My son attended all four high school years at DA and loved it! This is a wonderful school where students can purse their arts dreams while also maintaing their academics.
Student/ Sister of alumni Douglas Anderson is an outstanding, competitive and profession arts school with dedicated staff and students. Our academics are amazing, and I my arts area, cinematic arts, there isn't as much a sense of team as family. However, the main reason I write this is to inform a reader that most awful reviews with no credible points (I.e. those saying that students at DA are doomed for life) are most likely bitter students who were turned away, students who were kicked out because they were unable to love up to DA's high standards, or the parents of these children. Before you turn away from the school, simply take a tour and you will be blown away by our talent. I assure you of it.
I'm a current student. I must say the academics are good, I'd ignore those you say our academic is poor - come on we're tied 2nd in the county school ranking and our AP scores are usually as good if not better than Paxon and we're coming closer each year to getting better scores to get closer to beating Stanton. There are barely fights - usually 1 or none. There is actually a lot of drama because everyone is competitive, they'll do about anything to crush the other in their major. It's sad to see this when it's post to be technically non-competitive. Some teachers barely assign work and make things extra hard so you always have to be on your toes or next thing you know you have a D or F in a class. A plus is that we can be entirely ourselves compared to other schools, we're more family-like than others. Freshman are usually looked down upon because they don't know how to show respect to the upper clansmen. High rank = higher respect. If everyone follows this you won't have issues with anyone.
As an alumnus of DA (Class of 2003), I feel that it is safe to say that this is one of the best schools in Duval County if not the state. The staff are impeccable and set such a high standard for success. Those who doubt the academic prowess of the school obviously did not attend DA. While the arts are the main focus, the academics could stand alone with every non-magnet program and most of the college prep magnet programs. The only class that was not taken seriously was PE and if you were a dance or theater major you had alternatives which were highly intensive. The music department at DA is phenomenal which has led to DA being named the Grammy school of the year multiple times and most recently in 2011. I hope that if I stay in Jacksonville my children will be accepted and add to the legacy that DA has built.
I'm a graduate from DA. I'm posting only to voice my opinion in response to negative reviews. We were challenged so much academically--were banned from performing artistically if our grades dropped. I got to work with Billy Collins himself, the two-time poet laureate of the United states, Franz Wright, a Pulitzer prize winner, and other prestigious writers under the Creative Writing program. Thanks to what I learned at DA I ended up graduating early with honors from my first-choice college on scholarship. I was always ahead of the class in even my advanced college classes (I took junior level classes in my first semester). I'm now an English teacher (at another school because there were no openings at DA) going into grad school, and I'm only 22. If anyone's child performs poorly academically, maybe the child isn't taking things as seriously as he should, because being a DA kid means you're devoted to everything it takes to be a top performer, including making good grades. There's a reason why DA has been one of the top schools in the United States for years.
This school is academic poor and DOES NOT prepare your child for college. Following a dream is one thing but there is too much favoritism given to pet students who are friends of teachers, staff and long term students. New comers to school are treated like second hand citizens. Your child will leave dumb downed!
I am a visual-art Sophmore at Douglas Anderson and I have to say that DA is a wonderful school in many aspects. My artisitic talent has greatly rose beyond what I would have ever expected, and its only my second year! The academics are good, and if you desire for academic classes you can also take online classes via FLVS. And yet another wonderful feature is the people there! There is hardly ever ANY drama, no fight, its a nice calm school. What DA offers has been way greater than any other school enviroment I've been in. If you're willing to put in the extra effort and maintain your grades, DA will be one of your best experiences.
I am a senior at Douglas Anderson and I recently auditioned for the Boston Conservatory through their regional audition in Miami, FL. The school sent the head of the Music department to record the auditions. When he looked at my forms, he said that he has heard a lot of great things about my school and was really impressed by what he heard from some of his colleagues. This is just one example of the reactions that I have seen when administrators at prospective colleges realize that I go to DA. My teachers have many connections in the music industry, opening many doors for students. I have even had the opportunity to perform in master classes with some of the top young artists in the world! Also, I will get the opportunity, along with many other students, to perform on Florida's State Thespians Mainstage in Tampa in our school's production of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida! I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to go to DA for the past four years and I will miss it when I go to college. I will be a Music Education major in the fall, with a strong emphasis in performance. I can't wait to pass on what I have learned at DA to other young musicians!
I have had trouble with several former and current students of douglas anderson high school. Those who attend this school are doomed to fail at life.
I transferred into Douglas Anderson last year as a sophomore, and I couldn't be more positive that I'm in an environment remarkably conducive to arts education as well as academic growth. My classmates have already toured around the world and received millions of dollars in scholarships. Compared to the impersonal preparatory magnets and the lackluster neighborhood schools in the district, DA is a diamond in the rough.
Just to let you know parents, as an alumni, I received $2000-$5000 in yearly scholarships from 3 different schools based on DA's reputation alone.
My son attended the inaugural year this school was opened. He did very well at LaVilla and went on to Douglas Anderson HS. It is our hopes that while our daughter wasn't accepted this year due to the number of students that applied that we will hear from LaVilla in the next couple of months that a opening has occured. We feel like they gave our son a solid base to build on and focused on what was important for a teenager. We are very proud parents of 2 great children and plan to keep pushing them to be strong and work hard for what they get. This method hasn't failed us in our past. The most amazing talent comes from just a slight nudge in the right direction. The kids at LaVilla are incredibly talented. They amazed my wife and I the whole time our son attended.
It is a creative and nurturing environment that places emphasis on both the arts and academics. My daughter has thrived in this environment and is well prepared for college next year.
Douglas Anderson is absolutely not a stressful academic school. I was told I couldn't take advanced or AP classes because they wanted me to have more arts areas. The atmosphere is incredible, though. Kids are truly free to be themselves. But, if you're looking for a school that values academic performance, DA is not for you.
I love that creative children have a place to express themselves and not feel out of place.
Douglas Anderson is an amazing school! The kids there very diverse and friendly as well as the teachers. The work can be intense sometimes, but you actually learn things unlike other schools. The arts areas at DA can even turn into a second family for some kids. If you are serious about your art then you should defiantly come to this school. You'll make great friends and get a superior education in academics and art.
Douglas Anderson is not the best school to send your child. To begin with, instead of being about the buisness of makeing students happy and acheiving thier main goals in life, their main buissness is just being about mainly the money they can get for their school. thier main agenda is to give their students the nessecary tools to make the school(and mainly their principal jakie cournelius )look good. as a student I can truly say that their whole motive is keep getting money. for a student trying to get into school, they have thier students audition to be acepted into the school. in my opinion I don't think this is fair. the neighborhood students have to just acept the students as they are. but as for as for douglas anderson you can live right around the corner from the school and you still have to audition from thousands of students.
This school needs sports and to promote physical education because with students being punished for playing basketball...... no. This school promotes an unhealthy lifestyle with stressful amounts of homework and a strictness that is downright depressing. Arts are more emphasized than academics. Children up north already are ahead of our kids. Not every student at DA will pursue their arts area and i think they should put more emphasis on academics. At the most, allow kids to take less arts and more academics. My daughter was denied a chance to take an extra science class because of her arts area. Overall, the teachers and students that make up the school are truly incredible, but the kids are sometimes pushed too hard. If you want your kids stressed out but completely ready for college by graduation; by all means DA is a great school.
to the people that look down at DA's educational value because we focus on arts areas, they must understand that in no way is it different than a sports program is to a regular school. if you make bad grades, you will be penalized from your dance recitals, or programs. also if one is to drop in grqade point average they put you in your home school. in no way is DA lacking in educational value.
This school is the best high school of the arts in the country, as far as we are concerned. We were transferred to CA after my son's second year at DA. While his new school in CA was very good, it did not compare to the teaching and guidance given at DA. Our son audtitioned and was accepted into the UCLA Theatre program after high school. He attributes his acceptance into this highly ranked program to his teachers and curriculum in the DA Theatre department.
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