As a parent of a rising senior at AOC I have had three full academic years to assess this high school. First, the administration is excellent from the principal to the office staff. Students are the first priority, second to none. Second, the teachers are some of the best in the SCV (although several are too leftist in my opinion and their bias shows in their teaching). Third, students are not only taught the substance of their courses, but are actively encouraged to think, learn, grow, and engage. Fourth, the teachers really invest in their students and truly care about their education. If your student is bright and intelligent, he or she will have NO problem doing well (socially, emotionally, and intellectually) at this school. The homework is not overwhelming and easily done (you do need to be organized though). Fifth, the student body consists of mature, goal-oriented, and unique kids who get along very well. The typical high school drama and related bullying are not tolerated by the students themselves. Sixth, there is an active parent organization on campus with very supportive parents. Lastly, the best thing about AOC is the college courses. So many choices, so many options. Upon graduation, you easily have enough credits to start as a sophomore or junior at the UC's. If you are trying for the most elite private universities, it is a work in progress as these universities are gradually getting to know the rigor and uniqueness of the middle college high school system (AOC's system). Be advised that the more advanced college courses (Calculus II, Calculus III, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Physics, etc.) are extremely intense and challenging. Basically these courses are equivalent to a full year of AP in one college semester. Many students believe the courses are actually more intense and rigorous than their equivalent AP counterparts depending on the professor (and b/c the entire course is taught in one semester as opposed to one full academic year). If you think AOC is the right school for you, I highly encourage you to apply.
Ok, I am a senior here and after reading some of these reviews I just had to comment. I have been an AOC student since my freshman year, and I can tell you this school is wonderful. The students here are respectful, intelligent, friendly, etc. There is none of the typical high school bs that you'd experience at say, Valencia HS, so if you're looking for all the drama, prom, sports teams, etc you probably aren't mature enough for it here and should go somewhere else. Yes it is a lot of work but its for the most part GOOD work (with the exception of a few teachers)- not busy work. You learn to THINK here, not just be a mindless AP robot. The college is also great.. where else can you graduate with that many TRANSFERABLE college units? People who are writing bad reviews on here are either: a) the rare 5% of the AOC student population who is genuinely unhappy with the school because their parents forced them to come here or b) sour SCV parents being jealous because their kid(s) didn't get in. The ONLY somewhat negative comment I agree with is the one about honors- yes, this school needs to become all honors. The regular classes here are 5x harder than AP/honors at any other school.
I'm a student at AOC. This school is excellent for students who are hardworking and driven to learn. All the staff is kind and ready to help if you need it. In the beginning, homework can often feel like it is too much but you learn to adjust to it. This is done by managing your time and not procrastinating on assignments. The school environment is also very nice, especially when compared to other schools in the district. The building is new and kept clean and the school's surroundings are very safe. Also the amount of students is greatly fewer than the typical high school and this allows the staff to give students more of an one on one learning experience. Overall Academy of the Canyons is a fantastic school and I feel lucky that I was chosen to attend it!
Academy of the Canyons is a great school... if you love to learn and do homework. AOC does not let you spend time with family and friends. I am currently a student here and the minimum amount of homework is about 45 hours a week as what our counselor says and I spend about 6-7 hours of homework a day depending on the classes because it is rotation. The only nice thing at AOC are clubs and the people are really friendly. There are many cons for this school such as walking up a big hill, getting squished in the hallways (because all the classrooms are in one hall), there is no cafeteria (so you get your food in a little "room" about the size of a janitors closet but with a fridge), and very little space to eat lunch. Homework is VERY STRESSFUL. The teachers give out little homework but it takes a long time. I have very little family time with my family and I kind of miss hanging out with them on the weekends and traveling, but I can't do that anymore. A lot of my classmates were forced to go here either because sibling attends or their parents just forced them. If I knew AOC would be like this, there is 99% chance that I would not apply.
Academy of the Canyons is not all it is cracked up to be. Students here are slammed with more work than any other school in the Hart District. College prep classes here are way more demanding than honor level classes at other Hart District high schools. The problem with this is these kids are not receiving honors credit for their classes. The teachers here have the attitude that since these kids are bright they can dump as much work on them as they want. A few kids in my son s class got so fed up that they left in the senior year and transferred over to the Learning Post program so they don t have all the extra weight put on them by the high school portion. They get the college classes without all the unnecessary Academy of the Canyons bureaucracy. Just to illustrate how bad the program has gotten, the son of one of the teachers at the school transferred to Learning Post. If my son was to do it over again he would have skipped AOC, and attend a regular district school, and taken two college classes each semester.
This school is dedicated to excellence. The teachers and administrators care about each and every student and have a hands-on approach. The students are very accepting of each other. My daughter has thrived at AOC.
Without a doubt, AOC is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I was one of the lucky ones who won the lottery to get in as a freshmen for the 2011-2012 school year. I came into AOC from being a depressed and 'bored with school cirriculum' junior high student with low self-esteem. After coming into AOC, I felt a dramatic change in my attitude towards school as well as myself. I now feel much happier because I am with other kids that are similar to myself. When people claim students at AOC have "no social life"; this isnt true. If you're looking for a drama filled typical high school environment that often revolves around dating; AOC isnt the school for you. If you're looking for an environment that involves around more mature, respectful, and sometimes "quirky" kids that have intense passions or strengths in certain subjects and want to learn more about and study these passions at the more advanced and fast paced college level, AOC -is- the school for you! On a side note, if you were ever identified as "GATE" or "Gifted"... seriously, this school will be a PERFECT fit for you.
This school is not for everyone. With that said it has been the absolute best solution for my two sons. I homeschooled both of them up to 9th grade at which point each were admitted to AOC as freshmen. The eldest is now a junior and my younger son is a freshman. My older boy has expressed regret that AOC does not have a football team. That is unequivocally a case of "the grass is greener" mentality. He enjoys playing touch football at the junior college's football stadium with his friends at lunch. He does not realize that what he is doing is FUN, but that competitive high school football is a LOT of work and usually not described as "fun". Both boys do enjoy being in the unique position of taking college courses while still being high school students. They are given a measure of priority when selecting classes, though the AOC administration does restrict what is available. That is primarily to protect the kids from biting off more than they can chew. As they mature they are able to take more rigorous, academic courses at the college usually starting in 10th or 11th grade. + The almost total void of typical teenage/h.s. issues...A perfect choice for OUR family...
Although my kids have only attended the school for the 2010-2011 school year, I have never been as highly impressed with a school as I am AOC, and believe me, we have had the best of the best (Carpenter Avenue ELementary in Studio City, Fair Oaks Ranch in Santa Clarita as well as Sierra Vista and Canyon High Schools). Within two weeks, all the teachers as well as staff and administration knew my children on a first name basis and were calling me when one of my children was having difficulty with specific concepts in math. Imagine my shock when his teacher called me just to say he had a test the next day and was having difficulty in x, y, and z concepts and wanted to know if there was someone who could help him that night to solidify those concepts. He Aced the test and has continued to excel since then. But, truly, if your child is in to sports, it's not the school for him. However, contrary to what is posted here, there is plenty of socialization and the kids have a TON of socialization events not only planned by the school, but planned by the kids outside of school as well.
AOC is a really great program in my opinion, but it is NOT for everyone. If you have a social life (like I did), kiss it good bye. Many say that you will have time on the weekends to hang out with friends, but in all honestly, you will have NO chance in doing so. Students here are drowned in homework from college and high school. If you're not doing homework you're most likely studying. Not to mention there are no sports at all in this school, which really needs to change. You can still attend other schools dances, but it's really not the same. If you want a real high school experience, stay away from AOC. But if you are a shut in and loves to study (*Satire), AOC is the school for you.. (Written by a student of a traditional high school, transfered to AOC, I regret it..)