"This is truly a great school. All students are involved in some type of arts (visual, theater, music, dance,stagecraft, creative writing) major. They have an excellent oportunity to develop as artists because the school provides a minimum of 90 min. every day for arts classes. Students' arts majors structure a major part of their lives. They make friends in their own dicipline as well as others, when collaborating on projects such as the school musical. There are performances year round, so it's always "showtime". The academic classes go very well because the kids are happy since they have an outlet for expressing their creativity. Finally the teachers and administrators are first-rate. This is a school that would do well, without being forced to "be accountable". The school is great because the staff loves their jobs and believe wholeheartedly in what they are doing!"
"As a graduate I consider myself truly blessed to have attended this institution. It opened my mind to so many different people and ideas. It really broke the mold in terms of what a "normal" highschool should be. No cliques - everyone was too weird to exclude anybody. I can name every single one of the people I graduated with and tell something about them. Creativity - Many of my teachers were also artists and many of my assignments reflected that. Maturity - I feel that my world view is far beyond my years Talent - I met some of the most gifted & inspiring people There were downsides. Given the professional climate of the school, we were relegated to our majors almost exclusively. As a 5 year theatre major I never once worked with film majors. The counseling department was definitely lacking in providing college options outside our majors. There is definitely a lack of diversity, as a black male I never felt excluded, but not always accepted. I didn't receive a normal high school experience and wouldnt have it any other way"
"As a graduate of DSA, I can confidently say that this school was the best thing to ever happen to me. It made me who I am today, and introduced me to the most intelligent, passionate, and talented individuals I have ever met. My gratitude for what this school has done for me, both academically and artistically, is unbounded. I recommend it in the highest esteem possible for a high school/middle school. It will shape who you are and introduce you to your soulmates."
"This is our daughter's 5th year at DSA. Her experience has been mixed with many highs and lows. While the arts majors provide a conservatory-like environment, it comes with a cost. There is so much pressure to perform and be the best that we fear our daughter will be burned out before she graduates from high school. Our daughter routinely has upwards of two hours of homework per night in her major in addition to academic homework. Add in rehearsals and mandatory attendance at performances, and there is little to no time for our daughter to do anything else. Test scores are high due to the fact that the vast majority of the students at the school are naturally advanced, evidenced by the fact that all students are enrolled in honors courses as a default and must opt out in order to take the standard course (which is somehow considered sub-par). During times when our daughter needed extra help, it was like pulling teeth to get it and she was made to feel that something must be wrong with her. While I love the premise behind the school, there are definitely areas for improvement to ensure balance and health for students."
"This is my daughter's first year at DSA. We were a little tentaive since she came from an amazing parochial school that had high academics. We have been pleasantly surprised. She is allowed to focus on her love of dance and take honors math and honors science classes. Instead of recess and PE she can dance and get her academics in. The biggest differences I've seen is that the academic instructors also support the arts, students can be individuals and accepted, the school is clean, the students and faculty are polite and respectful of one another, there is no bullying, homework assignments seem to be coordinated by instructors so there is never an overwhelming amount on a particular night and there is no "busy work" assignments given, and finally there is always a feeling of excitement in the air. We drive over an hour and a half each way for her to attend and she loves it!! What else could you ask for?"