Q: What happened to Austin EcoSchool?
A: Austin EcoSchool was founded in 2006 to provide an environmentally friendly and emotionally supportive learning environment. We’ve come a long way in the last 9 years, and while eco-friendly practices are still a huge part of our daily lives, it no longer defines us. We’ve developed a unique academic curriculum with Individualized Learning Plans, authentic assessments, and the Game of Village. We also have a strong social and emotional curriculum centered around non-violent conflict resolution and the “4th R”, Relationships. Field trips, special activities (think blacksmithing, art, gardening, maker programs to name a few…), and community events tap into the best that Austin has to offer. We feel that changing our name to Austin Village Academy reflects our unique educational offerings for your child!
Q: Are the teachers certified?
A: The priority for AVA staff is that they have a respectful, compassionate way of relating with young people and be experienced and passionate about the subjects they teach. Some of our teachers are certified, some have experience in alternative education, and all are GREAT!
Q: What’s your teaching pedagogy? Waldorf? Montessori? Reggio Emilia?
A: Austin Village Academy borrows from a wide range of teaching philosophies but adheres to no one particular style. Learning styles vary from child to child, from year to year and from subject to subject. Because of this natural variance in learning styles we maintain a high degree of flexibility in how we teach. Our belief is that children are natural learners and that in an intellectually stimulating and emotionally safe environment they will joyfully engage in the work they were born to do: learn, invent and explore!
Q: How do you know that the children are advancing through materials?
A: Due to the low student/teacher ratio in our classes it is an easy matter to authentically gauge a child’s progress and mastery of concepts and skills with no formal testing. AVA staff, in partnership with parents and students, develop an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) for each student. The ILP includes personal and academic goals and observes the CCSS (Common Core State Standards). This ILP provides milestones against which each student’s progress is measured. Assessments are made at least three time per year, and are reported to families once in in January and again in June.
Q: How is the day structured? Can the kids go to classes or not, as they please?
A: There is a fixed structure to each school day, inside of which the children do have a degree of choice and latitude as regards style of work, but all students are expected to attend regularly scheduled classes.
Q: My child has been homeschooled and isn’t on grade level in a particular subject. How will that work?
A: AVA has vast experience with homeschooled students. We are willing and able to accommodate children at whatever level they are working. The mixed-age classroom style supports this beautifully.
Q: How do the mixed-age classrooms work?
A: Classrooms are divided into the following categories: Primary/K- 2, Elementary/3rd and 4th and Middle School/ 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. All students receive both group and individual lessons. They also learn from and teach each other in a mentorship style, which supports full mastery of concepts and skills. Because the classroom sizes are small (8 to 10 students) children receive a great deal of individualized attention. All children are engaged in work appropriate to their personal level.
Q: Where do children graduate to after Austin Village Academy?
A: Our graduating students have gone on to public schools, private middle and high schools, homeschooling and early start college. Our graduates are thriving in the high schools of their choice and many achieve the distinction of honor roll within their first year.
Q: My child has behavioral or learning differences; how will that work out here?
A: Austin Village Academy’s nurturing learning environment is an excellent place for children with a range of learning challenges and we have made a great difference with many of these children since 2006. Recently AVA has partnered with a local organization, Teaching2GetherTexas, to expand on our ability to serve children with both processing and behavioral learning challenges. For more information and to find out if we can serve your child please schedule a school tour and conversation with our Director, Cheryl Kruckeberg. For more information about Teaching2getherTexas please visit their website www.teaching2gethertexas.com
Q:AVA is in session Monday through Thursday; what do the students do on Fridays?
A: AVA offers a stand alone arts based program on Fridays. This program is open to AVA students ans well as homeschooled students from the greater community.
Q: Do you have an early drop-off or a late pick-up option?
A: Early drop off and afterschool care are available on an as-needed basis.
Q: Do you go on field trips?
A: Yes, AVA students regularly go out and engage with the greater community in field trips ranging from museums and libraries to plays, parks and various community service projects. We often ride the CapMetro, which we really enjoy!
Q: What about lunches and snacks?
A: Students bring their own lunch and snack — We have a policy of healthy, nutritious foods, no sugar, caffeine or heavily processed foods.
Q: How much time do the kids spend outdoors?
A: Students arriving at 8:30 am (recommended) have a 30 minute free play time before school begins at 9 am. All students and staff enjoy a 30 snack and play break from 10:30 -11 and have a 45-minute lunch and play break at mid-day. Primary Students (K – 2) have an additional snack and play break around 2 pm.
Q: Do you have a music program?
A: The AVA community sings daily during morning and afternoon Circles and is looking into an afterschool music program, but does not yet offer a full music program during the regular school week.
Q: Do you have a physical education program?
A: Austin Village Academy students enjoy a lot of outside free play time and we often have informal sports during our outside time. We love Frisbee, softball/whiffleball, volleyball and more.We do not offer a full PE program at this time.
Q: Do students have homework?
A: AVA students do have regular homework assignments. The amount of homework is moderate and can be modified on a case by case basis.
Q: Do you offer financial assistance?
A: AVA offers financial assistance on a case-by-case basis. Please schedule a school tour and conversation with our Director for more details.
Q: Do the kids get together outside of school?
A: The AVA community tends to be a pretty close-knit one and children often get together outside of school hours. We also enjoy many school social events throughout the school year.
Q: Can the parents participate in the school day? How?
A: We love to have parents engaged in the daily life of AVA. Parents have offered classes, joined field trips, joined us for lunch, come to school work parties, camp outs, social events and more.
Q: Does the school have any religious or political affiliation?
A: No, Austin Village Academy does not espouse any religious or political position.
Q: What is the ethnic diversity ratio?
A: AVA opens its arms to all ethnic backgrounds and our ethnic diversity varies from year to year.
Q: When is the application deadline?
A: Austin Village Academy will consider applications at any time during the school year if we have an opening.