Chula Vista, California

Population: 267,172

U.S. Census QuickFacts


The city of Chula Vista—part of metropolitan San Diego and located less than ten miles from the Mexican-American border—is home to Chula Vista Elementary School District, the largest K-6 district in California.

In 2010, the district entered a partnership with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory in two high-need schools on the west side of the city.  What began as a small pilot program blossomed into a district-wide transformation in students’ access to music at school.  In the 2014-15 school year—after 15 years of no in-school music education—the CVESD school board announced its commitment to hire full-time music instructors and provide music and arts instruction during the school day for all students.



High Notes: The Case for Music Education –The STEAM Channel

Dalouge Smith: Achieving Scale and Equity in Arts Education at Arts Education Innovation Lab, Arts for All (Los Angeles County Arts Commission) | March 13, 2017


Partner: Chula Vista Elementary School District

A student’s family is at the heart of what we do in our schools. Family engagement is a key determinant of student success. Educators know this. In the Chula Vista Elementary School District, our families are more engaged in our schools because of our partnership with the San Diego Youth Symphony and the programs they have nurtured in our neediest schools. When students perform, mother, father, sister, brother and the abuelitos are in the audience. Families are on our campuses, and, for schools, that’s the opening act. Parent attendance is our opportunity to involve them in activities, and let them know how important they are to our academic programs, our school committees—our mission in educating the whole child.

Visual and Performing Arts strategic plan


Partner: San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory

Community Opus Project

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) believes every student deserves music education for the lifetime of joy it provides and the habits, skills and traits students acquire that will improve their academic, personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, public school budget cuts have made it inaccessible for many students. Determined to use its resources to reverse that trend, in 2010 SDYS adopted a long-term vision of “making music education accessible and affordable for all.” To achieve this goal, it launched the Community Opus Project to demonstrate the positive effects of learning music by providing free afterschool music instruction, engaging the parents, educating the community, and persuading school districts to reinstate district-wide music instruction.

For the pilot program, SDYS partnered with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, which had not provided school-day music instruction for more than 15 years. SDYS began by providing free afterschool instrumental instruction to 65 3rd graders. The positive effects on the students were apparent so quickly that in 2013 CVESD committed to reinstating in-school music instruction so that all of its nearly 30,000 students would be able to learn music.

“Our collaboration with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory is recognized as a model arts partnership. The District and SDYS rebuilt the music education infrastructure and deepened the sustainability and capacity at our schools with a shared vision: The visual and performing arts reflect our belief that all children should have access to challenging curriculum content, exhibit a high level of performance proficiency, and be prepared for the world of tomorrow.” 
– Chula Vista Elementary School District on their partnership

Partner: VH1 Save The Music Foundation

"The students in Chula Vista, and students everywhere, deserve the opportunity to study music, and have it taught during the school day by a certified music teacher,” said Jaclyn Rudderow, of VH1 Save the Music Foundation. “The reason we are here is because of the commitment of the superintendent, the Board, and partners like the San Diego Youth Symphony, which has been working in the District from the beginning. We want to ensure every child across the District has the same opportunity to learn a musical instrument."