Sponsoring Partners


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.)

Location: Austin and everywhere online
Students served: Young people ages 10–18; 8- and 9-year-olds
   considered under unique circumstances
Current enrollment: 7 Learners; open enrollment
Model/philosophy: Abrome is based on the axiom that young
   people are competent and active knowledge seekers who
   learn best through experiences such as play, conversation,
   investigation, and experimentation. The program helps young
   people lead remarkable lives in the present as the best
   preparation for the future. See Abrome’s mission and vision.
Special features: A community that promotes autonomy and
   intrinsic motivation; learning happens all the time, so Abrome
   is accessible during weekends and evenings; coercion free;
   no teachers, curriculum, or instruction; research-based
   approach that treats young people as adults;
   nationwide network of peers; one-on-one sessions with
   Learning Coaches; elite college prep if desired
Tuition: $5,200 per year, $2,860 per half year, or $1,560 per
Contact: Antonio Buehler

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 2015–2016), 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

Acton Academy North
Location: Round Rock
   22A Chisholm Trail
   Round Rock, TX 78681
Students served: Elementary School, ages 6 through 10;
   Middle School, ages 11 through 14;
   High School, ages 14 through 18
Current enrollment: now enrolling for Fall 2014, with a
   maximum of 12 students
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, and to equip
   students to love learning through apprenticeship and
   entrepreneurship utilizing the Montessori and Socratic
   methods in a project-based environment
Special features:
online adaptive software for math and
   language, project-based learning, Socratic discussion
   groups, and examination of the Hero’s Journey and how it
   applies personally to each student
$625 per month for 12 months ($8,500 total per year;
   this includes a $1,000 nonrefundable deposit)
Deborah Castellano, Founding Co-owner and Head
   of School

AHB Community School
North Central Austin
   4001 Speedway
   Austin, TX 78753
Students served:
ages 5 through 12
Current enrollment:
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

Austin EcoSchool
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

Austin Rising School
Southwest Austin
   Near the Y in Oak Hill
Students served: ages 7–13
Current enrollment: 25
Model/philosophy: Created by homeschooling families striving
   to create an affordable 2-day academic and enrichment
   learning environment following a holistic approach, ARS is a
   100% not-for-profit hybrid co-op with highly talented paid
   teachers in addition to parent-taught classes. Parental and
   family involvement will be through “parent passion” classes,
   where families take turns teaching what they are excited
   to teach.
Special features: Holistic mindset following developmentally
   appropriate time lines; arts-integrated and project-based
   learning in cross-curricular modules; a family environment
   where relationships are nurtured among students, teachers,
   and families; a responsive classroom environment where
   kindness and empathy are the school culture; primary focus
   on the emotional intelligence of each child through the
   empathy-based Kids of Kindness Club curriculum; yoga/
   meditation /quiet study areas
Tuition: $200 per month ($1,400 per year)
Contact: Michelle Kindig or Michelle Larios

Clearview Sudbury School
Central East Austin
   1507 Wilshire Blvd.
   Austin, TX 78722
Students served: ages 5 through 19
Current enrollment: 31
Model/philosophy: Sudbury model
Special features: Self-directed learning in a democratic,
   multi-age community; full respect for students and
   intellectual freedom
Tuition: $7,000 per year; sibling discounts and tuition
   assistance available
Contact: Kimberly Engleman

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

Good Earth Farm School
   10820 E. Crystal Falls Parkway
   Leander, TX 78641
Students served: K–1st grade; ages 5–7; fall birthdays
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

The Griffin School
Central Austin
   5001 Evans Avenue
   Austin, TX 78751
Students served: 9th through 12th grades
Current enrollment: 85
Model/philosophy: Griffin School is a college preparatory
   high school community defined by academic rigor and
Special features: creative and personalized environment
   that encourages expression and interaction; core classes
   capped at 12–15 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: $14,400 per year, plus an $850 annual fee
Contact: Caroline Wilson

The Inside Outside School
near SH 130 & Cameron Road
   (transportation provided from Mueller area and
   North Central Austin)
   5530 Killingsworth Lane
   Pflugerville, TX 78660
Students served: K through 6th grade
Current enrollment: 28
Educating for Human Greatness and
   Integrated Thematic Instruction
Special features: Democratic approach; relevant, place-based,
   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,
   gardening, and farm animals. This year the integrated theme
   is “What’s For Dinner?” The school will be launching its own
   small-scale CSA and Youth Farmer’s Market. Students will
   deepen their connection to place and purpose by growing
   food for themselves and their families.
Tuition: $7,500 per year plus enrollment fee
Contact: Deborah Hale

Integrity Academy
Location: 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
   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

Lake Travis STEM Academy
Location: Northwest Austin
   10625 Ranch Road 620 North
   Austin, TX 78726
Students served: Ages 5–14, K–8th grade (high school
   opens in 2016)
Current enrollment: 25 (starting school’s third year)
Private 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 into the Common
   Core curriculum 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 9:15am–3pm, with
   4th day option on Fridays
Tuition: $5,400 per year (or $600 per month if paid monthly);
   $175 application fee, plus curriculum and technology fees;
   sibling discounts
Contact: Kori McLain, 512-784-7082

The Living School
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

The Magnolia School
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

Mr. Darcy’s Class
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

Progress School
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:
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
$8,000 per year or 10 monthly payments of $800,
   plus fees; sliding scale option available
Jennifer Hobbs

Radicle Roots Community Schoolhouse
Location: Central Austin
   3310 Red River
   Austin, TX 78705
Students served: K–4th, growing to serve K–8th
Current enrollment: 8
Model/philosophy: The Schoolhouse is an experiential,
   democratic learning community where youth have the
   freedom to pursue meaningful learning, joy, and
   connection. It is committed to being accessible and diverse.
Special features: 5-day week; multi-age learning based on
   play, place, projects, and inspiration; a balance of class
   lessons and self-directed time surrounded by strong
   mentorship; focus on sustainability and nature connection;
   weekly field trips utilizing navigation by foot, bike, and bus;
   emphasis on social and emotional intelligence; democratic
   school meeting; onsite after-care available
Tuition: $5,850 per year; may be paid in 1, 2, or 9 payments
Caitlin Macklin, founder/teacher

Schoolhouse Academy
Location: Northwest Austin
   Rattan Creek Community Center
   7617 Elkhorn Mountain Trail
   Austin, TX 78729
Students served: ages 8–10 (with some flexibility)
Current enrollment: 4 (enrolling a maximum of 8 students)
Model/philosophy: Academic workshops that supplement
   homeschool learning in a secular, progressive environment
   to help students develop critical thinking abilities,
   truly understand concepts, and have social opportunities
   in a small-group setting
Special features: 2-day program (M/W 11–3); very small
   workshop-style classes with a focus on acquiring knowledge
   and developing critical thinking skills; science begins with
   animal physiology, genetics, and behavior, including
   dissection, and moves onto space or another topic; unit
   studies will start with mythology in different cultures, and
   additional topics will be determined with teacher and parent
   input; lunch/play/organized games daily; theater arts
   incorporated into learning
Tuition: $2,000 per academic year (25 weeks); books, supplies,
   and equipment included; payment plans, sibling discount
Contact: Karen Dale Wolman

Seeding the Future Center
South Austin
   near Manchaca & Stassney (on the Cap Metro bus line)
Students served:
ages 12–19
Current enrollment:
Seeding the Future Center utilizes the
   principles of SelfDesign in its work with learners as it builds
   a community of care. The center’s mission is to guide learners
   toward their innate genius by designing self-directed learning
   plans that are supported by mentors, coaches, the learner’s
   family, and the community at large.
Special features:
Meeting together in South Austin on
   Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 3:30pm to engage
   in learning that is real and meaningful: young adults in the
   center are creating business(es), making music and films,
   and pursuing courses of study that include sacred geometry,
   herbology, fashion design, yoga, meditation, engineering,
   and programming. They are also learning how to
   communicate and present their ideas, set goals, complete
   projects, collaborate in teams, and love learning.
2-day fee: $4,275 for 9 months upfront tuition or $475
   monthly per student; 1-day fee: $2250 for 9 months upfront
   tuition or $250 monthly per student; sliding scale based on
   need and each family’s unique situation; 15% sibling discount;
   work exchanges may be available in lieu of some tuition 
Contact: Tracey Huguley

Skybridge Academy
Location: Southwest Austin
   13317 Fitzhugh Road
   Austin, Texas 78736
Students served: middle and high school students
Current enrollment: 50
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

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

Terra Luz Community School
Location: Northwest Austin
Students served: K–3rd and looping up each year 
Current enrollment: 14 (max is 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: 3-day program meeting Tuesday,
   Wednesday, and Thursday; 7:1 ratio with 2 certified
   teachers; 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

Vivero Schoolhouse
Location: Buda, Texas
   West of I-35 near the intersection of FM 1626 and FM 967,
   ten minutes south of South Park Meadows
Students served: Ages 5–11; fall birthdays considered
Current enrollment: now enrolling for Fall 2014
Model/philosophy: Every child is unique and has the innate
   ability to reach his or her full potential, especially when
   given the right environment. Every child deserves a warm
   and safe place to learn.  At Vivero, students are encouraged
   to take risks and learn while feeling empowered about their
Special features: Spanish immersion program including core
   courses as well as art, music, yoga, and meditation in Spanish
   and English, and a strong emphasis on learning Spanish in a
   fun and engaging way; time for mixed-aged groups; two
   vegetable gardens (3,500 sq ft), two corrals with pygmy
   goats, and two chicken coops used as learning centers
Tuition: 5-day program (Monday–Friday): $5,850 per year
   (1, 2, or 9 payments); 4-day program: $4,950 per year
   (1, 2, or 9 payments); 2-day program (Tuesday/Thursday or
   Monday/Wednesday): $4050 (1, 2, or 9 payments)
Contact: Malu Martinez

Whole Life Learning Center
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
   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

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