San Francisco High School of the Arts

Who We Are

Universal Values  ∙  Classical Arts  ∙  Rigorous Academics ∙ Creative Visionaries

We serve students from grades 6 to 12 who are passionate about the arts. We offer a rigorous college-preparatory academic program in combination with pre-professional training in ballet, Chinese dance, visual arts, and music.

Our Mission

The mission of San Francisco High School of the Arts is to provide students with an exceptional education in traditional arts and academics, while focusing on character development. The curriculum nurtures in students universal values and a sense of civic duty so they may positively contribute to the world.





Our Timeless Education Model

Future leaders and creative visionaries in the making

Respect ∙ Responsibility ∙ Honesty ∙ Kindness ∙ Empathy ∙ Tolerance

San Francisco High School of the Arts features systematic training in traditional arts, distinguishing its whole-child education approach from other holistic models. Rather than providing superficial shortcuts, our classical arts training builds a solid foundation, brick by brick, instilling mindfulness with each line drawn, each note played, and each movement performed on stage. 

In a well-structured environment, our students explore their passions by actively participating in ballet, Chinese dance, music, and visual arts. The pursuit of excellence as emerging young artists motivates them to develop the focus and perseverance necessary for achievement in the arts, in academics, and in life.

Our core values include: 

Respect ∙ Responsibility ∙ Honesty ∙ Kindness ∙ Empathy ∙ Tolerance

We promote what has endured the longest and best in traditional education: the refinement of an ethically mature self, the continuous sophistication of one’s aesthetic standards, and the nurturing of a deep appreciation for the spirit behind traditional arts, through one’s own mastery of the arts.

We strongly believe that the harmonious integration of character development, artistic training and academic study will give rise to individuals who are able to make vital contributions to the world.

Quick Facts

  • Accreditation

San Francisco High School of the Arts is fully accredited by the accrediting commission for schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Our high school curriculum is fully approved by the University of California’s A-G program.

  • College Acceptance

For seven years in a row, 100% of our graduates have been accepted into their top choice 4-year colleges and universities, including top fine arts colleges.

  • Internationally Renowned Arts College Acceptance

Our graduates have never been turned down from acceptance into any fine arts college, including internationally renowned fine arts institutions.

Our alumni have been accepted into many internationally renowned arts colleges such as:

  • Parsons School of Design
  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
  • Pratt Institute
  • School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
  • ArtCenter College of Design
  • Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA)
  • Career Aspirations

About 1/4 of our graduates pursue careers in the arts, while 3/4 pursue business, the humanities, and the sciences.

  • Small Class Size

Our average class size is 10 or fewer students per class.

  • Standardized Tests

All of our students participate in national standardized testing, and consistently achieve above average results:

  • SAT mean scores: Math 620, ERW 588.
  • ACT mean score: English 29, Math 27, Reading 32, Science 29, Composite 31.
  • PSAT scores: 80% students scored at the 90th percentile or better.

More About High School of the Arts

  • Graduation Rate

For 7 years in a row, we have maintained a graduation rate of 100%.

  • Pursuit of Higher Education

100% of High School of the Arts graduates attend 4-year colleges and universities.

  • Fine Arts College Acceptance

Our students have never been turned down from acceptance into any fine arts college, including internationally renowned fine arts institutions.

  • Top 50 National University Acceptance
  • UC Berkeley
  • UCLA
  • University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • UC Irvine
  • UC Davis
  • New York University
  • UC San Diego
  • Student Demographics
  • 59% Asian
  • 30% Caucasian
  • 4% African American
  • 7% Other
  • Nonprofit

San Francisco High School of the Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

  • Performance Opportunities

All students participate in 2 major productions each year. Throughout the year, our students also contribute to the local community by participating in various performance events.

  • Affiliations

11th grade
Industrial design

College Counseling

The College Counseling Program is designed to help each student gain deeper self-awareness of their individual strengths and weaknesses, and identify the career path and college choice that is right for them. From freshman through senior year, school counselors will closely guide each student in preparation for college and the application process. In addition to accruing expert advice on building résumés and artistic portfolios, students will gain valuable experiences participating in performances and extracurricular activities, giving them a unique edge in competitive interviews and auditions.

Upon entering 9th grade, each student customizes his or her individual four-year graduation plan with the school’s college counselor. The plan typically incorporates the four-year course and credit completion schedule, an outline of extracurricular activities, advice on participation in summer programs based on individual interest, standardized test selection, as well as college application guidance. The plan is revisited on a regular basis throughout the student’s high school career, in order to ensure the student is on track to successfully accomplishing his or her highest academic goals.

Every year, High School of the Arts organizes field trips for high school students that include visits to well-known universities in the region such as U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University. Students will get a firsthand look of the college environment and learn how to create successful college applications through the mentorship of university admissions personnel.

Our Location

San Francisco High School of the Arts is situated in the heart of San Francisco. We are on Page Street at the Stanyan Park, across from the beautiful cherry blossom trees at the Golden Gate Park. Our visual arts classes frequent Golden Gate Park for subject and content ideas. Our academic classes also utilize the Park’s facilities for exploring biodiversity, ecosystems, buoyancy, magnetism and orienteering, bridge building, wave motion, and many other fields of hands-on scientific discovery. The California Academy of Sciences, the De Young Museum, and San Francisco Botanical Gardens are also readily accessible to San Francisco High School of the Arts students.

Our History



San Francisco High School of the Arts was founded in 2010 by a group of Bay Area parents with a passion for the traditional arts and an abiding commitment to holistic education.


Awarded WASC candidacy status


Fully Accredited by WASC

Awarded WASC four years accreditation.


Acquired the Page street permanent campus

Acquired its current campus at 1970 Page Street, next to Golden Gate Park. 

Greetings From the Head of School

Welcome to the High School of the Arts community! We are the only private arts high school in San Francisco. We offer a unique opportunity for students to gain a holistic education by combining rigorous academics with our pre-professional arts programs. Each student chooses an individual track: ballet, Chinese dance, visual arts, and music, yet they will also get exposure to the other three.

Our arts programs enrich students’ lives with beauty and ignite their passion for the arts. A traditional arts training promotes focus and self-discipline, learning efficiency, and improved academic performance. Whether your dream is to become a professional in art, music, dance, or serve the world as doctor in medicine, our school will help you acquire the knowledge and skills you will need to succeed in life.

San Francisco High School of the Arts is more than just a school. We are a community committed to the welfare of our students as they grow into adulthood. We strive to cultivate in our students the core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, kindness, empathy, and tolerance.

To our students, we promise that we will guide you to reach your highest potential. To the parents of our students, we promise to give your child a nurturing environment, where they can mature into intelligent and responsible young adults.

To arrange a visit with the school, please call or email us. I look forward to meeting you!

Dr. Sherry Zhang

Head of School
San Francisco High School of the Arts

The Story Behind Our Logo

藝 Yì – “Art” in Ancient Chinese

Yì (藝), the character for art in traditional Chinese, is fascinating in its morphology, and carries profound philosophical implications:

Visually, the yì (藝) character is comprised of three layers. The topmost layer consists of the cǎo (艸) word particle, which directly translates to English as “grass”, or, “flora”. This pictographic particle also carries a deep symbolization for the process of cultivation and growth.

The middle portion of the character entails tǔ (土), the soil from which cǎo (艸) sprouts, coupled with wán (丸), the product of tireless pursuit and continuous refinement in ancient Chinese alchemy.

The entire character is elevated upon a third particle, yún (云), which literally means “cloud”. Yún (云) symbolizes the heavens, and its significance lies within a concept passed down from ancient China, that art, in its various forms, is a precious gift from the divine.

From a philosophical point of view, by daring to undertake the cultivation of a garden above the clouds, yì (藝) connotes the artist’s courage to endure hardship in realizing his or her dream, and eventually achieve the impossible. Furthermore, through the arts, humankind is able to connect with the heavens; by understanding true aesthetics, one will discover an intrinsic discernment of what is good from what is bad.

  • Meet Our Faculty

Our teachers take a holistic approach to the development of young minds. Our faculty, noteworthy for its academic strength and diversity, aims to inspire students by stimulating their intellectual curiosity, nurturing their ambitions, empowering their social engagement, and enlivening their artistic sensibility. More than 85% of the academic staff hold a Master’s degree or doctorate in their teaching areas.

Ready to join our community?