The Bridge to Creativity

Mission Statement

Coronado School of the Arts is a public arts conservatory for students in grades 9 through 12 that embraces and encourages artistic creativity and academic excellence. This pre-professional arts program reaches out to talented students in San Diego County, offering a nurturing environment focused on individual growth, opportunity and diversity.

CoSA is the place for aspiring young artists to immerse themselves in an afternoon of classes in one of six performing or visual arts conservatories: Classical and Contemporary Dance, Digital Media (Animation, Filmmaking and Graphic Design), Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre & Drama, Technical Theatre and Visual Arts. The program offers:

Click on the image to the right to see a digital copy of the CoSA brochure


  • A core academic day with up to five periods at Coronado High School, and three CoSA periods typically in the afternoon. CoSA arts programs end at approximately 4:30 p.m., and are Monday - Friday.
  • Alternatively, students may enroll in Pathways Charter school (, and attend CoSA classes from approximately 1:30 - 4:30 Monday - Friday.
  • Outstanding faculty are professionals in their respective fields, and directly serve as teachers, counselors and mentors for each student.
  • A four-year progressive curriculum in each conservatory, which may include AP courses.
  • An individualized performance jury assessment each semester by a panel of teachers and professionals.
  • School-to-career pathways within the Arts, Media and Entertainment Industry Sector, preparing students for entry-level career opportunities and industry certifications.


  • A selective admissions process, with the result that CoSA students are surrounded by other young learners who share their passion for the arts.
  • Innovative seminars, field trips, guest artists and speakers to broaden and enrich each student’s experience of and exposure to the arts.
  • Small classes - an average teacher-student ratio of 20:1.
  • Multiple opportunities to participate in performances, exhibitions or festivals in each conservatory.
  • State of the art facilities, including our Performing Arts Center, fully-equipped broadcast studio, electronic music studio, dance studios and much more.

Career and College Opportunities

  • College and career counseling from both CHS counselors and professionals in the arts.
  • Internships in the arts for juniors and seniors through partnerships and affiliations with respected arts organizations, many of which are represented on CoSA’s Professional Advisory Council.
  • A growing alumni network providing additional mentor and network connections for CoSA students.
  • Career Technical Education pathways, in partnership with Regional Occupational Program and endorsed by the California Department of Education, in Media and Design Arts, Production and Managerial, and Performing Arts.

CoSA was founded in 1996 by Kris McClung, a theatre arts and English teacher at Coronado High School who wanted to give students who were passionate about the arts an in-depth, curriculum-driven opportunity to pursue their dreams and develop their talents.  The school has grown from its first class of about 45 students to approximately 200 students in six conservatories today. Many of CoSA’s graduates pursued their study of the arts at four-year universities or fine arts colleges, and some continue to work and perform in the arts today, while others have become successful lawyers, educators, parents or are excelling in many other types of careers.

Over the years, career technical education grants, Perkins grants and other funding, including the CoSA Foundation, have helped the school expand its faculty, curriculum and facilities, which are unsurpassed in public or private education in San Diego County. The CoSA Foundation was formed to raise money from public and private sources to fill the gap between funds the Coronado Unified School District supplies to the program and what is needed to fuel CoSA’s growth and exceptional standards. To date, the Foundation has raised over $3.5 million and is critical to the continued vitality of the program.

In 2012, Shane Schmeichel became CoSA’s Director, and Assistant Principal at Coronado High School. Schmeichel relocated to San Diego from Minneapolis, MN, where he created specialty educational programs for Minnesota’s fourth-largest school district that cultivated a connection between the arts and all other subject areas. Schmeichel’s strategy is a multi-faceted approach to learning, developing programs that integrate the arts with standard subjects – making learning more meaningful and applicable to real life.

A violinist, Schmeichel credits his experience as a musician for his view of using the arts for learning. “Being a musician shows you how to do something rigorously, and that intense kind of commitment sheds light on how you learn. Artists study their art form so intensively that it ends up affecting everything else they do.” Schmeichel’s philosophy is the foundation of CoSA’s standards of motivating students to explore, experiment and excel in their passion for the arts.

CoSA is supported by a Professional Advisory Board, whose members are all artists or who work in the arts industry.

All students at CoSA are also students at either Coronado High School (CHS), an award-winning public high school (to learn more about CHS, please click here) or Coronado Pathways Charter School (

We invite you to “friend” Coronado School of the Arts on Facebook. Keep in touch with us—our students, faculty, alumni, performances, exhibits, fundraising events, everything that make CoSA the bridge to creativity!

Click Here to examine CoSA Curriculum.