One Bergen County Technical Schools educator and two educational support professionals were recently recognized for their outstanding dedication, professionalism, and commitment by the Bergen County Teacher/Educational Support Professional Recognition Award Program. Nancy Sytsma, Student Assistance Counselor; Laura Ristovski, Academic Support, Speech Pathologist; and John Branda from the Academy of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Administration pose with Dr. Lerner at the presentation of awards event held at the Fiesta.
The Bergen County Technical Schools District was founded in 1951 to oversee the County's growing need for vocational education. The following year, Bergen County Vocational-Technical High School, the first full-time facility of its kind in the state, opened at 200 Hackensack Avenue. At that time, students studied the union trades of plumbing, carpentry, masonry, and electrical work.Museum building photo
Because technical and vocational schooling is always closely tied to the job market, the cornerstone of the district’s success has been its ability to adapt to the changing needs of local industry. When industry’s needs later changed from hand tools to computers, technical education had to adapt as well.
The district believed students needed strong academic and technical skills to meet the challenges of the future. In the late 1980s, the district began offering before- and after-school enrichment classes for students interested in high-tech areas such as computers, physics, and electronics. The program opened the world of modern vocational education to gifted and talented students. With the aid of a $6 million county bond, the district began to bring unparalleled technology to the county. Secondary students from throughout Bergen County used the campus’s computer and science labs in cooperative and exploratory programs. Middle school students—and their teachers—were exposed to new technologies through a program called ECEMS (Enrichment and Career Exploration in Math and Science). In-service workshops and a professional development school, Apple Academy East, one of the most successful test sites for Apple Computer, followed. These innovative offerings helped initiate full-time programs in technical, career-driven areas for talented students who wished to study in an exciting, non-traditional learning environment.
It looks like Spring has finally arrived!
It is a very busy and emotional time of year for our students, faculty, and staff (and families as well!) as we prepare for Induction and Graduation Ceremonies. Each campus will welcome the members of the Class of 2020 and say good-bye to the graduates of the Class of 2016. We wish all of our graduates the best of luck as they move on in their academic careers or enter the workforce or the military.
The first year of the Applied Technology High School program has been very successful. This unique CTE program, a collaboration between Bergen County Technical Schools and Bergen Community College, offers an academic high school curriculum combined with dual-enrollment college courses with a concentration in engineering technology. Just a few days ago I was privileged to attend the Induction Ceremony welcoming the second group of freshman to our newest BCTS campus.
The Bergen County Technical School District administrates various grant-funded programs in the county including the Displaced Homemaker Program, which provides services for women who have been out of the workforce for a number of years, have lost their primary source of income, and must obtain or upgrade skills to transition into the labor force. I am proud to say that one of our clients will receive a New Beginnings 2016 award in Trenton on May 12. This award is given to those who have overcome personal and economic trauma to achieve success and self-sufficiency. I want to congratulate our client, who has now launched her own catering business, and our counselors who provided the support and assistance that enabled our client to realize her aspirations.
Be sure to check out the Academy AfterHours Summer Session at BCA for middle school students and the BergenMakerspace in the Adult & Continuing Education building for workshops for students and adults. They will be offering a variety of activities and classes throughout the summer months.
On behalf of the administration, faculty, and staff of Bergen County Technical Schools, I wish everyone a relaxing summer spent with family and friends. I look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and families in September.
Howard Lerner, Ed.D. Superintendent