Union County, NJ -- The Academy for Performing Arts (APA) High School has been named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. APA is one of the five full time, award-winning public high schools that are part of the Union County Vocational-Technical School District. The Vo-Tech campus is located at 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains.

“The Blue Ribbon designation is a significant mark of distinction for APA,” said Freeholder Linda Carter,  a liaison to the Vocational-Technical School Board of Education. “On behalf of the Freeholder Board I would like to recognize the entire Vo-Tech community – students, families, faculty and staff – for creating an environment that fosters an outstanding experience for all.” 

APA is one of only 10 New Jersey high schools to receive Blue Ribbon designation in 2016. Nationwide, 329 schools were selected for the recognition.

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“For all of our schools, the emphasis is on teamwork, mutual respect, and the development of the whole person as a member of the community,” said Peter Capodice, Superintendent of Schools for the Union County Vocational-Technical School District. “We are honored to be part of the Blue Ribbon program, and we look forward to sharing our experiences with other school districts nationwide.”

The U.S. Department of Education developed the National Blue Ribbon program in 1982 as a way to recognize academic excellence among public and private schools, and to identify core elements that are most effective at enabling students to succeed. The program is designed to improve education nationwide by providing schools with an opportunity to learn and share best practices from each other.

The Department of Education nominates schools that meet Blue Ribbon standards. Nominated schools must then send in an application to be considered for the award.

This year is the fifth time a Union County Vocational-Technical School has been named a Blue Ribbon School. Magnet High School was honored twice, and the Academy for Information Technology and the Union County Technical High School were each honored once.

APA has an enrollment of about 200 students who dedicate their time to learning various aspects of the performing arts community. Students can major in dance, theatre, or technical theatre. They enroll in college-level courses at Kean University for their senior year. The school has a 100% graduation rate, with all students attending a four-year college or university after graduation.

Among other recognitions, in 2013 Newsweek ranked APA as one of top schools nationwide. U.S. News & World Report also named APA as a one of the Best High Schools in 2015.For more information about all Union County Vocational-Technical Schools visit ucvts.org.