San Francisco High School of the Arts’ aspiring artists cultivate the character and skills necessary for lifelong learning, independent thought, and creative exploration.

Parsons School of Design ∙ Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) ∙ Pratt Institute ∙ School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) ∙ ArtCenter College of Design ∙ Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA)

Arts Programs

Artistic training is at the core of intellectual and character development for all our students. In a structured environment, afternoon hours are almost entirely dedicated to the arts as each student explores in an artistic discipline of his/her own choosing. Whether it be ballet, Chinese dance, music, or visual arts, students explore their passions and strive for excellence, as they develop essential inner qualities of focus, resilience, self-mastery and teamwork.

In our pre-professional ballet program, students train in the Vaganova method. Our classes include Classical Ballet, Pointe, Character & Historical Court Dance, and Performance, drawing from a variety of international styles and folkloric traditions.

Originating in the ancient imperial courts, classical Chinese dance has developed through the ages, into one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world. The true beauty of Chinese dance embodies the depths of China’s rich cultural history.

The pre-professional music program integrates seamlessly into the outstanding academic environment. Being rooted in classical music, the curriculum comprises of high-level private and ensemble lessons, as well as music theory and composition.

With a focus on solid foundational skill-building, students become well-equipped for professional accomplishment in digital composition, architecture, and other visual arts-related fields. Many High School of the Arts graduates have been accepted into fine arts universities that dominate global rankings.

  • Arts Department Faculty

Our dedicated instructors are highly qualified and committed to helping students achieve their individual artistic goals. Having worked with top artists and companies in their own respective fields, each faculty member brings a unique set of real-to-life experiences to students undertaking the pre-professional curriculum.

UC Berkeley ∙ UCLA ∙ University of Michigan in Ann Arbor ∙ UC Santa Barbara ∙ UC Irvine ∙ UC Davis ∙ New York University ∙ UC San Diego

Academic Programs

Our accelerated academic program caters for middle school and high school students from grades 6 to 12. The curriculum emphasizes five core areas of study: English, Social Studies, Math, Sciences, and Chinese language. Small class sizes facilitate a seminar-style engagement in the humanities, while independent study is available in all high school subjects. Our low student-faculty ratio enhances individualized attention and integrated academic support.

English

Our English program primarily focuses on Western classics. Through activities that enhance core language skills as well as critical thinking and analysis, students discover the merits and inspirations of traditional values. Students also explore their creative writing skills with interdisciplinary activities such as play-writing and media projects.

Mathematics

Math comes from daily life. We encourage students to learn by investigation and become creative problem solvers in real-to-life mathematical scenarios. Classes in lower grade-levels incorporate foundational skills in algebra and strategic reasoning. Upper-grade levels explore advanced areas of math and their real-world applications.

Science

We emphasize application of scientific concepts through experimentation and guided research. By harnessing a scientific attitude in exploring the world around them, students develop an acute awareness of current scientific issues. Through informed discussions and scientific research, students build on essential skills in inquiry and communication.

Social Studies

As well as fundamental understanding of historical events, the history curriculum facilitates in-depth development of skills in chronological and spatial thinking, historical research and interpretation, academic literacy and writing, as well as interdisciplinary learning.

Chinese Language

The Chinese language program caters to a wide range of language abilities from true beginners to advanced readers and writers. While building on core language skills, students grasp the essence of Chinese culture via lessons on historical characters and events. Our curriculum enables all students to pass the AP Chinese exam before graduation.

AP Courses

Students looking to further their academic horizon have the opportunity to explore a wide range of Advanced Placement (AP) courses approved by the College Board.

  • Academic Department Faculty

Many of our faculty have 20+ years of teaching experience and hold graduate degrees from prestigious universities in the US and abroad. With a student-centered instructional approach, teachers are committed to facilitating a successful learning experience for students from a range of academic backgrounds.

  • Voices of parents and alumni

Our 12-year-old has danced and schooled at [High School of the Arts] the last two years. She is happy in this bully-free environment after a few educational false starts in the Bay Area. She dances daily, is learning Mandarin (really learning it!) and has a terrific, quite traditional academic program. The academics and dancing please our daughter, and the kindness and community please her parents!

Parent Review

STRONGLY AGREE: This school has an effective approach to homework.
At this school, homework is not given just to fill up the students’ time but to ensure that it re-enforces what they learned in class. Projects and assignments are given with future deadlines which is similar to how college works. This approach has helped my daughter learn time management skills and excel at the University she currently attends.

Parent Review

STRONGLY AGREE: This school develops strong character in its students, like integrity, compassion and respect.
This school works really hard to develop and nurture a strong character in each student. Students are taught to be honest, more compassionate towards others, and respect everyone around them. I’ve received multiple such compliments about my children from parents and individuals from outside of school.

Parent Review

STRONGLY AGREE: This school effectively supports students with learning differences.
Because it is a smaller school, teachers are able to spend more time with each student and provide differentiated instructions when necessary.

Parent Review

“[High School of the Arts] is AMAZING. The teacher and staff dedication is beyond par. They really do care about the children as a whole and take action when needed. Most schools our children have been to “talk about” their values a lot. [High School of the Arts] does. And it makes a world of difference. Highly recommend.”

Parent of 8th and 11th grade students

“Our 12-year-old has danced and schooled at [High School of the Arts] the last two years. She is happy in this bully-free environment… The academics and dancing please our daughter, and the kindness and community please her parents!” — Parent of 6th grade student

Parent of 6th grade student

“Fast forward five years, my daughter and son are now attending a top University of their choice and flourishing in college. Both were challenged with AP and Honors courses in class and performed in dance competitions and public events to build confidence, learn to work with others as a team, and share their love of the Chinese language and culture.”

Alumni's parent

“Counterintuitively, the smaller community improved my social skills, pushing me out of my comfort zone to engage with everyone regardless of background instead of just hanging with a clique of similar kids like at my large “diverse” public school.”

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