The LASA magnet HIgh School program has been a great experience for us - all around. The teachers are dedicated and care about their classes. The material they learn is amazing. My son loves his classes, teachers and friends at school. I think it is a good fit for academically minded students who like to learn and study. It is a tough school, they teach and learn at a high level. So, it is not for everyone. Good amount of homework. It is an amazing option for kids who love to learn and challenge themselves. Great preparation for college, for sure. We are lucky to have this public high school magnet option in Austin.
10 out of 10--can't beat that, right? Not so fast. The 10 is based on test scores--but at what cost do the students at this school get these test scores? Although I'm sure the teachers are better than many at the regular public schools, their programs are not progressive and my son complains that the memorize-regurgitate nature of it is killing his curiosity and love of learning. They have inculcated in him the idea that getting in to a good college (which can apparently only be achieved by staying at LASA and maintaining a high GPA)---is the only thing that matters in life and if he doesn't do this, he will be living under a bridge. Meanwhile, it is intensely high pressure to the point that students stay up half the night completing assignments. Something like an unexpected, extended illness can transform this situation into a catastrophe overnight. I'm sorry, but even healthy kids need to sleep. I'm all for academic rigor and my kid is outrageously bright, but time with friends is important at this age too. My faith in this school is shaken and I really wanted him to go here, but I'm just not sure we can stay. I really want my son to have a more balanced education.
This is a truly amazing school. I've visited a lot of high schools, and although I may be slightly biased, I'm still just as impressed as I was the day I first walked it. The teachers and staff do a great job of treating you like adults and human beings rather than just another job, and they all care about and love what they do. Academically, it's top tier -- class sizes are a bit large in some cases, but with Austin's quickly expanding population LASA's struggling to keep up with the influx of smart children. Tons of APs. Great extracurriculars. Great culture. I love it.
My daughter was diagnosed with learning issues as a Freshman. We spent her entire Sophomore yr trying to get basic accommodations. We finally got a plan after hiring a lawyer and getting the hd of AISD's Accommodation Dept. to sit in on the mtg. Unless a teacher says it's a problem, they won't address it. The problem is the teachers and administrators know nothing about ADHD, won't look for behaviors that impact her learning and make suggestions for her accommodation plan, and some won't help unless they have to. (Ex Accommodation Mtg Minutes that reflect a teacher's comment that sd, "We're the gifted magnet, so we don't have to do standard accommodations, like other high schools.") We had asked for extra time to turn in homework when she was sick as part of her plan, were told the sick policy covered it, and found out it did not. The principal told us they had a policy of providing hmwk assignmts earlier rather than extending it after it was due. Really? Most of the kids I know with learning disabilities have left. It's a shame, because my daughter is very bright. She just can't get the support she needs from a school where the leadership could care less.
Most of the complaints that I have heard from students through the years is that this school is too hard. However, it is challenging for a reason. It is a college prep school, and the challenging environment shows both through the hallways as well as with the test scores. The different classes that we take are very helpful and benefit the students in the long run, no matter how tedious the work is sometimes. The only little criticism is that the student senate should get more involved like it has been in the past to make sure that the students voices are being heard in the different rules that are being enforced.
This school has gone downhill. When my son went just three years ago, the focus was on academics challenging classes with a strong bent on independent thinking. My younger daughter is now there, and the school is starting a visible descent into chaos. There are still great teachers and some good classes, but every time I am on campus, there are kids just wandering around doing nothing. The school's population went from 800 to about 1,000 (this is an application-only school) which means that it's no longer as selective as it was. Scores have gone down in high school rankings. The principal seems a little "flighty" compared to the previous one. I hope this can return to the great school it once was.
I am a senior who has really enjoyed the academics, friends and unique experiences offered at LASA. However the previous review about challenges involving college admissions is true. If you work hard you will get into the college of your dreams from LASA, and be incredibly well prepared for it. However scholarships become a lot more challenging to obtain when you are not in the top 50% or if you do reach a certain cut off GPA. Thankfully school is instate, so financial aid is not so critical for me. However if your kid has dreams of a $60k/year school, you may have a more difficult time affording college. On a more positive note, I feel incredibly well prepared for college, scored very well on the SAT & ACT, and have had some incredibly driven, memorable, and all out amazing teachers who I will not forget anytime soon. The student body of LASA is incredibly forgiving, loving and intelligent. The most eccentric kids are still respected, a miracle compared to the cliquish environment at a lot of other high schools.
The curriculum and teachers are amazing. My student loves LASA, where the focus is on academics, not frivolity and drama. It's cool to be super smart here, but it is also a lot of hard work and very competitive. Like the previous poster said, the gpa's here have to be astronomically high in order to get into the top 10% of the class. My student's is 4.2+ and still not in the top 10%. How can we improve a student's chances at getting in top-tier colleges?
My son is a senior this year and has attend LASA for all 4 years. He has had some amazing teachers, is academically well prepared for college, and scored very high on the SAT. That being said, I want to warn students and parents about the college process. It is very difficult to get a high gpa at this school and be competitive in the college process. At the LASA Roadshow, we were told that college recruiters are well aware of the rigor at LASA and take that into consideration when looking at your application. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. It is all about your UNWEIGHTED gpa and class rank. The weighted gpa on your report card gives a you false sense of security. My son has a 3.7 gpa and puts him in the 65% rank (there are ~180 kids in his class). We only found out recently that this is a 2.7 unweighted. This is what colleges see and there is no way you will get into a top tier college with that. Teachers grade very tough here and we had just accepted it thinking it would pay off in the end- but it has not. Do yourself a favor and l look up the admission stats and gpa's for good schools and ask yourself if your child has what it takes to make that gpa at the most rigorous school in Austin.
This is easily the best school in Austin. There are a lot of award-winning academic teams and all sorts of clubs to join. The student body is very friendly and diverse so it's not at all difficult to find a niche. If you're ambitious and one to take up a challenge, LASA would be a great place for you. That said, I wouldn't go here if you're just looking to cruise through high school without a whole lot of effort.
I'm about to start my second year here at LASA. It's a good school, with nice people. My only problem is my commute. Each day I spend a little over 4 hours (total) driving to and from school. I rarely get enough sleep, especially when the teachers seem to accidentally pile on a bunch of projects at the same time. I only suggest that very devoted students go to LASA.
I have attended LASA for two years, and finally for 2010-2011 year I'm leaving. This school is average there is nothing extraordinary about it. The very competitive academic environment makes you feel like a number and unimportant, and not a valued student.. The majority of the teachers are average, but their are a handful that are absolutely amazing at what they do. Teachers hardly ever communicate with other teachers outside of their subject area. As a result of this students have tons of projects and exams in multiple classes at the same time. In my opinion, diversity at this school is non existent. LASA is a hit or miss, and for me it just didn't fit my personality.
LASA is a great school if it's a good fit, but it's not for everybody. My freshman is transferring next year because he doesn't like the competitive environment / is interested in a more laid back atmosphere, thinks the hour-long commute isn't worth it & is somewhat burned out on magnet school after 4 years. I think he'll thrive in a more "normal" high school. Folks who claim LASA is the "best' school assume there's one norm for everyone. The real question is, What's the best place for MY child? I'm looking forward to seeing the happier, more engaged kid that slowly eroded this year. My older child went to a different Austin public school & is going to an ivy league college -- he was happy & engaged, had a great experience. You don't have to go to LASA to get a good education.
One of the best schools in the country. Highly motivated students, teachers and administration.
I attend LASA and it was one of the smartest choices I have ever made. I found all the people to be inviting and friendly. There was none of the peer pressure and bad influences that comes with other schools, as all students are there because they want to excel and learn. This makes it an easy environment to learn. All teachers are there because they want their kids to excel, and therefore they throw all of their effort and time into making this happen. I highly recommend it.
I go to LASA and I really enjoy it. I attended a private school for a few years, and have to say, LASA is on a whole other level. Not only do you get a better education than at a private school, but you are also immersed in a less judgmental, friendlier social atmosphere. We are not all just bookworms either. We regularly compete (and often win!) in athletic and extra curricular competitions.
I go to LASA and I have to say, it is an amazing school! The schoolwork may be a bit challenging, but overall, it is a great experience. The teachers are great and the education beats all in Austin.
LASA is an exceptional school--great teachers, bright & motivated students, challenging academic classes, huge selection of extra-curricular sports & clubs, and an excellent reputation with college recruiters. One of my other children graduated from Austin High School, and the academic rigor at LASA far exceeds that at Austin, and there is no 'zip code' snobbery or 'party school' atmosphere that exists at Austin. This is a private school education for free, folks. The location is not central, but it's worth the trip.
Academics at this school are top-notch, so it also attracts the brightest and most ambitious students. This makes the student body much more competitive than those found at other schools. Students who might have been in the top 5% at their home schools are suddenly fighting to be in the top 50%. Admission at schools like UT Austin (which automatically accepts the top 10% students at each school) becomes difficult, even for the most overqualified students, simply because they are not in the top 10%, in this much more competitive pool.
Many courses are challenging, with teachers that are excited about their subject matter. In addition, a very goodsocial environment - alcohol and drugs aren't cool. Individualism is really promoted. Great ACTIVE group of parents.
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