Baranoff Elementary School, home of the Baranoff Buffaloes, is one of the top-rated schools in the Shady Hollow Austin neighborhood. Built in 1998, this young facility has dazzled both school administrators and parents alike. “My daughter just started kindergarten this year at Baranoff,” enthuses one parent, “and she has learned so much. She’s already reading second grade level books.”
To no one’s surprise, the Texas Education Agency also has glowing things to report – the 2008-2009 “school report card” for Baranoff includes Gold Performance Acknowledgment commendations for student performance in reading, writing, mathematics and science. TAKS scores were also impressive, with 97% of Baranoff students passing in math and writing, and 98% passing in reading/ELA. The school enjoys a student-to-full-time-teacher ratio of nearly 17 students-per-teacher, which almost certainly has had some bearing on the school’s success. Baranoff Elementary also benefits from close partnerships with local industry leaders like 3M and AMD, as well as a Peer Assistance League partnership with Bowie High School.
However, academics isn’t the totality of a Shady Hollow school experience. “Helping others and our sense of community is a strong value here at Baranoff,” says PTA president Theresa Keannini. To that end, Baranoff students gathered 425 coats in the 2009 Coats for Kids drive, and have raised money for sister school Blazier Elementary’s library.
The school is named for Dr. Timy Baranoff. Dr. Baranoff has been teaching in the Austin area since 1963. Her service to the education of children in central Texas has been recognized with the Sallie Beth Moore Award, the L.D. Haskew Award, and the Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America Award, among others. She remains involved as the president of the Austin Retired Teachers Association. “Timy is a very child-focused individual,” says Debra Sansom, Baranoff Elementary’s Principal. “Her entire life has been dedicated to young people and their education.”
Just like its founder, Baranoff Elementary isn’t ready to rest on its laurels. Among its continuing initiatives to improve its services to Shady Hollow, the school has recently completed an eight-classroom addition, and is working to implement hands-on science education at all grade levels and to expand extended-day activities such as choir and volleyball. It seems only fitting, considering the poem Dr. Baranoff wrote to share her feelings when she heard she was being honored by having a school named after her:
I sat still for a moment and thought what that meant
To receive such an honor was indeed a special event
It was amazing, incredible, my heart gave a leap,
I couldn’t breathe for a moment, then I thought,
‘there’d be promises to keep’…