Santa Ana Unified School District Provides
Visual and Performing Arts Courses and Programs
The Santa Ana Unified School District offers an array of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) courses and programs from Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12. This includes rigorous instruction during the day in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and media arts.
The arts, according to The Every Student Succeeds Act, are core curriculum and a necessary part of a well-rounded education to equip students as broadly literate – including arts literate global creative citizens. The creative economy, directly and indirectly, is the third largest in the state of California.
Santa Ana is a direct pipeline into these college and career opportunities and the city itself is rich in fine, industrial, and design arts, a context in which to develop the skills and capacities necessary to participate in the creative industries. The Otis Report is the premier reporting on the economic impact of the arts.
Click on the topics to the left to learn more about what we offer.
Why the Arts are an Important Part of a
Well-rounded Education and a Priority in SAUSD
The arts are a sociobiological imperative through which to aggregate, accommodate, and assimilate ways of thinking not our own, while also disseminating the best of our own resources to others. We are surrounded by the processes and products of arts-based systems for making our socially agreed meanings, acquired knowledge, and cultural values visible and transferrable. The arts connect us as human beings.
Participation in the arts as creators, performers and consumers enhances mental, physical, and emotional well-being and intellectual stimulation in citizens who are life-long learners. Artistically literate citizens seek aesthetic experiences and support the arts in their local, state, national, and global communities – contributing to a thriving, creative economy. Students who participate in long-term, sustained, sequential and standards-based studies in the arts tend to outperform their peers on standard measures of academic achievement and they stay in school.
Additional benefits of advanced arts studies include student improvement in cognitive capacities important for academics, and more civic-mindedness. For example, honors society memberships grow, graduation rates rise, and college enrollment and achievement increases. There is more volunteerism and engagement in school or local politics and students show a higher participation in extracurricular activities.
We level the playing field for all students and give them a “home-field advantage” when we cultivate them as broadly literate creative beings who have access to the Creative Economy capitol of the United States in Los Angeles and Orange County with more than 418,000 wage and salary workers in the creative industries - exceeding New York by 14,000 jobs. We make them more competitive when they have sustained, ongoing access to the arts from the earliest grades. The arts aren’t just a nicety, they are a necessity to redefining excellence in education and development of the whole child who is our next generation of leaders, innovators, and workforce.
"A broad education in the arts helps give children a better understanding of their world…We need students who are culturally literate as well as math and science literate."
–Paul Ostergard, Vice President, Citicorp
“The arts significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and increase the odds students will go on to graduate from college. As First Lady Michelle Obama sums up, both she and the President believe ‘strongly that arts education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be our nation’s leaders for tomorrow.’”
–Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
“If you are a scientist or engineer, an architect or designer, a writer, artist, or musician, or if your creativity is a key factor in your work in business, education, health care, law, or some other profession, you are a member.”
“The creative individual is no longer viewed as an iconoclast. He—or she—is the new mainstream.”
–Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition, Revised and Expanded