Principal's Message

Arts High School is undergoing a renaissance and moving towards reclaiming our number one place in the United States . We have children who are first . We have faculty /staff and parents who believe we are first . Our theme this year is "Whatever it takes - Arts High School is going to another level ."

Dr Norma Fair-Brown, Principal


A Brief History

Arts High School opened its doors to students in September 1931 as the first of it's kind in the United States and almost immediately became the model for the High School of Art&Music in New York City According to Harrison E. Webb our first Principal " It was taken for granted that art and drama were to be regarded as major pursuits , comparable in importance to Latin , Mathematics and the Sciences in academic high school ."

Arts High School is academic school of art music , drama , dance and television communications . The aim is to provide all students with the academic skills and artistic talents necessary to develop into accomplished creative artists talents and performers . The impetus of the curriculum is to train students who have a sense of harmony form rhythm , design , color movement and theater . Every eighth grade student living in the city of Newark who has as aptitude and love for the arts may apply for admission .

The school was relocated for one and half years , while a major construction project was undertaken . In January 1996 the doors of arts High School were reopened . This extraordinary school now boasts a full compliment of drama and science laboratories . The unique Art Deco design of the auditorium was preserved .

Some of our esteemed graduates include singers Sarah Vaughn , Melba Moore and Connie Francis : jazz artists Wayne Shorter and Woody Shaw : Philadelphia Orchestra Seymour Rosenfeld : music directors Mort Lindsey and Charlie Calello : actors Taurean Blaque and Tisha Campbell : ballerina Beatrice Rodriquez , fashion designer Steven Burrows and dancer/ choreographer Savior Glover .


Arts High School exists as a magnet public secondary school, grades 9 thru 12 in the Newark Public School District. It is located in the University Heights area of Newark immediately adjacent to a burgeoning cultural and university center. Thus, the cultural and educational opportunities are strong both in the city of Newark and near by New York. The plethora of resources from the immediate community and the rich metropolitan area are woven into the fiber of Arts High School. 

 Arts High School is designed to attract those students from throughout the city who have proven to possess measurable high levels of ability in the visual, performing and music arts. The program design gives students a more extensive education in their chosen major than that available in the regular comprehensive high school curriculum; while simultaneously fulfilling its obligation to prepare students with the necessary qualifications to seek placement in colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions of learning.

Our student population of over 600 and our faculty of approximately forty teachers are small enough to create a sense of “family.” The racial and ethnic composition mirrors that of the city of Newark: 61% black, 9% white, 29% Hispanic, and 1% Native American/Asian. Students with special needs comprise 8% of our population. 

Our students are active in the immediate community and participate in state, regional and national competitions in music, art and drama. They are affiliated with NJPAC, the Newark Museum, City Without Walls Gallery, Aljira Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Colonial Symphony, The Morrison Museum, the Newark Youth Orchestra, the New Jersey Youth Orchestra; as well as our college and university neighbors who offer support and supplemental programs that support academic skills. 

Essex County College’s High School Initiative provides and extensive college prep program for our Television Production and Fine Arts majors. Both can accumulate as many as 18 to 24 credits upon graduation. Fine Arts students starting ECC in their junior year can graduate with a NJ Department of Education approved Art Certification while Television Production students can accumulate as many as 24 credits. As a result of NJ State legislative action, these credits are transferable to colleges within the state without interruption.

Arts High School now has six majors including: Dance, Drama, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Fine Art, and Television Production. Our professional staff works as a unit. The recognition of inadequate skill levels of some of our students demands that we dedicate all our resources to gain an acceptable skill level from every student. Major deficiencies in math, reading and writing skills are approached in every discipline. 

The faculty continues to integrate technological literacy within the core curriculum standards. Each student is afforded the opportunity to make use of the available technical labs, as they relate to his/her major field: graphic arts lab, music technology lab, and the Media Center. Each class room is equipped with several computers and internet access for research purposes.

The core-curricular content standards which are drafted are introduced to both the designated discipline for understanding and application, as well as the entire instructional community. These standards have been included and expanded upon in the arts curricula. All curricula are updated frequently to insure that standards are maintained. 

Through our faculty and Professional Learning Community meetings, Arts High School’s instructional staff collaboratively discusses the most beneficial strategies and activities that will result in delivering the most vital content of each discipline to each of our students, while making sure we heighten their reading, writing and computational skills. There is no discipline that is excluded from this focus. Because of our creative and artistic population, staff development has included  Armstrong and Gardener's theories, as well as learning styles. 

Our School Management Team is dedicated to the improvement of academic achievement, and the successful adjustment of the ninth grader to the secondary program. Arts High School has had both its “Homework Institute” and its “Summer Bridge Program” supported and implemented as the brain child of its School Management Team. These two programs have resulted in our 9th grade failure rate dropping from 30% to 3%.

Arts High School has an overriding desire to see that all of our students complete their tenure here with success, confidence and comfort.

back to home page

Web Design Club
Arts High School
Updated January 2008