This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Chaparral Star Academy3
Posted January 25, 2015
- a parent
This school has excellent teachers who know their subjects well and work with very few resources to teach students, many who attend for the shorter hours than for the academics. Teachers work longer hours than at other public schools due to the double daily sessions they teach. It is a challenging environment for the teachers and staff, but they work hard and care about their students. The school works well academically through middle school. As with many small schools, there are problems. Once in high school, the course choices are lmited, even among the core subjects. Currently, chemistry and physics classes are taught online, with only a classroom monitor present. Student enrollment is small, so the social dynamics plays a huge role. Children of staff appear to get preferential treatment. Bullying has been a growing problem over the years, but not addressed. Students have left the school when the social dynamics have become difficult. If a student is immune to the social hierarchy, wants the flexibility of a shorter school day, and is satisfied studying mostly core subjects, the school will work for him/her. Otherwise, a different school will be a better choice.
I'm so thrilled to have found this school. At our neighborhood school it seemed the teachers were too busy trying to maintain control of unruly classes to actually teach the students. My daughter was frustrated and depressed with the "system". We heard about Star from a friend and took a tour. It's a small community, but it's bursting at the seams with professionalism. The priorities of the school are what we need for our daughter. I feel confident that my daughter is in the best school available. I do want to say, though, that I don't appreciate the families that keep their child at Star, knowing that it is an academically challenging school, and then complain about it being hard or saying the homework load is too much. I am also a bit frustrated the there are a few boys in my child's class that are clearly not there to learn. When others steal from my child's learning because they refuse to focus and actually work, it is annoying. I suppose the only way to avoid all negatives would be to homeschool, but that introduces its own set of problems. So saying, Star is the best school out there! It's much like private school, but it's FREE!
This is an excellent school if you have a child in the elementary or middle school. Once your child hits high school RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!! The board does not support the high school students and allows disadvantages to their own student body. There are little to no honors, pre-AP and AP classes and when asked about them they will tell you "all our classes are on honors levels" but the kids get no credit for such. Very disappointing school and school board. Not an elite school at all.
CSA is NOT a good fit for you if... > You want a personalized curriculum. It s a traditional public school education, complete with TEKS/standardized testing, condensed into 4 hrs. If you want alternative educational options, check altedaustin.com. >You seek a strong sense of community at events. Parent involvement is low and it s usually the same parents. >You expect stellar teachers across the board. As with any school, there are a handful of fantastic educators, a handful you wish weren't there, and a lot who fall somewhere in between. CSA might be a good fit for you if >Parents are willing to be co-educators. A condensed 4 hour school day means increased responsibility at home. >You easily fall into line with expectations/rules. Admin is cordial but usually unwavering when it comes to issues. You often hear "As a K-12 school, we face a challenge with <insert concern> because..." >You value school rankings & awards. CSA earns many of them but exemplary awards don't mean the curriculum is superior. Students who don't perform well in this environment often transfer out, leaving only those who excel in this type of education model. That can skew performance indicators.
We are happy with the school after our child's first year in kinder. The main pro is small class size (15), which allows for individualized attention. My child reads well and the teacher was proactive in making sure she stays challenged. There seem to be few/no issues with bullying. The con is that as a charter school, Star does not receive as much funding as the local school. It shows in the facilities (lack of a library, playground, greenspace). Teachers have said they appreciate how much less bureaucracy they have to deal with here vs. at a regular public school. The half day allows us extra time to pursue music & sports w/o tiring out our child or running into weekends. Other notes: does not feel like a traditional school. It is in an office building; entrance is cold & concrete. There are dogs onsite. It is very religiously diverse, so they are careful not to celebrate certain holidays. The school feels very "family" where kids know other kids across grades. The families seem to be less well-off than the suburban area where we live but committed to their kids' education and on the whole, people we like to be associated with.
Chaparral Star Academy is an excellent school. The leadership, staff and teachers go out of their way to provide a great education. The Principal is driving this school in a direction that enhances the students future. We have a daughter in Kindergarten who enjoys going to school everyday. She is challenged with homework that will enhance her future in reading ,writing and math. The Kindergarten program evaluates each student sets out a curriculum to improve the students skills. My daughter is advanced and she was provided with a curriculum to improve her skills further. The school program is challenging. The kids who are behind are not pushed ahead, they are provided just as much attention as any other student. The advanced kids are challenged so that they are not bored. We also enrolled our daughter in the Round Rock Library Reading program . Combining the Library resources with the school has provided great results. Chaparral Star Academy provides an excellent education curriculum. The focus is on education. Thank you to the Principal, Staff and Teachers for creating a simple, challenging, and focused school.
It is probably better to just keeping homeschooling than to send your kids to this school. Kids get a quite a bit of homework and usually need a lot of help from parents in order to keep up with their grades.
This school is outstanding. Three of my kids attend / attended this school with great success in achieving the academic goals from the higher level of learner and focus. My oldest has graduated and had four plus colleges after her with full scholarships. Chaparral Star Academy has provided my kids the confidence, the ability to achieve more than what the public schools had to offer. This school and the quality teachers are directly responsible for making me feel my kids will be all they can be and more. Now in saying this and having been in the corporate world for over 20 years, no corporation, company or institution exists that has not had some issues/problems. There have been some teachers in the past that did not seem on board with Chaparral Star Academy, its core beliefs and structure. They are now gone and I see from other posts that it may not have been by their choice (but that's none of our business). I am proud of the school for making its stand on the behalf of the students. That is what it should be about, the future of the school and its students. I would recommend and refer anyone who is looking for a higher level of education for their kids.
I completely agree with the review below. This school did start out with solid purpose and good intentions, but over time bureaucracy has run amuck. You can survive at this place if your child is quick, compliant, and not affected by verbal abuse. "Star is not for everyone" means "we only want students that will help us maintain our exemplary rating." They hide behind having "compact, accelerated" schooldays to keep only the best and brightest, and then take away resource after resource from teachers knowing that due to the half-day schedule there's near 100% stay-at-home parent involvement, and those parents will pick up the slack wherever the school falls short. Toward the end, my husband and I did literally ask ourselves what we were sending the kids to school at all for anymore since I was practically homeschooling anyway. There were some fabulous teachers who had gotten very proficient at teaching without resources, and they didn't get their contracts renewed for "not fitting with the vision and direction of the school" which is a major compliment. Please save yourself the life lesson and look elsewhere for your child's education.
This school is just wonderful! I have 2 kids who have been at CSA, one is a Sr. this year & 1 a Sr in college. The 1st year my older son was at CSA there were 11 students in his class -- we received and continue to receive a private school caliber education for our public school dollars. The small class size and non-acceptance of disciplinary issues from transfer students are a huge part of being able to do more educating in less time. The parents who are leaving negative reviews are upset over some staff leaving -- no teacher has tenure at this school, you must be asked back every year. The school board & administrative staff are bound BY LAW to not discuss issues involving personnel. It is one thing to support your child's teacher and another thing entirely to show up at a board meeting with the pitchforks & torches (figuratively). The school does not present itself as being "one size fits all", & states quite clearly the type of student that will benefit most from attending. We now have activities like pep-squad and Jr/Sr trips, speaking to the fact that the faculty & staff support one another. The principal rocks, from parking lot duty to dressing up for book fair!!