The Bridge to Creativity

CoSA ImageCoronado School of the Arts (CoSA) is San Diego County’s premier public school arts conservatory, home to 200 scholar artists grades 9 through 12, who attend the nationally ranked Coronado High School. CoSA provides an intense, pre-professional arts education to students from Coronado and from all over San Diego, who are admitted after a competitive application/audition process.

Each school day CoSA offers three or more hours of instruction, pairing young artists with educators who are also industry specialists. With a curriculum designed by professional artist/educators, students are immersed in their chosen specialty in one of six conservatories:  Classical and Contemporary Dance, Digital Arts (Animation, Filmmaking, Game Design, and Graphic Design), Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre & Drama, Theater Production Design & Management (formerly Technical Theatre) and Visual Arts.  CoSA is a State of California-approved Career Technical Education program. 

Our award-winning student artists perform and exhibit at the Coronado Performing Arts Center housed at Coronado High School, in either the 570 seat Main Stage or 80 seat Black Box theatres.  Coronado Performing Arts Center is also available for rental to local arts, civic and corporate organizations.        

More than fifty percent of the CoSA budget is raised each year by the Coronado Arts Education Foundation.  If you would like to see the arts continue to thrive in education, please consider making a donation at http://cosasandiego.com


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

CoSA offers:


  • 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.
  • 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.

Image CoSAEnrichment

  • 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 CHS counselors and CoSA's own CTE-funded counselor, and professionals in the arts.
  • Internships in the arts for juniors and seniors through partnerships and affiliations with respected arts organizations.
  • 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.

Image CoSA
CoSA celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2016. The school 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 Coronado Arts Education Foundation (formerly 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. It became the Coronado Arts Education Foundation in May 2016, in order to serve a broader number of students. To date, the Foundation has raised over $3.75 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.

All students at CoSA are also students at Coronado High School (CHS), an award-winning public high school. 

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

Click Here to examine CoSA Curriculum.