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Visual & Performing Arts

VAPA - Visual and Performing Arts

The Carlsbad Unified School District recognizes the importance of a comprehensive arts education program as an integral part of every student’s education. Long-range goals have been developed for all of the arts. The District uses a variety of resources to provide a wide range of educational experiences in the arts including academically integrated curriculum and teacher training. CUSD is proud of the arts alliances it has created within the community including a long and fruitful relationship with the City of Carlsbad Arts Office, as well as other local arts associations, artists-in-residence, arts specialists and advocates that create unique arts opportunities for Carlsbad students.


Elementary Schools

The district is striving to renew its support of art and music programs in the district.  The district has always recognized the importance of visual and performing arts at the lower level (K-5), even when funding has been limited.  Over the years thanks to the parents, PTAs and the Carlsbad community, art and music programs have been providing creative opportunities for all students.

Music:  Starting in 2009, with the generous support of the Carlsbad Educational Foundation, each elementary school will have a qualified music teacher (many with formal training in Orff and Kodaly methodologies) who will provide up to 45 minutes of music instruction based on the California State Music Standards each week. 

Art:  Many schools offer up to 60 minutes of fine art instruction weekly or bi-weekly with a qualified art instructor who tailors lessons to the California State Fine Art Standards.  

Theatre: Dramatic art opportunities vary from school to school and are privately funded. 

Dance: Movement and dance varies from site to site.  Some PTAs support a dance teacher who provides up to 30 minutes of dance instruction per week for specific grades.


Middle Schools

All middle schools have comprehensive Fine Arts elective programs to meet the needs of their students. The number and length varies to meet the needs of each school.

Band & Strings: Instrumental classes include both band classes and string classes in year-long electives. Classes at each school provide experiences ranging from programs designed for students who have not previously played an instrument, to the students who are at an advanced level in their playing. Groups perform at various concerts and festivals throughout the year.

Choir: Choir classes are year-long electives designed to teach vocal techniques of the singing voice including the changing male voice. The music sung is both traditional choral music, as well as musical show and pop music. Groups perform in several concerts and festivals throughout the year. Advanced students have the opportunity to sing in the county and state honor choirs and attend a vocal festival.

Drama: Aviara Oaks, Calavera Hills and Valley Middle Schools incorporate Drama into their sixth grade explorative wheel.  Sixth grade students develop self confidence, communication skills and creativity through a standards based drama curriculum which includes improvisation, pantomime, voice and movement exercises in addition to on stage performances of children's literature and short plays.

Aviara Oaks Middle and Calavera Hills Middle also offer two additional levels of theatre education: Drama 1 which emphasizes seventh grade standards in acting, theatre history and cross curricular projects. Both schools also offer Drama II which explores advanced acting techniques and directing skills, featuring a full length play production and drama festivals where students interact with other middle school actors from throughout Southern California.

Visual Art: Art is both a semester-long elective and in the wheel rotation. Students explore design, color harmony, textural effects, shape, form, space value, and impact. The ultimate aim is to provide the students with foundational skills for the appreciation of art.

All Middle School Visual and Fine Arts classes give the background needed to continue in the student’s chosen area of interest at the high school.

High Schools

Carlsbad High School

Music: The students participating in the CHS Marching Lancers and Wind Symphony program are known for their high level of musical excellence. This is achieved through the absolute inclusiveness of high school students of various ages and abilities.   The CHS Orchestra program offers two courses, String Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. String Orchestra is designed to give students an opportunity to advance their skills in mastering the violin, viola, cello or string bass. Chamber Orchestra is a more advanced ensemble designed to give players, with more experience, a challenging musical environment.  All orchestra students perform for the community and in competitive festivals.

Dance: There are over two hundred dancers studying dance at CHS for Physical Education or Fine Art credit. Every student at CHS who wants to dance has an opportunity to be involved in some part of the Dance Program. There are five classes offered in Dance. In addition, Ballet, Dance Club, and Leaps and Turns are offered after school. The Lancer Dancers and Xcalibur are renowned for their incredible dance abilities and dynamic performances.

Theatre: Through curricular, co-curricular, and club activities, students can be involved in both academic classes, and after-school productions to enhance their educational experience. Year-long classes are offered in Theatre One, Intermediate Theatre, Pre-Advanced Theatre, Advanced Theatre and Technical Theatre. Semester classes are offered in Technical Theatre (fall semester) and Musical Production (spring semester). In addition to the academic offerings, there is also a Drama Club and an Improvisation Club. The Spring Musical combines the talents of actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and technicians for a Broadway-style musical each May.

Visual Arts: Visual art is a discipline with aesthetic, perceptual, creative, and intellectual dimensions, fostering the student’s ability to create, experience, analyze, and think critically in the realm of visual space and perception. Courses are offered in Art, Drawing & Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, and Advanced Placement Art Studio. The department has an active Art Club, which is involved in a number of competitions, and produces two major exhibitions each year. There is an exhibit in the fall, and one exhibit in the spring that run concurrently with the Annual Fall Comedy and Spring Musical.


Sage Creek High School

At Sage Creek High School, the cultivation of  of creative thinking can fuel the ever increasing need for innovation. We strive to prepare students for success by challenging them to "think outside the box". SCHS is STEM based, interested in fostering curiosity and creativity through collaboration.

The Visual and Performing Arts at SCHS are UNIQUE because we are CONNECTED to our community, Project Lead the Way, and all academic courses throughout our school.

Courses offered at Sage Creek include Visual Art, 3D Design, Digital Photography, Introduction to Instrumental Music, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Theatre, and Dance.