Six NJ County Vocational-Technical Schools Receive Blue Ribbon Designation from USED

September 7th, 2012

For additional information:
Judy Savage, NJCCVTS, 609-577-1164
Individual district contacts listed below

Six New Jersey county vocational-technical schools were named today as 2012 Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.  The Blue Ribbon School designation is one of the highest honors a school can receive in the American education system.

The schools are:

• Bergen County Technical High School, Teterboro (Bergen County Technical Schools)
• West Caldwell Tech in West Caldwell (Essex County Vocational Technical Schools)
• Middlesex County Vocational School at Perth Amboy (Middlesex County Vocational & Technical Schools)
• Communications High School in Wall Township (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
• The Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (M.A.T.E.S.) in Manahawkin (Ocean County  Vocational-Technical School)
• Union County Vocational-Technical High School (UCTech) in Scotch Plains (Union County Vocational- Technical Schools)

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools where students consistently achieve at very high levels or where student performance has improved significantly.  State departments of education nominate schools for the prestigious awards annually.

This year, 17 New Jersey schools (three public elementary schools, eight parochial schools and the six county vocational-technical high schools) received the Blue Ribbon honor.

According to the USED website, the program “sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement…(and is) part of a larger U. S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.”

“We congratulate the six county vocational-technical high schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon designation for 2012,” said Dr. Philip Guenther, President of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools and Superintendent of Atlantic County Institute of Technology.

“This well-deserved recognition of outstanding student achievement demonstrates that 21st century career and technical education is far more challenging and rigorous than many people assume, providing excellent opportunities for all types of students to succeed,” Dr. Guenther said.

Bergen County Technical High School at Teterboro serves approximately 650 full-time students in nine technical concentrations:  Culinology, automotive design and engineering, law and justice, digital media, computer science, business, graphic arts, pre-engineering, fashion design and merchandising.  Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) and earn college credits while still in high school.  Articulation agreements with a number of colleges and universities offer select graduating seniors sophomore standing at the partnering school.

West Caldwell Tech is one of the four high schools in the Essex County Vocational Technical Schools District offering full-time programs.  West Caldwell Tech enrolls 325 students from throughout Essex County; more than half the students have special needs.  Programs range from cosmetology, retail careers, automotive technology, culinary arts and business technology, to new offerings in the fields of agriscience, digital communications and mobile application development.  West Caldwell Tech, which serves an urban population that is largely economically disadvantaged and minority, was recognized for tremendous improvement in student academic performance.  Once among the state’s lowest performing schools, West Caldwell Tech students now exceed state performance targets in mathematics and language arts literacy.

Middlesex County Vocational School at Perth Amboy offers approximately 300 full-time students opportunities in career majors including construction technology, computer technology and business, auto technology, culinary arts and computer assisted design.  The campus also houses the Perth Amboy Extension of Middlesex County College, allowing students to accrue college credits while still in high school.  Seventy-five percent of the students are economically disadvantaged and 86% are minorities. The school has a 100% graduation rate.

Communications High School, opened in 2000, is a four-year, full-time career academy specializing in communications arts, providing its 340 students from throughout Monmouth County with learning experiences in areas such as new media, journalism and publishing, commercial art and television and radio broadcasting.  The school has numerous community, industry and higher education partnerships and students work with the latest technology available in their communications fields.  Every course is offered at the honors level.

M.A.T.E.S. is a specialized, full-time, four-year high school developed around the marine and environmental science theme and is geared toward students who wish to concentrate in the areas of math and science.  Approximately 250 students from throughout Ocean County attend M.A.T.E.S.  The school offers a rigorous academic course of study instructed at the honors level, with college-level courses available.  During their junior and senior years, students have the opportunity to participate in externships in laboratories, field work, and the environmental sciences industry.

Union County Vocational-Technical High School offers two-year shared-time programs along with full-time four-year programs to approximately 1,000 students from throughout Union County.  The school offers five “career cluster” programs in automotive sciences, service industries, communications, health careers and building trades, a new, four-year academy of design, and 11 self-contained, small group programs for shared-time special education students.  In 2011-12, full-time UCTech students scored 100% proficient or advanced proficient in both sections the New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment.   The 2012 Blue Ribbon Schools will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, in November.

Here is a link to the USED news release, issued today.

District Contacts:

Bergen County Technical High School at Teterboro: Dr. Howard Lerner, Superintendent, 201-343-6000, ext. 4005, and David Tankard, Principal, 201-343-6000
West Caldwell Tech:  Dr. Michael Pennella, Superintendent, 973-412-2050
Middlesex County Vocational School at Perth Amboy:  Brian Loughlin, Superintendent, 732-257-3300, ext. 1911
Communications High School:  Jim Gleason, Principal, 732-681-1010
M.A.T.E.S.:  William Hoey, Superintendent, 732-240-6414, ext. 3318, and Allison Carroll, Principal, 609-978-8439
Union County Vocational-Technical High School:  Dr. Thomas Bistocchi, Superintendent, 908-889-2901

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