The Bergen County Technical Schools District was founded in 1951 to oversee the County's growing need for vocational education. The Bergen County Vocational-Technical High School, the first full-time facility of its kind in the state, opened in 1952,offering students training in plumbing, carpentry, masonry, and electrical work. When industry’s needs later changed from hand tools to computers, technical education in the District was adapted to meet the needs of an evolving job market and provide students 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.
Today, the district’s secondary programs include Applied Technology High School, a full-time high school program with a concentration in engineering technology located on the campus of Bergen Community College; the Bergen County Academies, seven magnet high school programs that meld college prep classes with a career focus; Bergen County Technical High School/Paramus, a secondary program with a full-time option for special needs students and a shared-time option for students from local sending districts; and Bergen County Technical High School/Teterboro, a full-time program with nine technical concentrations. The District also offers full- and part-time technical instruction to over 18,000 secondary and adult students.
Cutting-edge research centers and state-of-the-art technology support the district’s technology-infused and project-driven curricula. All classrooms are equipped with computers and more than 2,500 computers are available on and off campus to students, teachers, and staff. The district’s effort toward forging partnerships with institutions of higher education has resulted in a multitude of early college options on all four campuses. Onsite at the Hackensack and Teterboro campuses, students can take Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Through successful completion of AP and IB courses, students have the opportunity to earn credit or advanced standing at most of the nation’s colleges and universities. In addition, there are a number of articulation agreements with universities and colleges such as Fairleigh Dickinson University and New Jersey Institute of Technology which offer select graduating students sophomore standing at the partnering school. Students are also able to take a number of college courses off-site at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Bergen Community College prior to graduating high school. At the Bergen Tech campus in Paramus, students are able to pursue certifications through Bergen Community College in grounds management, graphics, culinary arts, network support, or small business, and can also begin working toward their Associate’s Degree in selected areas. Dual-enrolment courses taught by Bergen Community College faculty enable students at Applied Technology High School to earn up to 28 college credits toward an A.S. or A.A.S. degree upon graduation.
The District supports educational and workforce initiatives to serve the needs of residents throughout the greater Bergen County community, including
• Bergen Makerspace—a community learning center formed in partnership between Bergen County Technical Schools and Bergen Community College. Its mission is to develop, grow, and maintain a community in Bergen County dedicated to hands-on learning of all kinds. Located at the Adult Education Center on the Hackensack campus, Bergen Makerspace offers workshops and meet-ups and is equipped with MakerBot Replicator 2 and 2X, Shopbot Desktop CNC Router, Drill Press, Bandsaw, Hand Tools, Soldering Stations, and assorted Electronic Equipment.
• Displaced Homemaker Center— Displaced Homemakers Center provides a variety of professional services to assist women who are separated, divorced, widowed, or spouse disabled, to make appropriate career decisions. Every year, this unique program helps thousands of women to achieve self-sufficiency, learn English, improve basic literacy skills, and make improvements in their lives. Classes are available day and evening to meet clients’ individual needs.
Services include Computer literacy classes; Resume writing; Professional career counseling (by appointment only); Testing including vocational interest inventories, aptitude, personality; Advocacy; and referral. Additionally, the center offers workshops, support groups, and computer literacy classes.
•Academy AfterHours— The Academy After Hours Program is an outreach to area students interested in pursuing advanced work in pure sciences, humanities, mathematics and technology. Accomplished faculty members instruct the specialized courses. Several emphasize team/ project work. Students study in state-of-the-art technology facilities.
•ETTC (Educational Training Technology Center)—The Bergen ETTC provides K-12 teachers and administrators with training opportunities on the effective use of technology to achieve the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. The ETTC also provides custom professional development workshops directly to school districts.