Location: Cedar Park
3402 Little Elm Trail
Cedar Park, TX 78613
Students served: Age 3–8th Grade
Current enrollment: 17, accepting a maximum of 25
Model/philosophy: Joule is a school designed by a nine-year-old gifted kid. (You can read this story on the school’s website.) Students don’t sit still and don’t do worksheets. Classes are fun, usually involve singing about what the students are learning, and take place outside whenever possible. Classes are multi-age groups with flexible pacing, so students are able to advance whenever they are ready, rather than waiting until the end of the year.
Special features: Year-round school. Students aged 6 and under may choose either a full-day or partial-day schedule. Electives include French, Spanish, Latin, piano, typing/programming, and gardening. The school day is split between time with an instructor (completely hands-on) and independent work time. Many different areas of study are available, such as pottery, sewing, entrepreneurship, and cooking. The Joule School is the regional hub for Youth Mensa of Central Texas, and Madison McWilliams, principal of Joule, is now also the Gifted Youth Coordinator for this region of Mensa. Activities for Young Mensans throughout the region are offered at and through The Joule School. It is also the official school of historic Nameless Schoolhouse in Leander, a one-room school built in 1909. The Joule School partners with the Schoolhouse to explore how the one-room model can be applied to contemporary microschools today, including holding classes throughout the year in its fully restored 108-year-old classroom.
Partial day: 8:15am–1:30pm (option for students ages 6 and under)
Full day: 8:15am–4:00pm
Before-/after-school care: 7:30am–5:30pm
Tuition: partial day, $8,600 per year; full day, $10,500 per year
Contact: Madison McWilliams, M.Ed, G.A.C. | 818-925-6853 | email@example.com
Each listing in this alphabetical directory gives you a snapshot of a small, independent, alternative school in the Austin area.
This ever-expanding list spans several pages, with navigation buttons at the bottom. Clicking on the name of a school will take you to its own website. To easily find schools by geographical area, see our Alt Ed Maps page. 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 other recommended schools, as well as special programs for children and adults.
Full disclosure: Alt Ed Austin founder Teri Sperry has ties with several of the schools listed on this site. Her child has attended two of them. She has friends and collaborators who direct, teach at, or are otherwise involved in others. Some programs choose to advertise from time to time on Alt Ed Austin as Sponsoring Partners. She firmly believes that all of the schools featured on this site (including the ones to which she has no personal connection and those from which she receives no advertising fees) are great choices for some kids, each for different reasons.