MIDDLESEX COUNTY — A surge in enrollment marked the start of the school year in the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District.
“There has been an increase in our enrollment and an increase in the demand for our career-major programs,” Superintendent of Schools Brian J. Loughlin said. “There’s a continuous emphasis on including industry standards into our curriculum, which gives our programs increased credibility.”
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dianne Veilleux said enrollment for the 2013-2014 school year increased “across the board” on all five MCVTS campuses, with the total topping 2,100 students. There were increases in both full-time and shared-time students.
“We have the highest enrollment we’ve had in years,” Veilleux said, “and we have the largest ninth-grade classes we’ve had in a while.”
She pointed especially to the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge, established in 2008, which has its largest freshman enrollment at 72 students. Renovations made space for the additional students.
Veilleux said there is a waiting list for the Woodbridge Academy and for the Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies, on the campus of Middlesex County College in Edison, which was named a national Blue Ribbon School in September in recognition of its high-achieving students. Last year, the MCVTS Perth Amboy campus was named a Blue Ribbon School for showing significant improvement in student achievement.
“We also have a really large demand for culinary arts and for our performing arts programs,” Veilleux said.
MCVTS conducts culinary arts classes on its East Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Piscataway campuses, while the East Brunswick campus houses the School of the Arts, which includes theater, dance, digital filmmaking, and multimedia art and design.
Both Loughlin and Veilleux noted that a record number of 2013 MCVTS graduates – 67 percent – went on to college or other post-secondary education, reflecting an increased emphasis on both college and career readiness.
“Wherever they go, they’re more focused on a particular career than the average high school graduate would be,” Veilleux said.
Dr. Todd Bonsall, director of career and technical education, pointed out that MCVTS has established 15 articulation agreements with colleges and universities that allow MCVTS students to obtain college credits while still in high school.
All of the MCVTS culinary arts and baking programs now are accredited by the American Culinary Federation, meaning the curriculum meets industry standards, Bonsall said. And new culinary equipment was among the purchases for the new school year, he said.
All of the MCVTS automotive shops are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, Bonsall said. Students who complete the automotive technology program have the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency through Automotive Service Excellence industry assessments.
In addition, one of the two cosmetology labs in Piscataway underwent a complete makeover to bring it up to date. Bonsall said state-of-the-art 3-D printers have been purchased for the engineering program in Edison, the computer-assisted drafting program in Piscataway, and the multi-media art and design program in East Brunswick.
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District is the first county vocational school district in the nation. It will celebrate its centennial in 2014.
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