Will I be homeschooling my child on his/her days off?
We see the connection between school + home as a valuable way to provide context to the formal learning of the classroom, extend projects and practice to ensure thorough understanding, and to provide ample opportunities to create a flexible and customized education for your student. While some families choose to do this on their own and use known homeschooling curriculum, many families work in tandem with classroom teachers to accomplish the individual goals set for their students.
Is 15-20 hours/week enough to learn anything? (How do kids learn enough compared to traditional school?)
Between 25 students, standardized testing, institutional red tape, and the amounts of differentiation that can be present in a traditional classroom much of the time spent there is not on developing the academic and social/emotional skills of the student but just getting through the day. Our students, with a focused program, support from their parents, an 11:1 student:teacher ratio, and high expectations/rigorous learning environment, achieve on par or beyond their peers in a more traditional school.
What is your attendance policy? (My family travels/My kid has health issues/etc)
As with most things in life, you get out of something what you put into it. While there are no required amounts of time you are present for formal classes during the week, there is a direct correlation between attendance and achievement at AHB. With that said, our flexible faculty and schedule allows for families to travel and attend to health issues in a way that is supported through customized assignments and assistance in developing programs for the duration of the absence at the parents’ request.
How do you support students with special needs?
As general practice, our small school does not have the resources or capacity to handle students with serious manifestations of learning or behavior disorders and we do not admit such students.
However, many learning differences can be accommodated through our school simply due to our small student:teacher ratio, personalized attention, and flexible schedule allowing for outside assistance on non-school days. If you’re interested in AHB and your student has learning needs that you are concerned about, please do not hesitate to contact us to have a conversation about whether we might be a good fit.
What curriculum do you use?
AHB does not have a one-size fits all philosophy or curriculum. Instead, our faculty and staff find the best programs, projects, and assignments available to create a student-centered, inquiry-based, and project-driven model of authentic education.
What subjects will my child learn? (Will there be art/music/PE/world language?)
Our whole child approach to education focuses on rigorous education in language arts and math through an interdisciplinary and integrated way that embraces history and science as context and content. The Arts (performing and visual arts) are embraced/encouraged as a tool for expressing ones’ self and assignments. Physical Education is encouraged through daily recess, ritual/routine type exercises found in each classroom (yoga, radio exercises, etc). World Languages are integrated into the Middle School Program through self-pace learning programs. The Arts, PE, and World Languages are also the types of after school classes regularly provided.
How do I know my child is learning without grades?
All students, parents, and teachers track progress towards goals using our Developmental Continuum (a listing of skills expected at the different developmental levels of children), quarterly Assessment Reports (narrative driven reports of students progress), end of semester portfolio presentations, regular communication between student/teacher/parent, and open collaboration with all stakeholders. We strive for constant understanding of where our learners are and where they’re going.
What happens when my child graduates? Does he/she need grades to go to another school?
Our students go to some of the best high schools in the city. In the State of Texas all public schools are required to accept our assessment reports and transcripts as an accurate and satisfactory explanation of placement for transfer to their campus. Other private schools in the Austin area already commonly use similar grading formats as AHB and have no difficulty in accepting students with our reports. We provide a translation document, upon request, to schools who have difficulty deciphering our easy-to-read reports.
What is your discipline policy?
While discipline problems are few and far between at AHB, we use Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) to create a community of proactive, respectful, and supported students and staff. These practices seek to identify, celebrate, and practice positive behavior in order to norm the expectations for students while using logical consequences when the occasional slip up occurs.
I work. Are there extended hour options?
Yes! Many families take advantage of our After School Options to fill out their day and week. Middle Years students have an optional 5th Day available to them. And families who need more time often work with other AHB families to find and pool resources for carpooling, friday coops, special programs, etc.
Do you go year round? Do you offer summer programming?
We have school from roughly the day after Labor Day to the week after Memorial Day. We do not currently offer any summer, winter, spring, or fall break programming.
What about gifted students?
Generally, gifted students (those who are working several levels ahead of their peers) thrive in any school that offers flexible instruction, smaller classroom sizes and more personal attention, and placement based on skill level rather than age. As such, our many gifted students are successful because we meet them where they are and continue to challenge them moving forward.
Students who have gifts in certain areas but struggles in others often find the custom fit type of environment just right for continuing to push in all areas.
How much homework will my child have? Will there be homework every night? Every weekend?
We strive to make any Projects and Practice sent home authentic, appropriately challenging, and connected to the learning occurring in the classroom. Learn more about the School + Home connection here.