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L.A. County High School For The Arts2
Posted February 05, 2015
- a student
The student body is not very close or particularly enthusiastic for the school. Apparently very few people are bothering to buy Grad Night tickets this year (meaning it may be cancelled), and Prom is on shaky ground. Winter Formal, which I have heard was quite popular 5-10 years ago, ceased existing in my sophomore year because people stopped buying tickets. There are still plenty of wacky and artistic kids that go here, but there has been an obvious decrease in the emphasis and passion for art that my friends and I saw and enjoyed our freshman year. I remember when I took a tour of the school in 2011, my group was lead through a plethora of arts classes in the afternoon. Now, with myself leading tours this year, we only show the academic classes and a scattering of empty arts classrooms. Many of the arts teachers are leaving, and I have heard rumors that many freshmen in the theatre department have already decided that they will not be returning next year. However, this is only my opinion. I am sure there are students here who are completely fine with LACHSA. However, as a senior who has spoken with many others in my class, it is clear to us that the culture has changed.
From the student perspective, there are tremendous demands on their time and its very rare that they may have a free day during the semester. Between a fair amount of homework and projects from visual arts classes, it looks and feels like college. In this respect, LACHSA is not for everyone and thus your child had better be pretty committed to their art of choice. Many students believe academics are secondary compared to their art pursuit. In terms of teacher quality for academics, a majority of the teachers are either mediocre to poor. Most appear not to want to teach and are just putting in their time and pushing worksheets as busy work rather than really engaging the students. To date, I've only seen 2 teachers who truly are committed to the students and their craft (D.T. for math, S.D. for science). As appears with most LA schools, the administration doesn't really encourage or want parent interaction and are pretty much operating by policies and procedures and rules rather than looking at individual situations. Think very, very carefully before sending your child here. If I had to do this experience over again, likely I would have moved to orange county.
This low rating is only because I am a student in the (flawed) Theatre Department and have dealt with the subpar academics, especially in math. This year LACHSA decided they not able to move classes around for a large fraction of Seniors wanting to take a language and math, so me and many other students were forced to not take math or a language class this year because it was simply not provided. The Senior English teacher was not hired until halfway through the first semester, so my class had to deal with a wide range of substitutes, none of which could teach. As for the Theatre Department, it is hardly fair and opportunities to perform are slim if you do not have the "right look" or are not close with the teacher or department head. This is understandable considering the department is preparing theatre students for the real, professional world, but valuing looks or connections over talent is something almost too commonly seen, especially when casting time for shows comes around. I know many students who do not enjoy theatre any more because of their experiences at LACHSA.
Great school! Pros: Strong visual arts program Great for college portfolios Has A.P. classes A lot of like-minds Academic teachers who (for the most part) understand their artistic pupils. Very friendly and nourishing environment Very edgy/stylish architecture Cons: Would love to see better math teachers who TEACH Too many theater kids The college doesn't like us very much (they blame everything on us) Hallways = worse than LA traffic
Our daughter loves the visual arts program. The teachers go out of their way to provide the support she needs in both academics and the arts. There is always something exciting going on as the team draws in the world for the students.
Looking at it from a very objective point of view, LACHSA is a school that is in development. The school itself likes to be liberal and accepting of which it is, but some of its ideas are half-accomplished or are not executed properly. Subtle things, such as not allowing the kids to use the elevators or the exits are not good security measures since they use them anyways because the hallways are so crowded and though new and better teachers have come, some teachers that do not match up to proper standards cannot be rid of because of their seniority. Of course, some ideas are well executed, with many of the teachers having an artistic or interesting background and able to support and socialize with the students. The art classes are generally well-liked by the students and does give an experience that most high schools do not have the capability of doing. With its idealogy and motivation, LACHSA, with improvement, can reach new heights.
My son is exhilarated every morning when he wakes up to go to LACHSA. He loves the teachers, he loves his classes and most of all he is so excited with the theater arts classes and thankful for the opportunity to go to high school with other kids that love acting!
My son completed his first semester at LACHSA and loves it. He struggles academically (especially with the arts load) but his teachers are very supportive and give him every opportunity to succeed. I have found them all to be very caring. I am sure that the AP classes are more challenging if your student can handle them along with their arts. LACHSA is not about performances or being a star. If that is a priority then another place may suit them better, i.e. Hollywood High. LACHSA is about learning the fundamentals and different aspects of an art field that would not likely be taught in high school, i.e. different acting, singing, painting, dance styles or techniques; music theory, sight reading. The students are being prepared so they have the background to truly become an artist in a socially accepting diverse environment. We have donated $ and gone to the various fundraisers but I have never felt any pressure to give anything more than I wanted to give. I doubt that I could ever give enough $ to equal the opportunity my son is receiving at LACHSA. Review the course offering on their site to get a better feel as to what LACHSA is about before you decide to apply.