This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Small Middle School5
Posted June 25, 2014
- a community member
CSMS is a really awesome school! I'm going to go into my 2nd year (7th grade) in Middle School and 6th grade was really fun! We did have a lot of projects and a lot of fights happened this year, but Clint Small is really great school and wish I could come back next year. I made a lot of new friends and Clint Small made this really memorable.
We moved into the district about a month before school started, and my daughter has now completed over half of her 6th grade year at Small. She's very happy. She's in the Gifted and Talented program and feels like she's being challenged enough to stay interested, but not so much that it takes over her life. The 6th grade counselor has been wonderful, the principal responded to an email question very quickly and thoroughly, and the teachers have all come across quite reasonably when we've interacted. Oh, and the GT coordinator has taken plenty of time to explain the program and allay our fears (we came from an academic magnet school in Seattle). The proof for us is that our daughter is happy on her way to school and happy when she arrives home. I asked her about bullying, and she says she hasn't noticed anything. So that may be an issue in certain circles, but hasn't affected us. Hopefully it never will.
Just feel the need to respond to the previous review. Academics mean nothing if there is so much bullying and drama that your kid cannot concentrate on their work. Discipline, rules, etc have to come first. The improvement I've seen in my child's grades since leaving small is remarkable.
Because of my husbands work, we unfortunately moved around a lot. My son attended 4 different junior highs and is now in his senior year (he's doing Connexus online public school - which has been a God send - highly recommend it). We were talking about the best and worst schools he went to the other day and he said Patton Elementary (attended for 3 years) and Small JH (he attended for 1 year) were the best. He said he was actually challenged academically there. He also spoke highly of Pillow Elementary in North Austin. My point is, Small may have it's issues, but compared to other schools it's at the top of the list.
This is my third year at small. It's amazing how half the teachers are extremely helpfull and the other half have no intrist in most of the kids. My peers are very two-faced. At least via my experience. They need to change the staff. No one can do anything about the students attitudes'. I loved Mrs. V, Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Smith out of my core classes. I hated advanced theatre with Mrs. Hall. She was very negative to my group and it was stressful. Cheer wasn't that fun because everyone grouped off, but the beginning of this year has been great with this group. I think it will be a great year though. Honestly, I'm just scared of this years teacher, even though I've heard half of them are great.
I'm now entering my 4th year (2nd child) at Small. I've been pleased with the academic environment and the teaching staff as a whole with my older son. The only negative interaction experienced with an academic teacher did have to be escalated to AP and then Principal attention, with the involvement of the counselor as well, but was ultimately resolved to everyone's satisfaction. There is a lack of coddling at Small - and it would seem that many people factor that in negatively. I do not have a special needs child, so I can't speak to the lack of support others cite, but I will say I have never had any issues in communicating with Mrs. Taylor; she answers my emails promptly and any questions I have for her I can express and discuss at her monthly coffees, which are open to all parents and widely advertised. My older son thrived socially and academically at Small. His core group of friends from Mills did not attend Small, requiring him to make new friends and establish a new base - which he did quickly and kept for 3 years. He is now at LASA, along with many other Small kids, and Small more than prepared him for this academically rigorous high school.
I have to say, if it weren't for an excellent Band program, a wonderful Art teacher, and the fact that all her friends go to this school, my daughter would not be attending Small anymore. She used to be a straight A honor student who developed a panic disorder in this hostile and bullying environment. Some teachers use constant threats as the only way to maintain their authority. A substitute who led the advanced Pre-AP math class in the last grading period of the year taught nothing to the kids, but simply handed out papers and distributed failed grades. We found out that asking for understanding and support received no positive response from some teachers, it even evoked a thoroughly negative reaction from the Dance teacher who spitefully failed my daughter, due to a few officially Dr-excused absences. The school's principal, Ms. Taylor, consistently neglected to respond to emails or letters. I would strongly advise anyone with a very bright but sensitive child to stay away from this school.
The teachers seem to provide overall good instruction. Some of the teachers are excellent. Unfortunately, I have to agree with some previous postings that Small could definitely improve in serving students with disabilities.
I am so pleased with Small Middle School. My son left a local private school that just wasn't performing as well as it once did and enrolled in the 7th grade at Small. He is so happy here! It seems as though it would be the opposite but my son much prefers the learning environment at Small versus that in the private school he left. The teachers here are much more professional, the curriculum is more complete and the incessant, social drama, (for both students and parents), of the small, private school is gone!