I agree with the previous parent - OCSA is an amazing school and the counselors are VERY GOOD, and really care about their students. This is our 3rd year and we have never waited more than 4 hours for an email from our counselor in response to our question. Again, OCSA is not an easy school, especially if your child is an Honors student or AP class student - those classes take a lot of time so plan your child's life according to that heavy homework schedule. Rehearsals, tech weeks, and shows can take up a lot of hours in a week so parents need to watch the burn-out factor big time. Don't overbook your student or don't let him/her overbook their social life - academics must come first or they will not do well at this school, in my opinion. OCSA students are there because they want to be there, and they know it - there is a long waiting list to get into the school, for a good reason. Hope this helps. Good luck.
My daughter is a senior and I can say that school counselors are THE BEST. They shine students and OCSA, especially Mrs. Shiroma. I can feel that she loves students and the school. Students and parents can reach her anytime, even nights and weekends. She responses immediately always, even weekend-nights. Mrs. Shiroma is really AMAZING counselor!!!
Not a good place unless you can deal with disappointments. Arts teachers really play favorites - they don't care unless you adore them and give them compliments. Hard to stay motivated because a lot of the kids don't care anymore about improving their talents. They are just there to get through the academics. Some of the conservatories are a joke. Seriously, no one wants to hear suggestions - good place if you never complain. No one is ever supposed to say anything critical about ocsa. Seems like too many secrets are kept - everyone supposed to be happy all the time. We can't even complain about really bad teachers. Admin shut down or ignore any suggestions or comments from the students.
Not a good school for kids who know the difference between right and wrong. Administration not interested in what is best for the students - they care far more about protecting the image/brand of the school and keeping the money flowing in. Really not interested in helping children with learning issues. Very secretive administration -- what are they hiding? Why have there been so many kids unhappy with their conservatory classes and end up leaving? Does anyone know where to find the data on this? Seems like a significant number of freshmen leave every year.
My daughter is a junior and she has been at OCSA since 7th grade. I am very pleased with the school academically with the exception of math. The academic load is very challenging and students have to learn how to balance their academic and arts program. The only problem I have with the program is the lack of diversity in the staff and opportunities for ethnic students. They recently hosted a Motown show and there were about three black students in the show. I think they can do better.
My daughter attending OCSA for 3 years already, I have to say OCSA is one of the best school there is in town. Everyone in this faculty is very good, The teachers teach in the way that all students are excited to study, academic and music. They teach in the fun way that students wants to learn. When my daughter is not doing so well. They have counselor to work with her, me, and the teachers to get her up to good grade again. Thanks to everyone in OCSA...
OCSA is not for everyone but if your kid likes to be in an artistic environment, thinks out of the box and has a passion for his/her art, then this is the school you want. Many of the conservatory teachers are highly educated. That must be the reason for high tuition. As for academics it's like most other schools and it all depends on who you have as your teacher. My son studies more and has better academic grades since he got in. Being among other kids who have the same passion has made him work harder on his art. In his old school he was the only kid in his circle of friends who spent long hours every week on his art. Here, everyone is serious about their artistic field. I have heard that getting into some conservatories are extremely hard like Dance or Piano as they only accept a very limited number of students vs. larger conservatories like Musical Theater or Acting. My son thinks the main difference between OCSA and other schools is that kids here are nice to each other and there isn't much bullying. I think that might be the result of being able to express themselves. Appearance/dress code is not strict here. Overall it's a great school.
Ocsa is a wonderful school and I highly recommend it to prospective students. The school gives a great chance to be exposed to possible jobs and hobbies. Many great students have come out of OCSA, both academically and culturally. I am grateful that they opened it up to middle schoolers, or else my daughter would have had to go to a nearby public school that just wasn't an option. Thank you OCSA for providing a safe, encouraging place for my daughter to learn and grow!
My son has is a current sophomore in the Music & Theater conservatory. OCSA is themost AMAZING place. My son commutes up to 2 hrs EACH way to have the private to go here. The talent that the kids at this school possess is unbelievable. This school is no joke, the academics are intense (they are a school first)! The school makes no consessions for academics when it comes to any performances or any conservatory production or event, so you better be prepared. School days are long and if you are in a production those long days are even longer! My son is surrounded by his "people". He doesn't like school but he comes home and says "I love my school!" This makes all the sacrifices worth every minute! He has had the pleasure to be in incredible productions; an original play, and 2 Performing w/ the Pros working side by side with professional broadyway stars and Tony award winners! No other school has what OCSA has and we feel so grateful for this special school! Yes It's hard academically, yes it's competitive,Yes they need donations (if you have ever seen a show you'll understand) and YES, IT'S AMAZING!
Mixed feelings, unfortunately the bad outweigh the good. We will start with the bad and end on the good note. Leadership - there is none, with just as much accountability, they see what they want to see Teachers - good ones, a few (sadly my D had seen more of her substitute teachers than her supposed staffed teachers, and most of the time the substitutes had no lesson plans Campus - (We won't even go there) Bullying - Don't be naive, bullying is everywhere even at OCHSA. Conservatory - Joke - Hasn't taught my D anything. Sure glad we paid thousands of dollars in tuition (ahem, donation) for her to get a top notch education in her art. (insert sarcasm). What I meant to say, sure glad we kept her in her private lessons! Bottom line.... this place is a business, administration is disconnected as they are focused on their "BRAND" more than what education they provide our kids with academically and creatively. I promised I'd end on a good note... I've met some really great parents, and kids (as well as some that I could have lived without meeting). All in all, enter at your own risk - there is no refund! Hope they change, as I'm sure there were good intentions originally.
OCSA is well known as an "arts school" but it is also one of the top academic schools in Orange County, CA. My daughter enjoys going to school everyday even though they have long days that starts at 8:05am to 2:10pm for the academic portion then from 2:15 to 4:50pm for the conservatory arts. She is thriving not only in the academics but also improving her skills in leadership and the arts.
I'm currently a senior at the Orange County School of the Arts, I've been a student there for five years now and I'm afraid to give it only two stars, by virtue of the fact that the only positive points with which I would reward the school are its rigorous academics, in-depth teaching and the vivacious nature of the student body. I feel as though the overall leadership that OCSA has received has significantly declined over the past three years. OCSA has, sadly, become highly corporate, draining money out of its students on a regular basis and shrouding their voices with the bureaucratic reign currently implicated. It's progressive facade is misleading and false. OCSA is just like every other private institution; taking advantage of talent for the sake of a buck at the expense of its students. The reason why all reviews on this website are positive is due to the fact that nearly all reviewers are new to the institution, or parents who don't see the inner-workings of the school. OCSA has done a lot of great things for me, but I have recently realized that digging deeper results in disappointment. The California education system is seriously messed up. OCSA is no exception.
This is my second year at OCHSA and I absolutely love it! I am in the Creative Writing program and I love the CW classes and teachers. Their arts programs are wonderful as well as the academics. The teachers are amazing and really care about each student and want them to succeed. Everyone is very accepting of one another and there is very little bullying. I would recommend OCHSA to anyone with an interest in the arts!
I currently attend OCHSA (I'm an eighth grader and I began this school year) although I've attended for less than a year, I absolutely love it here. I am in the Visual Arts conservatory and although I have no wish to continue in the VA field as I progress into adulthood, the art programs at this school are exceptional and in my opinion--the best! Although I've been a straight A student in all accelerated classes since I began middle school, the academics are still rigorous for me and my teachers teach at the perfect pace. The teachers here are all great (hilarious too), our principal is constantly bettering the school by purchasing new theaters and buildings for our school to thrive, and the parents are all involved considering that their child has the chance at becoming a successful artist in their field. Some conservatories complain about staying late or going to school over the weekends for rehearsals but it just depends on what conservatory you are in and if you are committed (which you should be because this school is a fantastic opportunity) you shouldn't mind. The people you meet here are amazing and talented. If you have a passion for the arts, you won't be disappointed!
Choosing to attend this school was by far one of the best decisions of my short existence. I love this school and while it does has its flaws, the program that OCHSA offer is unique and superb. I know you are thinking that I am very biased, but keep in mind that OCHSA is my second home. Literally, I stay till 7pm for most of the nights, so I know the ins and outs. The academic program is strong and challenging. Lots of AP classes and IMP classes available. Diverse Course selection. Administration and Counselors are wonderful in nature and know what they're doing. The teachers are awesome. I don't know much about each conservatory runs though. Yes, as some below might point out, I have heard that some conservatories(MT) are lack luster, but that's because the MT department is hugeee and are more competitive. The smaller conservatories give more individual attention. On the more Student Life aspect, OCHSA is unique, as it promotes individuality and is a great fit for mis-fits and regulars. Oh, and there's the stairs we have to deal with. A total of 7 flights. But by now OCHSA kids are used to it..Eh! At least its a great exercise!
I am going to be a graduating senior at OCHSA 2012 - and the people I'm surrounded with are incredible. My friends Are not only passionate, ambitious, interesting, but are genuinely wonderful people. I have so much hope when I regard my senior class - we are so open that we throw a spontaneous Pride event, we are so talented that I am constantly amazed, and so academically strong- ( My friend just got accepted into Stanford). There is no where else I'd rather be with such lovely teachers who have inspired me - and an unique atmosphere that I haven't fouind anywhere else. It isn't for anyone though, be prepared to go the extra mile to be successful here, and if you do - these really can be the best years of your life.
OCHSA isn't for everyone, I must admit, but for those who don't normally fit in at a regular school, OCHSA is great! I have gone there for almost three years now, and I can't imagine myself anywhere else. The academics are pretty good (they get better year by year, I think) and the conservatories are great. I am in Creative Writing, and it is so great to have all those hours after school of practice. The conservatory teachers are great and they all have experience in the real world. My friends in other conservatories would agree. I think OCHSA is a miracle, and I recommend it to anyone who wishes to further their studies of the arts.
I've mixed feelings. While I believe OCHSA offers features that traditional public schooling doesn't, several things are troublesome. First the good: overall there's a sense of inclusion, but beware there are still cliques & competitiveness within the conservatories is high. The difference is that overt bullying is NOT tolerated. The academics are of high quality, but sometimes the teaching ideologies are suspect. I've had to re-teach my child EVERY math lesson. So you may need to hire a tutor. As for the musical theater conservatory, this has been the biggest disappointment. The classes are fundamental in nature & performance opportunities limited. What isn't shared- there are performance fees for many of the programs (I'm not sure about all). It also appears that high school politics are alive & well in M&T. I.E., my child auditioned for a show, was called back, but didn't get cast- nothing unusual about that. Next show, auditioned, called back, but again nothing. However, my child auditioned for the exact same show at a professional regional theatre &was called back for a lead , was cast & will be paid. Cost, trng and perf opps in M &T are definitively sub-par.
My daughter is finishing her first year at OCHSA and is thrilled to be there. It is a very hugh commitment both time wise and money wise but we were well aware of that from the many overviews and meetings we attended prior to the start of the school year. Your child will need to be highly motivated both academically and artistically and have good time management skills in order to deal with the time commitment. OCHSA definitely doesn't skimp on it's academics. The block scheduling helps and I love that the classes are innovative and allow the students to use their talents to complete assignments. But be prepared for your child to spend long hours rehearsing. I also like that for the most part my child is surrounded by students with the same goals and ambitions (college).. Sure there is drama bit it is high school. If I have any negative comments, it would be the lack of dress code. Some of the students dress inappropriately.. If you are sending your 7th grader here, they would need to be mature as there is not much separation between junior high and high school.
OCHSA is a great school, but it serves a very specific cross-section of students. That isn't a bad thing, but it seems a lot of negative posters don't grasp this concept. If a student just wants to "cruise" through high school this is not the place to be. It rewards students who are extremely well-organized. I have taught at OCHSA for the past eight years, and have seen a dramatic improvement not only in the academic rigor of the regular school day, but in the organization of the conservatory classes which continue to implement realistic, goal-based, standards of performance. Private lessons are absolutely necessary...it's always been that way in music, it's just at OCHSA the classes to support those lessons are many in number, and the opportunities for students to incorporate their training in the context of their chosen art form is the primary reason for attending the school.
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