Some reviews bring up concern about bullying, declined quality, annual fund and elite groups. No community is free from bullying not even a Christ centered community. However, the teachers are easy to communicate with and the parents have been supportive in conflict resolution. The kids become more confident. The quality of their education is apparent in my children's growth. My children come home with a serving heart, great self-esteem & a passion for Christ and learning. As for the Annual Fund ,they don't pressure you to contribute nor do they suggest a contribution amount. You will not have a scarlet letter for not participating in the annual fund as some reviews have made it seem. The families here have been great. The teachers are great. HCCS provides a great foundation for our children and we see our children blossom everyday. That's priceless and worth pouring into positively! Proud to be a HCCS family!
Hill Country has been a blessing to our children. The school offers a challenge in a Christian environment, and both of our children have thrived in this setting. Teachers approach children with a variety of methods to accommodate different learning styles, and the administration has been responsive to parental feedback. I am confident that our children are better prepared for college than their peers from other schools largely because they have been taught to study and have developed the discipline to achieve their academic goals. It is also ingratiating to have teachers affirm Godly values. We have not regretted our decision to put both kids into school there. In response to the assertion that it has become a school of privilege, I don't see it. If money made the difference in influence, then I would be first one out. On the contrary, I see the parents as a community who huddles together when an individual goes through a trying time - thankfully for me.
Our kids have been at HCCSA since kindergarten, and as we have progressed into high school, we have noticed a steady decline in the quality of the education and a lack of sincerity by the administration. HCCSA has turned into a school of privilege. If you have $$ to donate, and the administration recognizes you as a top contributor in the annual fund, you and your kids are supported by the administration and the trustees. If you do not, then you are noticeably ostracized and left feeling as second class members of the HCCSA community. In addition, we have also noticed a dramatic change in how discipline is handled at HCCSA. If your child is in the privileged tier, then they can do whatever they want without regard to their impact to other students. If your child is not in the privileged tier and has any issues, they are dealt with by staff and administration that are cold, arbitrary, spiteful, and in many ways, degrading to your child. It is obvious to me why there are so many bullies in this school: they learn from the administration that they are entitled to treat others as viciously and as cruelly as they want without any repercussion.
I have 3 kids attending this school since pre-k. HCCSA is very strong academically and places a very high emphasis on Christian character development. Every teacher and staff member we have encountered has been a strong faithful Christan willing to pray for and come along side our kids. It's rare to find a private Christian school that succeeds so well in both academics and spiritual areas. The social and extra curricular activities are great with lots of diverse options. The patent network is very socially active. It's like a big family. The administration and faculty do a top notch job of communicating with parents.
Hill Country Christian School has been a blessing to our family for 12 years. The quality of education is excellent. The love of the teachers and administrators for every student is evident on a daily basis. They know the students by name even if they have never personally taught that student. The leadership skills, character, and biblical worldview our kids have developed are invaluable. My kids have been taught how to think for themselves, how to actively engage their minds, and how to evaluate and analyze information rather than just how to regurgitate memorized facts. Students at this school are being prepared very effectively to transition successfully into college and life beyond college.
Our experience has not been positive the last 2 years. We have been here for 5 years. The size of the school has outgrown the capacity and skill of the admistration. They do accept kids with behavior issues and difficulties and it is part of their mission. However, I am ultimately paying for my child to get an education that is better than what we would receive in public school. Public school actually handles the behavior (bullying, boundary issues, etc) better than than HCCSA because they are trained and have staffing for such occassions. Raising the concerns, not over how the issues are handled, but the lack of changes in behavior after "being handled" will be met with defensiveness, ridicule and arogance no matter how far up the admistration/church oversears you take your concerns. We have now spent 2 summers in tutoring, just to get to grade level - in addition to yearly tuition. Both summers it has been clear that it is not a learning issue, but an issue of not being taught (quote from the tutor). I am not willing to sacrifice my children's education (that I am paying for) so that other parents can turn the training/discipline of their children over to the "Christian school".
Well, this is interesting. My review, left this past June, is mysteriously missing. It wasn't good, but there are worse still on here. No language or anything like that, so where is it? Hmmmm. Well, I will just say this: we were here for a few years and I have to say, I agree with MANY of the things said in two previous posts from June 11th and May 20th 2013. Think long and hard before you enroll here. It's not all they make it out to be. Don't be dazzled by the tour and all the hype. You will be disappointed, and you can do better for the same or less tuition money.
Our 3 children have all been enrolled at Hill Country Christian School since they started school. Our oldest will graduate soon. We have been privileged to walk with the school through both challenging and exciting times, and we would have our children no where else. We have found that the school is attentive to the safety and security of the students, and real issues with bullying are addressed commandingly. One of the things we value most is the school's commitment to KNOW our children and partner with us to see them grow in their relationships with God and man. At every level, from teachers to administrators, school employees invest themselves fully in not just academic development, but spiritual and emotional development as well. Hill Country does an amazing job of responding to the individual needs of the learners as well as the corporate learning environment. Thankfully, the school does not insist that all learners or families fit into one particular mold in order to be accepted here. If you are looking for a school environment that is a community of learners, parents, educators, and administrators who work together, this is the place for your family.
If you are able to contribute thousands of dollars for the Booster Club or the Annual Fund in exchange for special "insider treatment" then this is your place. If you have to voice a complaint about something and want to be ignored, this is your place. If you have a child who is a bully or highly disruptive, this is your place. If you want your child to memorize reams of useless history facts instead of learning valuable writing and critical thinking skills, this is your place. We thought we were the only family with issues at Hill Country this year! There is a strict rule about talking to anyone about your issues with the school, so imagine my surprise to come to this website and see that we aren't alone! Over time,we have seen a decline in education our children received, from the change from Saxon to Singapore Math that involves no skills reviews and the ridiculous amount of rote memory things that fly right out of their brains after each test. Also, the bullying situation at this school is completely out of hand. Mean girls, mean MOMS and out of control kids are creating real problems for this school, including families leaving. Ask the hard questions before enrolling.
I would take the reviews for this school with a big grain of salt. Notice how all of them are mostly 5 stars and they all were logged within a 30-45 day period in 2010 and several were even on the same day. What are the odds that actual organic reviews by actual parents would all occur in this very short time period with none since then? I smell a concerted effort by the administration to purposely seed these "real" reviews. My reason for being skeptical is I am actual real parent of a child at this school that has seen the administration lie, blame everyone else but themselves and be extremely sensitive to any hint of criticism. No school is perfect but they seem to feel they are while sticking their heads in the sand about serious, systemic behaviors and bullying problems with kids in many grade levels. They pay lip service to wanting only the best for your child but really they just want your money in their bank accounts...it is all about enrollment growth and not growing and nurturing kids. Giving grace is great, but praying over a discipline problem in lieu of actual consequences breeds chaos...and chaos has grown like a weed the past 2 years.
Our kid is in their fifth year at Hill Country We definitely recommend this school! I have watched a wonderful transformation of this school over the past few years. Our high school kid feels very comfortable interacting with the staff. There are different academic curriculum tracks. The Learning Center is offered for kids needing extra help academically or a GATE program for kids that needs to be challenged a bit more. The homework load always seemed appropriate (study hall is offered for upper school). The opportunity to play multiple sports has been nice (coaching staff is great). The guidance counselor is there for your kid! She is knowledgeable about the college process and eager to sit with you. Other activities include academic clubs, drama, fencing, a music conservatory and FCA just to name a few. Our kid is very involved in school both academic and athletic activities. Even with this being the case, we still have time for church, family, and community service. I feel it is important to say that this, or any other school, is not Utopia. Hill Country is though a wonderful school where your kid can get a great classical education with Christ-like values.
We have been part of the Hill Country School of Austin (HCCSA) family for the past 9 years and can confidently say that HCCSA s admirable emphasis on education with Jesus Christ fully integrated in every part of the curriculum, has been a blessing for our girls. Not only do they provide exceptional Classical teaching but they also are focused on maintaining a Christ-centered environment. We have an amazing group of teachers and administrative staff members who genuinely love our kids, truly live the Christian life and care about teaching them to strive for excellence while growing their relationship with the Lord. If you are looking to bless your children with the proper balance between spiritual inspiration, development and academics - one of our Core Values, look no more , you found the right school! We love our school and by 2014, both our girls will have graduated from Hill Country Christian School of Austin.
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