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.
July 27, 2013
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The teachers in Upperschool are incredibly effective, maybe they could go a little lighter on the homework but great one on one time with your student. In lower school they just made the transition to Singapore math, with not stellar results. Teachers try their best, but can only teach as good as the material chosen for them.
Here I am, a graduated student and the question seems to be, "What's the real deal with Hill Country Christian school of Austin?" I attended all 4 years of high school at HillCo and had my younger siblings attend various lower school grades as well. Is the bullying in lower school (k-8) a real issue? Absolutely! Children are children and we all grew up hearing naughty words, seeing kids shoved around and the teacher coming in to save the day. But there's little to no punishment for delinquent or misbehaving kids. The daily special is always a slap on the wrist and a prayer. Although there is a system for dealing with misbehaving children, it seems like the teachers themselves are afraid of sending a child to the Dean Of Discipline's Office. Don't get me wrong, the Dean is a tough guy, but from the tears on my sibling's face, none of the bullies were going to see him! What you see is teachers more afraid of their 4th-6th grade students! Regarding the Upper school, previously Mr. M... was both the principal and headmaster for the entire school. Now it seems with the addition of an Upper school principal the high school and Main school are two separate entities. The upper school teachers are what you really want in a private school education. Kind, firm, and always helpful, these teachers are the salt of the earth and continue to assist your child after they graduate! (Sometimes I need a little math help, okay?) Non-existent musical dept. Great theater dept. If your kid doesn't like Yearbook Sports, or Theater then there's nothing to do. The sports program for all sports aside from football are phenomenal. Not to make it seem like the football program is bad (its actually quite terrific, stellar, and incredibly succesful) it just seems that the conditioning and muscle therapy is non-existent. In any given season only 70% of the team is healthy enough to play, the others are recovering from a variety of injuries (some incredibly serious). All in all, I think that the lower school deserves a 69% overall score. And the upper school deserves an 88% (genuinely consider it for high school).
P.S. They've been promising a new building now for 5 years. If you think your highschooler is going to learn anywhere but portables... think again.
We attended HC for 2 years and each year got progressively worse. The worse part was that every time we went to the staff or the principle situations were never handled. There is a blatant disrespect for others. There is more gossip than a High School in the valley among the parents. The politics in this school are worse than you can ever imagine. They also have a bullying problem that they refuse to address. (which goes hand in hand with the politics, as others have stated) Bad enough that our children did not feel safe. I wanted to leave this review so other parents would at least get a glimpse before they invest as much as we did. Not just with money but our time. It got to a point where we felt like we were having a weird horrible dream that we could not wake up from. Hoping next private school is nothing like this one. :(
My answer is very simple: My child went there for two years and I know better. No, they do not promote honesty, integrity, or fairness. In fact, what they promote is a sense that if you are a son/ daughter of a teacher or staff, or your parents are large donors, than you're good to go. You can do anything you want and get away with it. And I've seen it MANY times; this was NOT a one time deal.
The GREATEST asset of this school in my experience: the teachers. The average class size is also a major plus! The general environment is "fun" in the lower grades. The parents are very clique-ish which sadly carries over to the children and does not represent the school's intended values. The academics are average compared to 2 other schools we've attended, judging by amount of homework, curriculum, as well as my childrens' information retention and standardized test scores.
We are a new family, but feel like the school is definitely headed in the right direction. Our children have been welcomed by friends and teachers alike. This is not a perfect school, but my experience is that the commitment to academics, athletics, fine arts, and spiritual growth is right where it should be. We did have some challenges with homework, but the school addressed those concerns immediately. We have been very pleased.
It is difficult to put into words how valuable the education is at HCCSA, as the tangible is taught through a biblical world view by the most committed and qualified administrators that I have ever been around, and the intangible benefits and outcomes are endless. My kids are learning at a very high level for their age (8th & 10th), are being challenged on daily basis to strive for excellence, and are encouraged to do it for reasons bigger than themselves.....to impact the world around them for the Glory of God. In addition to the educational benefits, my family enjoys being part of an amazing community where we interact daily with our student's peers, their teachers, the school administrators, and coaches to fulfill the common goal of being known, and loved.
The reason we send our kids to Hill Country is because our kids are challenged in important areas of their lives while also being deeply cared for. We are a community, partnering together, to bring out the best in each student. This is a challenging academic environment but students are motivated because it is also a relational environment. We have been at the school since kindergarten and have seen many changes over the years. The administration really listens to parents and makes appropriate changes to accomodate healthy feedback and growth of the school. I completely trust that my children will be prepared for college and life upon graduation.
Our family is grateful for Hill Country Christian School. Our kids have grown up at Hill Country. Over the last 9 years, we have been delighted by the numerous teachers who have loved and served our children. Each one has displayed a strong relationship with Jesus. From the Lower School to the Upper School, teachers have powerfully impacted our children-- academically, socially, and spiritually. We strongly recommend HCCSA!
The only reason for giving an entire one star is that the Lower School principal is FINALLY on the way out. I hope then that opens the door for the Headmaster to exit as well. Until the leadership tactics of favoring the the annual fund donors and ignoring bullying and discipline problems change, Hill Country will not grow in terms of enrollment. Check the numbers and abysmal standardized test scores before re-enrolling - see what the net gain in students has been in the past few years ... Yes, HCCSA has had new students come in, but many others have left for valid reasons.