New programs this fall: Districts launch innovative partnerships with local high schools and colleges

June 23rd, 2016

Career and technical education programs in aviation, biomedical sciences, manufacturing, environmental sciences and engineering are among the new partnerships with local high schools and county colleges to be launched this fall by New Jersey county vocational-technical schools.

Somerset MEAM

In September, 20 freshmen will launch their high school careers at the Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools/Raritan Valley Community College new full-time academy focused on mechatronics, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) will open a new program in mechatronics, engineering and advanced manufacturing (MEAM), in partnership with Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and local businesses.

The 20 students enrolled in the 2016-2017 freshman class will learn how to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of the technical and physical systems used in 21st century manufacturing.  Additional cohorts of students will be added over the next three years.

They will receive industry certifications and a minimum of 13 college credits from RVCC, compete in local, state and national competitions, and participate in a robotics club.

Upon graduation, the students will be ready to enter the workforce as qualified technicians or pursue postsecondary education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

This is Somerset’s second full-time academy created in partnership with RVCC.  The Academy for Health and Medical Sciences (AHMS) opened in 2006; students in the program can earn an associates’ degree from RVCC along with their high school diploma.

Monmouth County Vocational School District and the Asbury Park School District have partnered with Brookdale Community College and Kean University to create a STEM Engineering Academy for students at Asbury Park High School.

Established as a “school within a school,” the academy will use the nationally-recognized “Project Lead the Way” (PTLW) curriculum to prepare students for careers in engineering.

The academy students will take all of their academic and career and technical education courses together as a group to instill camaraderie, and they will be challenged to achieve in an integrated instructional environment taught by a team of math, science, and PLTW instructors.  A team of guidance counselors and support staff will also work with the students.

The coursework over the four years will include class trips, field experiences and internships designed to expose the students to many the different engineering opportunities available throughout Monmouth County.   Students will also receive industry certifications and between nine and 12 college credits upon graduation.

“We held an orientation meeting in the spring to explain the new academy to Asbury Park parents and students,” said MCVSD Superintendent Timothy McCorkell.   “There was overwhelming interest, and we are happy to report that 40 freshman and sophomore students will be enrolled in September.”

In each subsequent year, 20 freshmen will join program.  After taking a variety of engineering and mathematics classes during their first two years, juniors and seniors will choose to specialize in either civil engineering and architecture or computer science and software engineering.

The Academy for Environmental Science is a new four-year high school program offered through a partnership between the Morris County Vocational School District (MCVSD) and Jefferson Township High School (JTHS), where the program will be located.

Students in the academy will study the complex interrelationships between the environment and human population in order to prepare for further studies and careers in the wide field of environmental research, policy, compliance, design and law.

Each academic year will feature one or more courses dedicated to environmental studies along with interdisciplinary classes in art, history, language arts, technology, biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics that prominently feature environmental themes in the curriculum.

Program partners include the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, the Rockaway River Watershed Cabinet, the Township of Jefferson, a local law firm specializing in environmental issues and Kean University’s Center for Sustainability Science.   Thanks to these partnerships, students will be able to conduct field research in local facilities and assist organizations currently monitoring local environmental systems.

Kean University is currently developing a Highland Campus a short distance from JTHS, and students will be able to take college courses there for dual credit, along with summer programs offered by the NJ School of Conservation and Kean.  The program will also feature a 160- hour internship requirement during the 12th grade year.

This is MCVSD’s third academy created in partnership with and located at a local high school.  The Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering, located at Morris Hills High School, was ranked as one of the top high schools in the United States for career-readiness in the 2015 Newsweek America’s Top High Schools survey. 

Hunterdon Biomedical sciences academyHunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD) has partnered with North Hunterdon High School (NHHS) to launch a Biomedical Sciences Academy (BSA) at the high school.

The 20 incoming freshmen from throughout Hunterdon County will spend their year studying the principles of biomedical science, and will be exposed to almost 100 different careers in the medical field before their graduation in 2020.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to earn college credits through the Academy’s agreements with Raritan Valley Community College and Rutgers School of Health Related Professions. Each year, an additional cohort of students will be added to the four-year program.

“The Biomedical Sciences Academy will give students a strong foundation that will prepare them for a future in which science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers will be growing rapidly and skilled workers will be highly sought-after,” said Jessica Cangelosi-Hade, director of curriculum for the county vocational school district.”

This is the second full-time academy established by HCVSD as a “school within a school” with a local high school district.  The Computer Science and Software Engineering Academy, a partnership between HCVSD and Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, was launched in 2015.

Atlantic County Institute of Technology (ACIT) will begin preparing high school students for careers in aviation through a new Academy of Aviation Studies, to be located on the Mays Landing campus of Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC).

Other partners include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, and the Stockton University Aviation Research and Technology Park (ARTP).

Between 15 and 20 freshmen will start their classes at the new academy in September.  Career and technical education ourses will include aviation studies, aviation weather, ground school, air traffic control and unmanned aerial systems.  Students will complete their required high school courses while earning college credits leading to an associate’s degree in Aviation Studies from ACCC.

“It’s a perfect fit for ACIT, our students and Atlantic County,” said ACIT Superintendent Dr. Philip Guenther.

“Atlantic County has already identified the aviation industry as a key element in our economic future.  Since ACCC already offers four aviation-related degrees, our students will have access to the latest technology, as well the opportunity to gain valuable internship experiences through partnerships with Stockton ARTP, American Aerospace Technologies and other industry leaders.”

Academy of Aviation Studies students will also be connected to their classmates on the ACIT campus as they will be eligible to participate in ACIT clubs, athletics and extracurricular activities.

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