Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School serves 750 students in grades 9-12.
The percentage of students achieving proficiency in math is 55-59% (which is higher than the California state average of 40%) for the 2018-19 school year. The percentage of students achieving proficiency in reading/language arts is 65-69% (which is higher than the California state average of 51%) for the 2018-19 school year.
The student:teacher ratio of 19:1 is lower than the California state level of 21:1.
Minority enrollment is 67% of the student body (majority Hispanic and Asian), which is lower than the California state average of 79% (majority Hispanic).
- School Type: Alternative school
- Grades: 9-12
- Enrollment: 750 students
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 19:1
- Minority Enrollment: 67%
- Graduation Rate: 97% (Top 5% in CA)
- Math Proficiency: 55-59%
- Reading Proficiency: 65-69%
- Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), CA Dept. of Education
Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School's student population of 750 students has grown by 12% over five school years.
The teacher population of 39 teachers has grown by 30% over five school years.
Total Classroom Teachers
Students by Grade
The diversity score of Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School is 0.78, which is more than the diversity score at state average of 0.63. The school's diversity has stayed relatively flat over five school years.
Definition of Terms 2021-2022 School Year Data
State Level (CA)
Math Test Scores (% Proficient)(18-19)
Reading/Language Arts Test Scores (% Proficient)(18-19)
Student : Teacher Ratio
Two or more races
All Ethnic Groups
Eligible for Free Lunch
Eligible for Reduced Lunch
School Statewide Testing
School District Name
Source: 2021-2022 (latest school year available) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), CA Dept. of Education
- School of the Arts High School (SOTA) is a public magnet high school in San Francisco, California, in the United States.
- According to the school's official website, SOTA's mission is "to provide a specialized high school program and learning environment which are conducive to creative and independent thinking and artistic and academic excellence for promising students of the arts."
- SOTA is known as having one of the more ethnically diverse student populace in the county. In addition to the standard high school academic curriculum, SOTA offers comprehensive four-year artistic programs in the following disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Film & Video (alternatively referred to as Media), Instrumental Music, Piano, Theatre, Theatre Design & Technology, Visual Art, and Vocal. To be admitted, a student is required to pass an audition in the chosen art discipline.
- History & Controversy: For many years, Ruth Asawa and others campaigned to start a public high school in San Francisco devoted to the arts. At its inception, SOTA was a part of Eugene McAteer High School and was located at its present site on Portola Drive. In 1992, the school moved to a former elementary school on Font Ave. near San Francisco State University. In 2002, the school returned to the site of McAteer High School, and McAteer High School was dissolved. In 2005, a new school, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, was founded on the SOTA campus.
- SOTA has been at the center of several struggles with the San Francisco Green Party, particularly with the Green members of the San Francisco School Board. Matt Gonzalez, a San Francisco Green Party leader who won 47% of the vote in San Francisco's 2003 mayoral runoff election, stated in his campaign platform that "passing an audition is a hurdle that many students can’t surmount" and that "the school district must ensure a 'pipeline' through the elementary and middle schools that will guarantee much higher rates of low income minority representation at SOTA."
- At a School Board meeting in December 2005, Green board member Mark Sanchez, asserting that SOTA did not make adequate use of the McAteer campus, proposed moving SOTA to "empty classrooms in a middle school in the Mission or Excelsior district" in order to lease the campus and thus tighten the district's budget gap. Proponents of SOTA counter that Sanchez's proposal amounts to the District "becom(ing) landlords at the expense of our students," and that with the newly founded Academy of Arts and Sciences bringing the number of students on the campus to 1,000 once it has reached peak capacity, along with the many SFUSD offices located at SOTA, "(i)t is completely inaccurate to say that this is an underutilized campus."
- Location: 555 Portola Drive, San Francisco, CA 94131
- SOTA is located at the former McAteer High School campus, at the intersection of Portola Drive and O'Shaughnessy Boulevard.
- Admissions: To enter SOTA, prospective students must pass an audition into one of SOTA's 9 disciplines. The audition process varies between disciplines, and may change from year to year. Some departments, such as Visual Arts and Creative Writing, require students to bring a portfolio of their work to be presented before a panel of judges. Theatre and Instrumental Music departments require live performances by prospective students as part of their auditions. Other departments may require applicants to simply attend the audition and follow instructions.
- Mock Trial Team: In 2005, the SOTA Mock Trial Team won the city competition where it defeated the Lowell High School team by 30 points. In 2006, the SOTA Team advanced to city semi-finals with Erin Diggs and Gary C. Presley-Nelson winning awards for Best Defense Lawyer and Best Defense Witness.
- Notable Alumni: Dave Masucci, Robert Henry Johnson, Margaret Cho, Sam Rockwell, Aisha Tyler, Roberto Cisneros, Salvador Santana, Amy Yee.
- Student Clubs and Associations: There are currently a number of clubs in the school, but students are always encouraged to start new ones. Some examples of student clubs and associations: The Populist Party, which is non-politcal but publishes a school-wide newsletter, the California Scholarship Federation (CSF), the Junior Statesmen of America (JSA), the Mock Trial Team, the Bonobo Club, the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), the Polynesian Club, the Latino Club, the Anime Club, the Hiking Club, and the Trail Restoration Club.
- The Arts: The arts are SOTA's primary focus, with nine disciplines. The entire afternoon at SOTA is devoted to the arts, leaving the departments a level of freedom in determining students' schedules within their arts. In many departments, such as the four music departments and the visual arts department, students have a wide variety of art classes.
- Creative Writing: The Creative Writing department is one of the smallest in the school, the newest, and the most heavily applied for, with a far greater ratio of applicants to available spaces than other departments. Heather Woodward, who played an instrumental role in the formation of the department serves as its Creative Writing director.
- Dance: The dance department is the only department whose instruction occurs off the SOTA campus, in dance studios in downtown San Francisco, due to the lack of a professional-level dance studio on the current SOTA campus. Dance students are taken downtown by bus during SOTA's lunch break, and are dismissed from there.
- Instrumental Music: The band, directed by Steve Hendee, and the orchestra, directed by Jerry Pannone, are among the most-applied-for disciplines at SOTA, owing to extensive instrumental education in San Francisco middle schools. Concert ensembles include the Concert Band, Intermediate Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Advanced Orchestra, and Full Orchestra. SOTA is famous for the exceptional jazz ensembles, directed by Melecio Magdaluyo, which include the Big Band, Advanced Combo, and Latin Band. It hosts the CMEA-Jazz Festival. Students also create their own smaller ensembles ranging from hip hop to experimental to different types of metal. More traditional ensembles, such as classical string or wind groups are independently started by students interested.
- Media: The Media department is devoted to the making of film and video productions as well as script and playwriting and film history. The students in this class learn skills on how to direct and edit their own films, which are shown at the popular Media Night for parents, faculty and students.
- Piano: The Piano department is the smallest department within SOTA. Aside from their own work such as solos and duets, Piano students also work interdisciplinarily with students of the Instrumental Music and Vocal Music departments. Like all other Music students at SOTA, Pianists also take music theory, sightsinging, and may move on to a more advanced theory course such as composition or jazz theory later. Two annual recitals are given every year, with a wide range of performance repertoire including Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Joplin, and Gershwin just to name a few.
- Theatre: According to the school's official website, the "Theatre department is a pre-professional environment that focuses on training in movement, voice, characterization and other aspects of theatre such as playwriting. SOTA theatre students grow and flourish in a rigorous, supportive environment that requires dedication, commitment and a strong sense of responsibility. SOTA theatre students showcase their training in a series of public performances, with further opportunities to participate in school-wide events such as the school musical, video productions and informal performances."
- Theatre Design & Technology: The Tech department is responsible for all aspects of SOTA's theatrical productions, such as set design, lighting, and promotion, along with odd jobs such as arranging the letters on the marquee in front of the school. The Theatre Tech Department is the department responsible for the production of the school's main stage interdisciplinary shows. Dan Kryston, an experienced director and performer, or Keith Carames, also an accomplished director and performer will direct the Fall and Spring shows. Students from all disciplines are allowed to audition. The Tech Department then builds the show, creating sets, costumes, props, sound and lights. The students are trained in box office, stage managing, costuming, set painting, etc. During the rest of the year the department trains its members in all the fields named above and supplies crews of stagehands, light designers and sound technicians for the over 80 performances a year that occur at SOTA.
- Visual Arts: The Visual Arts department is one of the largest at SOTA. Its students learn drawing, painting, and sculpting in a variety of mediums. The list of specialized classes from grade to grade goes as such: Freshman: Beginning Drawing (pencil, charcoal, conte crayon, pastel) and Painting (acrylic).
- Sophomore: Beginning Photography (digital) and Sculpture.
- Junior: Intermediate Charcoal Drawing and Painting (oil).
- Senior: Advanced Drawing (pencil, charcoal, etc.), Painting (oil and acrylic) and Special Elective Photography (analog and digital).
- Beginning junior year, students are required to draw and paint live nude models who come into class on selected days.
- Vocal: The Vocal Music Department, is the larger department. Vocal students go through a rigorous music program through which they learn to sing in various languages (such as Italian, German, French, etc.) both in an ensemble and as soloists. Students also attend Music Theory, Sightsinging, and Survey (Music Appreciation) classes with students of the Instrumental Music and Piano Departments. Vocal students constitute by far the largest portion of actors in SOTA's annual musicals. The singers have been invited to compete at the Golden State Choral Competition, in May, 2007. They are also travelling to New York, in June, 2007, to sing at Carnegie Hall. Artists in residence include Ava Soifer, Marisa Gray, Steven Hankle, Monina Sen, Andy Padlow and Kathleen Hollingsworth. See SOTAVOCAL.com for more information.
- Athletics: SOTA does not have an athletics program. SOTA students are allowed to join teams of other public high schools or outside leagues. However, all students must fulfill the district-mandated requirement of 4 semesters of physical education; sometimes this requirement is met in creative ways.
- Recently, San Francisco schools, including SOTA, received funding that was to be spent solely on physical education. With no PE program, SOTA used this money to begin a number of physical education clubs, including Soccer (perhaps the current most popular), Volleyball, Track, Frisbee, and Hiking. These clubs, meeting at lunchtime and/or after school, have become very popular ways for students to earn PE credits.
- The Academy: A new high school, known as the Academy of Arts and Sciences, opened on the SOTA campus in the 2005-2006 school year, in part because of complaints that SOTA's 650 students were not using the SOTA campus to its full potential (complaints that ignored the many SFUSD administrative offices located at SOTA). The Academy admits students through the normal SFUSD high school admissions process, rather than an audition process as SOTA does. Academy students receive instruction in the arts, but not as focused or as emphasized as that given to SOTA students. The Academy has become a popular high school for students interested in the arts who have not met the SOTA audition requirements, including students who hope to apply for admission to SOTA later in high school.
Frequently Asked Questions
What percent of students have achieved state testing proficiency in math and reading?
55-59% of students have achieved math proficiency (compared to the 40% CA state average), while 65-69% of students have achieved reading proficiency (compared to the 51% CA state average).
What is the graduation rate of Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School?
The graduation rate of Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School is 97%, which is higher than the California state average of 84%.
How many students attend Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School?
750 students attend Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School.
What is the racial composition of the student body?
33% of Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School students are White, 22% of students are Hispanic, 20% of students are Asian, 17% of students are Two or more races, 7% of students are Black, and 1% of students are American Indian.
What is the student:teacher ratio of Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School?
Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School has a student ration of 19:1, which is lower than the California state average of 21:1.
What grades does Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School offer ?
Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School offers enrollment in grades 9-12
What school district is Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School part of?
Asawa (Ruth) Sf Sch Of The Arts A Public School is part of San Francisco Unified School District.
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