Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts

College & Education

North America, United States, Essex County

Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts is a specialty magnet school that serves students in grades pre-k–12 in the city of East Orange, New Jersey, United States, as part of the East Orange School District, offering separate middle school and high school curricula. The school is named for actress Cicely Tyson. Students are accepted based on their talents . The school teaches core disciplines while focusing on the creative potential of the students. As of the 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 678 students and 59.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.5. The school was the 292nd-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 316 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2008 cover story on the state's Top Public High Schools. The school was ranked 255th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state. However, 2009 reports published in the Newark Star-Ledger indicate Tyson to be the most improved school in an Abbott District, and among the most improved schools in the state of New Jersey, this year. In September 2009, Tyson's historic Elmwood Ave building will be closed, and a new $180million, 300,000 sq ft (28,000 m). facility on Main Street (on the site of the former East Orange High School), will take its place. The new facility is among the largest and most technologically advanced schools ever built in the state of New Jersey, with extensive performing arts facilities which meet or exceed the highest professional standards. The high school's 800-seat theater has been built to Broadway standards in terms of sound, lighting and acoustics. In addition to the school's theaters, students will have access to TV studios, art studios, music rooms, individual performance practice rooms, drafting rooms and shops to build and design stage sets. The classrooms will all feature smartboards, advanced integrated audio-visual systems, and multiple computer workstations. While the school is presently a combined middle and high school, in September 2009, Cicely Tyson School will become a K-12, as primary and middle schools are merged into the new school. On June 16, 2009 more than 20% of tenured staff were informed that they would not be going to the new school, and where either re-assigned to other district schools or retained in employment by the district without being given any new assignment.