Part of Novato High School, Marin School of the Arts emphasizes special programs for visual arts, performing arts, digital and graphic arts, creative writing and music. The concept is to have a public school option for students all over Marin County who want more than the standard arts curriculum available at other schools. There are approximately 350 students at MSA, some of whom live outside of Novato. In the morning they attend regular Novato High classes, and in the afternoon they are instructed by eight teachers and a team of working arts professionals. In 2008, the 45 MSA seniors received $1.7 million in scholarships. Mark Peabody created the school's concept, wrote and secured a state grant, and became the founder of the 501c nonprofit that led to the creation of MSA. He remains the school's director and an assistant principal at Novato High. Peabody is a former Marin County Teacher of the Year who attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, specializing in bass. Students interested in attending MSA and their parents can take a guided tour of the campus, led by staff members and parent volunteers. Prospects must audition for an MSA program or present a portfolio of their work, then be interviewed by the MSA faculty and write an essay on deadline. Enrollment is free, but parents are expected to become active boosters to support the non-profit school.