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Denver School Of The Arts4
Posted August 17, 2014
- a parent
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.
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