This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Lasa High School5
Posted November 23, 2014
- a parent
We feel so fortunate that our children are able to attend LASA. There is a lot of homework and the classes are taught at a very high level, but isn't it wonderful to have a school where being smart is cool? This is the only Texas public school I have seen in which being on the football team or being a cheerleader or a drill team member is not such a big deal. The popular kids are the ones who work hard and are nice. I can't imagine sending my kids anyplace else.
My son is a smart kid, but he's by no means a genius. He loves LASA, respects and even loves his teachers, has a healthy attitude about academic one-upmanship, and is getting a great education. I feel the homework burden is not overwhelming, and the extracurriculars are plentiful but the students are not forced to participate if they're not interested. Is he in the top 5% of his class, destined for a free ride at an Ivy League school? No. Are there students there who are under intense pressure from their families to excel? Absolutely. He missed a great deal of school recently because of an extended illness, and the teachers and counselor, along with his fellow students, have been very supportive in assisting him getting caught up. He's feeling confident and his grades have not suffered. He's a junior, and I was concerned that, with all the AP classes, he would be in trouble after the absence. If your child does not manage a heavy workload well, gets stressed in a competitive atmosphere or tends to compare himself or herself with others regularly, LASA might not be a great choice. There are students there with extremely high academic talents and drive, and that can be intimidating.
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.
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.