Vista Academy

Our Program

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Vista Academy of Visual & Performing Arts

Office Hours: Monday-Friday - 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


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The Magnet Application Window has closed.

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Greetings from Principal Walker:

Thank you for expressing interest in Vista Academy. I’m Benjie Walker, Principal of Vista Academy. I have had the privilege of serving the Vista Academy community for eight years as Principal. I couldn’t be more proud of all the hard work and dedication that is demonstrated on behalf of teachers, staff and students on a daily basis. As an arts-integrated, International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, we work diligently to create real world learning opportunities for all our students. Through regular reflection, collaboration, and doing what is best for our students, our staff is committed to our vision of being the “model of educational excellence through innovative arts-integration and intercultural understanding.” Thank you for considering Vista Academy and trusting our team to partner with you in providing an international, arts-integrated education for your child. Many opportunities exist for you to participate in your child's education, one of the best ways is to support our Vista Academy Foundation (PTO Committee). This amazing group of parents go above and beyond to ensure our school and students' needs are met. We invite you to schedule a tour today by calling our office at (760)941-0880, tours are scheduled every Thursday beginning at 3:00 p.m.


Mrs. Benjie Walker


Vista Academy of Visual & Performing Arts

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Mission, Vision, Values:


Vista Academy’s mission is to inspire every student to be a confident global citizen and critical thinker through a rigorous, arts-integrated and innovative academic community.


The vision of Vista Academy is to be the model of educational excellence through innovative arts integration and intercultural understanding.


To Serve: by engaging in service within the school and in the extended community.

To Respect: by honoring the creative process and treating each other with dignity.

To Collaborate and Communicate: by fostering strong home, school and community relationships

Who We Serve:

Vista Academy proudly served students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth, in the North County areas of: Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Escondido, as well as the Greater San Diego area. As a Magnet school, families interested in their child attending our school, must fill out a Magnet School Application during the application window. Please see the section titled "How to Apply" for current application dates.

Why Vista Academy?

Vista Academy's goal is to:

Develop the intellectual, emotional and artistic potential in every child!

When it comes to your child's education, many options are available. Our Arts-Integrated approach to teaching and learning makes us one of the only elementary schools in San Diego County that offers weekly lessons to all of our students in five artistic disciplines: Dance, Music, Drama, Visual Arts, and Spanish. Creative expression unlocks the ability to identify problems and patterns, integrate knowledge across disciplines, and build confidence. As an International Baccalaureate World School, we are guiding our students to be internationally-minded and to see their connections between their lives here in North County and others around the World. We are developing our students to be caring, empathetic global citizens. We encourage our students to wonder, inquire, create, and innovate. Students choose, act, and reflect as they think critically and work together as they solve problems.

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Vista Academy is a free, Kindergarten through Fifth Grade, Public, Magnet-Elementary School. Our focus is on Visual & Performing Arts. Every student participates weekly in our Magnet Specialty Labs that include: Visual Arts, Dance, Theatre, Music & Spanish.

Visual Arts:

Visual Arts uses a variety of mediums from clay to oil pastels, paint, and mixed media to engage and encourage students to express themselves artistically.


Dance is rooted in the genres of ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and tap. Students are exposed to dances from a variety of cultures as well as the crafts of choreography and improvisation. Our dance studio features hardwood floors, mirrors, column-free space, whole-room audio system, and various supplies to support learning. Along with teaching technique our dance class connect to the core curriculum within each grade level. Confidence, problem solving skills, team work and dedication are a few of the benefits students receive from dance. The paramount aim of dance class is to instill students a love of learning and dance.


Theater is designed to teach Theater standards while integrating grade level curriculum. We focus on acting, technical theatre, costuming, and prop and set creation. This provides students with ample opportunities to participate within this area. Students learn how to be confident performers while expressing themselves artistically and having fun!


Music allows students to learn music standards and skills while integrating their own classrooms IB Transdisciplinary Themes and Key Concepts. Students gain experience with instruments such as: guitars, ukuleles, drums, other percussions, xylophone, recorders, others, as well as singing and musical composition.


One of the requirements for the International Baccalaureate Program is a foreign language. Students learn about cultures where Spanish language comes from as well as the basics of the language. This class allows Spanish-speaking students to demonstrate their strengths and share their experiences speaking Spanish in their home and their community. For students who do not know Spanish, this class provides them an opportunity to learn the language and understand areas where the language originates from.

*Important Note: Our program is not a Dual-Immersion Program. Students will not become fluent in Spanish. This specialty class focuses on cultural awareness and where the language comes from.

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Different Approach to Learning:

Another component that makes our school special and unique in comparison to other elementary schools in the Vista Unified School District, is our Arts-Integration. This is an approach to learning and teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in the creative process which connects an art form, such as: Visual Arts, Music, Drama, and Dance, and other subjects areas, to their Common-Core Subject Areas: Math, Language-Arts, Science, Social Studies. These areas meet and involve objectives of both. We pride ourselves on learning through and with the arts; this idea is what we call Transdisciplinary Learning.

Training & Support for Teachers:

All of our classroom teachers receive extensive training and support in Arts-Integration through an expert professor from California State University San Marcos. Classroom teachers and art specialists use the arts to present difficult concepts visually, making them easier to understand and retain.

Benefits for your Child:

Although not every lesson includes an arts component, we have found that arts-integration is an effective tool to make learning meaningful and engaging for students of all ages. The art grounds the students and helps make learning meaningful. Learning through the arts also improves communication and other life skills which helps our students in school and in their future careers. They are poised and confident in presenting information. There is an abundance of research that shows that arts experience boosts critical thinking, problem solving, and connection to themselves, others, and the world. Integrating arts with other disciplines reaches students who might not otherwise be engaged in classwork. Arts-Integration also makes learning fun and may promote great attendance for your child.

Examples of Arts-Integration:

First Grade: Acting out the story Frog and Toad.

Second Grade: Made mask and learned about different cultures around the world.

Third Grade: Relief maps with salt dough to study geographical features.

Fourth Grade: Integrated study of Jazz with study of science of sound.

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About the IB Program:

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit foundation, motivated by its mission to create a better world through education. The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. This school-wide program serves all students K-5.

Primary Years Programme (PYP):

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. It is a student-centered approach to education for all students at Vista Academy. The PYP programme encourages students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.


It is the goal of the Vista Unified School District to provide an opportunity for interested students to enroll in one of the District’s five magnet schools: Casita Center, Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, Vista Magnet Middle School, Vista Innovation & Design Academy and Mission Vista High School. Because space is limited at each school, the District strives to provide a clear, fair and balanced admissions procedure.

Students residing in the VUSD boundaries and students living outside of the VUSD boundaries are eligible to submit an application. The District’s magnet schools accept students without regard to disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or English Language Learner status.

Application Timeline and Process:

On January 11, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. PST, the Vista Unified School District will begin accepting applications for all students interested in enrollment. The Vista Unified School District Magnet School Application (“Magnet Application”) must be completed and submitted online by February 25, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. PST in order to be considered for admission for the 2022-23 school year. Parents/guardians can receive assistance and/or access technology to complete the application online at any VUSD school.

If, after the application deadline and admission, available spaces remain at individual sites, the application process may be re-opened for individual schools. Post-deadline applications will be accepted after the lottery and placed at the bottom of the waitlist in the order they are received.

Students interested in enrollment in the 2022-23 school year at a magnet school that they are not currently attending must complete a new application. Applications and waitlist numbers from previous years are no longer valid.

Students under expulsion at the time of the lottery are not eligible for magnet school admissions.

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Priority Admission:

Priority status will be given to students who apply on or before the February 25, 2022 deadline AND meet one of the following criteria (documentation may be required):

  • The student has a brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother, or step-sister living in the same household, who will be attending the magnet school to which the student is applying during the 2022-23 school year;

  • The student’s parent/guardian or step-parent is a “permanent” employee of the District who is NOT in an “at-will”** or “exempt”** position;

  • The student is currently enrolled in the 5th or 8th grade level at another magnet school in the district and will be matriculating to a magnet school at the next grade span;

  • Children of active duty military personnel;

  • Foster/Homeless Youth

** “At will” and “exempt” position employees include substitutes, temporary office workers, independent contractors, walk-on coaches, etc.

Lottery Process:

The District will conduct an admissions lottery at the district office at a time and date chosen by the Superintendent or their designee. After the priority admissions process (including a lottery, if required), a lottery for the remaining available spaces will be conducted. Each lottery will be conducted using an electronic method selected by the District. Employees from the District Student Support Services office will conduct and/or oversee the lotteries to ensure compliance with this magnet school admission procedure.

All students who reside in the VUSD attendance boundaries will be assigned to one of three pools based on the middle school attendance area in which they reside. All students that will be applying for an Interdistrict Attendance Permit will be assigned to an Out-of-District Pool. Each pool will be randomly assigned a place in the drawing order (one through four). The student drawing order within each pool will be randomly reassigned.

Students on an Interdistrict Transfer will be limited to 10% of the lottery. If there are spaces available after the lottery, and all students within the VUSD boundaries are accepted, then students on Interdistrict Transfers may be accepted above the 10% limitation.

NOTE: The VUSD School Board reserves the right to adjust the percentage of inter-district transfer students who are accepted to magnet schools through the lottery process.

Students will be admitted in the order they are drawn from the lottery until all available spaces for that school and grade level are filled. Any remaining students will be placed on a waitlist for their school and grade, in lottery order. If the size of any waitlist grows so large that a student would have no reasonable chance of gaining admission, the waitlist will be closed and remaining students will be appropriately notified.

For the 2022-23 school year, all school lotteries will take place the week of March 7, 2022.

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At the end of the lottery, the VUSD Student Support Services office will notify students (via mail, email and/or phone call) of any offer of admission or if they have been placed on the school’s waitlist.

Acceptance Offer of Admission:

After the District extends an offer of admission to a student, the student may accept the offer by filling out a Participation Agreement Form. This form must be completed and submitted within three (3) working days of the notification of acceptance. If a student receives more than one offer, s/he may only accept one offer; once one magnet school offer is accepted, all other magnet school admission offers to that student will automatically be rescinded. If a student does not complete and submit a Participation Agreement Form by the specified deadline, the offer of admission will automatically be rescinded.

Out of district students who are accepted must submit an Interdistrict Transfer request at their district of residence that must be approved by VUSD in order to complete the enrollment process.

Offers to Waitlist Applicants:

After all of the available spaces are filled, a waitlist for each school and grade level will be created from the initial lottery. As spaces become available, students will only be admitted from the waitlist, in the order they are assigned on the list. Once a space becomes available, staff from the magnet school will contact students (via email and/or phone call) with an offer of admission. Students admitted from the waitlist will have two (2) working days to accept an offer of admission by filling out and returning a Participation Agreement Form. The Participation Agreement Form must be received by the magnet school site where the student is enrolling by the deadline. Postmarks will not be accepted.

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Click on the document below to access Frequently Asked Questions.

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Magnet School Application:

Click below to complete the Magnet School Application.

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Vista Academy of Visual & Performing Arts:

Office Hours: Monday-Friday - 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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