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Focus Schools

VAPAWhat is a VAPA Focus School?

Previously called a "magnet" school, Focus Schools offer specialized courses not available elsewhere, designed to attract VAPA-focused students from outside assigned neighborhood attendance zones.

Statement of Purpose

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Schools are dedicated to sequential TK-12 arts education in dance, theatre, music, and visual arts. VAPA Focus School leaders believe the arts are an essential and critical element in the artists' journey and, to that end, are committed to an increasingly sophisticated arts training pathway that prepares all graduates for post-secondary opportunities and careers in the 21st century creative economy.


VAPA Focus Schools will be strategically located to ensure access and equity for all SDUSD students who identify as having a strong passion and commitment to the arts. Elementary schools will be geographically spread throughout the district, with middle schools located in both the north and south, and one [centrally-located] comprehensive arts high school. All schools will offer a dual curriculum that uses academics to lift and support the artist as a scholar.

With an aligned vision, VAPA Focus Schools will provide increasingly sophisticated training in dance, theatre, music, and visual arts.

  • The TK-5 programs will focus on nurturing and exploring the many facets of arts.
  • The 6-8 grade program will focus on providing all students with arts programs that continue to explore various arts disciplines and provide opportunities for further specialization.
  • The 9-12 program will focus on increased specialization and disciplined arts training at a nationally accredited high school for the arts. Arts training will include a rigorous scope and sequence of arts courses that prepare all students for conservatory and post-secondary opportunities in the arts. The student experience will include juried professional performances, portfolios, and a highly disciplined and professional arts education.

Students will have access to credentialed arts specialists and highly-qualified teaching artists and who understand the roles and responsibilities of the professional artist.

The arts faculty and arts school leadership of all VAPA Focus Schools will work collaboratively as a professional learning community to benefit from shared knowledge and continued professional development. These professional learning communities will continually lift and support an innovative and nationally recognized quality arts education training program serving as a research facility and training ground for the entire San Diego Unified School District.

Students will have access to a curriculum that is standards-driven and inspires them to see the world through an artistic lens, so that they will be prepared for the next level of arts education.

Students will have the opportunity to professionally connect and be actively involved with the local and national arts community. Partnerships will drive the high quality artistic experiences for all students.

Students will have access to safe and appropriate facilities for high level artistic creation, rehearsal, performance, and presentation.

Designated VAPA Focus Schools

  • Zamorano Fine Arts Academy
  • Oak Park Elementary School
  • Freese Elementary School
  • Sequoia Elementary School
  • Crown Point Junior Music Academy
  • Creative, Performing, Media Arts (CPMA)
  • School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA)

Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant

Four schools are also served by a five-year, $15 million U.S. Department of Education grant. The Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant will be supporting Freese Arts, Culture, and Museum Magnet), Webster Academy of Science and the Arts, Creative Performing Media Arts (CPMA) Middle School, and the San Diego School of the Creative and Performing Arts (SDSCPA) beginning in fall 2021.

Find out more about the MSAP grant, "Amplifying the Arts in SDUSD," here.