Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts

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Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts Logo.png
Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.jpg
555 Portola Drive


United States
Coordinates37°44′43″N 122°26′55″W / 37.7454°N 122.4486°W / 37.7454; -122.4486Coordinates: 37°44′43″N 122°26′55″W / 37.7454°N 122.4486°W / 37.7454; -122.4486
TypePublic Arts High School
Established1982 (1982)
School districtSan Francisco Unified School District
NCES School ID063441001276[1]
PrincipalCaitlin Boyle[2]
Teaching staff29.18 (on an FTE basis)[1]
Enrollment795 (2018-19)[1]
Student to teacher ratio27.24[1]

The Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, is a public alternative high school in San Francisco, California, United States. It was established in 1982 and is part of the San Francisco Unified School District.


For many years, Ruth Asawa, sculptor and passionate advocate for arts in education, as well as others had campaigned to start a public high school in San Francisco devoted to the arts, with the ultimate goal of such a school to be located in the arts corridor in the heart of San Francisco's Civic Center.

At its inception in 1982, School of the Arts was created as a part of J. Eugene McAteer High School, on its present site on Portola Drive. Ten years later, in 1992, the school - now a full-fledged public school separate from McAteer - was relocated to the former SFUSD Frederick Burke Elementary School at 700 Font Boulevard on the campus of San Francisco State University. Due to the dissolution of McAteer High School in 2002, SOTA was offered to return to the more appropriate, fully equipped high school site. The school community elected to make this move, with the understanding that the school would eventually be situated in the Civic Center.[3]

In 2005 a new public high school, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, was started and given space on the McAteer campus. Although it shares the campus with the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, it is a completely separate school.[4] Now called The Academy - San Francisco @ McAteer, it admits students through the normal high school admissions process.

In 2010, School of the Arts was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in honor of Ruth Asawa.[5] In 2011, the school was recognized as a "California Distinguished School" by the California Department of Education as one of the state's most "exemplary and inspiring" public schools, demonstrating significant gains in narrowing the achievement gap among its students.[6]

Admissions process[edit]

Ruth Asawa School of the Arts offers visual and performing art classes daily in addition to a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Students audition for placement in one department only. Auditioning students are admitted based on audition results; no academic criteria are used. 

Arts departments include Architecture & Design, Band, Creative Writing, Dance - Ballet + Modern, Guitar, Media + Film Arts, Musical Theatre, Orchestra, Piano, Spoken Arts, Theater Technology (Stagecraft or Costume + Fashion Design), Theatre Arts, Visual Arts, Vocal Music, World Dance, and World Music.

Auditions are held in February for placement the following school year. About 200 students are accepted. Ruth Asawa School of the Arts application process is different from other SFUSD high schools. Applicants must apply to both the school site and the San Francisco Unified School District. .[7]

Landscape of a track and field to the right and houses to the left.
SOTA's track, field, and garden



  1. ^ a b c d "Search for Public Schools - Asawa (Ruth) SF Sch of the Arts A Public School (063441001276)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  2. ^ "Administration". Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  3. ^ Kottmeier, Gisela (February 12, 2014). "District approves SOTA relocation". The Lowell. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "Academy of Arts and Sciences". San Francisco Unified School District. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  5. ^ Tucker, Jill (February 24, 2010). "S.F. school board votes to send pink out slips". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "2011 Distinguished Middle and High Schools". California Department of Education. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  7. ^ "Admissions | SFUSD". Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  8. ^ Gilbert, Andrew (February 24, 2016). "Trombonist Natalie Cressman honors jazz pioneer". SFGate. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  9. ^ Nguyen, Chris (March 3, 2018). "Sam Rockwell's alma mater in San Francisco hoping for Oscar glory". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  10. ^ Trevenon, Stacy (March 9, 2001). "The music man cometh". Half Moon Bay Review. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  11. ^ Carlson, Erin (August 31, 2019). "The Rising Stars of San Francisco Films". Nob Hill Gazette. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Whiting, Sam (March 2, 2016). "Most likely to... Actors and their Bay Area high schools". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 9, 2018.

External links[edit]