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WASC Highlights

Critical Academic Needs: Based on our analysis of the data, in line with district SPSA requirements, and in consideration of our unique focus on the arts, SCPA has set goals to address the following areas of need:

  1. Continue with implementation and continued evaluation of data to ensure all students become culturally literate students who value academic as well as artistic literature; effective fluent readers that read with comprehension, analysis, and synthesis, strong writers and speakers who are clear, concise, and appeal to a variety of audiences; and active listeners and critical thinkers who research and evaluate information carefully.
  2. Continue with implementation and continued evaluation of data to ensure all students meet grade level standards in English Language Arts.
  3. Continue with implementation and continued evaluation of data to ensure all students meet grade level standards in math.
  4. Continue with implementation of plan to maintain current level of parent involvement and to strengthen and grow our community partnerships in 2009-10 to include formal partnerships with universities and colleges.
  5. Continue with implementation of plan to ensure all students are proficient in an art field.



  • Highly qualified and dedicated teaching staff
  • Well articulated counseling and guidance program staffed by 4 highly educated and articulate counselors
  • Friends of SCPA—a highly visible parent/teacher association
  • Strong and diverse support staff for the arts, academics, and administration
  • Diverse Student Population—socioeconomic, racial, academic, and artistic talent
  • Community Partnerships with California Ballet Company, The Old Globe, Lyric Opera San Diego, The Starlight Theater, San Diego Opera, California Center for the Arts, La Jolla Music Society, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Clay Artists of San Diego & Stage 7
  • School Facilities- grand theatre, dance studios, 3 major performance spaces, 4 music studios, 4 visual arts studios, dark room, ceramics facility with kiln yard and comprehensive library
  • District Support Staff are accessible and visible on campus
  • Strong Alumni Support & Contributions
  • Professional Guest Artists/Masters Classes
  • SCPA Website is frequently visited by the SCPA community and is updated weekly
  • More than 40 Student Interest, Art, and Academic Clubs & Forums
  • Community Volunteers

Growth Needs

  • Continued development of communication avenues with students, parents and community
  • Continued development of available intervention programs to support student achievement
  • Improved and increasing opportunities for professional development and collaboration.
  • Continued pursuit of financial supports to enhance excellence in education
  • Continued development of scope & sequence for our newly developed arts majors



  • SCPA offers an exceptionally diverse selection of academic and artistic classes that meets the needs of nearly all of our students at all levels of learning. The strength of our academic and artistic programs is evident in our test scores, graduation and retention rates, community involvement, and the success of our graduates in artistic careers.
  • SCPA’s status as a public magnet school attracts students from a variety of social, cultural and economic backgrounds, enabling our students to encounter and work closely with people very different from themselves, and preparing them to be effective members of a global society. The audition process in 9th grade has encouraged a student body that is more focused and dedicated to the mission and goals of SCPA, from curriculum to ESLRs.
  • All arts and academics teachers use state standards and school ESLRs in planning and implementation of curriculum, as indicated by detailed course syllabi, teacher reports and scores on standardized tests.
  • SCPA’s renewed focus on at-risk students has enabled 15 to 20 students who were at severe risk of not graduating with their class, to get back on track without needing instruction beyond the regular school day. 202 credits were made up in the Graduation Seminar class during the 2008-09 school year. As of January 5, 2009, 35 students have completed 54 credits through Graduation Seminar.
  • The inclusion of 6th through 12th grade students at SCPA enables a smooth transition of students from middle to high school academics, as well as long-term development of students in the arts.

Growth Needs

  • Although SCPA provides students with a quality high-school experience, more support is needed for the transition between high school and college or career. In addition, there is no method of tracking students after graduation. The restructuring of the counseling office and addition of new counseling staff over the summer of 2009 gives us hope that this may move from an area of need to an area of strength.
  • There is a need to develop stronger connections with local community colleges for students interested in furthering their education beyond what SCPA can provide.
  • We strive to find innovative ways to close the achievement gap for our underperforming subgroups. Our goal is to provide more support for students who are struggling in reading, math, and science.
  • Outdated technology in many classrooms hampers our students’ development of technology skills, and compromises teachers’ ability to present curriculum in a relevant fashion. The 2009 school year brought Smartboards to 9 classrooms and the promise of 19 computers installed in 2010-2011, thus giving us hope that this will shortly cease to be an area of need.
  • There is a lack of regularly scheduled collaboration time for teachers within departments, between departments, and between arts and academic disciplines.
  • There is a need for more on-site artistic resources, such as a music, theatre, dance, visual arts, professional artists in all the arts areas to teach week-long residencies to supplement our arts curriculum; opportunities for arts teachers to continue to attend arts conferences and workshops geared to arts-focused public schools.


  • A variety of information sources including locally developed standards, state curriculum frameworks, and other national references are utilized to define curricular content, instructional activities and the establishment of a community of learners dedicated to the arts program at SCPA.
  • Students demonstrate mastery through daily work, special projects, and daily assessments. Curriculum is standards-based with rubrics for performance and product evaluation.
  • Differentiated learning approaches (innovative and effective methods) are addressed through small group instruction to whole school group activities with students.
  • SCPA teachers provide research-based, innovative methods by using a variety of strategies and resources that actively engage students, emphasize higher order thinking skills, and help students succeed at high levels in addition to performance and product expectations, tied to state and national standards for both academic and artistic coursework.
  • Teachers take part in a variety of professional development opportunities in order to redesign and modify courses on an ongoing basis ensuring that the instructional program is challenging, satisfying, rigorous, and aligned with academic standards and the ESLRs.
  • SMART goals address school-wide and department goals whereby collaborative instruction and the instructional core of the school’s planning beyond the textbook and classroom through Higher Order Thinking Skills, rigorous content, and standards based instruction.



  • A variety of assessment strategies are used.
  • Extra Supports: In addition to modifications done in the classroom setting by teachers, SCPA offers a mentoring program led by volunteer teachers. Peer mentors support students under the direction of staff. Staff supports students who have more than one D or F in their academic courses for the current year.
  • Professional Development on DataDirector has been provided (September 2009) at the site and through the district. Teachers have access to DataDirector that allows them to see student data and review their standardized test scores.
  • Arts classes use end of the year auditions to assess class placement/advancement for next school year.
  • R.O.A.R. program for high school students
  • Credit Recovery: students who do not pass required courses take courses online.
  • Credit recovery data shows recovery rate of students.
  • AVID program: students enrolled in AVID get additional assistance based on identified needs. Tutorials assist students with material and organizational and college prep focus assists students will improving test scores and course grades.
  • i21 interactive Smart Boards in Mathematics classrooms allow for more immediate assessments and feedback. Data generated is immediate and can be used by both teacher and students to assess student’s progress and remediation needs. These boards, as per district funding, will be installed in all classrooms over the next three years.
  • Improvement of use of district benchmark exams
  • CST and CAHSEE data reviewed by staff to create SMART goals
  • Analysis of assessments within many departments, like Math and English, and used to identify correct placement in Advanced, Honors, and AP courses
  • Auditions for all 9th grade students and for all advanced level arts courses to assess students’ skill, aptitude, and dedication to the arts.
  • Beginning of PLCs on campus, such as 6-12th social science/history DBQ on the topic of war.

Growth Needs:

  • We are currently exploring standardization of rubrics and grading policies within departments as part of beginning Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).
  • More tutoring or after school programs in the arts, although this year has more activities for students, such as the drawing courses
  • Extended Day attendance not enforceable, therefore data is inconclusive about students enrolled in after school programs.
  • Monitoring student achievement of individual ESLRs, however, they are often engrained in the school culture and various course assignments and teachers ask students to demonstrate them on an ongoing basis (e.g.: 6th grade classes are tested on the ESLRs):
    • Responsible Citizen is ingrained with school’s Academic Honesty Policy and class discussions require that students be respectful of individual and cultural differences
    • Independent Learner is ingrained through the assessment of students in their arts major (Dance has Juries for their majors) and their course requirements for graduation
    • Critical Thinker is ingrained through assessments that require collaboration (discussions, posters, group projects, and group presentations) and has students identify problems, analyze data, and summarize results (as seen in labs in science, mathematics tests, rhetorical and literature analyses in English, and dance choreography for Senior Dance Production)
    • Effective Communicator is ingrained in the various compositions, oral presentations, PowerPoint, and comprehension assessments found in English, Science, and Social Studies, as well as Dance, Music, and Visual Art presentations on historical periods/artists and through their performances/exhibitions.
    • In addition, Mathematics has an additional ESLR rubric it uses at times.
  • Train more staff to use DataDirector for assessment and monitoring purposes, especially for work in PLCs.
  • While most departments have started developing PLCs (in the first phase) these need to be refined to monitor more closely student performance throughout the year and across years. In addition, PLCs who have not yet developed common assessments within each course/department need to in order to create SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and targeted) goals that can be evaluated and monitored. Course PLCs are difficult to create since many teachers are the only ones teaching their course. PLCs need to be more global in terms of department, so each department needs to strengthen assessments across grade levels.
  • New arts major requirements help monitor student progress, but need to refine so that there is better evaluation of whether students learn and retain the information they need in order to be successful in a higher level music, dance, drama, or art class.


  • Prioritized Areas for School Culture and Support for Student Personal and Academic Growth
  • We need to do more to help our seniors find out about their post-secondary options. We need to bring more members of the artistic community to let students know what they need to do to pursue higher education or a career in the arts. We would like to see an internship and job shadowing program.
  • Our school is woefully behind in technology. In order to fully integrate the arts and academics, classrooms need to be brought up to date so teachers can use projection, RSS feeds. This year, some of the classrooms received the technology upgrades provided by proposition S (Smart Classrooms) and the media center received new computers. The rest of the school will have the technology within four years.
  • We would like the physical campus to reflect the arts. Our plain walls hide the talent within. We are hoping to cover each area with appropriate murals and symbols that celebrate our unique program.