DSA has been an amazing school for my daughter. She is entering her 2nd year (7th grade) in the vocal department. We found her major teachers to be strict with just the right amount of compassion to motivate her. Her academic teachers were inspirational and aware of her very sensitive nature. I have read some of the one star reviews and understand it is not right for every student. We are extremely happy with the school.
The dance department teachers killed my son's passion for dance. After their negative comments for two years, he was done. Never anything positive. Never strengths/weaknesses. Just negative. Also, the dance department is a lot of choreography and guest teachers. Not much technique being taught during the school day. The girls can be pretty nasty to each other but the boys less so.
Love the academic teachers but the dance department teachers are another story. They are bullies. They will call your kid out and tell them they do not belong, they are not talented, they shouldn't have picked them in the audition process, they are "holding up the entire dance department". Breaking kids down into tears is the way they control them.
Something is amiss with the math program at DSA... I've had more and more parents confide that their kids are taking math online because the quality of teaching is just not present. Two thoughts come to mind; (i) at least my kid is not the outlier student struggling, and (ii) it sure is nice for DSA is able to present high academic achievement when a large portion of their students are piggy-backing on online education, which not only creates yet another financial expense for parents but also adds a financial burden on the district and online program that ultimately does not get the credit for their level of effort and student success! :-/
Denver School of the Arts response to my requests for assistance (because I m not an education professional and I really have no idea what to do) was my child meeting with the school psychologist a couple of times, one academic probation meeting (a gauntlet panel that included every single teacher, the guidance counselor, the social worker, and the vice principal telling the kid to just get organized ) and then nothing. The next step from DSA came in the form of a letter sent certified mail that said, Dear Student, you are not allowed to return to DSA in the fall; we suggest you register at your home school for the 2014-15 school year. Does your child have a learning disability? If so, run in the opposite direction from this school and preserve your child s self-esteem. It was really a terrible, terrible experience.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this school is to me. I am surrounded by driven, intelligent, creative people who truly care about their art and their futures. Do not go to this school if you are not truly passionate and devoted to your art form. DSA has allowed me to excel socially and academically, both of which are vital to success in college and in our careers beyond. I am inspired on a daily basis by the passion and talent that I am surrounded by, and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to attend such a unique school.
As a four year student attending DSA in the Visual Arts department, I strongly recomend this school. If you are a person who has a passion for an art and a desire to strengthen that love then more than likely this is the place for you. However, if you at the school simply because you are good at the art rather than truly loving it, you may find that the school isn't for you. You need to understand that EVERY day you work in that art form for 90 minutes, and if you aren't totally happy with the major you will not enjoy the school environment. Inside the school itself there are very few cases with bullying and every teacher is compelled to teaching the group of kids. True, there may be the few teachers who could use a bit of improvement, but I'm sure that there is no school without that. In terms of homework, the amounts increase as you advance in grade (middle school has less and high school has loads more). The kids here are so kind and there isn't a day I go that I would wish to undo my decision to attend DSA. If you are contemplating coming to the school, talk with other student and former students, become a shadow (which is often kinda hectic), and visit the school.