This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Oakland School for the Arts1
Posted February 08, 2015
- a community member
I observed classrooms for a day at OSA and saw an astonishing amount of rudeness on the part od students to teachers with no respect to their basic humanity. the students had big egos about there "talents" but weren't nice or welcoming to me. I don't want to go there.
My daughter is in her second year at OSA, she is a seventh grader. My daughter has come alive at this school. She is so happy, motivated and self directed that I offer little direction. She wakes up everyday on her own excited to get to school on time. Y way of public transportation. She could literally be at school all day; sun up to sun down and not want to leave. Academically she is also doing well, above. 3.0. She loves to learn and has taken part in the science club without prompting from me. The teachers are hold high expectations and offer support whenever needed. Because many of the teachers cross teach in the arts, they seem to understand the kids. They are true gems in terms of holding the space the kids are in and recognizing they are still learning and developing. We have had zero problems with the teachers and the communication has been stellar. Middle school is the time students try on many different hats trying to figure out who they are and who they want to become. OSA offers a safe and supportive environment that allows her to flourish into the person she wants to become. Happy OSA family.
I just finished my senior year attending Oakland School for the Arts, graduating in the class of 2014, I was excited to finally get my diploma. The school started of in portables, but now that it is in such a beautiful and historic building such as the FOX Theater, it creates a very inspirational atmosphere. In my four years attending OSA, it has had a huge influence within the media. With alumnae like Zendya from Disney channel and students staring on competition shows like Americas got talent, I know this school will birth many new stars of the future. Also the college enrollment for the high school is extremely high, all of my friends I know, are now starting their fall quarter of college. Thanks to attending Oakland School for the arts I got a heads up in applying into my dream college based on a full year scholarship. I am now attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, one of the top fashion schools in the United States, that host TV shows like Project runway and Threads. If your child truly has a passion, Oakland school for the Arts is the best one to develop that into a career.
My son is in the Digital Media small school at OSA. He wakes up happy to go to school every day. He says often that he forgets that he is at school because he likes it so much. His teachers are prepared, energetic and interesting. He does not have one bad teacher. OSA has chosen gifted students, teachers and staff so it is no surprise that it is a great environment for kids to learn and mature as a human being and as artists. If your child is honestly gifted in the arts there is no better place for them than at OSA.
My student is a senior at OSA. Her first 2 years of high school were at a suburban high school. She was not happy there. Her grades were mediocre, her mood was down. It was not the right place for her. She started at OSA and found friends, her artwork has developed and her grades are great. They are great because she works hard because she cares. OSA really changed her outlook. She has had good and great teachers. I get regular emails about grades from her teachers. I get weekly emails regarding school event, meetings, needs, etc. Our emphasis has a facilitator that is very organized. She communicates with all of us as needed. Mr. Harris is constantly working on new initiatives. My student's department bought needed equipment last year. We currently have a multi-year lease on the Sweets Ballroom which gives us a dedicated theater for our performances. The staff at OSA is really friendly. When I call they are nice and helpful. The security is good and polite. I feel like the kids are being cared for. The arts programs are so impressive. OSA has been a great place for my kid and for our family.
Our motivated and quirky kid entered OSA sick of school, saddened by being bullied; disgusted with the rudeness and immaturity of the students at our local middle school. She found at OSA: supportive classmates...a caring mentor...committed teachers...a refuge and a place where she bonded with others and where it was okay to be ambitious and worldly. She graduated from OSA in three years and entered UC Santa Cruz this fall--so far is earning straight A's there. Parent involvement is turbo charged.
As a student at OSA, I can tell you that isn't a horrible school. Although I do not like it myself, that does not mean that it isn't the right fit for you or your child. But that being said, it is (like many have stated previously) poorly managed. I have had issues with another student of sexual harassment that was NOT handled to the extent that it should have been. The teachers are either outstanding or very mediocre, and behavior and dress code is brushed aside despite the facade that they are enforced. But, while the administration is lacking, the arts are far from it. The students that are really passionate about art excel to above college standards, and even the kids who don't apply themselves as much in art either drastically improve or are given a new view on their emphasis. Teachers incorporate a specific students' emphasis to help them understand their academic studies, and the arts are taken very very seriously. This is the right fit for a child with a strong adoration for their art, even if they aren't the sharpest pencil in the box.
Our daughter is a 7th-grade theater student in her second year at OSA. She came to OSA from a top-flight Oakland public elementary school, and her transition to the frenetic, hyper-creative, largely indoor, combined middle- and high-school atmosphere at OSA was somewhat stressful at first. She's settled in now, though, and neither she nor we would trade the OSA experience for any other; her academic education has been more than satisfactory and her arts education has been extraordinary. Her teachers, both academic and arts, are passionate, fair, well educated, and very intelligent. As a result of the creative collaborations she's been a part of, she has a very diverse friend pool that extends from sixth to twelfth graders, from Alameda to Livermore to Richmond to Brentwood. One of our fondest hopes in sending her to OSA was that her middle school social and cultural life would be founded in creative collaboration rather than superficial judgmentalism; so far, so good.