While there are a large number of school districts serving the areas around JBLM that offer conventional learning programs, Tacoma School District’s School of the Arts (SOTA) offers something quite unique.
From the SOTA website,
The Performing Arts Department at SOTA is committed to providing pre-professional training which imaginatively balances theory and practice, and is based on a quality liberal arts foundation. Through classroom study, studio preparation and productions and performances, students are encouraged to pursue a commitment to individual excellence and collaboration, a passion for their discipline, and to develop a firm grounding in all aspects of live and mediated performance. Students seeking professional careers, preparing for university degree programs or pursuing non-major study of the arts participate in the performing arts program encompassing new, modern and classic works interpreted to confront and illuminate the diverse concerns of contemporary life. – SOTA
Students apply during freshman year and begin their sophomore year of high school. Local Realtor Linnie Smith’s daughter is a cellist who attends SOTA. “SOTA hosts information nights at most of the middle schools and all of the high schools in Tacoma,” Says Linnie. “My daughter attended one at Mason as an 8th grader and made her decision then.”
The application process is fairly extensive, which makes sure the students are motivated enough to be successful with SOTA’s more self directed style of learning. “The application process is time consuming and the students that actually take the time to complete it are certainly dedicated to the school before they ever start.” says Linnie. “The classes accepted are less than 200 students so you get combined classes of dedicated students.” SOTA doesn’t accept students into the school Junior or Senior year. Click here for more information on applying to SOTA.
Many aspects of the curriculum are unique. There is a Monday-Thursday 8 period schedule with a late start on Fridays to accommodate staff development and the Mentor Project Groups. For more information about the academic aspects of SOTA, click here.