LASA FAQ

Below are the answers to many frequently asked questions LASA throughout the school year. LASA updates these questions regularly. For admission specific questions about LASA, please visit our LASA Admissions FAQ.


GENERAL

  • Where do I have to live to be able to attend LASA?

    • Students must live within Austin Independent School District boundaries.

  • What does your student population look like?

    • LASA students come from every zip code within the Austin Independent School District. As a result our students come from a wide range of ethnic, socio-economic and racial backgrounds.

  • What percentage of your student attend college and where do they go?

    • By their own choice, 100% of our students apply to college. From each graduating class about 85% of our students attend 4-year colleges and about 12% attend 2-year colleges. Of the remaining 3% about half choose to take a gap year before attending college and the rest pursue other interests. To see a list of the colleges that our students have been accepted to and attend, you will need to access Naviance. Logon as a guest using the password aisd. From the welcome page click on Colleges and then click on Acceptance History.

  • What makes LASA unique?

    • Students take courses with teachers who are experts in their fields and attend classes with students who enjoy the challenge provided by those teachers. LASA offers innovative and diverse electives as well as rich extracurricular activities. LASA has the feel of a small high school where most teachers and students know each other by name. But as part of the larger LBJ community, LASA students received the benefits of a large high school with broader options in terms of athletics, band, choir, orchestra and theatre.

  • Does LASA have traditional high school activities or is it all about academics?

    • Besides LASA's great academics, students have opportunities to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) sports and arts as well as numerous school clubs. Because LASA and LBJ High School share a facility, they also share: football, basketball, soccer, band, orchestra, choir, golf, and many other sports and activities. Through the 2020-21 school year, LASA students participate in UIL high-school sports and activities under the LBJ High School banner. Go Jaguars! LASA also has fantastic clubs! A recent count included about 80 different clubs, including Robotics, Quiz Bowl, Bollywood Club, Amateur Radio Club, Cake Club, Pixar Club and ZAST (Zombie Apocalypse Club). Homecoming, prom, pep rallies, football games, dating, and other traditional high school activities are all present at LASA.

  • What are the ways that LASA communicates with parents?

    • LASA uses a lot of different ways to communicate. Click here to see how to stay connected.

  • What is the start time for LASA 2020-21?

    • Start Time: 8:15 am End Time: 3:45 pm. This does tend to change year to year so please look at our website for any updates. You can also find the bell schedule on the LASA website.

  • If/When is LASA moving?

    • The current district plan has LASA moving the summer of 2021

  • Are there lockers?

    • Yes, there are lockers. Every student that wishes to use a locker will have one provided to them prior to the start of school at New Student Orientation (NSO).

  • Does LASA serve any special needs populations?

    • LASA serves students that receive special education and 504 services. If you believe your student qualifies, please contact your academic counselor to provide them with the appropriate documentation. If your student was being serviced in either of these programs and they attended AISD, this information will come to LASA when they are officially enrolled so there is no need to contact the school.

  • Is bus transportation provided to and from LASA?

    • Yes, see AISD Bus Finder Utility to see the one closest to your home address. Bus schedules are typically mailed to your residence and available online in August.

  • When will the bus pick up my child in the morning? What time will it drop him off in the afternoon?

    • This depends on where you live. AISD Transportation notifies families in August of the bus routes for that school year. You can check AISD bus finder now by putting in your address and seeing what the bus for this year looks like; however depending on enrollment in your neighborhood, routes, etc for next year, those times may change.

  • How do the buses work?

    • AISD picks up students that are going to Kealing or LASA from most parts of Austin. The buses take all students to Kealing first. The LASA students get off the bus there and walk down the sidewalk in front of Kealing to the "LASA transfer buses". There are not assigned buses so students get on the next one available and it takes them directly to LASA. The last LASA transfer bus leaves Kealing at 7:30am. Most LASA buses get to LASA between 7:25am and 8am.

    • For the route home/after-school, the buses leave LASA and go directly home.

  • How does the late bus work?

    • Late bus picks up at 6:30 by the side of the theater and students are expected to be out by the buses no later than 6:15. Please realize that the buses will run late the first week, while the drivers figure out which kids will be on it. After that, they are pretty efficient.

  • What does block schedule mean?

    • LASA runs on a block schedule: 4 classes on A Day, 4 classes on B Day (Mondays & Wednesdays are A Days, Tuesdays & Thursdays are B Days; Fridays usually alternate;) There are a couple of C days throughout the year typically the day before finals - C day is a day when they will have all 8 periods in one day.

  • What does double blocked mean?

    • Double blocked means that class meets everyday or both blocks A and B (double blocked). We encourage you to keep an eye on the A/B calendar found on the website and in the student agenda.

  • Is there summer homework?

    • No. It is summer time and we encourage students and families to enjoy their summer. However, it’s always helpful for students to continue working in their world language over the summer so they remain comfortable interacting in the target language and can start the next level without review.

  • I heard that high schools have late starts sometimes. What are those?

    • AISD puts out the schedule for High School late starts sometime before school starts. Those are professional development times for staff/faculty at all AISD high schools. School starts 2 hours later for students (so if normal start is 8:15am, late start is 10:15am). Typically, it has been the first Thursday of the most months. Buses will run 2 hours later than normal (if your normal pick up time is 6:30a, late start will be 8:30a). Buses will not go to Kealing first on late start days, as Kealing runs on a regular schedule.

  • Does LASA participate in Student Sharing to take Career & Technology Education(CTE) courses in other high schools?

    • LASA does not participate in the Student Sharing initiative that the district implemented with other high schools in the north and will be starting among high schools in the south. LASA has many CTE offerings including SciTech, E-Zine, robotics, yearbook, newspaper, AVP, engineering design, biotech, fire academy, and others.

  • Is LASA only a Math & Science school?

    • Absolutely not! LASA does have a large selection of advanced classes in math and science such as Differential Equations, Multivariable Calculus, Anatomy and Physiology, and Forensic Science, but its advanced academic offerings span the spectrum, including Japanese, Latin, Literary Magazine, Songwriting, Hitchhiker's Guide to Science Fiction, Human Geography, Constitutional Law, and American Film Analysis. In addition to great core classes, and electives, LASA requires four Signature Courses of Freshmen and Sophomores: Sci-Tech, E-zine, Planet Earth and Great Ideas, all adding breadth to the LASA curriculum. Refer to the LASA website for the latest course guide.

  • How does the school week change for finals?

    • Finals Week takes place during the last week of each semester. The school day begins at the regular time, two class finals take place each day and the school day ends early, typically sometime between 12 and 1 p.m. Buses pick up students from school earlier than normal, after the last final. Check the LASA calendar for specific times.

  • How does counseling work at LASA?

    • LASA has four academic counselors who are assigned freshman year to students by last name, so that students benefit from being in contact with the same counselor all four years. LASA has two Wellness Counselors who work to maintain a strong awareness of and emphasis on mental health and wellness at LASA. LASA has two College Counselors who work closely with students during the college application process. Additionally, LASA has formed an excellent system to assist students with college letters of recommendation and support college application essays. Visit our counselor's corner for more info.

  • Where is LASA moving and when?

    • As part of the 2017 Austin ISD Bond, LASA will move to it's own campus during the summer of 2021. The location is 1012 Arthur Stiles Rd, Austin, TX 78721 and currently is the home to Eastside Memorial High School and the International High School. Eastside and International will be moving to a new building during the summer of 2021.

  • What is a typical class size?

    • It depends on the class, of course, but it ranges from 13-15 to 30ish.

  • What is the typical enrollment for a grade?

    • Our grade level class size is currently between 300-330 students.

ACADEMICS

  • What is the 5.0 scale v. the 4.0 scale, and why would this distinction matter?

    • Some classes are on a 4.0 scale, some are on a 5.0 scale. Any Pre-AP, AP or Honors course is on a 5.0. Some Fine Arts classes, Level 1 & II of LOTE classes, all Athletics, P.E., etc are on a 4.0 scale. Please see Course Guide for more information. For more info about GPA, click here.

  • Are there any restrictions on what a freshman can take in their elective other than classes that have a prerequisite?

    • Freshman only have one elective option. If they are in band, choir, orchestra, jazz band or an athletic period that meets during the school day (basketball, football...not swimming b/c swimming starts early in the am and does not take the spot of a class period) then they will not have any elective choices.

    • If the situation above does not apply to them, then: Yes. See the course guide for a complete listing of courses and prerequisites, etc.

  • How do the signature courses work?

    • The Signature Courses are Double Blocked. There are 4 signature classes. Two signature courses for freshman year and two signature courses for sophomore year. Each signature course is a year of curriculum in one semester so it must be double blocked to get through all of the material.

  • Why do freshman only get one elective?

    • Students take 8 classes each year. Here is a typical freshman schedule:

      • 1st period = Math course

      • 2nd period = Pre-AP World Geography

      • 3rd period = Pre-AP English

      • 4th period = Signature courses - double blocked with 8th period (Electronic Magazine or Science Technology depending on semester)

      • 5th period = Pre-AP Biology

      • 6th period = Foreign Language

      • 7th period = elective of their choice

      • 8th period = signature course - (this is the 2nd block of the same course that is 4th period). Signature Courses will switch at semester time so if you take Sci Tech first semester you will take E-zine second semester or vice versa. Signature courses are required at LASA and more information can be found on our website.

  • What is the difference between AB and BC math?

    • The math courses at LASA are all advanced courses. The following are courses that offer either AB version or BC version. Geometry, Algebra II and Precalculus. BC stands for Bonus Content and those classes emphasize learning through inquiry. Class time is spent exploring the theoretical underpinnings of the curriculum with a reduced emphasis on modeling computational techniques. Our AB courses are advanced courses with a more traditional teacher-led structure and emphasis on computational fluency. Regardless of which version the student takes, AB or BC, the transcript reads the same (for example Pre-Calculus is listed on the transcript NOT AB or BC).

  • I heard that LASA doesn’t do the “top 10%”, class rank, valedictorian, etc.: does this hurt them in college admissions?

    • Because admission to LASA is competitive and tested aptitudes are above the national average, rank in class cannot be regarded as a valid indication of preparation for college for the students at LASA. For this reason, we only report class rank for the top ten percent of the senior class applying to Texas public universities pursuant to Texas Education Code Section 51.803. We do still select a valedictorian and salutatorian. Historically, LASA is nationally ranked among the best public high schools in the nation. Many colleges and universities are well aware of the rigor that LASA students are subjected to and as such, it is our experience that students that graduate from LASA have many opportunities for higher education.

  • How does my child satisfy the Health requirement?

    • Students can satisfy the State’s health requirement one of two ways. A number of seniors take Garza health online during summer school. The other option is to take it during their senior year through a “Delta period” for one semester (this ends up serving as a study hall period which has been wonderful for many kids).

  • How difficult are the computer science electives?

    • Please keep in mind that LASA is an advanced academic program and we only offer advanced courses. That said, this is really dependent on the student and their knowledge and/or excitement for these courses . For more information on the CS electives, visit the CS website: https://lasacs.com/courses/

  • Are there early college classes?

    • No. LASA is not an Early College High School. LASA students earn college credit through AP classes.

  • Can students take classes at ACC? (Student was interested in classes not offered at LASA.)

    • LASA accepts a very limited number of ACC classes. Students are welcome to take classes for their personal enjoyment, but most of these classes will not take the place of a LASA class or of a magnet endorsement requirement.

LOTE (LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH)

  • When they say that students have to take three years of a LOTE, do they mean three years at LASA, or can they come in with credits already? Also, does it have to be the same language?

    • Students must take 3 years of the same language to graduate from LASA with the magnet distinction. Some students come in with credits from their middle school that count towards the 3 years. However, if a freshman comes in with 3 credits of the same foreign language, LASA requires them to take one year of a language at LASA.

  • I have taken two years of a foreign language and I still struggle with the language. Can I change languages?

    • Yes. LASA allows students that struggle with a language or who simply want to switch languages after two years to switch to another language. If they successfully take that new language and pass, they will receive the Magnet Endorsement.

  • If my child is planning to take Spanish II (rather than trying to place into Spanish III), does he still have to take the summertime placement test?

    • No, the placement exam for all languages is only for level 3 or above.

  • We’re going to be out of the country for the entire summer. What happens if my child misses the LOTE placement exam and the student orientation?

    • They will need to contact administration for make-up test options.

  • Why doesn’t LASA offer Arabic?

    • Currently, LASA offers 8 Languages. The LOTE classes are based on interest. If students are interested in a particular language, he/she should discuss with their counselor. If there are enough students interested, the administration would review it and if feasible, would offer the course. It is LASA’s goal to offer Arabic in the future.

FINE ARTS

GENERAL FINE ARTS

  • How many fine arts credits do they need?

    • 1 year total; Most, if not all LASA Fine Arts are year long electives

  • Does fashion design count as a fine arts credit and is art 1 required as a prerequisite.

    • Fashion design doesn’t have the Art 1 prerequisite, BECAUSE it is a CTE credit

  • Can you enroll in a sports class (Basketball) and Fine Arts (orchestra) as a freshman?

    • Yes. We have students who are part of the Basketball team after school and orchestra. However, make sure that orchestra is the elective.

THEATRE

  • How time consuming is theatre?

    • Theatre is time consuming and will require after school practices and weekend performances throughout the year.

AP MUSIC THEORY

  • Can freshman take AP Music Theory?

    • Yes but again, freshmen really only have one elective choice so not many take AP Music Theory their freshmen year.

BAND

  • Is there a way to take just concert band, without marching band?

    • No. Students that want to participate in band will automatically be placed in marching band. Please remember that marching band is only in the fall semester and students earn a semester of PE credit in marching band.

  • Are students able to keep their grades up during marching band season?

    • They must keep up their grades to the passing standard or else they will not be allowed to compete on the marching band because of the UIL No Pass No Play rule. The band directors will offer students time to work on their academics if they need that time.

  • ​Does marching band count as a PE credit?

    • Yes; and you receive Fine Arts credit for the Concert Band class

  • How does my student get a fine arts credit for marching band?

    • You receive Fine Arts credit for the Concert Band class, and a PE credit for Marching Band

  • Is it possible to enroll in concert band without doing marching band?

    • All LASA band students are a part of the marching band. If you believe that you have a conflict that prevents you from being in marching band, please reach out directly to the band directors.

ORCHESTRA

  • Can pianists join the chamber orchestra?

    • All students must audition for proper placement.

  • Are there orchestra options outside the regular school day?

    • No, All orchestra classes happen during the school day.

  • Can orchestra be a back-up if one really prefers a different elective?

    • It’s not recommended. If they intend to be a member of the orchestra, the must complete an audition by May 15th, 2020.

CHOIR

  • Is Choir a weighted class? Are there advanced choirs which require audition?

    • Choir 1-2 are unweighted. Choir 3-4 (like other Fine Arts level 3-4 classes are weighted) No, you are not required to audition to move up to the next level of choir. Simply taking Choir 1 will allow students to move on to Choir 2.

  • Is choir during the school day or not?

    • Yes, it’s during the school day

GUITAR

  • Does middle school guitar 3 count towards high school fine art credit?

    • No, MS level fine arts credit for guitar does not count towards HS fine arts credit.

  • Will guitar count as an elective and a Fine arts credit?

    • Yes

  • Is the guitar class for beginners only?

    • No, it frequently has beginners and those with some/lots of experience in it. The guitar instructor balances these differences very well.

PIANO

  • ​Can they start in Piano 2 with prior learning of Piano?

    • No, this is due to TEA and state guidelines; if it’s the student’s first year in the class, it will be transcripted as Level 1, regardless of the student’s ability. However, keep in mind that our Piano curriculum is designed for students who have never played piano before.

DANCE/FIRST LADIES

  • If I'm taking dance and it's required to be a class period, will I still be able to take my athletic choice as a class during the school day?

    • In almost all cases the answer is no. 9th and 10th graders generally only have 1 elective choice and therefore will only be able to take one of those, Dance or Athletics. Recommendation: take Dance during the day, and participate with your sports team after/before school.

  • What’s the time commitment?

    • A great snapshot of our year is visible online at https://www.firstladiesdanceteam.com/updates. In a nutshell, we perform and practice all year round including 2 weeks in the summer before school, football season, competition season in February, and spring show in May. Breaks are given throughout the year depending on school workloads and performance schedules.

  • When do we practice?

    • Mon/Wed: 7:30AM-1st period, Tues/Thurs: 4-6PM, and Fridays are football games in the fall, or just 1st period if it’s an A day. Potentially 1 Saturday practice in the spring. There is an on time morning bus and a late bus that leaves at 6:30PM.

  • Will I have time to do any other extra curricular?

    • It is certainly possible! We have team members currently that are in Orchestra, Concert Band, Soccer, Track, and other student clubs. It takes strong organization skills and communication to all parties to make it work. Typically, Ms. Edwards is very flexible and accommodating, but frequent absences could result in removal of performances or changes in formations - whatever is best for the team.

  • What styles of dance do we do?

    • A little bit of everything! We work on our technique for many genres, stretch and workout every practice, and perform year-round with pom, kick, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, novelty, contemporary/etc dance genres.

  • Will we perform at LBJ or LASA football games?

    • This detail is in progress and will hopefully be announced before the end of the school year. We will most likely do a healthy blend of both, but not all for both.

  • What is the cost to join?

    • As a first year member, it is around $590-800 - depending on how much you need to purchase for shoes and clothing. Please do not let cost push you away, we fundraise and financial assistance is available! Also, each year after that is less expensive (150 for team camp and fair share), unless you need to purchase new practice attire or make the officer line (550 for Dance officer & team camp + fair share).

  • Will the team be together after next year?

    • As of now, the plan is to have 2 separate entities when LASA moves to the Eastside Memorial campus for 2021-2022, so the team will be LASA and LBJ students for one more year, 2020-2021.

  • Will there be new colors for the First Ladies?

    • No, since this is an LBJ organization, the colors will remain as purple. We hope to have some sort of costume for next year that is navy and white for any LASA specific performances, but we will likely not get the official field uniforms until the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Is there a set number you accept on the team?

    • No! We would love to have as many students from both schools that meet the audition requirements.

  • Do you follow UIL rules?

    • We do not compete within UIL competitions, but we do follow the UIL grade policies. Grades are checked at progress report and the 6 weeks throughout the year. If you are failing at the add/drop date, you will go on probation for 3 weeks, and then they’re checked again. If you’re passing then, you’re released from probation, if not, you’re on it for 3 more weeks. If you fail 2 6 weeks in a row, you are removed from the team - per the AISD Dance Constitution.

ATHLETICS/PE

  • Will LASA offer all of the UIL Athletics?

    • Yes. If enough students are interested in participating in athletics, LASA will offer the sport. LASA hired our first Athletic Coordinator, Mr. Bryan Crews. He has worked on schedules for all sports teams. The football team is non-UIL for the first two years but we have a full football schedule for the next two years. All other sports are UIL. We will offer the following sports for next year and you can participate in the sport either during the school day or before/after the school day.

        1. Football

        2. Volleyball

        3. Cross Country - before school only

        4. Swimming - before school only

        5. Golf - after school only

        6. Wrestling - before or after school only

        7. Boys Basketball

        8. Girls Basketball

        9. Tennis - after school only

        10. Boys Soccer

        11. Girls Soccer

        12. Track and Field - after school only

        13. Baseball

        14. Softball

        15. First Ladies - Dance Team

        16. Cheer Team - non-UIL

  • How much PE do they need to take and are there any during the day PE options?

    • The State of TX requires that all students have one year of PE. There are many options for PE either via athletics or a PE class during the school day.

  • How can I arrange it so that my child does not have to take PE at LASA?

  • Are freshman allowed to play on varsity teams?

    • This is dependent on the sport and the coach.

  • How competitive are the UIL sports teams?

    • This all depends on the number of students that try-out for the team. Students are not guaranteed to make the varsity team but the philosophy of athletics is if students have an interest, they will be allowed to try-out and make the team and we want to offer that experience to every student.

  • Where does the swim team meet? What time and how many days a week? Is there transportation to LASA?

    • East Communities YMCA; Around 6:20am several days a week; there is a bus that takes the kids to LASA after practice but they have to get to the YMCA on their own.

  • Can my child play two spring sports (soccer and track)?

    • Yes - those don’t overlap much, and if you talk with the coaches, they are usually happy to work with the kids to make it possible. However, some sports like cross-country and swimming will not be allowed as they both practice in the morning.

  • Is it possible to manage LASA and high intensity club sports (that require multiple practices and travel)?

    • Yes - it’s all about time management and communication with teachers.

  • I heard my student can take LASA golf for P.E. Credit. How does that work?

    • There are a couple of options for Golf at LASA. You can play on the team or you can take the PE class. PE class meets after school on Mondays (class day at LASA) and Wednesdays (at Golf Course; transported to and from the golf course via bus); Class ends by 5:00pm. Students could take the late bus home from LASA on class days at 6:30pm or have their own transportation. Each semester gives 0.5 credit hours. Team meets on Tuesdays and there is no transportation to/from the golf course.

NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION

  • My student is unable to attend New Student Orientation on the day assigned. Can they attend the other date instead?

    • Please inform Assistant Principal Ms. Salinas by email of your conflict. She will be able to direct you from there.

  • My student is unable to attend either day of New Student Orientation. Is there a way for my student to get their list of courses/locker/textbooks/ID on another day?

    • Unfortunately, no. We are only able to provide these services on those two dates. All incoming students who are unable to attend student orientation will receive information on how to make up for what they missed on the first day of school.

  • What should my student bring to New Student Orientation?

    • A bag for books and a lock for their locker. Students are welcome to bring snacks and a lunch if they don't like pizza.