Since both of my children were in the GATE program prior to entering OCSA and academics have always been our number one priority, I asked the same question right away. Here’s what I learned:
This is according to the school: “The Orange County High School of the Arts emphasizes a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that aims to produce high achieving and motivated scholars. The school’s dual arts and academic programs produce creative students capable of thinking “outside the box” in real world and scholastic endeavors. Honors classes are offered as well as many Advanced Placement classes. OCSA also has a selection of electives including Acting, Ceramics, Improv, Graphic Design, Zoology, Vocal Ensemble, Art and Soul, Journalism, and Photography. These programs help students to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace and ensure their acceptance into higher education. The academic faculty is fully credentialed, and the majority of the 200 arts and academic teachers hold advanced degrees. They are dedicated and supportive professionals who help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in higher education, or a profession in the arts. Guest artists and industry leaders also share their expertise and creativity with students through lectures, presentations, and hands-on training.”
This satisfied me as a prospective OCSA parent. I felt confident going in that my kids would receive a great education; and I was excited by the prospect that graduating from OCSA will provide would have certain advantages and open up new opportunities.
OCSA operates on a Block Schedule system which means that students attend standard academic courses with three academic classes per day alternating each day for a total of six classes. These are organized by Blue Days and Gold Days – 3 separate classes or ‘blocks’ on each day. After attending a full academic day, high school students participate in two and one half additional hours of conservatory instruction (until 4:50 p.m.) and middle school students participate in seventy-five minutes of conservatory (until 3:30 p.m.) These conservatory instruction what distinguishes OCSA as a “School of the Arts” and offers a dynamic and comprehensive instructional and performance program, interaction with professional artists, and collaboration with professional arts organizations. This combination of arts and academics assists talented young people in understanding themselves as artists and prepares them for placement in higher education institutions and employment in the professional arts industry. Students must maintain a 2.0 academic GPA in order to remain enrolled in the school.
OCSA was named a Blue Ribbon School in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education. OCHSA was one of 250 Blue Ribbon schools recognized nationwide in 2006 among 35 schools in the State of California and five public schools in Orange County. OCHSA was also named a California Distinguished School.
OCSA serves a culturally diverse student body of more than 1,850 students in grades 7-12 from 100 cities throughout Southern California. There are approximately 215 academic, conservatory teachers and support staff.
100% of 10th graders passed the ELA portion of the CAHSEE this year and 98% passed the Math.
Base API score is 901, putting OCSA in the top 5 schools in Orange County.
358 students took 632 AP tests this year, the largest number AP tests in the school’s history.
73% of seniors in 2011 will attend a four-year college, 26% will attend a two-year college with plans to transfer to a four-year university, 1% will go into the workplace.
View Academic Requirements here.
View OCSA’s Academic Overview page here.