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Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA)

The mission of the Visual And Performing Arts Department (VAPA) is to provide equal access to quality standards-based arts instruction in all schools in Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts .


The State of California defines a balanced, comprehensive arts program as one in which the arts are studied as discrete disciplines related to each other and, when appropriate, to other subject areas in the curriculum. Students in a comprehensive program are expected to master the content of an arts discipline as outlined in the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards Adobe PDF or the Visual and Performing Arts Framework Adobe PDF.
Arts disciplines include dance, music, theater, and visual arts. For each of these disciplines, the standards are broken down by grade level and are further grouped by strands as follows:

Artistic Perception
Processing, analyzing, and responding to sensory information through language and skills unique to the discipline.

Creative Expression
Creation, performance and participation in the discipline.

Historical and Cultural Context
Understanding historical contributions and cultural dimensions of the discipline.

Aesthetic Valuing
Responding to, analyzing, and making judgments about works of art.

Connections, Relationships, Applications
Connecting and applying what is learned in the discipline to other art forms and subject areas and to careers.


The San Diego Unified School District provides a standards-based sequential course of study in creative movement and dance from middle school through high school advanced levels. Students may participate in school-wide productions and performances, as well as city, state and national workshops and festivals, and stage, film and television opportunities.

Academic Standards


The San Diego Unified School District provides instrumental music standards based instruction to students fourth through twelfth grade. Elementary students are offered either pull-out, exploratory or full grade level programs. Instrumental music instruction at the secondary level is primarily offered though band and orchestra courses in which students participate in performances and productions. The district offers honor bands and orchestras and school ensembles participate in city and area music festivals. General music instruction is provided for elementary students and the district's middle and high school choral music departments offer instruction for vocal ensembles of all levels, general music and music history.

Academic Standards


The San Diego Unified School District provide a standards-based sequential course of study and instruction in the dramatic arts as well as technical theatre from he middle school through high school advanced levels. Theatre students participate in school-wide musicals and plays, assuming various roles as actor, director, dramaturg, playwright and technical crew. SDUSD enjoys strong partnerships with the community providing students with increased opportunity to job shadow and experience and participate in theatre at a professional level. Students also perform in city, county, state and national level festivals and productions.

Academic Standards

Visual Arts

Visual art instruction, including the study and practice of both traditional media (drawing, painting, and sculpting) and electronic media (photography, video and film), is offered in middle/junior and senior high schools throughout the district. Elementary classroom teachers may provide instruction in visual art or use visual art activities as support for instruction in other subject areas. The visual art curriculum is designed to ensure students meet the California State Content Standards in visual art through studio and art history courses. 

Academic Standards

Contact Us

Visual and Performing Arts Department (VAPA)
Instructional Media Center
2441 Cardinal Lane
San Diego, CA 92123-3798

Phone: 858-256-2700
Fax: 858-256-2708