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.
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. LASA started athletics as our own school for the first time in 2020-2021 and we offer all UIL Athletics and Fine Arts. 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 2021-22?
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.
When and where is LASA moving?
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.
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 LASA from most parts of Austin. For the route home/after-school, or late buses the buses leave LASA and go to designated late bus stop in your area.
Can students get dropped off at Kealing and then ride the bus from Kealing?
No. Students must only ride their bus from their assigned bus stop.
How does the late bus work?
Late bus picks up at 6:30 in front of the school and they 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.
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.
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. Advanced Magnet, Advanced Magnet BC, 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.
GENERAL FINE ARTS
How many fine arts credits do they need?
1 year total; Almost all Fine Arts are year long electives.
Can you enroll in a sports class and Fine Arts as a freshman?
Yes. We have students who are part of the various athletic teams after school and performing arts. However, make sure that the fine art is the elective choice, then students can participate with the athletic team after-school.
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
Is Art I graded on effort? I am not confident in my art skills, is it ok for me to take Art I?
Our Art I curriculum is designed to meet artists at their level wherever that may be. We will study a variety of mediums and approaches so that all learners can improve their craft. We all have different learning styles and preferences, Art I embraces these and helps all find the methods that work best for them. The most important attribute of an Art I student is their willingness to try new things daily.
I’ve got a lot of art experience already, but no Art I credit. Do I still need to take Art I?
Yes. We teach using the methods and vocabulary taught at the college level as it helps us identify and hone our personal mark-making styles so that our voices can be heard through our work. We bounce between 3d and 2d mediums so that each influences our understanding of the other, this helps our drawings have better illusion of form and our sculptures be more compositionally grounded.
What is covered in Art I, is it all drawing?
No, it’s not all drawing. We start with drawing because it is the language of sketching, but from there we spend equal amounts of time in painting, ceramics, printmaking, and sculpture/fiber art.
Is there homework in Art I?
No, all Art I work should happen during class time. However, if a student misses a class, or has trouble feeling confident enough to get started, sometimes students will need to come in outside of class to catch up. The Art room is always open during lunch and many students choose to eat and work together.
Which Visual Art courses require a portfolio review?
AP Studio Art requires a portfolio review and teacher approval to enroll (but no have no prerequisite). These courses are fast paced and student driven, so it is crucial that students have the technical skills to spend the year investigating a concentration within their body of work.
Should I take AP Art History for Fine Arts credit because it is Honors weighted and has no Art prerequisite?
AP Art History is open to all students that have completed World History, but is fast paced and recommended for Juniors and Seniors rather than underclassmen. It does fulfill the Fine Arts requirement with a weighted course, but it has a similar work load to AP social studies classes.
What is the time commitment?
Theater is definitely a significant time commitment. After school show rehearsals tend to be around 2 hours 2-4 days a week. However, you would be surprised at how much theater helps with time management, and how much easier juggling theater and homework becomes! Along with that, rehearsals are just a lot of fun. They can be a fantastic brain break—rehearsals are a great way to unwind after a long day of school and get to hang out with your friends, all while making art and being creative.
Do I need to be in a class to be in a show?
Any student, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in a theater class, can participate in any theater production—with the exception of the Theater 1 one act and the Varsity Theater one act, which are limited to students in those particular classes because they rehearse during the actual class period.
What is the difference between the classes?
Theater 1 classes in acting and technical theatre are focused on the basics of each discipline. After having successfully completed the intro classes you may choose to take the varsity level classes (2-4) in each discipline. Acting offers an exploration into the art of acting, techniques and character work. Varsity Theater is a more advanced course centered around acting and the study of different elements that make performances great. Because of the curriculum, the acting classes (theatre 1 and varsity) have a performance that takes place at the end of the year to fulfill all requirements needed to complete the class. No after school time is needed for the rehearsal of this until the day of performance. Technical theatre 1 dives into the fundamentals of set building, stage makeup, costumes and production. Varsity Tech works on the actual tech for after school shows, as well as focuses on more advanced tools and techniques than the beginner class. You do not have any after school requirements and all work will be done in the class period, but you are more than welcome to join us in all our after-school productions!
Can I do both tech and acting?
Absolutely! Plenty of actors have helped out with tech, and many techs have played parts in shows as well. Depending on the size of your role in the show, you’ll definitely have off days and times where you’ll be able to work on tech.
AP MUSIC THEORY
Can freshman take AP Music Theory?
Yes, but freshmen really only have one elective choice so not many take AP Music Theory their freshmen year; keep in mind it may be a better fit for students who have already studied the performance of music
Does marching band count as a PE credit?
Yes, students earn 0.5 credits for the Fall semester of marching band.
Does my student earn a fine arts credit for marching band?
No, students receive fine arts credit for the concert band class, and a PE credit for marching band.
Are students required to be in marching band?
We ask that all band students be involved with the marching band. The marching band community is a huge aspect with what makes high school band so special. As well as this, our marching show is a major part of our curriculum for the first two grading periods. However, we want you to be a part of the Raptor Band! We are happy to discuss options with you on a 1-on-1 basis. Please reach out directly to a director.
We'd like to know more about balancing grades/academics with band....
Our band program does a great job of supporting the academic needs of our students. We have systems in place where older student leaders set up tutoring for younger students, as well as other things to help students manage their time wisely. We find that many of our band students make better grades in the Fall, when they have more organization to their schedules, than they do during the Spring semester.
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, they must complete an audition. Please visit the orchestra website for more information.
How do I audition?
The information for auditioning is on the website. All auditions will be live through Zoom; use the Sign-up Genius link from the website to reserve your time slot.
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
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?
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.
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. NOTE: the piano curriculum is individualized and designed for both beginners and intermediate level students.
DANCE (can be fine arts credit or pe credit)
Do I need to have experience to be in Dance 1-IV?
No experience is needed! Throughout the year, you will experience many different styles of dances and have the opportunity to perform as well.
VELOCITY DANCE TEAM (can be fine arts credit or pe credit)
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?
In a nutshell, we perform and practice all year round including two 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. With Covid this year, it has been significantly less, but I hope that next year we can do more and continuously evolve in the ways we perform and have fun together!
When do we practice?
During a "normal year" we typically practice Mon/Wed: 7:30 AM - 1st period, Tues/Thurs: 4-6 PM, and Fridays are football games in the fall, or just 1st period if it is an A day. Potentially 1 Saturday practice in the spring. There is an on-time morning bus and a late bus that leaves at 6:30 PM. However, with Covid this year, we have practiced only during 1st period virtually and Tues/Thurs. 4:45-6:15 outdoors or in small groups inside.
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 LASA football games?
We perform at football halftime shows, winter showcase, competitions, spring shows, community events, and pep rallies.
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)..
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.
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.
Cross Country - before school only
Swimming - before school only
Golf - after school only
Wrestling - before or after school only
Tennis - after school only
Track and Field - after school only
Dance Team - Velocity Dance
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.
How can I arrange it so that my child does not have to take PE at LASA?
Students can take OCPE (off campus PE) by following the AISD rules for this. The approved OCPE vendors are listed on our website: https://www.lasahighschool.org/academics/off-campus-pe
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.