About the School
The Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts was founded in 1989 as the premier arts high school in the School District of Palm Beach County, the nation’s eleventh largest school district, serving a county geographically larger than Rhode Island or Delaware.
Originally known as the Palm Beach County School of the Arts and located on the northern shore of Lake Mangonia, the name of the school changed in 1997 when local arts philanthropist Alexander W. Dreyfoos, founder of Photo Electronics Corporation, made the single largest private contribution to a public school in Florida. This generous contribution coincided with the school’s much-anticipated move to the newly renovated, historic Central Schools campus in downtown West Palm Beach.
The school’s location in downtown West Palm Beach places it in the heart of Palm Beach County’s cultural landscape. Just across Iris Street is the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, and within a few blocks are the Norton Museum of Art, the Armory Art Center, Palm Beach Dramaworks, the Cuillo Center for the Arts, and the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden. Opportunities are bountiful for students to participate in the local cultural community.
Admission to the school is based upon a highly competitive audition process that is open to all Palm Beach County students entering grades nine through twelve. There are nine unique arts conservatories for which students may audition: communication arts, dance, digital media, music – band, music – piano, music – strings, music – vocal, theatre, and visual arts. Students are admitted into one area, enrolling in at least two arts area courses each school year. Dreyfoos students often possess interests beyond their designated art area; enrollment in additional arts courses in another area of study is sometimes permitted in the junior or senior years.
Dreyfoos offers its students the rare combination of a rigorous, college preparatory academic curriculum instructed in tandem with intensely focused, pre-professional instruction in the communication, performing, or visual arts. Academic teachers often use the arts as a vehicle for instruction and arts teachers make connections to academics in their daily lessons. Students, in turn, recognize that a strong background with comprehensive knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences will serve to strengthen their artistic endeavors.
Forming long term mentorships with their teachers and lifelong friendships with one another are intangible qualities Dreyfoos students experience in their high school education. The faculty of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts provides students with opportunities to expand their creative and intellectual capabilities. Through extensive after-school community service, studio, rehearsal, and performance opportunities, the faculty builds trust and mutual respect with students. Relationships that students cultivate with one another often become the basis for future artistic collaborations. Dreyfoos students have formed their own theatre companies, improvisation troupes, art shows, and film companies.
Maintaining high standards produces tremendous results at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Among the numerous accolades the school has received are the Exemplary School Award from the International Network of Schools for the Advancement of Arts Education, the No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School award from the United States Department of Education, the Magnet School of Excellence award from Magnet Schools of America, and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council Muse Award for Arts/Cultural Organization with a Budget over $500,000. The school ranks consistently among the top 100 high schools in the United States in published listings by Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.
Graduates are admitted regularly to the nation’s finest colleges and conservatories including Boston University, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Cleveland Institute of Music, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Florida State University, Harvard University, The Juilliard School, Maryland Institute College of Art, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Princeton University, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Florida, and Yale University.