Music and Art

The Santa Cruz City School district believes that arts education is a core discipline. Our schools offer an engaging and comprehensive arts program, from Kindergarten through high school, encompassing visual arts, music, dance and drama. Our arts program nourishes the intellect, prizes creativity and values imagination.

Arts programs in our schools are standards-based and taught by credentialed music and visual arts instructors and professional experts from our exemplary arts community.


In our elementary schools, students in Kindergarten through 4th grade receive general music instruction; 5th graders choose between general music, strings or band. Middle schools offer music electives that include band, choir and guitar, as well as after-school music programs. Our high schools offer high-caliber, award-winning options including vocal music, marching band, jazz band, guitar and more. All schools celebrate their music programs with community performances.

Visual Arts

Each of our elementary schools has a dedicated visual arts instructor. Arts offerings at the middle schools are tailored to each school's strengths and needs. Mission Hill arts courses are electives, including drawing, ceramics and multimedia. Branciforte Middle School's integrates arts with literacy. High School courses range from Art History to Painting, Jewelry, Floral Design and Video Production.

Dance and Drama

Our elementary students may receive movement instruction taught by professional experts and theatrical productions led by talented and dedicated volunteers. Middle Schools offer a drama elective and/or after-school theatrical sessions. Theater Arts play a key role in our high schools with both student-led and faculty guided productions.

Arts programs in our district are coordinated and supported by the Visual and Performing Arts committee. VAPA advocates for integrated arts instruction based on these essential concepts:

  • The arts are core subjects

  • The arts enrich and are enriched by other subjects

  • The arts promote creativity, thinking and joy

  • The arts offer different ways to make meaning

  • The arts reflect and influence culture

  • The arts promote aesthetic literacy

  • Assessment is inherent in the arts

  • Technology is integral to the arts

  • Arts and technology support and improve upon one another

  • The arts prepare students for full participation in society

  • †he arts are a universal language

  • The arts promote literacy & academic achievement

  • The arts need to be accessible to all students during the regular school day

  • The arts serve diverse learning modalities.

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