Inside New Jersey Magazine Adds Arts Education to Identify the Top High Schools in New Jersey

Inside New Jersey Magazine Adds Arts Education to Identify the Top High Schools in New Jersey

Inclusion of arts education in rankings another first for the state

Trenton, NJ – Following the inclusion of the arts in New Jersey’s School Performance Reports release by the State Department of Education, Inside New Jersey Magazine has included the arts as one of their criteria used to rank the best high schools across the state. This is the first time the arts have been used as a qualitative measure of high schools across the state and may be seen as a model for other publishers across the nation.

In January 2014, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to include arts education measures as part of the annual School Performance Reports including information on the percentage of students enrolled in each of the four arts disciplines (Dance, Music, Theater and Visual Arts). In March, the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership debuted Interactive School Performance Dashboards for Arts Education based on the individual high school data from the School Performance Reports released by the New Jersey State Department of Education.

According to Inside New Jersey Editor in Chief Rosemary Parrillo, “We traditionally rely on the High School Proficiency Assessment score as a major part of the methodology we use to rank the state’s best high schools and we often look for ways to parse the data to better assess achievement. This year we were delighted to see that the state decided to add a survey of how the arts is integrated into school curriculum. We felt this would indicate districts that are committed to a more holistic approach to education. So, we gave extra weight in the methodology to districts with robust arts programs.”

“We are very appreciative to the editor and publishers of Inside New Jersey magazine and the Star Ledger for recognizing the important role the arts play in the education of our students by including these measures in the criteria to identify the best high schools across the state,” commented Robert Morrison, Chair of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership. “New Jersey is continuing our tradition of providing innovative initiatives for arts education by showing how tracking and reporting arts education data may be used to inform the public and create models for use across the United States.

The magazine highlighted four New Jersey High Schools for their arts education programs. These include Cherry Hill High School East and West, East Brunswick High School and the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts. Both East Brunswick High School and Cicely Tyson have been named “Model Schools for Arts Education” by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership.

New Jersey has long had some of the strongest requirements for arts education in the nation. Since 1996, the visual and performing arts (Dance, Music, Theater and Visual Arts) have been a part of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and are part of the state’s graduation requirements. Additionally, New Jersey was the first state to conduct a mandated study to document access, participation and quality of arts education.

In support of these requirements, research regarding the educational benefits of the arts for all New Jersey students (not just the gifted and talented) is compelling. Various studies have identified links between involvement in the visual and performing arts and improved attendance, school engagement, increased academic performance, decreased drop out and discipline rates and higher levels of college attendance — areas of improvement vital to student success. Just as important, the arts develop important life skills including problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration.

A recent study found New Jersey high schools with more arts education have a greater percentage of students who were highly proficient in language arts on the High School Proficiency Assessment test.  High schools with more arts education have a higher percentage of students planning to enroll in a four-year college.

To read the Inside New Jersey coverage of arts education in the School Performance Reports go to:

To review the Inside New Jersey list of High School rankings go to:

For more information about the School Performance Reports and information regarding arts education visit:

About the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership

The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP) is a cosponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, with additional support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey Department of Education, the Prudential Foundation and Quadrant Research.  The mission of the NJAEP is to provide a unified voice for a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society.


See Full Article on the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership


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