Welcome to The Bergen County Academies
In its short history, the Academy has emerged as a powerful force and leader in school reform. Our history can best be described as one in the making because, as histories go, the Bergen County Academies is young. However, since accepting its first class in August, 1992, Bergen County's magnet high school of choice has emerged as a powerful force in educational reform.

BCA on mapThe Bergen County Academies is located on the Hackensack campus of Bergen County Technical Schools. The 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 state's first full time facility, opened at 200 Hackensack Avenue. Back then students studied the union trades of plumbing, carpentry, masonry and electrical work. 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 tools 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 the County utilized the campus' advanced computer and science labs in cooperative and exploratory programs. ECEMS, a career exploration program for middle school students, and provided technology exposure to County pupils and their instructors. 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 the Academy's full time specialized programs for talented students in technical, career-driven areas who wished to study in an exciting, nontraditional learning environment.

The Bergen County Academies, began in 1992 as the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (AAST) and became the model for the six additional magnet high school programs as follows: Academy for Business and Finance (ABF), Academy for Culinary Arts & Hospitality Administration (ACAHA), Academy for Engineering and Design Technology (AEDT), Academy for Medical Science Technology (AMST), Academy for Technology & Computer Science (ATCS), and the Academy for Visual & Performing Arts (AVPA). The Academy mission is to serve as an educational model for innovation and reform in the 21st century. In summary, we are a learning community comprised of individual career-focused academies that provide a dynamic, specialized, student centered environment that embraces the whole person. We encourage independent learning and creative problem solving at every level. Teachers serve as mentors in the learning process.

I B logoThe Academies have been accepted by the International Baccalaureate organization. This program, with its emphasis on recent trends in the business world, is a natural fit for our Academy for Business and Finance, where students take seven courses across all disciplines, each leading to an audit style assessment that consists of both internal and external evaluations.

In 2004, the district began a new initiative, Global Leadership Exchange (GLE), with a focus on biotechnology. This unique learning experience offers students cutting edge, web-based technology and connects them to the global community and the workplace of tomorrow. Program highlights include an accelerated curriculum, a virtual language immersion experience, courses in essential 21st century leadership skills, college study, and a new family hub curriculum enabling parents to communicate with teachers and students. Many of the exciting components of this program were integrated into the Academies.

In June 2001, all seven BCA programs graduated their first class of 200 students and received acceptances into every school in the Ivy League. Last year's graduating class, the Class of 2005 collectively received offers of over 14 million dollars in scholarships not related to financial aid. Since 1992, the 1507 Academy graduates have received 415 acceptances into the Ivy League.

Each Academy prepares its students to meet the academic rigor of college and the corporate world beyond, through a specialized blend of professional, technical, and academic courses. To further connect with the world of work, each senior is required to complete a career-focused internship one-day per week called Senior Experience.

Bergen County Academies has an extended school day that officially is in session from 8:00 a.m. until 4:10 p.m., but frequently extends beyond, for student projects and sports. The year is divided into trimesters of equal length. Courses are scheduled in blocks of up to 60 minutes and generally meet twice per week on a Monday - Thursday or Tuesday - Friday cycle. Wednesday afternoon is devoted to all-school transdisciplinary projects, research, clubs, and Senior Experience for twelfth graders.

Instructors hold Master Degrees or higher - 20% hold PhD's. Teachers are selected to serve on the Faculty Advisory Team and to participate in the governance of the Academy. Each department has representation on the Advisory Team which meets with the administration to review curriculum, scheduling, teacher recruitment and professional development needs. The course of study for all students in the seven academies is rigorous, project-driven, non-traditional, and requires motivation and commitment. Over 15 information technology suites augment student learning. Each program has distinct requirements in science, but all require the following: four years English, mathematics, physical education; three years social studies, science and world language; two years technology and art/music. In addition, students take three years of formalized projects and clubs, which are part of the school day each Wednesday. Bergen County Academies offer over one hundred (100) electives, some of which are required pre-requisites for specialized programs; most, however, are open to all Academy students. A Senior Experience internship in 12th grade, HSPT pass, and 40 hours of community service are also required for graduation. BCA students share in a rich learning environment which offers each the chance to participate in independent study, technical, athletic and academic competitions, and summer research experiences. BCA's innovative approach to learning and an enviable record of student success has set the standard for educational reform in our county and beyond.

The Academy Now
Today the Hackensack campus offers seven specialized programs in the areas of math and science, engineering and design, medical science, business and finance, culinary arts and hotel administration, visual and performing arts, and telecommunications. The multi-million dollar facility contains Windows, Unix, and Macintosh computer suites, outfitted with cutting edge hardware and software that accommodates the needs of over 1,100 students working simultaneously. The Bergen Academies, a working model of restructured education, incorporates a longer school day, employs a distinguished, international faculty, and receives four times the number of applications needed to fill new classes. In its rich history, the Academy has an outstanding record of student accomplishments, remarkable because of their depth and scope. Notable school-wide achievements include admittance to the Coalition of Essential Schools, the first New Jersey school to be so honored, membership into the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology, a New Jersey State Department of Education Star School accolade, and seven Best Practices Awards.