Liberal Arts and Science Academy

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Liberal Arts & Science Academy
7309 Lazy Creek Drive


TypePublic Magnet
School districtAustin Independent School District
CEEB code440069
PrincipalStacia Crescenzi
Enrollment1,191 (2017-2018)
Color(s)     Purple
USNWR ranking16th[2]
LBJ and LASA High School Main Entrance

Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA) is a selective public magnet high school in Austin, Texas.[4][5] Although LASA is open to all Austin residents and charges no tuition, competition for admission can be strong and is contingent on submission of an application, prior academic record, and the Cognitive Abilities Test.

LASA shares its campus with LBJ, a non-magnet school.

LASA is often ranked as one of the best public schools in Texas, with a ranking of #5 by U.S. News and World Report in 2018.

As part of AISD's November 2017 bond, LASA will relocate to the old Eastside Memorial campus, with new school colors and mascot, as well as a new name, it is expected that the move will take place in 2021.[6]


In 1928, the Austin City Council approved a plan to segregate the city, effectively forcing black populations to move to certain areas of the city. After a national movement for desegregation of public schools began, AISD announced that it would begin efforts to desegregate schools, even though the school district continued to not allow busing.[7] In 1968, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AISD for not integrating schools fast enough, and after many years of litigation, school boundaries were redrawn, LBJ high school a product of this reorganization of the school system, but enrollment at LBJ steadily dropped as a result of white parents taking their kids out of public school, prompting the school board to take further action.

In an effort to stem White flight and create more more diverse public schools, the LBJ Science Academy was created in 1985. Classes were often shared in the science academy with LBJ students; the science academy was merged with a liberal arts magnet program located at Johnston high school by AISD in 2002 to form LASA High School, although the school still didn't have a federal ID number, and thus was considered a part of LBJ.[8][9] In 2007, so that LBJ could receive a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the typically lower performing students of the regular LBJ program could be granted automatic admission for the top 10 percent of students in their class, LBJ and LASA were split into separate schools. After the split, although LASA retained its name, classes besides fine arts were no longer shared, and teachers taught at either LASA or LBJ, but typically not both, although both schools continue to share fine arts and athletic programs.[10][11]


LASA shares its campus with Lyndon B. Johnson Early College High School: LASA is on the second floor while Johnson is on the first floor. Melissa B. Taboada of the Austin American-Statesman stated that some members of the Austin community "say the division is a constant blemish on the campus".[12]


Admission is based on multiple criteria including grades, standardized test scores, essays, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, awards earned, and an admissions exam (currently the Cognitive Abilities Test).[13]

Student Body[edit]

As of 2018 19.56% of LASA students are Hispanic and Latino and 2% are black. As of 2015 11.9% of the LASA students are low income. The percentages of low income, black, and Hispanic students at LASA decreased circa 2010-2015.[12]

The school spends $3,665 per student for academic programs and $5,919 per student for all school functions as of 2010.[14]

School Rankings[edit]

In 2018, U.S. News and World Report ranked the school #16 among the nation's best high schools and #5 among high schools in Texas.[15] Niche ranked LASA #11 nationally, and #1 in the state of Texas.[16] In 2014, Newsweek ranked LASA #8 nationally,[17] and #1 in Texas.[18][19] 38 out of the 260 students in the LASA Class of 2018 were National Merit Scholars.[20]


The traditional "Senior Assassins" game was finally ended in 2014 after word of the game leaked to the media; the game began in 2006. Seniors would collect an entry fee, then chase each other in hallways during class breaks, trying to mark and "tag" each other with markers. A student who got marked was "dead." The last survivor claimed the cash prize. In 2013, students were injured in the hallway by running seniors. Walls were rammed and holes had to be repaired; the game finally ended that year when a male student chased a female into the women's bathroom and she complained. In 2014, the administration helped organize the game, setting additional rules. A parent alerted the media and the subsequent attention caused the district to order the principal to shut the game down.[21]

The official LASA mascot is the Nautilus[citation needed], although it shares LBJ's mascot, the Jaguar, in UIL and other collaborative events across the schools.[22]


The sports that academy students are most likely to participate in are: ultimate frisbee, golf, lacrosse, swimming, cross-country, and tennis; as with the fine arts wing, the sports offered are shared between LBJ and LASA students.[23] The school offers, as a whole, 15 sports.

Clubs and Student Organizations[edit]

LASA offers more than 70 clubs and student organizations; these vary from year to year, and students may apply to create a new club each school year. LASA's Quiz bowl club won national titles at NAQT's High School National Championship titles in 2013 and 2014, as well as the PACE NSC in 2014, they have also had numerous top 4 finishes at both tournaments.[24] LASA is also the only school as of 2019 to have won two National Championship titles in the Varsity Division of the National History Bowl.[25]

Science Olympiad is also offered at LASA as a club. LASA has placed in the top 3 at state 15 times.[26]


To graduate with LASA's magnet endorsement, students must complete a minimum of 15 magnet classes, including a minimum three years of one language, four years of English, four years of social studies, four years of math (or until they complete multivariable calculus), and four years of science. Course offerings include Advanced Placement (AP) courses covering 30 Advanced Placement tests; students may begin taking them their freshman year.

Additionally, LASA offers specialized electives in all core subjects, such as How To Be An Adult, Amateur Radio (students may apply for a HAM radio license while taking the course), and a Modern Physics course; as of 2019, LASA has 20 elective science classes, which encompass astronomy, forensic science, and modern physics[27]. Electives for humanities include creative writing, women's literature, amateur radio, and constitutional law.


The LBJ/LASA Orchestra travels every year, and in recent years, has even travelled to places such as Carnegie Hall, in New York.[28]


LASA offers seven languages: French, German, Latin, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, American Sign Language, and Italian.

Computer Science[edit]

LASA{CS}, the computer science program at LASA, offers courses that cover Java, C++, data structures, Python, web and mobile applications, and digital electronics. Additionally, there is an independent study class to allow more advanced students to work on their own projects.[29]


LASA publishes its own newspaper every six weeks, The Liberator, as well as its own yearbook, Stetson. Stetson was previously LBJ's yearbook. When LASA and LBJ began to share a campus, LASA produced the book for both campuses. In 2016, LBJ began its own yearbook again, and LASA kept the Stetson name.[citation needed]

Signature Courses[edit]

Students must take two "Signature Courses" in both their Freshman and Sophomore years; these Signature Courses are semester-long, "double-block" period classes designed to make well-rounded students. Freshmen must take Introduction to Engineering ("SciTech") and Graphic Design and Illustration ("Ezine"); sophomores take Introduction to the Humanities ("Great Ideas") and Biogeology ("Planet Earth").[27]

See also[edit]

  • LBJ High School - LASA and LBJ students share the same campus and many programs.


  1. ^ Finn, Jr., Chester E.; Hockett, Jessica A. (2012). Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools. Princeton University Press. pp. 88–95. ISBN 9780691156675.
  2. ^ "Best High Schools in the U.S." U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  3. ^ "LASA School Profile" (PDF). Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  4. ^ Taboada, Melissa B. "Austin trustees' new bond plan calls for LASA to move south and grow". Austin American. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  5. ^ McGee, Kate. "LASA and LBJ Students Want to Unify in a School Divided". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  6. ^ S, Austin; ers; Fri.; Jan. 25; 2019. "Austin ISD Begins to Move Eastside High Schools". Retrieved 2019-03-24.
  7. ^ Rodriguez, James (2018). A SCHOOL DIVIDED: THE HISTORY OF LBJ AND LASA; the University of Texas at Austin.[verification needed]
  8. ^ Finn, Jr., Chester E.; Hockett, Jessica A. (2012). Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools. Princeton University Press. pp. 88–95. ISBN 9780691156675.[verification needed]
  9. ^ "The Final Bell". Texas Monthly. 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2019-07-24.[verification needed]
  10. ^ Finn, Jr., Chester E.; Hockett, Jessica A. (2012). Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools. Princeton University Press. pp. 88–95. ISBN 9780691156675.[verification needed]
  11. ^ Rodriguez, James (2018). A SCHOOL DIVIDED: THE HISTORY OF LBJ AND LASA; the University of Texas at Austin.[verification needed]
  12. ^ a b Taboada, Melissa B."Poor, minority students missing out on Austin’s popular magnet programs" (Archived 2015-12-30 at WebCite). Austin American-Statesman. Sunday February 8, 2015. Retrieved on December 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "LASA Online - Prospective Students". Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
  14. ^ "Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School". 8 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA)".
  16. ^ "2019 Liberal Arts & Science Academy Rankings". Niche. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  17. ^ "America's Best High Schools - The Daily Beast". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  18. ^ "America's Best High Schools - The Daily Beast". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  19. ^ "America's Top Schools 2014". Newsweek. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  20. ^ "LASA - School Profile". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  21. ^ Cargile, Erin (March 17, 2014). "Austin ISD shuts down "Student Assassin" game". KXAN. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  22. ^ Saul; et al. "JagMag". Issuu.
  23. ^ SWARTSELL, NICK; JUKAM, KELSEY (May 3, 2013). "Even alternative schools created to promote integration are racially divided in Texas". Dallas News. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  24. ^ "2014 HSNCT".
  25. ^ "National History Bowl Varsity Division National Champions".
  26. ^ "Liberal Arts and Science Academy - Science Olympiad Student Center Wiki". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  27. ^ a b LASA Course Guide 2019, 2019, pp. 19–20
  28. ^ "music". music. Retrieved 2018-01-26.
  29. ^ "LASA Computer Science". Retrieved 2018-04-06.

External links[edit]