OSA High School

Hi, I am looking for current reviews of Oakland School for the Arts High School.  My daughter just found out she is high on the waiting list, so time to get serious about considering this option for her.  She loves vocal music and would like to live and breathe it every day.  I am interested to know about the other academic programs and whether she'll be inspired to put in great effort in those subjects, as well as music. Are students coming out of OSA prepared to apply to 4-year colleges in a variety of majors (if they opt not to study their art in college)?  Thank you.

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RE: OSA High School ()

I am curious about this as well! My daughter got in to OSA for voice in 7th grade next year. We have also heard mixed reviews for the school so are interested in current family’s experiences. Thanks so much!

RE: OSA High School ()

My daughter is a 10th grader at OSA and has been there since 6th grade. She is in the dance emphasis. She absolutely loves OSA. There seem to be rumors that the academics are not strong at OSA but this is not the case. The school provides a rigorous college-prep academic program. Additionally, the school has a partnership with Peralta colleges and provides students the opportunity for concurrent enrollment at all four of the Peralta College campuses. In tandem, OSA has been ramping up a program to provide Peralta college classes to be taught on campus at OSA. These programs allow for a relatively small school to broaden their academic offerings and ensure that all students are challenged academically. My daughter has taken advantage of this for the past two years and has enjoyed the challenge. Another great program that OSA has implemented is arts pathway-linked lessons. What this means is that the arts are integrated into academic lessons. This is very engaging for students who are arts focused. OSA has many AP and Honors classes as well. To directly answer your question, yes all students are prepared to apply to 4-year colleges in a variety of majors. OSA students are going to UC schools, Cal State Schools, Stanford, and even Ivy League. The college acceptance rate is very high - 99%. You can read about the Academic program at OSA here - https://www.oakarts.org/Academics/index.html. Hope to see your daughter at OSA next fall!

RE: OSA High School ()

I can’t review OSA, but I know my daughter did not pursue it because some of the academics were too limited (e.g., no French beyond level 3, more limited advanced math and science, etc.).  If OSA does not work out, Albany High has a truly excellent choir program, especially if your daughter can audition into one of the more advanced choirs.  The teacher is phenomenal.  She has very high standards but is also universally adored by the kids. AHS frequently does very well at competitions, and the older kids who really love it and excel in it are sometimes in two elective choir classes plus an after school choir, so it can be very intensive.  And AHS is actively pursuing out-of-district transfers right now.  

RE: OSA High School ()

We’ve been at OSA since 6th grade and our student, now a freshman loves the school. As a family, we are happy with the school. The academics are strong and they do prepare  students for post secondary success, including 4 year universities. It is important to note that OSA is a small school so the academic offerings are not as comprehensive as other traditional high schools (i.e. limited choices for AP, etc.) - 

RE: OSA High School ()

My child started OSA in 7th grade and is presently in the 9th grade there. I would say that how well your child will do there in academics or emphasis will depend largely on your kid. If they are intrinsically motivated they will have plenty of opportunities to excel, especially if they want to live and breathe vocal music. Academic rigor isn't the *primary* focus of the school.

I understand from other families that some of OSA's academic classes aren't necessarily transferable, even to area high schools, and that there aren't a lot of advanced/AP courses. However, dual enrollment at local colleges is an option and it's free. With that said, students move on to a wide variety of schools including prestigious institutions. I've read about dance students that move on to world renowned ballet companies, music students that head off to Berkelee to study, and others that go to USC in pre-med. There may be a list of all the places that have accepted OSA students on OSA's website. 

The school, like any other, has it's pluses and minuses. For a small school planning and communication can be lacking (there have been significant improvements over the past few years). There are a lot of activities that showcase student work but it feels very siloed - if you're in Vocal you know about Vocal activities and performances, if you're in dance you know about dance...etc. it seems like there's not a lot of cross pollination between departments. We might hear about a Vocal show for the first time a couple of days before the event in the OSA email newsletter. 

Overall: the adults at OSA genuinely "get" the kids and care about their success. The kids are seen and ... ALL ... of the teachers at OSA are passionate about their subject matter for sure! They are committed to the kids. They are damn good at what they do. They do A LOT of it. It's been good for us.