Academics

Academics FAQ


Q:

 What is the range of BSA academic classes a student might take while attending the BSA?

A:

 
Because the Baltimore School for the Arts admits students only on the basis of an arts audition, students come to the school with a wide range of academic backgrounds—and the school ensures that all students will find, throughout their years at the school, challenging and appropriate academic classes.
 
One way to see the range of academic options at BSA is to consider several typical course combinations over four years.
 
Sample One:  a student enters BSA having taken high-school-level Algebra I in middle school and also high-school-level Spanish I and advanced English classes:
 
Ninth Grade
Tenth Grade
Eleventh Grade
Twelfth Grade
English Honors
English Honors
English Honors
AP English
Spanish II
Spanish III
Spanish IV (AP)
Spanish V
Geometry
Algebra II
Pre-calculus
Calculus (AP)
American Government
Biology
Physics Honors
Chemistry Honors
 
Health/Fitness
American Studies Seminar    (U. S. History Honors)
Art & Culture
(World History Honors)

Sample Two: a student enters BSA with standard math and science courses, and also some Spanish classes in middle school:

Ninth Grade
Tenth Grade
Eleventh Grade
Twelfth Grade
English Honors
English Honors
English Honors
English Honors
Spanish I
Spanish II
Spanish III
World History
Algebra I
Geometry
Algebra II
Pre-calculus
American Government
Biology
Physics
Chemistry Honors
 
 
American Studies Seminar (U. S. History Honors)
Health/Fitness

 Sample Three: a student enters BSA with limited math and science courses, and no Spanish classes in middle school:

 
Ninth Grade
Tenth Grade
Eleventh Grade
Twelfth Grade
English
English
English
English
Health/Fitness
Spanish I
Spanish II
World History
Algebra I
Geometry
Algebra II
Pre-calculus
American Government
Biology
Physics
Chemistry
 
 
U. S. History
 

 For all students, BSA offers a range of support programs, such as coach classes (each academic teacher meets with students at least weekly, before or after school, and some teachers have daily coach classes). In addition, BSA schedules Saturday classes (for students who need extra help), Study Hall, HSA and SAT preparation classes, and a Summer Assistance Program for incoming students. Each year, the school provides academic assistance to make sure that all students, regardless of their educational background, succeed.

 



Q:

 What credits do you accept from public middle schools, private middle schools, and other prior schooling?

A:

 
While many middle schools claim they offer “high school credits,” we do not accept those credits without determining the strength of those classes nor do we base our academic placements solely on a student’s performance in middle school. All students must meet the requirements listed above during their four years in high school. For example, every student at BSA takes four years of English and three years of Mathematics regardless of the high school “credits” they may have received in middle school.



Q:

 What are the academic course requirements at the Baltimore School for the Arts?

A:

 The minimum graduation requirements, set by the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS), include four years of English, three years of Mathematics, three years of Science, three years of Social Studies, two years of Spanish, and one year of Health and Fitness. All of our students go well beyond the BCPSS requirements, and many of our students exceed these graduation requirements taking advanced academic electives.


Q:

 How do you place students in your academic classes once they’ve accepted your offer of admission?

A:

 
There are a number of ways we determine what course schedule is best for our incoming students. First, we conduct placement exams in English, Mathematics, and Spanish to help us accurately place students in classes. We also look at student transcripts to help us gauge the academic training our incoming students had in middle school.



Q:

 What programs are available to those students who excel in BSA’s academic program?

A:

 
The course schedule we have developed for our advanced academic students in their junior and senior years (Sample One on the course example document) follows the most rigorous college preparatory program as recommended by the top colleges and universities. Our top academic students take honors courses in American Studies and Art and Culture, honors science classes in Physics and Chemistry, honors and AP classes in English, and advanced seminars in Spanish III, Spanish IV, and even Spanish V. Many of our advanced electives also offer students the opportunity to take AP exams in May. As a result of their rigorous preparation, our students do well on the AP exams, consistently receiving fours and fives as well as college credit, and in many of our advanced electives students are prepared and encouraged to take the exam. We also have a chapter of the National Honor Society for those juniors and seniors who are recognized for their academic accomplishments. Each quarter, our top students in every grade are also acknowledged for their academic excellence on the Honor Roll and Dean’s List.



Q:

 How much academic homework can I expect to have at BSA?

A:

 
Homework times vary from student to student and class to class, but you can generally plan to have roughly three to four hours of academic homework each night. Most classes assign roughly forty-five minutes to an hour of homework each night.



Q:

 What assistance do you offer students who are struggling with their academic courses?

A:

 
 
We offer a range of academic assistance programs, which are designed to help students achieve academic success at BSA. For some students, the academic transition to BSA is extremely challenging, and we are committed to helping all students who need assistance in reaching their academic goals. All of our faculty members offer weekly, and many offer daily, coach classes to help students in one-on-one and small group sessions before and after school. We also offer roughly fourteen Saturday School sessions throughout the school year. Beginning in late July, some incoming students are required to attend our four-week Summer Academic Assistance Program, which aims to help students meet our high expectations. Finally, we have a daily afternoon study hall for those students who need additional help in their academic classes and for those who are not regularly completing homework assignments.



Q:

 How do students change classes once they have received their schedules?

A:

 
We have a two-week add/drop period at the beginning of the year when students have an opportunity to add or drop an academic class. We do not allow students to change a class simply to have one teacher instead of another. The add/drop period is designed to help us ensure that all students are in the most appropriate and challenging classes.



Q:

 Do you provide any assistance for students taking the High School Assessment (HSA) tests or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)?

A:

 
Maryland requires that students earn a passing score on HSA tests in English, American Government, Algebra I, and Biology. The vast majority of our students pass these tests when they take them in May of their freshman and sophomore years. For those students who do not initially pass these tests, we offer after-school tutoring, which is specifically designed to aid those students. We also offer two sessions of SAT preparation classes to our students during the fall of their senior year.



Q:

 What colleges and universities do students attend upon graduating from BSA?

A:

 
Almost the entire graduating class attends an institution of higher education after graduating from BSA. While many students move on to conservatories or art institutes, many students also decide to attend liberal arts colleges and large research institutions. Our college preparatory academic program prepares students for higher education regardless of their artistic pursuits and, each year, we have students accepted by top colleges and universities throughout the country. Our goal is to also prepare all of our students for a life of inquiry and learning, one that will extend far beyond their time at BSA.




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"I was an inner-city kid, and the school exposed me for the first time to a number of cultures. That helped to break down biases. From 8 to 4, it was our own little utopia."
Antonio Hart
Class of 1986, Grammy-nominated Jazz Saxophonist

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