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Kirby Hall School - Austin, TX - Reviews page 1 - Judysbook

Kirby Hall School

306 W 29TH St
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 474-1770
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This review comes from a very objective parent and perspective from several school experiences around the world.\r \r Kirby Hall is very involved with each student. The intent t...


What happens when Beverly Rase, the owner of Kirby Hall School dies? First, the University of Texas which is always looking to expand will make the new owners (Beverly Rase's two...

Editorial review from Citysearch 1/27/2014

My daughter is a second grader at Kirby Hall School-this is her third year at the school. My husband and I have been very happy with the school in many ways, and I believe many other parents feel in the same way. The instruction is solid. They have wonderful teachers who know how to facilitate the development of young learners' academic skills. The test results show that they easily perform at least two (often three or more!) grade levels above their actual grade levels on average. The reading and math instruction is very strong, but science and social studies are really inspiring too. My daughter wants to become a scientist in the future, and she begs us to take her to see Ancient Egypt exhibitions at museums: clearly her young mind has been inspired. Additionally, Spanish language is taught from Kindergarten, PE has a lot of heath inspiring fun activities (including Yoga), and music/drama is also an important part of the curriculum. It is through and through a solid curriculum for raising well-rounded students. The graduates of the school are doing very well. My son goes to St. Stephens and he told us that students from Kirby Hall are ""ten times smarter""! In fact, our neighbor's daughter who went to Kirby Hall and then St. Stephens was a top student at St. Stephens, and currently studying Engineering at Stanford graduate school. I hear that students who stay at Kirby until they graduate high-school are doing great. For example, I heard a student got a full-ride to the University of Chicago.\r \r We have been also happy with the non-academic aspects of the school. The student body is diverse: while the majority is white, there are many other ethnic group students, and they do not make ethnic group pockets. My daughter is a half-Asian, and she is proud of her heritage, and others respect it. She is very good friends with all girls in her class and in fact, all boys too (only 12 kids in her class). The school feels like a friendly community. I feel very at ease with other parents too, because they know us and my kid very well. The teachers have been very responsive to individual non-academic issues, from conflicts with friends, to being slow finishing homework. If you are thinking of a private school, I highly recommend Kirby Hall. more

Editorial review from Citysearch 1/18/2014

Kirby Hall, the school my sons attend (and where I teach), is known for being academically rigorous. My sixth grader is expected to comprehend concepts and produce work of the quality, level, and volume that was expected of me in high school – and I attended good schools! The students here are enthusiastic about learning and perform beautifully. I never cease to be amazed at the grace with which they approach challenges and how they really strive to achieve at an ever-higher level. \r \r I feel as if we hit the jackpot in terms of a place for our kids to be in school. Nearly every teacher either of my boys has had has been outstanding, both personally and professionally. Most of them are veteran teachers, having devoted their entire careers to helping prepare young people for the future. When I send my boys off to class, I know that they will be in loving, caring, supportive hands, and that the school’s goal is the same as mine: to help them develop the tools – both academic and personal – that they need to grow into successful, well-rounded human beings. \r \r One part of the culture of Kirby Hall that has always impressed me is the absence of social divisions based on age, grade, gender, or any other trait. Kindergartners regularly collaborate with older elementary students, and it seems never to have occurred to a middle schooler to act superior to a younger student. Before school, at lunch, and on the playground, social interaction crosses all boundaries, and the older students are conscious and respectful of the limitations of the littler ones: the intensity of the recess basketball game is adjusted accordingly if a smaller child joins in, or the children will work together to select a book or game appropriate for all the participants. What fantastic practice for the “real world” of which they will someday be a part!\r \r Although we originally chose Kirby Hall for our children, I was overjoyed several years ago to be offered a chance to teach here! I love every minute I’m in my second grade classroom with my twelve (yes, you read that right – twelve!) amazing students. I have the freedom and flexibility to tailor my teaching methods, levels, and materials very specifically to each individual student, while at the same time enjoying the support of excellent curricula and a helpful administration. Having had previous teaching experience in a number of large public schools, I truly appreciate the value of that combination of freedom and support. \r \r We are a remarkable little community, and my family and I are so privileged to be a part of it! more

Editorial review from Citysearch 1/16/2014

Kirby Hall is a fascinating place where students come to just be themselves. It allows students to blossom into their own personalities and bridge gaps that may be too big in other schools. It is a learning experience for the students to exercise the fact that you will not always be best friends with everyone, but you can always respect and get along with everyone. Kirby Hall Students are excellent, dedicated, and are always willing to do their work. If you want to creat a model citizen, send your kids to Kirby Hall. more

Editorial review from Citysearch 10/2/2013

Kirby Hall School attracts smart children and most dedicated teachers. It provides an outstanding learning environment with highest academic and personal expectations. It grooms happy, well adjusted, life long learners. Our four children have attended different schools in Austin and now we have to attest that Kirby is - hands down - the place to be and be truly prepared for college. more

Editorial review from Citysearch 11/28/2012

Both of our daughters attend Kirby Hall School and we have found it to be an amazing school in every way. The teachers and staff at the school are wonderful and have helped our girls grow and develop in more ways than I expected. It has been amazing to watch them develop intellectually, socially, artistically and personally while at KHS and it is great to hear them talk about it as well. I think it really says something for a school when the children love it as much as the adults and you can really feel that at KHS. \r \r I would, and do, recommend Kirby Hall School to anyone who asks me about where we send our daughters to school. If you are looking at schools in Austin it would be a real miss to not have KHS on your tour list. more

University of Texas buys Kirby Hall Site for $10 million 10/1/2011

What happens when Beverly Rase, the owner of Kirby Hall School dies? First, the University of Texas which is always looking to expand will make the new owners (Beverly Rase's two children) an offer they cannot refuse ($10 million). Beverly Rase's children do not want to run the school. The school will close in the Spring. Beverly Rase does not pay property tax on the land or the school even though it is a long term real estate investment for her estate because the school is a non-profit. However, her children will inherit the building and land tax free (no estate or income tax). So much for all the concerned parents who are worried about their children and are donating to maintain and improve the property. The parents are not aware as Beverely has cleverly excluded them from the board. Look into it. more

Kirby Hall Objective review 4/19/2010

This review comes from a very objective parent and perspective from several school experiences around the world.\r \r Kirby Hall is very involved with each student. The intent to provide the best academic experience is very clear and the lack of apology for unimpressive sports facilities is honest.\r \r This school is about nourishing the academic, spiritual, and emotional needs of each child. My children have been in Kirby Kinder-Third and the experience has been amazing. Not only do they test in the top 2% of all students in ITBS testing, but they thrive in the warm family environment.\r \r Kids are allowed to be kids at Kirby, but moral standards are also strictly enforced. School uniforms are required as are expectations that they students and parents will support the community goals.\r \r I could not have asked for a better foundation for our children. The confidence and education supported by this school is everything we wanted. We were prepared to accept 60 minutes of homework and less facilities to achieve this incredible base in the early years of education.\r \r I have a good idea who the vitriolic reviews are and hopefully they won't stand in the way of anyones positive experience. Pros: Individual attention, strong academics, community Cons: Resources more

happy with KHS 4/13/2010

Kirby is a cozy, little place where everyone knows everyone so it feels good to leave your child there. I know they are in good hands. There are excellent teachers who really care about each child's success and well-being. The academics are excellent and the PSIA results and test scores prove it. As a parent, I have to teach my child time management and organizational skills so that we have time for extra curricular things after school, but we do manage to fit it all in. If you want a well-rounded experience for your child, you have to be willing to put in parental support to make that happen. They promise a loving atmosphere and academic challenges and that is what we have received. Pros: loving, capable teachers, rigorous academics more

Pleased KHS parent 4/12/2010

My son has been at Kirby Hall School since kindergarten (he is now in second grade), and I can say without reservation that I love this school! I am a former teacher in AISD, and the teachers my son has had at KHS are easily among the most gifted, passionate, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, talented educators I’ve ever encountered. My son’s first grade and second grade teachers have both been teaching at KHS for nearly a decade each; they have superior classroom management skills and know the curricula intimately. The small classes and individualized instruction create an ideal environment for all different types of learners. In terms of academic rigor, KHS is without peer – high expectations lead to exceptional performance by all the students. The proximity of the school to the UT campus is wonderful – it allows the students access to countless resources, and inspires them to become lifelong learners. I conducted exhaustive research on schools in the Austin area before selecting KHS, and I feel strongly that I made the right choice for my son. It is truly a family environment, and parental involvement is encouraged; I am at the school most days doing some sort of volunteer activity, and I feel so welcomed by everyone there. I am so happy knowing that my son is surrounded by people who truly care about his well-being and are partners with me in his development. KHS is a remarkably diverse place, much more so than I would have expected at a private school. During the unit on ancestry and immigration in my son’s class, the students were so proud to highlight their ethnic backgrounds – everywhere from Africa to Asia to South America to the Middle East and Europe. Even socio-economically, diversity is apparent: given that the tuition at KHS is approximately half of what is charged at the school most academically comparable, I consider it a bargain. Our family has made some sacrifices to send my son to KHS, but I can assure anyone who asks that it has been well worth it. Is KHS a perfect place? Of course not – no school is. True, there are no sports clubs, but there is a fantastic physical education program; participation in athletics is extra-curricular, and each child is free to pursue his or her own interests outside of school. Is it the right school for every child? No, but I guarantee that each child there comes from a family that cares deeply about education and wants to give that child a solid academic base from which to begin his or her life. Will we stay there through high school? I don’t know – we reassess my son’s needs every year, and if KHS continues to meet them, we have no reason to look elsewhere. My younger son can hardly wait to start kindergarten there in 2011. Kirby Hall has been one of the best things that has happened in our lives, and it is an honor to share how pleased we’ve been with our experience there. more

Kirby Hall School is a mess 7/16/2008

This school is rediculous. The two ""great reviews"" you see listed are from an administrative flunky who is desperate to keep her job and her tuition break, and a student who is the daughter of another flunky at the school. Thy are going around to all the sites and puting in ""great reviews"" of the school to manipulate potential parents and bolster their floundering enrollment problems. They are down 60 kids alone this year- over 25% OF THE SCHOOL.\r Here is the real scoop. The school is run by a autocratic old biddy that is capricious, and vindictive. They run a ""great dog and pony show"" to get you in the front door- but once you are there you realize it's a mess. 14/25 staff and faculty have been fired or quit this year alone. Teachers have their benefits cut off, teachers are fired without reason, kids are thrown out without reason. There is no parent association or teacher association to curb Beverly Rase and her craziness. Instead Mrs. Rase makes snap judgments based on gossip from one or two nasty parents. This year a a few parents complained about a boy in kindergarden who (a student of color) was ""too rowdy and unmanageable"". Beverly then threw the child out of school along with his brother in second grade. No warnings- no meetings, no nothing. It was only the intervention of the second grade teacher and some parents like myself that enabled the second grader ( a wonderul child ) to return. This is typically behavior at Kirby Hall. Someone in administration admitted that there are even unmentioned race quotas - that Beverly ""doesn't want too many kids of color and their parents in the school because... well you know how they are"". Kirby Hall may look like a cheap alternative to public school- but trust me. Save your money . more

Turnover/home school method/unsupervised 6/10/2008

As some have stated, students are left unsupervised quite often. They can be found playing online games upstairs, making out in the ""senior lounge"" (where they spend most of their day), and most concerning is the terrible curriculum. Just walk around on your own, without their tour guide. People have to understand, the Shirley Method is a home school method in which the students simply recite back what the teachers tell them. There is NO critical thinking taught in any grade. No one uses the Saxon Math anymore either, simply more recitation. Look at the drop rate, nearly no student continues beyond 8th grade, and most drop before middle school. Just ask about the curriculum committee (there is none), how long the curriculum has been used, and if it is EVER reviewed. Please just be concerned and ask questions. Pros: some teachers care, but few Cons: teacher turnover, curriculum, administration more

Kirby Hall is a stellar school 5/12/2008

We have been at Kirby Hall since 2000 and now have all 4 of our children at Kirby Hall. We couldn't be happier with the faculty, education, relationships, and programming at the school. Our oldest child is our only daughter and we have seen her blossom every year in the nurturing but very challenging environment that is Kirby Hall. The curriculum is based upon fundamentals - fundamentals that pay off every year when Kirby Hall wins the state Private School Interscholastic Competition and when students apply to colleges boasting extremely high standardized test scores. In addition to academics, the samll, nurturing environments has allowed our older children to develop their own character free of bullying, clicques, or peer pressure, making them proud of both their academic accomplishments and their own personal charachter. It is not a school for parents who want to turn their children over to a planned and prescripted educational situation however. Rather, it is best suited for families who want to tailor their children's education and to play an active, committed role in the devolopment of their children. We can not endorse this school highly enough. It is an amazing, and rare, institution and we feel very lucky to have found it. Pros: curriculum, teachers, class size, students more

Bad, bad bad! 11/22/2007

Unqualified teachers, ridiculously high staff turnover, unsupervised students, lack of evidence-based curriculum, and no continuity in any set curriculum (changes mid-year are common) make for a lousy school. Bad administration is at the core of the problem with Kirby Hall. The few ladies ""in charge"" simply have no idea what they're doing, and that has made this school a joke. Kirby Hall is not an appropriate school for your every day average child, and certainly not a child who is bright and/or gifted. Not at all! Kirby Hall is the least academically challenging school I've encountered in my years as an education professor. Utter chaos. Pros: lovely historic building Cons: unqualified administrators, unqualified teachers, no stability in curriculum or faculty more

Narcotic, alcohol use and sexual activity take place inside the building. 7/25/2007

The senior lounge is a den of inequity.Narcotics, alcohol and sexuality are rampant within the school building. Why? These seniors are unsupervised for several hours a day. They have 'independent study time' where they go to the senior lounges and do anything but study. Administrators turn a blind eye (but don't decrease tuition for the luxury of un-manned babysitting. \r \r 1/3 new faculty this year. Sad. Kirby Hall cannot hold onto it's teachers. Pros: if new administrators replaced the ineffective ones presently working, things could be better Cons: no supervision, weak curriculum, high teacher turnover rate more

Nobody knows what they are doing at Kirby Hall. 7/21/2007

The majority of Kirby teachers aren't actually trained to teach and have little to no experience as classroom teachers. Additionally, the high teacher turnover rate poses a problem. Each year, Kirby loses at least three teachers (at least). Teachers leave in the middle of the school year as well. No continuity or stability! Kirby Hall uses outdated public school curriculum. \r \r The administrators make decision based upon personal whims. There is no ""vision"" or direction for the school, and certainly no ""captain at the helm"" to carry it out. Communication with parents is nil at Kirby Hall as well. They do what they want when they want. This school year (06-07), Kirby Hall admins allowed a camera crew to film on campus while school was going on. Nobody consulted the parents about this. A crew member told small children to ""shut up"", and parents who complained were brushed off by administrators. I don't send my children to school to be verbally abused by strange adults, thanks. \r \r Kirby Hall offers no real challenge for academically advanced students. Because of low enrollment numbers, Kirby Hall recruits and retains students requiring remediation. Advanced students are given extra worksheets and slower students monopolize teacher attention - and Kirby Hall admins consider this appropriate individual attention. Ridiculous. \r \r Kirby Hall offers no extra curricular activities other than having the kids do homework in the library after school. Seniors have several hours a day assigned to ""independent study"", which consists of Kirby seniors sitting in the senior lounge. No tuition or fee breaks for this ""luxury"", either. No teaching going on, either. The ""independent study"" practice is glorified babysitting (but with no babysitter). \r \r \r \r Pros: the school has potential Cons: high teacher turnover rate, irresponsible administrators, outdated curriculum, no continuity more

A big mess. 7/18/2007

Understaffed administration, teachers holding undergraduate degrees and little experience, no extracurricular activities, public school curriculum, lack of individual attention, lack of serious academic challenge, and high teacher turnover are some of the reasons why this 30 year old program just isn't working. Look elsewhere for quality education in Austin. There are so many options. This is one of the worst schools in the Austin area, in my opinion. \r \r This school is supposedly for academically able students, but since numbers continue to plummet, Kirby admits and retains students who would be in resource classes at any other school. This drags down the classes and the honestly academically able students suffer. I do not recommend this school to ANYONE. Pros: beautiful exterior, good location for people who work downtown or at UT Cons: everything else...and it all stems from the visionless administration more
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