Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA)

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Current program: "Music 'N Motion" provides district-funded dance instruction for all 3rd graders. Funded by grants and PTA's, "Ballroom Madness" provides instruction for 5th graders at most of the elementary schools. -- -- John Adams Middle School (JAMS) and Santa Monica High School (Samohi) offer "for credit" dance classes. The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) funds the Robert Gilliam dance program, providing once-a-week instruction during P.E. at JAMS, Lincoln, Malibu High, Olympic, and SMASH.

Performances: Ballroom Madness, JAMS, and Samohi present dance showcases each year.


Current program: All 3rd grade students are taught General Music once-a-week for 40 minutes. All 4th and 5th graders choose either choir, string instruments, or wind instruments and are taught twice-a-week during the school day. Classes are 40 minutes each. The ten elementary music teachers are credentialed and are funded by the district. A wide range of music classes is offered at all the middle and high schools. SMMEF, the Gail Dorin Music Foundation, and the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation fund the Dream Strings, Dream Winds and Dream Voice programs at the four Title I elementary schools and at two of the middle schools to support students whose families cannot afford additional music instruction. Nearly half of all K-12 students participate in the district's music program!
Performances: In addition to winter and spring concerts at all schools and the annual district wide “Stairway of the Stars” concert, Malibu High and Samohi also present choral "Masterworks" concerts, and the Samohi Viking Marching Band participates in competitions and tournaments. In 2011, the JAMS Wind Ensemble and the Samohi Symphony were among only six groups invited to perform at the California All-State Music Education Conference. The Lincoln Middle School Concert Band was invited  to perform at the California All-State Music Education Conference in 2013. The Samohi Jazz Band and Jazz Combo both placed first in the nationwide Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival in 2011.

Honors: Many district students are selected each year for honor choirs, orchestras, and bands on the regional and state levels by ACDA, CAJ, CBDA, CODA, SCSBOA, and SCVA. District students have also been chosen as finalists in the Los Angeles County Music Center "Spotlight" Awards, and have been selected for the ACDA national honor choirs, the ASTA National High School Honor Orchestra, and the GRAMMY High School Jazz Band and Jazz Choir. Two Samohi students were selected for the Inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the United States (NYO-USA) in 2013.


Current program: P.S. ARTS, a non-profit foundation, provides theatre instruction at Edison and Rogers. The Morgan-Wixson Theatre provides opportunities for elementary students to attend theatre performances. Santa Monica Playhouse offers workshops for students and classroom teachers. SMMEF funds after-school "non credit" drama programs at JAMS and Lincoln. Malibu Middle, Malibu High, Olympic High, and Samohi offer "for credit" drama classes, including acting and stagecraft technology.

Performances: Performances in 2012-13 included "Seussical the Musical!" at JAMS, "The Wizard of Oz" at Lincoln Middle School, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" at Malibu Middle School," Xanadu, the Musical" and "His Dark Materials" at Malibu High, and "Little Women," Into the Woods," and "Public Domain" at Samohi.

Honors: Samohi students participated successfully in the Drama Teachers of Southern California (DTASC) Fall Festival and Shakespeare Festival in 2012-13.


Current program: P.S. ARTS provides art instruction for all K-5 students at McKinley, Muir, and Rogers. The PTA's at most of the other elementary school fund visual arts instruction at their sites. A wide range of "for credit" art classes is offered at the middle and high schools, including drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, film/video and digital design. In 2012-13, JAMS students participated in an international mural exchange project with a school in Kyoto, Japan. Lincoln Middle School students participated in MOCA's Contemporary Art Start Program in 2013.Samohi students participated in the 2013 MOCA Teen Internship program.

Exhibits: Samohi Roberts Art Gallery exhibits in 2012-13 include "Day of the Dead -- Dia de los Muertos," the AP Art Show, and the Senior Art Show. The Santa Monica Museum of Art's October 2012 through February 2013 "Wallworks" exhibit includes work by students from most schools in the district. In March 2013, the Districtwide Visual Arts Show took place in the Roberts Art Gallery and featured student artwork from JAMS, Lincoln, Malibu, Olympic, SMASH, and Samohi.

Honors: Malibu High and Samohi offer AP art classes, and students from both schools have competed successfully in the Los Angeles County Music Center "Spotlight" Awards. From more than 16,000 entries submitted from around the world, two Malibu High students were chosen as finalists in the Photographer's Forum Magazine 33rd Annual College & High School Photography Contest and will have their photos published in a hardcover book, Best of College & High School Photography 2013.