Art at Berkeley High
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Art at Berkeley High
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
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.)
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.
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.
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