This is daughter's first year and she loves the school. I have been very impressed with the way the teachers not in the major areas find ways to connect with these creative students. The school is very focused on developing the students not only artistically but academically as well to prepare them. They support involvement of the parents as well which I believe is part of the success to this school.
As a theatre major at DSA I can vouch for the fact that it is an amazing school. Yes there are some cliques between majors because we spend so much time in our own major, but for the most part there is less bullying for us crazy art students who wouldn't really fit in at another school. I get to do what I love every day, and I am so thankful for that. The academic teachers are mostly pretty good and academics and test scores at this school are phenomenal. The major departments are amazing as well. In theatre we are learning college level acting techniques, which is probably why we earned a total of 13 million dollars in college scholarships last year. DSA has helped and will continue to help amazing kids go far in life.
I have to say we have had a very different experience that those posted below. DSA has been a great school for my daughter and she has excelled there. She went to another middle school before transferring to DSA and DSA has fewer issues with the population than the other school. We have not had bullying experience and our class and major has been great. Academics over all are great, with a few teachers we didn't care for in middle school and the teachers do pick favorites or have a favorite class on occasion. Starting high school this year and looking forward to the next four years. This school has been nourishing and encouraging with the children able to be who they are and be accepted, in our experience. Overall, this has been a great experience and I am glad our daughter went here, rather than our local home school.
This school is hardly elitist. There are families from all economic levels in this school. Auditions are held blindly. The art dept heads do not know the district or zip code the auditionees are coming from when they make their selections. As far as bullying goes, I have seen a swift actions from the staff on what I would consider very mild infractions. Parents and kids were sat down in an immediate conference. Bullying in this school is so much less then at our old school in Jefferson county I am thankful every time I read my daughter's facebook page and see what her old classmates are up to. I seriously thank my lucky stars we found this school. This is a school where kids are seen as individuals in every class and don't get overlooked. In the first month of my daughters advanced math class, the teacher identified her unusual learning style and offered additional insight and suggested she get longer time for testing. I asked how he recognized her learning style and he said he spends a lot of time in the beginning really looking at each and every student and their needs. Students need to learn to be self motivated and disciplined to be successful here.
This school is elitist. The kids are elitist. The teachers are elitist. The parents are elitist. Bullying is very prevalent and the administration will only marginally address if it is a boy bullying a girl, girls bullying boys and girls bullying girls are ignored. My daughter was bullied for over a year before we finally pulled her from this school. My son still goes there, but probably not for long. Finally, the teachers pick their favorites and ignore the rest. Very disappointing. Very frustrating. Stay away. Let your kids excel somewhere else and keep them out of this horrible environment.
My two sons attend this school, in different majors and grades. We have had an overall good experience for my first son and just an ok with my second son. Most of the teachers are great and the all students are amazing in their various arts. I would love to see more kids from ethnic backgrounds represented because the lack of diversity is disturbing. If DSA could bring together more races it would be a truly special kind of place.
I also have two children that attend DSA, unfortunately I can't give this school anything more than one star. I want to first state that there are a few very caring teachers who go over and beyond. A very few is not enough though. Both of my kids have been bullied and discriminated against by not only students but specific teachers as well. The administration and staff are so busy tooting their own horn that they are completely disconnected about what truly goes on there. There are a handful of students who get all the attention and the rest are casually left to fall in the cracks. Both my children were so excited to attend DSA. They were both passionate about their majors, and now they are both begging my husband and I to put them in another school. Don't believe this school when they speak about how diverse they strive to be, the hallways are proof alone that it is nothing close to representing the demographics of Denver. Basically, if I would have known 4 years ago what I know now I would have never subjected my kids to such an elitist school. Its too bad administration could care less. I agree with the summed up review before mine.....TOXIC!
School is highly rated, but the teachers and administration turn a blind eye to drug use and bullying. We had two children in DSA and had to remove one due to overwhelming bullying that was continually reported and very oppressive. Our student suffered educationally and emotionally by being let down by the teachers and administration over and over. Additionally, the teachers for the most part pick a few 'chosen' students to focus on and let the rest fend for themselves on the vine. A very corrosive and damaging atmosphere. Finally, a great deal of the kids have been told that they were the best of the best forever so the arrogance is huge and the parents don't see any issues with their kids. It's always someone else's fault. Toxic.
My daughter attended 8th grade as a visual arts major, and overall I think she was satisifed with her major instructors. Her major objection to the school was how some students were allowed to run rough shod over other students. More seriously, the administration did not immediately respond to problamatic situations and to some extent tolerate very negative behaviors. Moreover, I was quite surprised that some 8th graders did bring in alcohol on campus during the school day. Finally, the school is very beholden to test scores from the beginning of the year. My daughter scored poorly on a math exam and the school then said she would not be able to take geometry until 10th or 11th grade. She is now enrolled at a different art school (LACHSA) is doing extremely well in geometry as a ninth grader.
This is truly a great school. All students are involved in some type of arts (visual, theater, music, dance,stagecraft, creative writing) major. They have an excellent oportunity to develop as artists because the school provides a minimum of 90 min. every day for arts classes. Students' arts majors structure a major part of their lives. They make friends in their own dicipline as well as others, when collaborating on projects such as the school musical. There are performances year round, so it's always "showtime". The academic classes go very well because the kids are happy since they have an outlet for expressing their creativity. Finally the teachers and administrators are first-rate. This is a school that would do well, without being forced to "be accountable". The school is great because the staff loves their jobs and believe wholeheartedly in what they are doing!
As a graduate I consider myself truly blessed to have attended this institution. It opened my mind to so many different people and ideas. It really broke the mold in terms of what a "normal" highschool should be. No cliques - everyone was too weird to exclude anybody. I can name every single one of the people I graduated with and tell something about them. Creativity - Many of my teachers were also artists and many of my assignments reflected that. Maturity - I feel that my world view is far beyond my years Talent - I met some of the most gifted & inspiring people There were downsides. Given the professional climate of the school, we were relegated to our majors almost exclusively. As a 5 year theatre major I never once worked with film majors. The counseling department was definitely lacking in providing college options outside our majors. There is definitely a lack of diversity, as a black male I never felt excluded, but not always accepted. I didn't receive a normal high school experience and wouldnt have it any other way
As a graduate of DSA, I can confidently say that this school was the best thing to ever happen to me. It made me who I am today, and introduced me to the most intelligent, passionate, and talented individuals I have ever met. My gratitude for what this school has done for me, both academically and artistically, is unbounded. I recommend it in the highest esteem possible for a high school/middle school. It will shape who you are and introduce you to your soulmates.
This is our daughter's 5th year at DSA. Her experience has been mixed with many highs and lows. While the arts majors provide a conservatory-like environment, it comes with a cost. There is so much pressure to perform and be the best that we fear our daughter will be burned out before she graduates from high school. Our daughter routinely has upwards of two hours of homework per night in her major in addition to academic homework. Add in rehearsals and mandatory attendance at performances, and there is little to no time for our daughter to do anything else. Test scores are high due to the fact that the vast majority of the students at the school are naturally advanced, evidenced by the fact that all students are enrolled in honors courses as a default and must opt out in order to take the standard course (which is somehow considered sub-par). During times when our daughter needed extra help, it was like pulling teeth to get it and she was made to feel that something must be wrong with her. While I love the premise behind the school, there are definitely areas for improvement to ensure balance and health for students.
This is my daughter's first year at DSA. We were a little tentaive since she came from an amazing parochial school that had high academics. We have been pleasantly surprised. She is allowed to focus on her love of dance and take honors math and honors science classes. Instead of recess and PE she can dance and get her academics in. The biggest differences I've seen is that the academic instructors also support the arts, students can be individuals and accepted, the school is clean, the students and faculty are polite and respectful of one another, there is no bullying, homework assignments seem to be coordinated by instructors so there is never an overwhelming amount on a particular night and there is no "busy work" assignments given, and finally there is always a feeling of excitement in the air. We drive over an hour and a half each way for her to attend and she loves it!! What else could you ask for?
I attend D.S.S.T, we have a 100% graduation and college acceptence rate. Schools like Harvard,Stanford, and DU
My daughter will not start at DSA until the start of next year and I might possibly have a different opinion then, but here is the research I have done. When you go to the Colorado Department of Education Website and look at the CSAP comparisons, you will see that DSA is really second to no other public school in the district. They even beat out science and technology on most scores. At the acceptance meeting we went to in the spring they talked extensively about how they plan on meeting the state eduction budget cuts. All of their next years budget is going to faculty and they guaranteed that no class size will exceed 28. Coming from Jeffco where my daughter's next year class size is looking closer to 40, I am thrilled. We are going to have to pay higher fees for materials, but personally I would rather do that, then have staff reductions. The principal was very adament that BOTH accedemic and artistic GPA had to be maintained, or your child would be asked to not return the following year. Again, I am thrilled. Most students are expected to be in the honors programs and high expectations in all areas are standard. This school far exceeds any area public school I have seen
In the first few years, we were ecstatic about the possibilities for our very creative, gifted & talented / exceptionally intelligent & caring young guy at DSA. 7 yrs later-not so sure. The teachers range from incredible to absolutely terrible, with incredible in the serious minority. Since we started at DSA, it's slipped down on the CSAP rankings, even though they relentlessly teach to the test. I wouldn't rank academics as excellent, but merely sufficient. Our kid has suffered academically due to the way things are there. I put the blame on some rotten apple teachers as well as a couple of terrible principals (the current is an upgrade). Arts Majors: where the problem lies. with so much demand placed on the students that their academics suffer. Academia & arts depts don't coordinate well. We're always fighting for excused absences & makeup work due to the rampant disorganization. The different arts DO NOT cross-pollinate AT ALL. If you're in vocal, then you're in vocal. If you're in theater, then, you're there ONLY. It seems there's a cabal of over-excited parents who wish to live vicariously through their children. The same could be said of some of the arts teachers also.
When my son was accepted at Denver School of the Arts my biggest concern was that the academics may not be the best. I was happily mistaken. DSA consistently rates Excellent or High in the standardized state tests and they have a 99% graduation rate. More schools should incorporate arts and academics. This combination produces well rounded, intellegent, cultured and interesting young people.
Great school for the arts, by Denver standards. But, if your child is academically advanced, consider a private alternative for arts training and a better HS>
Can't say enough good things about DSA. My childs first year there has been the best possible educational exeprience I could have hoped for.
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