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5th Grade Program

5th Grade at Paragon Prep

Research shows that children are reaching puberty earlier in life; thus the 10-year-old 5th grader faces many of the age-old (middle school) challenges of adolescence. A growing trend in middle schools is to include 5th grade on the campus of 6th – 8th grades. Always on the cutting edge, Paragon will be celebrating its 11th year of teaching 5th grade on its middle school campus in 2010. The Cash School of 5th Grade Excellence is a unique opportunity for bright, hardworking 5th graders!

There are so many advantages to attending 5th grade at Paragon. The top five would include:

1. Amazing Teachers The faculty members at Paragon are an elite group. The teachers possess a love for middle school students and a passion for teaching their subject areas. All 5th grade core classes are taught by Bob Cash, who has taught 5th grade for 21 years, the last 11 at Paragon.

2. Small Class Size Appropriate class size is crucial to learning. Paragon’s 5th grade class size has averaged 18 over the last eleven years. By contrast, 5th grade classes in Austin public schools can legally be as large as 30 students. And AISD has no cap on class sizes for classes for 6th through 8th graders.

3. Stellar Classmates Adolescent students begin to value the approval of their friends over that of parents and teachers. Having a class filled with great peers with shared priorities helps students stay on track through their middle school years. All students admitted to Paragon have successfully met the school’s demanding admissions requirements of proven academic success and good classroom behavior. While at Paragon, students are held to high standards of behavior, and character development is a daily part of life.

4. Middle School Campus Paragon 5th graders have the best of both worlds. They have their own building on Paragon’s campus in which they spend the majority of their day taking their core classes. They also have opportunities to interact positively with the older students and other teachers through advisory groups, sports teams, and special activities. Transitioning to Paragon’s 6th grade is a breeze for the 5th grade graduates.

5. Competitive Sports All Paragon students, including 5th graders, are encouraged to play on the school’s sports teams against other private school teams in the Austin area. There are some life lessons easier learned on the court or field than in a classroom at this age. How great to be able to do this with one’s classmates!


What Parents and Students Are Saying

Mr. Cash is one of those once in a life time teachers. The one you look back at as an adult and it makes you smile that someone like that was part of your life for a little while.

Beth and Dave Yanke
Parents of Caleb, a current student of Mr. Cash
and Ben, Mr. Cash’s student in 2005-06


Simply put, Mr. Cash has a way of making our daughter strive toward excellence. What more could a parent want!

Camille and Sandy Kress
Parents of Molly, a current student of Mr. Cash


I guess the best way I’d sum it up is to say that I think Niko has been extraordinarily privileged to have a teacher like Mr. Cash, who combines an impressive breadth of knowledge with a passion for teaching and an unusual ability to motivate 5th graders in a wide range of subjects.

Really, truly, being with in Mr. Cash’s class is a gift of a lifetime that Niko has received this year and for this we are deeply grateful.

Wendy Hunter and Kurt Weyland
Parents of Niko, a current student of Mr. Cash


Mr. Cash defines excellence.  He is competent, challenging, encouraging, inspiring and reliable.  Bob’s educational stew consists of awe-inducing wisdom flavored with fun teaching techniques.  There is no doubt; Bob Cash is simply the best educator our family has been blessed with.  We cannot imagine where our daughter (and hopefully our son in ’10-’11!) could better spend her day.  Mr. Cash’s classroom truly deserves its name:  The Cash School of Excellence.    We love you, Mr. Cash!!!

Scott and Sue Harralson
Parents of Clio, a current student of Mr. Cash


Our son adores Mr. Cash.  Everyday he comes home and quotes Mr. Cash.  We have seen Alec mature so much this year.  Mr. Cash has not only been good as a teacher but as a role model.

Tom and Michelle Hunter
Parents of Alec, a current student of Mr. Cash


Mr. Cash is still a near-daily topic at the Stewart home.  We’ve probably had a half-dozen calls this year from families considering Paragon for their 5th grader next year.  I tell them if their child would thrive in a small, family-like, rigorously academic environment, and they can afford the tuition, the opportunity to experience Mr. Cash absolutely should not be missed.  Grace (2007-08) will report without hesitation that Mr. Cash is the best teacher she has ever had, or expects to ever have.

Personally, I tell people that teaching is Mr. Cash’s ministry.  I’m tearing up just writing about him.  Really, there are no words to convey the confidence, education, and attention he provided Grace in 5th grade.  The Stewart family is evermore grateful and hopes he realizes how much we value the time we had with him.

We hold Paragon and Mr. Cash in highest regard.

Liz & Duff Stewart
Parents of Grace, Mr. Cash’s student in 2007-08


My 3rd-grade daughter, Julia, has heard us rave about Mr. Cash ever since Aaron had him for 5th grade; in fact, he’s the reason we jumped ship from our elementary school a year early. One recent afternoon, as I pulled around back to pick up Aaron, Julia spotted Mr. Cash walking from the main building to his classroom. She turned to her friend, who was coming home with us for a playdate, and said solemnly, “That’s the reason I’m going to Paragon in two years.

Pam and David Penick
Parents of Aaron, Mr. Cash’s student in 2006-07
(and hopefully Julia in 2010!)


Mr. Cash is an AMAZING teacher. He prepared me very well for 6th grade, and better yet the rest of my life. The map quizzes we took are helping so much at Murchison, where we are repeating things like labeling the states in the U.S and learning capitols, but now I know all of that. Mr. Cash was a great basketball coach too. I have never been the most coordinated person, but I have gotten SO much better thanks to his encouraging words and coaching style. Thanks, Mr. Cash!

Claire Dollen
Mr. Cash’s student in 2007-08


Mr. Cash has been a blessing to our entire family.  He has the gift of encouraging kids to do their very best by combining high expectations AND supporting them exactly how they need it most.  When something ‘special’ happens in Claire’s life, she always wants to tell Mr. Cash.  Even as a 7th grader, she understands that Mr. Cash is a person who has made a huge impact on her young life.

We only wish we would have known his gifts earlier so Scott could have had the wonderful opportunity of Mr Cash as HIS fifth grade teacher.

Claudia and Mike Dollen
Parents of Claire, Mr. Cash’s student in 2006-07


It’s not just what he teaches, which in itself is amazing, but it’s the kind of person he is and how he teaches the kids to be better people…to grow in life and to succeed as good human beings. Will said last night, ‘He wasn’t just dedicated to the curriculum, but he was also dedicated to helping us excel outside of Paragon as people.’  He just might end up being the finest teacher Will ever has.  I don’t know how anyone could top Bob Cash.

Suzanne and David Deaderick
Parents of Will, Mr. Cash’s student in 2006-07


There are few people who, by their actions rather than words, tell the world that they’ve found the profession that is exactly for them.  Bob Cash is one.

Butch and Diane Hayes
Parents of Braden, Mr. Cash’s student in 2006
and Kirby, Mr. Cash’s student next year!


He is tough, but… I’ll tell you what struck gold with Marina.  The 3-page letter he hand wrote to her at the end of the year.  It was very personal and pointed out the struggles she overcame that year along with a list of her talents he admired.  I personally broke down in tears when I read it.  I keep that letter in her file because I think it is something she will enjoy reading over and over as she gets older and more mature.   Only a very dedicated teacher would take the time to dissect each of his students to find what makes them special and then share these thoughts with them as he sends them on their way.

All hail Mr. Cash as the best 5th grade teacher ever!”

Susan and Michael Parker
Parents of Marina, Mr. Cash’s student in 2004-05


What can I say about Mr. Cash?  I would like to say “Thank You” for one.  He has shown both of my kids that integrity, hard work and persistence do pay off.  Due to his teaching of real life lessons I believe my children are stronger mentally, physically and emotionally.  They still quote Mr. Cash!  I have tried to tell him what a positive influence he has been on them but I have to say working with him as made a positive effect on our entire family.  His modesty and humbleness are also very endearing traits. I am going to miss him as we leave Paragon this year for high school.

Tracy and Brian Brown
Parents of Will, Mr. Cash’s student in 2005-06
and Samantha, Mr. Cash’s student in 2000-01


Mr. Cash is many things to many people… to some of us he is a catalyst for learning, a true setter of academic standards, and an advocate for not just the best in the class but even for those most challenged.  His uncompromising encouragement of our children to attain the goals each has set for him or herself is one of his most outstanding attributes.    His smile is warm and genuine, his handshake firm and confident and the respect he shows his students is mirrored back to him ten-fold.  How do you sum up 20 years of teaching… 20 years of commitment to others… and 20 years of dedication to excellence in his profession?  It’s simple.   Bob Cash is a class act!  And Paragon Prep should feel honored to have a man of this caliber teaching and positively influencing our children.

Brian Peierls
Father of Derek, Mr. Cash’s student in 2004-05
and Stefan, Mr. Cash’s student in 2001-02


I think the main reason we went to Paragon was because of Mr. Cash.  GK thrived in his class.  He is one of the most respectful people I have ever seen.  I can remember our parent-student-teacher conferences.  He always addressed GK and asked for her feedback, teaching her that she owned her education.  One of the most special things of GK’s school experience is when she received the letter and photographs from Mr. Cash at the end of 5th grade.  She will treasure that forever.  Congratulations, Bob!

Dr. Karen Swenson
Mother of Grace-Katherine Myers, Mr. Cash’s student in 2003-04


When I first came to Paragon to shadow 5th grade, I was so worried that I would not do well because some of the material they were covering, I had never heard of.  I look back on the fears I had and think how easy these subjects are to me now.  It is all due to Mr. Cash.  He was the best teacher I ever had.  He listens.  He has the best ways of explaining things in a funny, but interesting way.  If you messed up, all you had to do was talk to him and things would clear up.  Mr. Cash also knew what you were capable of, so if you didn’t live up to your best, you would hear about it!!  My favorite thing Mr. Cash would say when he was disappointed in what you did was, “You’re not disappointing me, you are disappointing yourself.”  I remember when he said that, whether it was directed to you or the class, it made you feel horrible about whatever you did, causing you not to do it again.

I think above all, Mr. Cash did the best job on the way I feel about myself now.  He gave me confidence knowing that I could do well.  When I got a test grade back that was good, and he told me how proud he was, it was like the best day of my life.

To the least, Mr. Cash rocks, and I hope that all people are lucky enough to have had him for the 5th grade.

Lucy Tiblie
Mr. Cash’s student in 2007-08


Abraham Lincoln once advised, “Do not worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”  Bob Cash is without a doubt a person worthy of recognition. I had the privilege of having Mr. Cash as my 5th grade teacher as well as my middle school basketball coach. Though I am no longer one of his students nor one of his basketball players he remains an important mentor to me and a good friend. Mr. Cash is one of the most encouraging, thoughtful, humble and self-sacrificing people I know. It is impossible to speak with him and not hear something uplifting and affirming and he is never lacking in genuine concern and thoughtful questions. He is also an excellent teacher. Not only did Mr. Cash patiently guide me through the confusing labyrinths of long division and linear graphs, motivate me to learn (and correctly spell) the capitols of all 50 states, and instruct me in the finer details of running a zone defense and a press break, but he showed me the satisfaction brought by hard work and generosity as well as the importance of character and the meaning of integrity.

Mr. Cash – I cannot tell you how grateful I am to you and for you. Thank you for being such a blessing in my life.

Amy Erickson
Remarks made at LC Anderson High School’s 2008 Who’s Who Banquet
Mr. Cash’s student in 2000-01


Mr.Cash was my teacher. He didn’t teach to be done, he taught so we could learn. He did not only teach with enthusiasm,  he also taught us about morals. I remember us coming in from P.E. to get a stern lecture reminding us that it’s a game to be graceful losers, and winners. Before I got to Mr. Cash’s class,  I was relatively unchallenged.  I spaced out or zoned out the teacher. Then I got to his class and I was finally challenged.  He taught me to use my time wisely,  the importance of hard work and he also taught me that a job half done is a job worth not doing at all. When I entered his class,  writing was an issue for me.  I didn’t like it and I hardly did it.  When I entered his class,  he dragged out my own style of writing and allowed me to become a great writer.

Walter Stroup
Mr. Cash’s student in 2006-07