Who We Are

How MSA Works

The 2017-18 Marin School of the Arts Seniors.

As a specialized program within the Novato High School, MSA offers students who are passionate about the arts the benefits of a traditional high school with strong academics combined with college-level arts training. MSA students participate in two MSA class periods as part of their Novato High School curriculum; their remaining four to five daily class periods are in academic classes, physical education and other clubs and programs offered at at the school.

Novato High School offers a rich curriculum including Honors and Advanced Placement classes, Latin, French and Spanish, as well as the opportunity to attend college or online classes, as scheduling permits.

Student Demographics

With 514 students attending MSA in the 2016-17 school year and the potential for further growth in coming years, MSA is a thriving community within the Novato High School campus. Over 25 percent of students come from outside of Novato, commuting from all over Marin and Sonoma counties. A handful of students commute from the East Bay, as well. MSA endeavors to assist MSA families with carpool arrangements by providing families with contact information by zip code locations at the beginning of each school year.

MSA students represent 35 percent of the overall Novato High School student body. MSA and NHS students attend all academic classes together. MSA students may also participate in sports, clubs and social events. MSA program areas, including arts and dance and more, are open to NHS student enrollment as elective and/or physical education courses.


The MSA Student Population

Based on 2016-17 MSA enrollment of 514 students.

  • 147 Freshmen
  • 134 Sophomores
  • 125 Juniors
  • 110 Seniors

How was MSA Formed?

MSA opened in 2003 with a Specialized Secondary Program Grant from the State of California, partially funding operations. The program was the brainchild of visionary music teacher Mark Peabody, who wanted to provide a rigorous arts education program for talented students looking for a supportive community to pursue their artistic dreams.

The MSA Foundation (MSAF) was formed shortly thereafter to help fill the funding gap between available resources and program needs. The Novato Unified School District provides facilities, teachers and support for MSA operations, but its resources do not provide for many of the necessities of our award-winning program—including professional guest teaching artists, computers, software, musical equipment and instruments, costumes and props and more.