Art at Berkeley High

Archived Q&A and Reviews


How is the art program at BHS overall?

Feb 2012

My daughter will enroll at Berkeley High in the fall, and we had been leaning towards the IB program because it has worked well for my stepkids and a number of other kids I know. But at the BHS info night this week, we attended an info session for AHA and were very impressed by the quality of the kids' art, the dynamic teachers, and the articulate student presenters. Which makes me wonder...

How is the art program at BHS overall? Do artistic kids get a chance to explore art and develop their skills in IB and AC, too? And for those of you with kids in AHA, were you happy with the program overall? What are its strengths and weaknesses? (Most of the archived reviews on the site are from 2006 / 2007; it would be nice to have more recent information.) Jennifer

The Arts and Humanities Academy at Berkeley High was a wonderful fit for my son who graduated in 2011. He had took a variety of arts classes for the 4 years. The AP Studio Art class, which spans junior and senior years was fabulous. The caliber of the art work was very high and the teacher Ms Stahl is a truly amazing art teacher who is deeply committed to the AHA program. I found overall the AHA teachers really strong. The arts are incorporated in the academic classes as well. My son appreciated the community built in this small school, although at times it felt too small. Past complaints about some of the classes being too easy, I found not to be the case, especially in junior and senior year when students can take a couple of APs. I have two other sons who have taken a few art and photography classes in Academic Choice, and was not as taken by them. To me it seems that many students in the AC art classes signed up so they could take an easy class, while AHA is all about art. Wilma


I'm an IB visual arts reviewer who has reviewed artwork at BHS. I've also worked with a BHS IB student to develop an architecture portfolio. The problem with the IB program in visual arts is that students completing the full IB curriculum have to choose between taking visual art OR a second science course or language course. The AHA students have more opportunity to take visual arts courses and often produce strong artwork.


The IB student I worked with choose to take a 2nd science course and thus was unable to take an art class. This put the student at a competitive disadvantage when applying to colleges with architecture programs which required portfolios. I worked with the student to teach drawing techniques and art concepts, assemble and photograph a portfolio. Barry