The administration and staff are great. My son is in the dual language program and it is amazing the amount that he has learned since he started. The PTA has done great things such as sponsoring a fun run, bringing in assemblies and starting scholarships and grants for teachers and independence alumni. Come and talk to the principal, and take a tour of the school.
I had an awful experience at this school. My child was in special ed here and treated horribly by the administration. The teachers I worked with seemed very fearful of the administrators. They have zero compassion for kids with special needs and my child had many injuries there, some went unexplained because of their lack of proper supervision. The administrators were always defensive and never took responsibility. Once the gravity of the situation dawned on me, I left ASAP! Now we're in a top notch school district, that not only educates regular general ed kids, but takes the time and effort to hire extremely qualified and competent staff to work with special needs children. They keep their class ratios very low and provide direct supervision. In just 6 short months, my child has improved by leaps and bounds. They were appalled by some of the educational plans that my child was given at Independence Elem. Like I said, maybe if everything is great with your child you might love this school or not, but if your child has special needs, please really investigate the true situation and don't be fooled by the fake and phony smiles and the pretense they put on when they see the parent.
Do not let the ratings scare you. The demographics are different, but the teachers are too notch professionals that are filled with enthusiasm!! A lot of positive changes will be coming soon to this school in terms of a population shift. This is a great school!
I am a parent at Independence Elementary and while I believe the school has the capability to offer students an outstanding education - a lot of parents at the school question the leadership in place. Even with the revised rating of Texas schools this year - it does not show that an improvement has occurred at Independence. Disappointing to say the least - and the excuse that it is a "new school" is waning. Parents have spoken about their "fearfulness" of the administrative staff - as any criticism or concern they have will lead to backlash on their children. Whether there is any truth to this matter - it has been mentioned by more than one parent. Recently, a student was dismissed because of their inability to manage the dual language program. It wouldn't be such a big deal - but with a recent positive teacher conference and commitment from the parents and student about the program - parents are questioning the decision as it was done in an afternoon without parent consultation. The student was simply asked to leave. This in itself is traumatic enough for a 7 year old - but parents are stating that this show of power by the staff is a form of bullying? We tend to agree.
We were a bit concerned to put our kids to this school, as we read some bad reviews, but after 1 year here, I could not be happier and my children feel the same. We have been moving a lot, we had our children mostly in private schools, so we have a lot of to compare with. I can only say, don't be afraid to put your kid here! you will love the energy, enthusiasm and academic program they have to offer. The principal and the teachers are amazing, PTA is making great progress and gives you plenty of opportunity to help and participate as a parent. Love it!! Btw, Castle Hills neighborhood is great!
I wanted to post a review here, because I used sites like this to base my decision in transfering my kids from Hebron Valley Elementary to this school. My kids belong to Hebron, but I enrolled my kindergardener to the Dual Language Program that was only being offered at Independence. Because I wanted all my kids to attend the same school, I made the switch. I have to say, I was a little worried about the change because I had heard many bad reviews from Castle Hill parents. But the Spanish/ English program was exciting, and my husband and I are both biligual and know how important it is to not only speak the language but to also read and write it. So, we attended the meetings, open house, and now they started school. I cannot say better things about this school! My son came home happy from being at school for the first time! (he is in 3rd grade)They classes are tiny! (14 kids in his class) the teachers are GREAT! My husband and I are so surprised, because we heard terrible things! Give this school a chance! Yes, there is low income kids, but there is also great teachers, and enthusiasm. I see the school becoming a top school with the new dual program. I am very happy!
As another parent said, think twice before sending your child to this school. Don't let the surrounding homes fool you. My child was told she may not pass because of her reading yet they would not put her in tutoring because her grades were too high. How does that make sense? I had to go to the principal twice before any action took place. We moved out of the area just to get out of this school. Horrible, horrible, horrible.