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Alternative School Directory

Each listing in this alphabetical directory gives you a snapshot of an alternative school in the Austin area. For more in-depth information, click on the name of any school to go to its own website or blog. To easily find schools by geographical area, see the Map of Alternative Schools. If you know of a school that’s missing from this directory, please drop a note here, and see Alt Ed Austin’s criteria for “alternative” and “school.”

(You may also be interested in our directories of alt preschools, specialty schools, other recommended schools, and more alt ed programs for children and adults.)

9th Street Schoolhouse
Location:
Central East Austin
Students served: ages 5 through 9
Current enrollment: 10
Model/philosophy: Empowering future citizens to find their
   authentic interests and skills by providing strong and loving
   mentorship in a rich learning environment that connects
   them to their place in their communities and on this earth
Special features: multi-age, place-based, project-based
   learning; community garden across the street serves as a
   learning center;  focus on outdoor time and getting around
   on foot, bike, and bus; emphasis on social and emotional
   intelligence; democratic school meeting; weekly field trips
Tuition: $5,850 per year; may be paid in 1, 2, or 9 payments;
   includes lunch and a healthy morning snack
Contact:
Caitlin Macklin
   512-529-6378
   caitlin.macklin@gmail.com

Acton Academy
Location: East Austin
   2201 Alexander Ave.
   Austin, TX 78722
Students served: Elementary School, ages 6 through 10;
   Middle School, ages 11 through 14;
   High School (launching in 2016), ages 14 through 18
Current enrollment: 30 (maximum of 36 per “school”)
Model/philosophy: Every child has a gift that can change the
   world in a profound way. The school’s mission is to inspire
   each child and parent who enters the doors to find that
   calling and develop the passion to pursue it.
Special features: online adaptive software for math and
   language, project-based learning, Socratic discussion
   groups, examination of the Hero’s Journey and how it applies
   personally to each student
Tuition: $865 per month for 11 months ($9,515 total per year)
Contact: Laura Sandefer (Head of School)
   512-320-0596512-320-0596
   lsandefer@actonmail.org

AHB Community School
Location:
North Central Austin
   4001 Speedway
   Austin, TX 78753
Students served:
ages 5 through 12
Current enrollment:
72
Model/philosophy:
A creative and collaborative educational
   alternative that cultivates authentic, balanced critical
   thinkers who are prepared for a life of learning and
   community engagement
Special features: 4- and 3-day week; multi-age classes; team
   teaching; hands-on, project-based instruction; nongraded;
   parent involvement required
Tuition: $5,000–$6,000 per year (paid in 1, 2, or 10
   payments), plus fees
Contact: M. Scott Tatum
   info@ahbcs.org

Austin EcoSchool
Location:
South Austin
   4105 Manchaca Road
   Austin, TX 78704
Students served: K through 9th grade
Current enrollment: 24
Model/philosophy: Austin EcoSchool believes that all children
   are born whole, perfect, and complete. It is the role of edu-
   cators to help provide them with the tools, strategies, and
   habits of mind necessary to realize their dreams and make
   a difference in the world. The school partners with students,
   parents, and teachers to create individualized learning plans
   designed to support each student's growth and development
   —academically, socially, and emotionally. The program in-
   cludes structured, core academic classes, Game of Village,
   Spanish, arts, and community service.
Special features: 4-day week with an optional Friday program;
   exploration-based learning all day Thursdays through Game
   of Village and historically themed role-playing games; low
   student-teacher ratios; student-to-student mentoring;
   hands-on, project-based learning; mixed-age classrooms;
   student involvement in decisions; also home to the
   GrowinTogether afternoon enrichment program
Tuition: $8,000 per year plus fees; sibling discounts; payment
   plans, financial assistance, and work-trade options available
   on a case-by case basis
Contact: Cheryl Kruckeberg
   512-447-8516512-447-8516
   info@austin-ecoschool.org

Clearview Sudbury School
Location:
Central Austin
   1507 Wilshire Blvd.
   Austin, TX 78722
Students served: ages 5 through 19
Current enrollment: 23
Model/philosophy: Sudbury model
Special features: Self-directed learning in a democratic,
   multi-age community; full respect for students and
   intellectual freedom
Tuition: $6,500 per year; sibling discounts and tuition
   assistance available
Contact: Kimberly Engleman
   512-524-0085512-524-0085
   clearviewsudburyschool@gmail.com

Cornerstone Academy
Location: Northwest Austin
Students served: upper elementary and middle school students
   of all learning styles
Current enrollment: 8 students currently enrolled; limited
   spaces available
Model/philosophy: Honoring and strengthening each child’s
   innate gift of curiosity and love of learning; supporting a
   cohesive community of unique learners as they develop a
   strong foundation of fundamental math and language skills;
   the core of daily school experience rests in purposeful
   learning tasks that prepare students not only for further
   academic endeavors, but also for life
Special features: 4-day week (M–Th, 9am–2pm); fully
   integrated morning math & language arts classes using
   science and social studies as portals for discovery;
   afternoon exploration of students’ own interests;
   certified teachers with many years of homeschooling
   experience and trained to help students with special needs
   (dyslexia, dysgraphia, mood disorders, gifted/talented, and
   others); registered nurse and librarian/information specialist
   on campus
Tuition: $3,500 per semester; aftercare 2:00–2:30pm, $5 per
   day; $300 per semester discount for parents who volunteer
   2 hours per week; sibling discount
Contact: Catherine Cotman
   409-363-0670
   cornerstoneacademyaustin@gmail.com

Good Earth Farm School
Location:
Leander
   10820 E. Crystal Falls Parkway
   Leander, TX 78641
Students served: K–1st grade; ages 5–7; fall birthdays
   considered
Current enrollment: now enrolling; up to 14 in fall 2012;
   expansion to upper grades to be driven by community
   interest and support
Model/philosophy: Waldorf-inspired, nature-based program
   that seeks to educate the whole child
Special features: 4-day week; co-op with one dedicated
  teacher and required family volunteerism; instruction shaped
  by developmental needs of each child; indoor and outdoor
  spaces that are active, purposeful, and peaceful; study units
  include academics as well as handwork, animal care, music/
  instrument study, physical education, art, and gardening
Tuition:  $475 per month, Sept.–May, plus $475 supply fee
Contact: Andrea Hutlock, Asst. Director
   512-259-3922512-259-3922
   goodearthschool@gmail.com

The Griffin School
Location:
Central Austin
   5001 Evans Avenue
   Austin, TX 78751
Students served: 9th through 12th grades
Current enrollment: 82
Model/philosophy: Educating the future leaders of the
   creative class; college-prep high school empowering a
   community of learners through a focus on the arts
Special features: creative and personalized environment
   that encourages expression and interaction; core classes
   capped at 10–12 students; rigorous course of study
   including Latin; support in college application process;
   individual senior projects; strong emphasis on a wide
   variety of fine and performing arts; student engagement
   in school governance and community life
Tuition: $14,000 per year, plus fees; payment plans, tuition
   loans, and tuition assistance available
Contact: Caroline Wilson
   (512) 454-5797(512) 454-5797
   griffin@griffinschool.org

The Inside Outside School
Location:
rural Pflugerville
   (transportation provided from Central Austin)
   5530 Killingsworth Lane
   Pflugerville, TX 78660
Students served: K through 6th grade
Current enrollment: 28
Model/philosophy:
Educating for Human Greatness
Special features: Democratic approach; independent and
   collaborative study projects that help students learn how
   to think rather than what to think; reading, writing, and
   math taught as tools of inquiry; community stewardship;
   focus on connecting to the natural world; 7.28-acre campus
   with a natural running creek
Tuition: $7,000 per year plus enrollment fee
Contact: Deborah Hale
   512-251-1109512-251-1109
   insideoutsideschool@gmail.com

Integrity Academy
Location: Casa de Luz, South-Central Austin
   1701 Toomey Road
   Austin, TX 78704
Students served: ages 3 to 18
Current enrollment: Enrollment begins January 2014–
   March 2014 for 2014–2015 school year; maximum of
   140 students
Model/philosophy: The Integrative Method—using a
   multi-age, team-teaching, project-based, nongraded,
   developmental-continuum approach to learning, with
   the whole community learning together in order to be
   healthy, wealthy, and wise; the Natural Learning
   Relationships approach, which fosters healthy socio-
   emotional development through leadership activities,
   interaction with nature, business, martial arts, dramatic
   arts, graphic arts, musical arts, yogic arts, culinary arts,
   and foreign language; support of the whole child as well
   as the whole family with experiential, social education
Special features: A versatile, year-round calendar in which
   students attend 4 to 5 days per week, 6 to 11 hours per
   day, with 6 units of study per year (these units consist of
   7 weeks of learning followed by 1-to 2-week breaks, and
   3 break camps are offered during the nontraditional breaks);
   whole-food, plant-based nutrition for the whole student body
   provided by Casa de Luz; connection to farms, food, and
   kitchen as integral parts of the program
Tuition:
   Integrity Academy program (M–Th, 9am–3pm):
      $8000 per year, plus $500 registration and $200 supply fee
   Morning Whole-Child program (M–Th, 7am-9am):
      $2000 per year
   Afternoon Whole-Child program (M–Th, 3pm–6pm):
      $3000 per year
   Friday camp (7am–3pm):
      $3000 per year
   Break camps (M–F, 8am–4pm):
      $250 per week
   1, 2, and 12 monthly installments available
Contact: Ali Ronder
  512.535.1277512.535.1277
  ali@integrityacademy.org

Lake Travis STEM Academy
Location: Northwest Austin
   10625 Ranch Road 620 North
   Austin, TX 78726
Students served: Ages 5–13, K–8th grade (currently serving
   K–5th)
Current enrollment: 21 (starting school’s second year)
Model/philosophy:
Nonprofit hybrid school combining
   classroom instruction with home-based family learning
   for grades K–8; mission is to provide a balanced learning
   environment, nurturing children’s natural curiosity about
   their world with student-centered experiences and a family-
   centered schedule
Special features: Curriculum is STEM (Science, Technology,
   Engineering, and Mathematics) integrated and emphasizes
   inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, problem solving,
   and the development of 21st-century skills; teachers are
   certified, with more than 40 years of combined teaching
   experience; formal school days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays,
   and Thursdays 9am–2pm, with optional Monday and Friday
   enrichment days coming soon
Tuition: $4,350 per year (or $500 per month if paid monthly);
   $175 application fee
Contact: Kori McLain, 512-784-7082512-784-7082
   or Summer Bell, 512-826-7909512-826-7909
   kori@LTSTEMacademy.org

The Living School
Location:
Central East Austin
Students served: ages 10 through 14 (age on Sept. 1, 2014)
Current enrollment: 14
Model/philosophy: Fostering well-educated, well-rounded
   young people who will go out into the world confidently
   pursuing their innate curiosity while respecting the Earth's
   inhabitants and bounty
Special features: Year-round, 3- or 4-day week; teaching
   tailored to children's individual interests and learning styles;
   multi-age, collaborative, hands-on learning in academics
   and life skills; emphasis on the arts, gardening, animal care,
   sustainability, community service, and family involvement
Tuition: 3 days per week: $5,160 per year or 12 monthly
   payments of $430; 4 days per week: $5,580 per year or
   12 monthly payments of $465; tuition includes lunch, a
   healthy morning snack, and all materials
Contact: Paula Estes
   512-477-3431512-477-3431
   grwing_s@swbell.net

The Magnolia School
Location:
Lake Travis
   2903 Ranch Road 620 North, Building B
   Austin, TX 78734
Students served: ages 3 through 13
Current enrollment: 6 (increasing to a capacity of 30)
Model/philosophy: Self-paced, individualized, and fun learning;
   students work through the curriculum at their own pace and
   receive regular one-on-one feedback; lessons are adjusted
   to meet each child's learning style and are fun so children
   want to come to school and enjoy learning
Special features: Open year-round, from 7:30am to 5:30pm;
   parents are welcome to drop off and pick up kids anytime
   during open hours
Tuition: $11,700 ($975 monthly); discounts available for
   siblings and when paying for the year in full
Contact: Glenn Carter
   512-266-9620512-266-9620
   Info@TheMagnoliaSchoolATX.com

Mariposa Montessori (Lower Elementary)
Location: South Austin
   4622 S. Lamar Blvd.
   Austin, TX 78745
Students served: 1st–3rd grade; ages 6–9 years
Current enrollment: now enrolling; up to 6 openings for fall
   2013; expansion to upper grades to be undertaken as
   students are ready to advance
Model/philosophy: Montessori
Special features: full Montessori elementary curriculum in
   multi-age classroom; student driven, with emphasis on
   development of critical thinking skills; strong community;
   lots of outdoor time, including hiking, gardening, and free
   play; field trip program; cooking using local and seasonal
   ingredients; integrated fine arts program; yoga and daily
   physical education; knitting and hand sewing; service to
   the community; low student-teacher ratios
Tuition: $900 per month, Aug.–May, plus $225 supply fee;
   discount for prepayment
Contact: Whitney Falcon, Director
   512-428-4280512-428-4280
   director@mariposamontessori.com

Mr. Darcy’s Class
Location:
Oak Hill/Southwest Austin
Students served: ages 6 through 11
  (range may advance next year)
Current enrollment: 5 (licensed for 12)
Model/philosophy: Waldorf inspired, with trained, experienced
   Waldorf teacher; designed for students who need a small,
   homelike, relaxed, but challenging learning environment;
   lessons often involve spirituality but are not religious
Special features: 5-day, mixed-age program; many elements
   of Waldorf curriculum; vigorous physical movement, artistic
   classes, and academics daily; emphasis on social skills,
   nonviolent communication, self-understanding, responsible
   stewardship, and respect for nature; classes in a private
   home on 2 acres; more info in this video
Tuition: $9,900 per year
Contact: David Darcy
   512-288-3926512-288-3926
   ddarcytx2000@yahoo.com

Progress School
Location:
Central Austin
   710 East 41st Street
   Austin, TX 78751
Students served: K through 5th grade in 2013–2014;
   school will grow to serve K through 8th
Current enrollment: 14
Model/philosophy: Relationship-based, organic education for
   natural learners
Special features: Both full-time and part-time spaces offered;
   noncoercive, nurturing environment; low student-teacher
   ratio; play- and project-based learning; integrated subject
   areas; organic gardening; wood shop; lots of outdoor time
Tuition: $8,000 per year or 10 monthly payments of $800,
   plus fees; sliding scale option available
Contact: Jennifer Hobbs
   512-680-4559512-680-4559
   contact@ProgressSchoolAustin.org

Skybridge Academy
Location: Southwest Austin
   13317 Fitzhugh Road
   Austin, Texas 78736
Students served: middle and high school students
Current enrollment: 42
Model/philosophy: Creating an environment where
   learning is sacred and everyone is committed to
   personal excellence
Special features: full-time, liberal arts college environment
   for junior high and high school; à la carte classes for
   homeschoolers; individualized curriculum is made vital
   through relating academics to a student's personal
   talents and passions; college admissions test prep;
   flexible hours; use of technology; deep socratic inquiry
Tuition: (for 2014–2015) full-time: $10,000 per year;
   part-time: $12 per class hour
Contact: Ariel Miller
   512-484-4976512-484-4976
   info@skybridgeatx.com

The Soleil School
Location: Southwest Austin
   13317 Fitzhugh Road
   Austin, Texas 78736
Students served: ages 5–10
Current enrollment:  7
Model/philosophy: Celebrating the uniqueness of each student
   and each guide; embracing innovation, variety, and
   dynamism; inspiring each child to find passion and purpose.
   Children are at the center of the classroom. Each class is a
   constellation; each child is a star. Learning is not production
   but a creative process of becoming.
Special features: Part of an education co-op, providing an
   integrated approach to K–12 education in collaboration
   with Skybridge Academy; full-and part-time options;
   academics including specialized instruction in science and
   art as well as personal work on the basics; focus on the
   whole child, with time for meditation, character development,
   and physical activities; optional after-school music class on
   Mondays
Tuition: $725 per month with a one-year commitment;
   application fee $50; fall supplies fee $150; spring supplies
   fee $150; enrollment fee $250
Contact: Carly Borders
   512-537-7562512-537-7562
   soleil.school@gmail.com

Springs Enrichment Academy
Location: Driftwood (southwest of Austin)
   Summerland Ranch
   19022 FM 150 W
   Driftwood,TX 78619
Students served: Pre-K through 6th grade
Current enrollment: 45
Model/philosophy: An eclectic, inclusive, secular school
   providing classes that reach the emotional, social, and
   intellectual being of each individual child
Special features: 2- and 3-day academic programs with
   parents serving as co-teachers at home; afterschool
   enrichment classes; one-day Monday enrichment
   program; experiential, hands-on, and socratic learning;
   real-life application; character education; arts integration
Tuition: 2-day academic program, $2,700 per year plus fees;
   3-day academic program, $4,000 per year plus fees;
   see website for other programs and further details
Contact: Mundy Morgan
   512-779-2499512-779-2499
   mundymorgan@yahoo.com

Terra Luz Community School
Location: Northwest Austin
Students served: currently 1st–2nd grades
   (enrolling K–3rd for 2014–2015) 
Current enrollment: 9 (now enrolling up to 15)
Model/philosophy: A balanced academic program with art,
   nature, and project-based learning; providing a creative
   environment where focused learners can thrive; inspired
   by the Reggio Emilia approach
Special features: Hybrid program including 3-day main
   program (Tues–Thurs) and 2-day Spanish immersion
   option (Mon & Fri, open to homeschoolers); small class
   sizes; team teaching; multi-age classrooms; place-based
   learning; authentic assessment; frequent field trips;
   practice of mindfulness in the classroom
Tuition: $5,500 per year (10 payments of $550)
Contact:  Melanie Anderson
   512-921-1124512-921-1124
   mel@terraluzschool.com

Whole Life Learning Center
Location:
South Austin
   10801 Old San Antonio Road
   Austin, TX 78748
Students served: ages 5 and up
Current enrollment: 42
Model/philosophy:  A holistic approach to education that
   synthesizes insights from Waldorf, Montessori, democratic
   education, and freedom-based learning; offering an
   integrated cultural curriculum with arts and academics,
   child-centered and project-based learning, mixed age
   groups, and small teacher-learner ratios; WLLC is a
   member of the SelfDesign network
Special features: Youth work with mentors to develop holistic
   learning plans, honoring each learner’s physical, intellectual,
   emotional, and spiritual development; groups work together
   to choose enrichment classes, plan projects, and organize
   field trips; 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-day programs available (3-day
   program is Tues/Wed/Thurs, and Mother Earth Mondays
   and Freedom Fridays are 1-day programs that can be taken
   alone or in addition to the 3-day program); located in South
   Austin on 2 acres with the mini-donkey Gertrude, a nanny
   goat, and several friendly chickens
Tuition:
   3-day program: $4,500 ($500 per month)
   Mother Earth Mondays: $2,000 (Sept.–May)
   Freedom Fridays: $2,000 (Sept.–May)
   Teen Mentoring Program: $2,250 (Fridays, Sept.–May)
   10% sibling discount
Contact: Michael Carberry
   512-944-0279512-944-0279
   michael@wholelifelearningcenter.com

 

Location:  Central Austin
   710 East 41st Street
   Austin, TX 78751
Students served: K through 3rd grade currently;
   school will grow to serve K through 8th
Current enrollment: 5
Model/philosophy: Organic education for natural learners
Special features: non-coercive, nurturing environment;
   low student-teacher ratio; play- and project-based
   learning; integrated subject areas; organic gardening;
   wood shop; lots of outdoor time
Tuition: $8,000 per year or 10 monthly payments of $800,
   plus fees
Contact: Jennifer Hobbs
   512-680-4559512-680-4559
   contact@ProgressSchoolAustin.org