The Tacoma School of the Arts began as an idea in 1998 and with the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Model Schools Program, the Tacoma Public Schools, and a variety of partners in the local arts and business community, the Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) opened in the Fall of 2001. The school’s proximity to cultural organizations was intentional in order to provide opportunities for students to engage in the community. The success of SOTA can be attributed to the commitment of the school district, staff, parents and our community partners. We have been fortunate to have the support and endorsement of the superintendent and our community as we continue to build a learning environment for students of all abilities. 

Though all aspects of a well-rounded high school education are fully present, SAMI’s science and math focus allows students to take personal ownership in their education in a small intentional community with others who share their interests. By integrating students’ learning around their passions, students come to understand the relevance of their work in every discipline.

Located at Point Defiance Park, SAMI students study amidst more than 702 acres of natural old growth forests, saltwater beaches, and spectacular views, with endless possibilities for recreation, hands-on learning, and science and math education. Students take classes at the marine center, zoo, and aquarium as part of their normal schedule, as well as in classrooms and labs built in and around the natural forest and marine facilities. 

IDEA is a collaborative creative environment centered around industrial design, engineering and the arts. Our community is made up of high school students, non-profits, professional organizations and for-profit businesses of all sizes.  Our goal is to form a collaborative learning environment where our partners can work alongside our student in design-and-build studios, forming public to private partnerships and giving both students and teachers access to professional opportunities as well as giving our partners direct access to students and teachers to inform their work. 

The NEXT MOVE Internship Program of Tacoma Public Schools works with the local professional community to design meaningful positions for high school students in order to provide each a preview of their professional future.  By working alongside employees in a specific industry, student-interns gain enthusiasm for a possible career, while also acquiring skills and expertise needed to succeed in the workplace.  

Current sophomores and juniors are invited to apply for the NEXT MOVE Internship Program by participating in a series of activities through the Fall Semester.

The Adjunct Artist program began at SOTA in 2002 so that students could interact with professional artists.  Since then, we've spent over 1 million dollars hiring local artists to teach classes like graphic design, creative writing, jazz combo, ballet, hip hop, and guitar.  Adding more classes to the schedule allows us to keep classes small - Adjunct Artists classes only have fifteen students and the extra classes in the schedule mean smaller classes for the school district funded teachers.

Join School of the Arts (SOTA) and Science And Math Institute (SAMI) students, alumni and staff in creative hands on exploration of the arts, science, math, technology and nature.  Camps run from June 22-July 30 with morning and afternoon sessions. Pre-registration is required and is done through your local elementary school. If your child attends one of these elementary schools, contact the main office for information about enrollment. Space is Limited.

Open to students entering 3rd-5th grade from: