The principal, Mr. Hawks, says if you don't like art, you shouldn't go here. What he REALLY needs to say is if you don't like rigorous academics you shouldn't go here. Other area high schools have art programs as good as if not better than DSA's. Kids who are talented in the arts often leave DSA because the excessive amount of core homework interferes with the arts focus and life. If you are an average student, you will struggle too much. If you aren't on honor roll, the teachers and principal shame you openly. If you have to go to the front office, be ready to get ridiculed by them too. There are some nice teachers, and the students stick together through their shared misery, which makes it a little better.
DSA is a very good school. Our student is a 7th grader and has mostly had great teachers. The teachers, principal/vice principal/guidance are wonderful at what they do, and its amazing how well they run the school. I might add though, the high school portion of DSA is the main focus. The middle school is just sort of there. Its all business, no pleasure. The middle schoolers have nothing to look forward to socially. They never have dances or socials. Its tons of homework most every night, day in/day out, with nothing to look forward to. They "might" get a field trip, if they are "good". They have no recess or real clubs except sports, but if your child is not into athletics as a middle schooler, then there's not much else except the Jesus Club and the LGBT Club, which is a funny extreme, as there's nothing in between for afterschool clubs for 6th thru 8th. Also, reception staff is rude, middle schoolers have to go through the HS bldg to checkout early, which is a complicated process and long walk. I think they should have an office in the middle school bldg specifically for those students. If your child can endure middle school at DSA, the high school will offer much more.
DSA is alright. We have two children there and are unimpressed. For one child, it works well, but for the other is really doesn't make a difference. In fact, it made her attitude worse. Now that she's there....she's become a snob. The DSA kids think they are better than everyone else yet really don't have much to fall back on. We, as parents, don't feel that DSA has much to offer students yet we do acknowledge that the kids enjoy the atmosphere - dilapidated buildings and all. We just aren't impressed. There is so much more hype than fact to this school, plus they are ALWAYS asking for money. Always. They aren't poor. We think our kids could do much better at one of the quality area schools that try much harder than DSA staff does.
Hard to be much better. My daughter graduated from DSA year before last and finished her first year at Berklee College o Music with nothing but praise. My son is now in the eighth grade and had his first B wait C last year. He was a straight A student prior. The classes are not cake. We feel very lucky to have had both our children attend DSA.
We are a new family at DSA (High School), we've come from 9 years of attending a small private school. This has been a perfect transition for our family and our daughter. Although this school is very large it has a very intimate feel. The teachers are young and energetic, they have been excellent. The campus is unique & inviting. There has not been any bullying and the overall student population has been friendly. It's a fantastic mix of individuals. I still can't believe we are not paying for this!
A lot of people I know have applied to this school, but very few got in. As it is a a performing arts school in all. But however, I'm pretty upset with the staff quality. If you decide to message the principal (in which I did) it took EXACTLY four months for a reply. And it was just around three sentences. I'm also shocked that this school is one point below from my school. (Mine is an 8). Kids there are always talking about DSA but now, I'm not so sure if this is my school. No, I do not attend but I wanted to. I realize that this school should just stick to actors and I'll stick to science.
Durham School of the Arts is one of a kind. It has exceptional teachers, exceptional guidance and staff and a amazing principal. The dedication of all of these helped us through some difficult times. The academics and arts programs are a treasure!
This school has many good things to offer it's students. Most of the teachers and programs at this school are very good, but I am sorry to say that the front office staff at this school is the rudest I have ever delt with at any school before. The ladies at this school's front office answer the phone with bad attitudes and are very reluctant to help parents and other visitors in that enter the front office. The older lady that works in the front office with the all white, short hair, (she does attendance for DSA) is down right Hateful to some visitors in the front office, for no reason. She is comfortable with her job and feels she should be able to talk to the schools visitors with disrespect. This woman should be fired or at least moved to the back office so no one has the misfortune of dealing with her again. I'm surprised a school with so much to offer would have front office staff that acts so unprofessional all the time. The principal or someone at the school board needs to retrain or replace the DSA front office staff quick! If this office staff's rudeness continues, the parents will eventually file a complaint with the school board.
Pure luck that my son got in to DSA. His life has turned a page. He started at DSA in the 6th and now he is a 8th grader. He starts to enjoy Shakespeare, creative writing, music and art. I have to say that seeing my son's growth and changes in just a little bit than 2 yrs of time at DSA, not only has he kept all straight A in all subjects, two of subjects he has been in are AIG program. He has worked with tremendous teachers throughout the last 3 years ( we love his current teachers too) in every subject. we just being grateful everyday and hope that our little one could get in too!!
My daughter started @ DSA in the 6th grade and will be a senior this year. It has been a positive experience overall and my daughter has really enjoyed the diversity and opportunities that DSA has provided. My only complaint - this is not the usual neighborhood school so it seems difficult to get parental involvement & assistance in the various groups (PTSA, Boosters, etc). It often seems to be the same handful of parents volunteering @ functions. If your child goes to DSA - please jump in & help make this school even greater than it already is.