FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
More Reasons to Love Learning at AHB Community School
Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on who you ask. Every micro school looks a little bit different. At AHB Community School, we consider ourselves a micro school because we admit between 80 and 90 kindergarten through eighth grade students each year—no more. We offer small class sizes and an overall student-teacher ratio of 10:1. Small numbers mean we’re able to give each student lots of individualized learning time. Our unique model allows us to offer a balance of rigorous academics and social-emotional learning you won’t find at any other Austin private school.
In the educational world, “progressive” describes a pedagogical model, not a political leaning. The movement arose in the late 19th century with American philosopher John Dewey as a main proponent. Progressive education aims to develop the whole child — tending to emotional, physical, social and academic growth. The model values critical thinking and inquiry over memorization of content, and believes learning is best accomplished through hands-on projects and collaboration.
AHB does not evaluate students using formal grades (A,B,C / 90% etc,). We do have set learning objectives in math, reading, writing and SEL that are covered each year. Student progress on these goals is documented with an an outcome-based system. Our quarterly Assessment Reports clearly communicate which quarterly learning objectives your child has met and where they need continued practice. Parent-teacher conferences happen (at minimum) twice yearly to discuss growth. Finally, our end-of-semester Portfolios on Parade (PoP), displays student work to demonstrate our learning to the community.
AHB middle school students take the Iowa Assessment each year, regularly performing in the top 10% nationally.
Our micro school is committed to offering a challenging academic program within a condensed schedule. This means we keep our focus on the basics. Math, Language Arts, and Theme (Science & Social Studies) have dedicated instructional blocks each day. (Math, reading, and writing objectives align with the TEKS.) Social Emotional Learning comes in through community circles, class meetings, and loads of group work! Opportunities for expression through art or technology often come through project work. Each class has 30 minutes of recess daily for exercise and a 30 minute music class each week.
After school elective classes provide further opportunities in the arts, STEM, and PE. Many families used their extra time outside of school to supplement these areas as well.
AHB does not have a one-size fits all curriculum or rely on traditional text books. Instead, our teachers have flexibility to pull from various sources to best meet the needs and interests of their class. We provide plenty of campus resources, but trust our teachers to find the best programs, projects, and assignments available to create a student-centered, inquiry-based, and project-driven model of authentic education. More information can be found visiting our pages on Academics, Elementary, and Middle School.
Our use of technology is age dependent. We are intentionally “low-tech” in our Alpha & Beta classrooms (Grades K-3), where tactile experiences and kinesthetic learning are especially important. Starting in Gamma (Grades 4-5)) students begin learning to use school-provided chrome books and IPads as tools for research, communication and skill-building. By middle school, as research and writing demands increase, students are asked to bring their own personal device to school daily. At this level, students develop a basic command of the G-suite tools. Even at our highest grades, students spend the majority of their days “off-screen” and use technology simply as one of many tools to learn and communicate.
We strive to make any homework sent home authentic, appropriately challenging, and connected to the learning occurring in the classroom. Homework expectations are similar to most other schools, however students have many more hours outside of school available to them. Read more about School + Family here.
Many gifted students thrive at AHB Community School. Our small class size means teachers can tailor assignments to challenge each learner. Class placement is dependent on more than age; we also take skill level and emotional maturity into account. Additionally, ample project opportunities allow the GT student to approach any topic with a level of depth that is personally challenging. As such, our many gifted students are successful because we meet them where they are and continue to challenge them moving forward.
AHB Community School is committed to providing the best educational experience for our students. Though we welcome a diverse group of students, AHB is not staffed to meet the needs of children who have behavioral or educational differences for which specially-trained teachers or extensive one-on-one assistance is necessary.
That said, many differences can be accommodated through our school simply due to our small student:teacher ratio and the shorter school day and week, which better allow for outside supports. 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.
Our graduates go to some of the best high schools in the city. AHB has been around for nearly 20 years, and we have no difficulty in getting other public or private schools to accept our reports. Additionally, thanks to our TAAPS accreditation, we can now grant high school credit when warranted (currently available for Algebra 1 & Geometry). 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.
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 infractions occurs.
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 traditional schools do not. Customized assignments or assistance in developing programs may be available for extended absences.
Yes! Many families take advantage of our Morning Care and After School Options to extend their day. These two additions could stretch the day from 8 am – 3:30 pm. Middle school students have an optional 5th Day available to them with the Friday Extension.
Families who need more time often work with other AHB families to find and pool resources for carpooling, Friday co-ops, and special programs.
No. AHB is a non-religious private school. Our school welcomes both non-religious and religious families with diverse belief systems and faith practices.
When AHB Community School was founded in 2004, it was named Austin Home Base. This was reflective of the program at the time, which felt more like a home-school co-op. Then, students went to school just three days a week and parents shouldered more responsibility for academic instruction. Though still our legal name, we’ve dropped that moniker as the school evolved. Today, the academic expectations for what is covered during on-campus time has increased along with the amount of days we spend in school each year. While family partnership is still a cornerstone of the school, covering the basics fully at school allows AHB to welcome a more diverse set of families who would find more traditional homeschooling to be an obstacle to joining our community.
A Micro School Where Families Thrive
Finding balance is a challenge in today’s busy world. AHB Community School gives families time together while providing fun curriculum and community. When academics are balanced with well-being, families thrive. Joining our community is a simple process.