Academy for Performing Arts

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Academy for Performing Arts
Academy For Performing Arts Logo.png
1776 Raritan Road
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

Type Magnet public high school
School district Union County Vocational Technical Schools
Principal Dr. Charles Serson (interim)
Faculty 14.0 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 193 (as of 2011-12)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 13.77:1[1]
Color(s) Black, White, Silver

The Union County Academy for Performing Arts is a full-time four-year public high school located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, on the Union County Vocational Technical Schools Campus. Its first year was the 2008-09 school year. It is currently a part of the info-sessions being held at the Union County Vocational Technical Schools Campus.

The school is part of the Union County Vocational Technical Schools (UCVTS), which serves students in all of Union County. The students have a choice in majoring in theatre or dance with a comprehensive program designed to prepare the actors, dancers, stage managers, and technicians of tomorrow.

The students are on the Union County Vocational Technical Schools Campus for the first three years of high school, while their senior year will be spent at Kean University taking a full freshman course load which includes a concentration in their Performing Arts major.

As of the 2011-12 school year, the school had an enrollment of 193 students and 14.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.77:1. There were 12 students (6.2% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 15 (7.8% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

Awards, recognition and honors[edit]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 962nd in the nation among participating public high schools and 71st among schools in New Jersey.[2] ranked the school 20th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 6 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (97.8%) and language arts literacy (100.0%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[3]


Applicants to the high school proceed through the admission process as follows:

  • Attendance at an information session
  • Submission of an application to the Principal's office
  • Academic examination of grades from 7th grade, the first marking period of 8th and NJASK scores
  • Notification of English and math admission test
  • English and math admission tests
  • Notification of academic qualification and invitation to dance/theatre audition
  • Notification of acceptance

The following criteria are considered for admission:

  • Grade Point Average (7th and 8th grade)
  • Standardized test scores (7th grade)
  • Admission assessments

Academically qualified candidates will then come back to audition for their career path which can be either Dance or Theatre Arts. They will be judged by a panel with a background in that career.

Graduation requirements[edit]

In order to graduate from the Academy for Performing Arts, a student is required to have taken:

  • Four years of Performing Arts
    • Freshmen: Dance I or Theatre I
    • Sophomore: Dance II or Theatre II
    • Junior: Dance III or Theatre III
    • Senior: Intro to Theatre and Acting I or Intro to Choreography Course and Technique Course at Kean University
  • Four years of English
    • Freshmen: English I - World Literature
    • Sophomore: English II - Early American Literature
    • Junior: English III - Modern American Literature
    • Senior: College Composition ENG and Research in Technology at Kean University
  • Four years of Mathematics. Mathematics courses depend on an individual's skill level, which is determined based on an initial assessment in the 8th grade year. Students are placed into one of the following classes each year:
  • Four years of Science
    • Freshmen: Biology I, Foundations of Science (1 Semester), Scientific Data Analysis (1 Semester)
    • Sophomore: Chemistry I
    • Junior: Physics I
    • Senior: ASTR, ES, GEOL, or METR at Kean University
  • Four Years of Fitness/Health
    • Dance majors will fulfill Physical Education requirements through the Dance Program, allowing more instructional time in the major
  • Three Years of Social Studies
    • Freshmen: World History
    • Sophomore: US History I
    • Junior: US History II
  • Three Years of a World Language.
    • Spanish I - Spanish IV
    • Hispanic Culture & Literature
    • Linguistics
  • One half year of Career Education
    • This requirement is integrated into other courses and does not impact scheduling.

The building[edit]

The building opened in September 2010. The school features two dance studios, two theatre studios, a recording studio, a black box theatre, a technical theatre room, a make-up room, dressing rooms and a lighting booth.

Partnership with Kean University[edit]

In addition to attending APA the first three years of high school, students are sent to Kean University during their senior year. They receive 30 college credits on a Kean University transcript by the time they graduate their senior year.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°37′01″N 74°21′34″W / 40.6170°N 74.3595°W / 40.6170; -74.3595