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Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA)

School code number: 815
Grade level: 9-12
Hours: 7:45 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.

555 Portola Drive, San Francisco, CA, 94131
Neighborhood: Diamond Heights; West Portal, Miraloma, Forest Hill, Twin Peaks
Phone: 415-695-5700
Fax: 415-695-5326
School Loop:
Principal: Barnaby Payne

School Data

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Discover This School

Imagination, courage, persistence, passion, dedication—all qualities essential to succeed in an arts discipline, and in life as well. Young artists at the School of the Arts study to understand the history and tradition of their art forms, to learn and practice their techniques, and to find ways to collaborate and work with others. They learn that art comes from within and requires effort to achieve, whether this involves designing and building a stage set, writing and acting in a play, directing, filming and editing a digital video, learning vocal technique and singing in a choral group, leaping lightly in a modern dance, rehearsing in an orchestra or band, playing a complex piano piece, or painting / sculpting a personal vision. Since 1982, SOTA has provided students with a rigorous and inspiring high school program in both artistic and academic disciplines. Renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2010, we honor one of San Francisco's world-renowned artists and the original founder of this high school of the arts.

The learning environment at SOTA is conducive to creative and independent thinking, as well as excellence throughout the curriculum. Along with our staff of highly qualified credentialed teachers, SOTA students work with artists from the community to develop their chosen artistic discipline. We believe that to create a socially just campus we must empower all students to believe that, through education, they have the power to define their future. We firmly believe that students can do whatever they can dream and that we are here to help them make this happen. High achievement means going beyond the established norms and beyond teacher and personal expectations. High achievers also connect the material to real life situations and the global community. We challenge our students to discover how learning improves life. The SOTA culture of service reflects a professional attitude of cooperation and support provided to our students and families to realize goals.

School Tours

School tours will be held on the following Mondays: Oct. 17, Nov. 14 and Dec. 5 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. in the Dan Kryston Memorial Theater.

Shadow Dates: check our website at for shadowing information and updates.  Prospective students must make appointments to shadow; contact us at to schedule a date.

Students and families are encouraged to attend at least one performance before applying. Auditions will be held on Jan. 7, 2017 (application deadline is Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m.) and March 4, 2017 (application deadline is Feb. 15 at 3 p.m.).



Before-school programs


Special Education Programs

  • Designated instructional services
  • Resource specialist program
  • Mild/moderate separate classes

Language Programs

English Plus Pathway

Student Support Programs

The Asawa SOTA Wellness Center believes that academic success for all students starts with being healthy in body, mind and spirit. To this end, Wellness coordinates non-judgmental, student-focused health, mental health, and substance abuse services and programs for students on the Academy/SOTA campus.


Asawa SOTA students are invited to participate in the athletic programs offered by the Academy of Arts and Sciences, also located on our site.

Arts and Enrichment

SOTA offers specialized arts programs in ten different areas of study: Architedture + Design, Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music including Band, Orchestra, Guitar, and World Music, Media/Film, Piano, Theatre Technology, Theatre Arts, Visual Arts, Vocal including Classical and Musical Theatre.


Asawa SOTA offers honors classes: English, American Literature and Spanish. AP classes include American Government, Calculus, Chemistry, English Literature, English Language, Environmental Science, Human Geography, Music Theory, Psychology and US History. Electives include Dance, Photography, Introduction to the Arts, and LGBTQ Studies/Ethnic Studies. 

College Counseling/Support Programs

Asawa SOTA’s College Counseling Center works with individuals and groups throughout the year, focusing on seniors in the fall and juniors in the spring. Families are kept informed about scholarship opportunities, testing, college rep visits, and college-related evening workshops. The College Center uses Naviance, a web-based software program, to help students and families manage their college application process.