San Francisco High School of the Arts

High School Academics

San Francisco High School of the Arts offers a rigorous academic program for middle school and high school students from grades 6 to 12. The curriculum focuses on application of knowledge gained from solid theoretical understanding. We have a great team of teachers with strong and diversified backgrounds, who are dedicated to inspiring and supporting students in all their endeavors.

In addition to training in traditional arts, we provide students with a rigorous, college-preparatory program that includes academic coursework, advising, counseling, and standardized test prep.

Our academic program emphasizes five areas of study: English, History, Math, Sciences, and Chinese. Small class sizes facilitate a seminar-style engagement in the humanities, while independent study is available in all major subjects.

A Supportive Environment

Our supportive and family-like environment motivates students to learn. In addition, our small average class size allows students to receive individualized attention. Through hard work, dedication, and the help of caring instructors and peers, our students grow to become responsible young adults.

A Bilingual Program

The San Francisco High School of the Arts strongly promotes bilingual development in English and Mandarin Chinese, two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Our Chinese Language & Culture program is literature-based, and takes students from entry-level Chinese, all the way up to being able to interpret advanced classical texts and poetry. Through successful development of oral fluency and literacy in Chinese, 90% of our students pass the AP Chinese Exam before graduation.

Improved Academia via Traditional Arts

Research has proven that training in traditional arts not only facilitates character building in young adults, but also improves their capabilities in academic learning. Through mastering the arts, our students become more focused and self-disciplined, and naturally develop good study habits that enhance their academic efficiency.

“The school was the perfect fit for my two children as I strongly believe in the values of building good character.” 

— Parent

High School Academics

Our high school curriculum is approved by the University of California’s A-G program. In addition, we provide students with access to intellectually challenging coursework via 12 recognized Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

All courses offered in the major disciplines meet or exceed California’s state standards and prepare students for studies at highly selective colleges. We also offer AP and Honors courses in English, History, Math, the Sciences and Chinese.

College Acceptance

100% of High School of the Arts graduates have consistently been accepted into each of their top-choice colleges and universities. Their applications for fine arts colleges, in the US and abroad, have never been turned down. Our alumni have been accepted into many renowned colleges and universities such as:

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) • UC Berkeley • UCLA • University of Michigan in Ann Arbor • UC Santa Barbara • UC Irvine • UC Davis • New York University • UC San Diego • University of British Columbia • Purdue University • Rutgers University • American University • George Washington University

AP Exam Scores

Our students have consistently scored above the state and international mean in AP exams:

SAT Exam Scores

Our students have consistently scored above the state and international mean in SAT exams:

ACT Exam Scores

Our students have consistently scored above the state and international mean in ACT exams:

High School Graduation Requirements

As an arts institution of high caliber, San Francisco High School of the Arts offers rigorous pre-professional training programs in the arts alongside strong academic classes. Our graduation requirements meet and exceed admission guidelines for UC / CSU, and are aligned with California Department of Education’s state standards. By expanding upon the University of California’s A-G requirements, we prepare students for study at highly selective colleges.

Standardized Tests

  • Students are encouraged to take the ACT and the SAT for college admission.
  • Aside from minimum academic requirements, students have the option of taking Advanced Placement (AP) and/or honors-level courses, depending on their postsecondary aspirations.
  • Students participate in annual standardized testing in grades 6 through 10.

Community Engagement

Aside from standard academics, we also require students to contribute to the local community by completing a minimum of 20 volunteer hours per year.

Credit Requirements

To earn an HSArts high-school diploma, students must complete a minimum of 26.5 credits, distributed across the curriculum. They must also verify completion of HSArts-specific requirements, including 20 volunteer hours per year. Volunteer hours should be logged by the students and submitted alongside approval forms as documentation, which will be confirmed by the school’s records.

Aside from the minimum academic requirements, students have the option of taking additional Advanced Placement (AP) and/or honors-level courses, depending on their schedule and post-secondary aspirations.

Below is an outline of the minimum recommended credit requirements, where each credit denotes a year-long course:

Subject Minimum Credits Recommended Credits
English
4 (1 ESL credit acceptable)
4 (1 ESL credit acceptable)
Mathematics
3* (Algebra I credit from 7th/8th grade acceptable)
4* (Algebra I credit from 7th/8th grade acceptable)
History
3
4
Lab Sciences
2
3
Foreign Language
2
3

Arts

9
12

Electives§

1
1
Physical Education
2
2
Leadership
0.5
0.5

Total Credits

26.5
33.5

* Must include one year of Geometry.

Must include one year of World History and
    – either one year of U.S. History,
    – or one semester of U.S. History and one semester of U.S. Government.

Advanced Pre-Professional Arts Certificate with 6 or more years of full-time arts coursework or
    Pre-Professional Arts Certificate with at least 4 years of full-time arts training 

§ Electives may include additional core courses taken beyond the minimum requirements.

“SF 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. SF High School of the Arts does. And it makes a world of difference. Highly recommend.” 

–8th grade parent

Middle School Academics

If you are looking for a warm, positive and supportive school where you can explore both the arts and academics fields, the San Francisco High School of the Arts is the place for you. You will receive a well-rounded education that builds your confidence, self-esteem and your scholastic skills to prepare you for any challenges that lie ahead.

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