EDISON — The Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies in Edison has been named a national Blue Ribbon School, the second year in a row that a school in the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District has received the honor.
“The U.S. Blue Ribbon School Award is the most prestigious award in the field of education,” said Superintendent of Schools Brian J. Loughlin. “The Blue Ribbon Award validates our rigorous and innovative STEM curriculum, the quality and effectiveness of our teachers and administration, and most importantly, the extraordinary achievements of our Academy students.”
“The Blue Ribbon Award is a result of the dedicated effort of the Academy’s entire school community and a celebration of being recognized as a world-class career academy,” said John F. Bicsko Jr., president of the MCVTS Board of Education.
“I applaud the Board of Education, the administration, teachers, staff, students and families whose commitment to learning has led to this success,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “The Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies has been recognized at the national level for its dedication to ensuring students’ success. That speaks volumes to the quality education being offered here every day.”
“This designation is a second stellar example of the quality education offered in our vocational-technical schools,” said Freeholder Charles E. Tomaro, chair of the Business Development and Education Committee. “Just one year ago, we got word that our Perth Amboy campus received this prestigious designation. Now, with our Academy being recognized for its excellence, Middlesex County has raised the bar for public, career and technical education. This is certainly a proud day.”
“It’s fabulous,” said Dr. Linda Russo, principal of the school since February 2012. “It’s a tribute to the staff and the students for the hard work they put in. It’s well-deserved.”
The announcement was made in Washington by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. A total of 286 schools were recognized nationwide, including 15 in New Jersey. The Edison Academy was one of six New Jersey high schools recognized as “exemplary high-performing schools.” It was the only Middlesex County high school to receive the honor.
Last year, Perth Amboy Vo-Tech, another MCVTS school, was named a Blue Ribbon School in recognition of its progress in student achievement.
The Edison Academy, one of five campuses in the MCVTS district, was opened in September 2000. It has an enrollment of 167, with a highly competitive admission process and a waiting list of prospective students. Russo attributed the success of Edison Academy to its small enrollment.
“We like to consider ourselves a family,” she said. “We spend a lot of time together and we really get to know each other. We can do that because of the size.”
Many of the teachers in the 16-member faculty had long careers in their fields before taking the alternate route into public education.
“The teachers here are very special,” Russo said. “They’re very passionate about what they do. They give of their time – they come in early, they stay late, they give up their lunch to work with the kids.”
Earlier this year, the Edison Academy was recognized by U.S. News & World Report with gold-medal status as one of the Top 500 public high schools in the United States, ranking sixth among New Jersey public high schools. It consistently is ranked at the top of New Jersey public high schools in academic achievement, college and career readiness, graduation rate and college acceptance.
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the first county vocational school district in the nation, has seven schools on five campuses, in East Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge. The district will mark its centennial in 2014.
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