Bergen County Academies
|Bergen County Technical School
Bergen County Academies
Dr. John Grieco Campus
|200 Hackensack Avenue
Hackensack, NJ 07601
|Type||Public magnet high school|
|School district||Bergen County Technical Schools|
|Vice principal||Raymond Bath|
|Enrollment||1,044 (as of 2014-15)|
|Student to teacher ratio||11.1:1|
Vegas Gold and
|Athletics conference||Big North Conference|
The Bergen County Academies (BCA), commonly referred to as the Academies due to its seven academic and professional divisions, is a tuition-free public magnet high school located in Hackensack, New Jersey that serves students in the ninth through twelfth grades from Bergen County, New Jersey, United States.
Admission to the Academies is highly competitive, as the school typically accepts about 270 of the more than 1,600 applicants every year (~16% admissions rate) through a process that includes letters of recommendation, exams, and interviews. Founded in 1991, BCA has been included as one of the 23 highest performing high schools in the United States by The Washington Post  and in 2015 was ranked by Newsweek as the #5 public high school in America. In its listing of "America's Best High Schools 2016", the school was ranked 11th out of 500 best high schools in the country; it was ranked fourth among all high schools in New Jersey.
BCA is often excluded from national high school rankings because "despite their exceptional quality, their admission rules and standardized test scores indicate they have few or no average students."
BCA is a Blue Ribbon School, a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology, admitted to the Coalition of Essential Schools, home to five Intel Science Talent Search finalists in the past five years, and a Model School in the Arts as named by the New Jersey Department of Education.
63.5% of the Class of 2015 will be National Merit Scholars, Finalists, Semifinalists, or Commended students, who are at least the top 5% in the State of New Jersey based on PSAT scores and at best the top 0.5% of the United States based on PSAT scores, academic record, recommendations, and essays.
As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,044 students and 94.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.1:1. There were 33 students (3.2% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 17 (1.6% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
BCA's strengths are in its academics, extracurricular activities, and notable faculty, many of whom hold doctorates in their respective fields. While offering some 16 AP courses, BCA does not focus on them. Led by a faculty of which 20% hold PhDs, students at BCA enjoy courses that often surpass AP courses in technical rigor and creativity, such as Series Hybrids & Electric Vehicles, Civil Engineering & Architecture, Cybersecurity, Digital Electronics, Optics & Lasers, Arduino Microcontroller, Modern Optical Physics, Advanced Problems in Music Theory & Technology, Comparative Asian Cultures, Microscopy, Forensic Science, Biopsychology, Foundations of Nanotechnology, Interactive Design, Robotics, Stagecraft, Medical Microbiology, BioEngineering, Markets & Trading, Zoology, Acting Methods, Bioethics, Java, Python, Anatomy & Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Macroeconomics & International Economics, Advanced Business Topics, Entrepreneurship, and Culinology.
- 1 Awards and distinctions
- 2 Admissions and funding
- 3 Academics
- 3.1 Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (Science | AAST)
- 3.2 Academy for Business and Finance (Business | ABF)
- 3.3 Academy for Culinary Arts and Hotel Administration (Culinary | ACAHA)
- 3.4 Academy for Engineering and Design Technology (Engineering | AEDT)
- 3.5 Academy for Medical Science Technology (Medical | AMST)
- 3.6 Academy for Technology and Computer Science (Compsci | ATCS)
- 3.7 Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (Visual/Theater/Music | AVPA)
- 3.8 Departments and programs
- 4 Clubs and extracurricular programs
- 5 Scheduling
- 6 Campus and facilities
- 7 History
- 8 Administration
- 9 Notable alumni
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Awards and distinctions
In 2015, Bergen County Academies was one of 15 schools in New Jersey, and one of nine public schools, recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in the exemplary high performing category by the United States Department of Education.
Newsweek ranked BCA fifth out of the top 500 public schools in America in 2015 and fourth in New Jersey. U.S. News and World Report, employing a different methodology that stratified state-relative performance of socioeconomically disadvantaged students in its calculations, ranked BCA 119th out of all high schools in the United States in 2015, and eighth in New Jersey.
Inside Jersey magazine ranked BCA first in its 2014 ranking of New Jersey's Top Performing High Schools. In 2014, BCA had an average HSPA score of 297 out of 300 and an average SAT score of 2103 out of 2400. Also in 2014, The Daily Beast ranked BCA 15th in the nation among over 700 magnet and charter schools nationwide, second in the 25 Best High Schools in the Northeast, and highest among schools in New Jersey. The Washington Post listed BCA as one of 23 top performing schools with elite students intentionally excluded from its 2014 list of America's Most Challenging High Schools "because, despite their exceptional quality, their admission rules and standardized test scores indicate they have few or no average students".
63.5% of the Class of 2015 will be National Merit Scholars, Finalists, Semifinalists, or Commended students. In the Class of 2015, 165 of 255 students qualified for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program from the state of New Jersey, where the cutoff score is the highest in the nation, at 224 out of 240. Of those who qualified, 124 are qualified to be National Commended Scholars (scorers in the top 5%) and 36 are qualified to be National Merit Semifinalists (scorers in the top 0.5%).
Other accolades include:
- BCA is a National Blue Ribbon School
- BCA is a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology
- BCA was admitted to the Coalition of Essential Schools
- BCA is home to five Intel Science Talent Search finalists
- BCA was named a Model School in the Arts by the New Jersey Department of Education
Historical awards or distinctions (1997-2013)
|Year||Award or Distinction|
|2013||U.S. News & World Report recognized BCA as the 34th best high school in the United States and the 3rd best high school in New Jersey,|
|2013||Newsweek ranked BCA 26th out of the 2,000 best public high schools in the nation.|
|2012||The Daily Beast ranked BCA 21st in the nation among participating public high schools and 3rd best in the northeast.|
|2012||An entire chapter is devoted to BCA in Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools, which was published by Princeton University Press in 2012.|
|2011||Newsweek reported Bergen County Academies students registered an average SAT score of 2100, the second highest of any U.S. high school.|
|2011||Overall, Newsweek ranked BCA 23rd nationally and second in New Jersey.|
|2011||Schooldigger.com ranked the school as one of 16 schools tied for first out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an improvement of 10 positions from the 2010 rank) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the language arts literacy (100.0%) and mathematics (100.0%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).|
|2009||Bloomberg Businessweek named Bergen County Academies as New Jersey's best high school for overall academics.|
|2009||Bloomberg Businessweek also featured BCA's nanotechnology lab and wealth of interdisciplinary offerings that do not just stop at STEM-related disciplines.|
|2008||Bergen County Academies was recognized by Newsweek magazine in its May 17, 2008 issue covering America's Best High Schools, as one of its Public Elites, a group of consistent high performers excluded from its rankings because of the number of students with SAT (or ACT) scores well above the national average.|
|2007||Bergen County Academies was recognized as one of six national Intel Schools of Distinction for excellence as one of the nation's top schools for mathematics. The program recognizes one school for math and one for science in each of three school ranges (elementary, middle and high school).|
|2007||Daniel Jaye, who left Stuyvesant High School after 35 years to become the principal at Bergen County Academies, said BCA "offers a lot more to students" than Stuyvesant does.|
|2007||Bergen County Academies was recognized by Newsweek magazine in its May 28, 2007 issue covering America's Best High Schools, as one of its Public Elites, a group of consistent high performers excluded from its rankings because of the number of students with SAT (or ACT) scores well above the national average.|
|2006||For the 2006-07 school year, the Bergen County Academies was recognized with the National Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence from the United States Department of Education, the highest honor that an American school can achieve.|
|2006||The school was recognized as a "Public Elite", one of 22 such schools recognized nationwide in Newsweek magazine's listing of "America's Best High Schools" in the May 8, 2006 issue. Newsweek described the school as "Seven subschools specializing in everything from finance to visual arts".|
|2005||In 2005-06, BCA averaged a 2015 combined SAT score, second-highest statewide.|
|1997||For the 1997 - 1998 school year, AAST was cited by the New Jersey Department of Education as a Star School.|
Admissions and funding
Though it is a public school, the admission process is highly selective. A math and English test, as well as an interview by a panel of teachers, is required for admission. The admissions rate has hovered around 16% of all applications from within Bergen County since the 2013-2014 academic year. BCA serves all 70 municipalities of Bergen County. Classes of 250 - 270 have been accepted from an applicant pool of 1,100 - 1,500, with the class of 2015 accepting 255 students out of an applicant pool of 1,500. Limits are no longer held on the number of students that can be accepted from each district, with the limit being based on the size of the high school.
Tuition is free for residents of Bergen County and is paid for by the student's home school district, the State of New Jersey, and a number of public and private grants. Payments from sending districts are mandated by both state and county legislation affecting vocational and technical districts such as BCTS. For the 2006 - 2007 school year, districts paid annual tuition of $6,600 for each student.
BCA is divided into seven academic and professional divisions. Students apply to colleges and academic programs under their academy, rather than from BCA as a whole; BCA itself has no CEEB code. However, BCA is treated as a single high school within the district and the state.
The seven academies are often referred to by their single-word nicknames or acronyms.
Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (Science | AAST)
AAST was founded on a charter school framework in 1992 with the mission of preparing students for careers in math and science by promoting a problem-solving, project-based, technical learning environment. AAST has departed from this model and has since become a more standard magnet school. The roots of the program can be seen in its unique science curriculum, which emphasizes and integrates chemistry, biology, and physics, and its hallmark Wednesday lab rotation for the first two years. This academy celebrated ten years of excellence in 2006-07. Much of the AAST model, including the 6-mod project period on Wednesday, has been adopted by the other academies.
Academy for Business and Finance (Business | ABF)
Originally called the Academy for Business and Computer Technology (ABCT), ABF participates in the IB Diploma Programme beginning in 11th grade. ABF is the only academy required to participate in the full IB Diploma Programme. Students in ABF take courses in economics, management, business law, Management Information Systems, business ethics, and the challenging IB curriculum.
Academy for Culinary Arts and Hotel Administration (Culinary | ACAHA)
Founded in 1997 and originally called the Academy for Culinary Arts (ACA), ACAHA represented a culinary vocational program that was reworked to give students a more academic focus. Originally grouped with APT and AVAGC as "career" academies, ACAHA was set apart from the college prep programs of AAST, ABF, AEDT and AMST. After being reorganized into academic, college-prep academies, the name changed to the present name in 2002 to reflect the change in emphasis and curriculum. Head instructor Mary Beth Brace has been recognized as Advisor of the Year for SkillsUSA and has received attention for devotion as a baking and culinary arts instructor. Chef John Branda, who worked in the food service industry for 30 years, was the saucier at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and co-owner of an upscale Fair Lawn, New Jersey restaurant.
Academy for Engineering and Design Technology (Engineering | AEDT)
This academy's core curriculum is similar to that of AAST. The two programs share the same core courses, but AEDT directs students away from some of AAST's focus on biology in order to provide room for courses in electronics and design. The program encourages students to take part in several competitions such as "BattleBots IQ." Students in AEDT take the own engineering courses, like Digital Electronics, Principles of Engineering, Introduction to Engineering Design, and Electrical Engineering.
Academy for Medical Science Technology (Medical | AMST)
Students in AMST have more required biology courses, which include Medical Science Seminar, Biotechnology, Zoology, Cell Physiology, Bioethics, and two additional electives. Neuroscience is an optional senior year elective for AMST student
Academy for Technology and Computer Science (Compsci | ATCS)
ATCS has a primary focus in the world of computers and the Internet along with different types of engineering. Its students are well-prepared for careers as computer programmers, software engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, networking technicians, and other computer and engineering-related professions. The updated coursework focuses on the AP computer science curriculum and technologies such as mobile application development in current languages, as well as study material from engineering- and digital electronics-related studies. The academy is also the genesis of HACKBCA, the first ever high school hackathon drawing major corporate sponsorship and hundreds of high schools students in a 24-hour hacking event.
Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (Visual/Theater/Music | AVPA)
AVPA is unique for being subdivided into three divisions: Visual, which focuses on combining skill and passion into one cohesive movement; Music, where there are mandatory keyboarding and digital music classes, as well as a focused instrument; and Theatre, which stages all plays at the school and has resources similar to and sometimes better than Broadway plays. Depending on their focus, students in AVPA take classes in drawing, painting, printing, acting, and stagecraft, and music or music theory.
Departments and programs
There are 18 academic departments at BCA: Biology, Business, Chemistry, Culinary Arts, Engineering, English, Health/PE, History, Journalism, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Studio Arts and Graphic Communications, Technology, Theater Arts, Senior Experience, Visual Arts, and World Languages. Aside from specific class and core requirements, all academies require four years of English, mathematics, and physical education; three years of social studies, science, and world language; and two years of technology and art/music. All students take three years of projects and clubs, with clubs placed at the last three mods on Wednesday (see the Scheduling section). In addition, 40 hours of community service are required for graduation.
While offering some 16 AP courses, BCA does not focus on them. This often hurts its placement in rankings with methodologies that place great weight on the test-driven, college level courses. BCA has traditionally given teachers great freedom in curriculum design to adequately engage the intellectual capacity of the student body. Courses thus often surpass AP courses in technical rigor and creativity, such as Series Hybrids & Electric Vehicles, Civil Engineering & Architecture, Cybersecurity, Digital Electronics, Optics & Lasers, Arduino Microcontroller, Modern Optical Physics, Advanced Problems in Music Theory & Technology, Comparative Asian Cultures, Microscopy, Forensic Science, Biopsychology, Foundations of Nanotechnology, Interactive Design, Robotics, Stagecraft, Medical Microbiology, BioEngineering, Markets & Trading, Zoology, Acting Methods, Bioethics, Java, Python, Anatomy & Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Macroeconomics & International Economics, Advanced Business Topics, Entrepreneurship, and Culinology.
BCA offers individual research opportunities that allow students to compete in science fairs on local to international levels. Seniors participate in Senior Experience, a cooperative education or internship program through which seniors work and learn for the full business day each Wednesday instead of reporting to school.
BCA offers the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programs. BCA was certified to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma in January 2004 and is one of only 16 schools in New Jersey to offer the IB program.
Students in ABF who participate in the IB program have two years of Integrated Math and two years of IB Math. Students in other academies generally follow the in-house mathematics curriculum, which begins with algebra and continues to linear algebra, multivariable calculus, and beyond. This prepares the student for AP Statistics or a more common calculus sequence.
Students place into a course in the pre-calculus sequence and continue up, taking one course in each group. The full sequence requires six years; fewer than ten students from each graduating class reach Topics in Advanced Mathematics, the most advanced course designed for the exceptionally well-prepared student that covers material that is two years beyond the curriculum of BC Calculus. The material varies from year to year; currently, it covers a sweeping introduction to three cornerstones of Mathematics, namely, Linear Algebra, Abstract Algebra, and Real Analysis. Vector spaces, linear operators, groups, fields and rings, and the topological underpinnings of Calculus are also covered. Emphasis is placed on rigor and proof.
Students of all academies participate in various studio and performing arts courses. The BCA Concert and Chamber Choirs have won excellent ratings and awards at local and national competitions under Dr. Patrick D. Finley. BCA also offers college-level courses in music theory, including AP Music Theory and Advanced Problems in Music Theory. The instrumental performance program offers other features, including an opportunity for students to play with the North Jersey Philharmonic and the Guitar and Mandolin Society, the latter of which was founded by BCA's instrumental music director Michael Lemma.
The school features two studio art labs. Artwork produced by students have won awards in local, statewide, and national competitions. One of the studios is a visual arts lab equipped with compositing and printing equipment to train students in graphic communication and print media.
The theatre arts department puts on plays and musicals each year in an auditorium seating 1200, sometimes rented to outside professional groups. The school has a restaurant-grade kitchen for teaching culinary arts, featuring the Academy Grill, which serves meals prepared by the school's culinary arts students. The Video Lab broadcasts inside the school, featuring workstations, professional cameras, and a bluescreen.
Clubs and extracurricular programs
Model United Nations
BCA has a successful Model United Nations team. The Academies have an internationally awarded Model UN program which runs its own Model UN conference, called AMUN. and the Academies Model United Nations Team, which has won Best Delegation at countless conferences, including those hosted by Yale, Princeton, GWU, MIT/BU, NYU, and many local conferences. Consequently, the BCA Model UN team has earned many individual delegate awards and recognitions.
BCA has an extremely successful debate team. The school competes in both the Varsity and Junior Varsity levels of debate. The Academies' policy debate program finished first in Bergen County in 2005-2006, beating Tenafly High School and the Dwight-Englewood School. The Varsity Debate program at the Academies consistently ranks in the top 3 of the Bergen County Debate League (BCDL) annually.
Recently, the Academies has begun to increase focus on its Mock Trial team. The team was undefeated for part of the 2011-2012 season and runs frequent practices to prepare for each trial.
BCA hosts an accomplished Junior State of America (JSA) chapter. It won Chapter of the Year for the Mid-Atlantic State in the 2011-2012 and 2014-2015 school years. It meets as a Wednesday club and also attends and hosts JSA conventions.
The Math Team is open to all academies, but is known as "AAST Math Team" for historical and logistical reasons.
With over 150 students from grades 12 and below in participation, Math Team is the largest extracurricular team at the Academies. The late Joseph Holbrook, chair of the math department, was the team's coach from its founding until his January 2010 death. In line with the school's original philosophy, Holbrook created a model for mathematics education that was directed at solving non-standard problems, without concerning traditional time restraints and curricula. The coaches run problem-solving sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, which function as practice sessions for team members. Students are encouraged to come to practices and participate with the team in high school math competitions.
The Math Team participates in competitions such as the AMCs, AIME, USAMO, Mandelbrot, Harvard–MIT Mathematics Tournament, and ARML. The team often ranks within the top ten in competitions it enters, competing against top magnet schools and state and regional teams.
In 2008, the team first place in Division B at the Princeton University Mathematics Competition, an annual competition attended routinely by the team. The school routinely has 10+ students rank qualifying for the USAMO (United States of America Mathematics Olympiad), with a student winning the competition in 2012. The school captured first place at the 2009 ARML Local competition, another routine annual competition.
In 2015, student Ryan Alweiss competed on the American team at the International Math Olympiad, helping the US win the competition for the first time since 1994 with a 98th percentile score of 31.
BCA's Junior Varsity and Varsity Quiz bowl teams qualified to compete in the National History Bowl in 2013, and several individuals competed in the National History Bee. The Junior Varsity bowl team placed fifth in the finals.
BCA's BattleBots IQ team, known as the Titanium Knights, won the 2006 national heavyweight championship in the high school division with the robot E2V2, and won two other awards for another 120 lb robot, Knightrous. In previous years, the team has won second, third, and fourth place titles in BBIQ, and affiliated student teams have won numerous awards in Northeast Robotics Club events.
BCA shares its sports program with the Bergen County Technical High Schools in Teterboro and Paramus. The boys' teams, called the Bergen Tech Knights, and the girls' teams, the Bergen Tech Lady Knights, compete in the Big North Conference, following a reorganization of the Northern New Jersey sports leagues by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. In the 2009-10 school year, the school competed in the North Jersey Tri-County Conference, which was established on an interim basis to facilitate the realignment. Before the realignment, Bergen Tech had been placed in the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL) at the start of the Fall 2006 athletic season. With 1,605 students in grades 10-12, the school is classified by the NJSIAA for most sports as North I, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,090 to 2,568.
Numerous sports are offered for boys and girls, including basketball, bowling, golf, lacrosse, soccer, track, tennis, and volleyball. For boys, offerings also include football and wrestling. as of the 2008-09 school year, wrestling was discontinued. For girls the program softball. During the 2007-08 school year, a varsity fencing team was initiated by parents along with the Athletic Department. As of 2009, BCA has a Varsity and Junior Varsity Fencing team.
Athletic achievements for the Bergen Tech Knights and Bergen Tech Lady Knights include:
- The tennis team and baseball team advanced to the North I Group IV State playoffs in 2009, with the tennis team continuing on to the semifinals after winning sectionals.
- In 2006, the football team reached the playoffs, falling to Randolph High School 29-0. The boys soccer team advanced to the 2006 state tournament, winning in the first round before losing to Memorial High School in the semifinal game.
- In 2014, the baseball team made it to the North I Group IV state tournament as the last seed. They would become the first team in program history to pass the first round of the state tournament with a 3-2 victory over first-seeded Wayne Valley High School. The team also reached the finals of the NJTAC state tournament, losing to Passaic Tech.
Prior to the 2007-2008 academic year, the full school day lasted from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and began with a 10 min IGS followed by 24 modules (commonly referred to as "mods") that lasted 18 min each; there were 3 min after each mod. (Each 3-module class was 60 min.) A revised schedule was implemented in the 2007-8 school year. Each module was now only 15 min, IGS was now 4 min, and the number of mods raised to 27. The Principal's Advisory Team strongly supported this schedule, giving students more time for electives and interaction. Classes still typically last three mods, or 51 minutes. Each 3-module class is 54 min. The school day lasts from 8:00 AM to 4:10 PM.
Another revised schedule was implemented in the 2013-14 year. IGS (Information Gathering Session) is now 10 minutes, shortening elective hour to 45 minutes. Normal classes are still 51 minutes.
Classes meet variably every day. Every week, a class may meet 4 h per week for AP programs or high-level classes to 2 h per week for electives. On Wednesday, students attend projects for 6 modules; students with labs meet for 4 modules for laboratory work, relevant to their chemistry, physics, or biology courses, in rotation. Wednesday labs and projects last 4-6 modules respectively. Extracurricular activities occur after the school day. Some clubs may meet before the school day as well. AAST and AEDT have often shared their core courses, AMST share their own core classes and the other academies shared their core courses.
Campus and facilities
The Bergen County Academies is located on the John Grieco Campus of the Bergen County Technical Schools District in Hackensack. The school occupies a sprawling main building which runs along Hackensack Avenue as well as a nearby Environmental Science Center (ESC) building.
A dedicated Bloomberg workstation lets students conduct independent financial markets analysis and research. The option to earn a Bloomberg Certification is also available through tutorials. BCA is one of the few high schools in the country to have access to this technology.
First opened in May 2008, the Nanotechnology Lab offers one scanning electron microscope and one transmission electron microscope to experienced faculty, and sometimes to students, as well as those researching the physical sciences. There are also math research and humanities research opportunities available to students skilled in those respective subjects.
Stem Cell Lab
The stem cell research laboratories are foundational to the Bioscience Research Program, which enables students to work as scientists, constructing projects to submit to journals. This program is advised by Donna Leonardi and Dr. Robert Pergolizzi.
Studio Art Lab
The school features two studio art labs. One of the studios is a visual arts lab equipped with compositing and printing equipment to train students in graphic communication and print media.
The school has a restaurant-grade kitchen for teaching culinary arts. The Academy Grill serves as a laboratory room for those taking culinary arts or hospitality administration classes, or culinary electives.
The Video Lab broadcasts inside the school, featuring workstations, professional cameras, and a bluescreen.
The theatre arts department produces plays and musicals each year in an auditorium adjoining the main building that seats 1,200. It is regularly rented to outside professional groups.
The school's baseball field, football field, track, and parking for students and visitors are located behind the academic buildings.
The school is considered the brainchild of John Grieco and began as a single academy, "The Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology" (AAST), which shared the current campus with the Bergen County Technical High School. AAST students were first inducted in 1992 for the graduating class of 1996.
In 1997, additional academies opened on the campus: the Academy for Business and Computer Technology (ABCT), the Academy for Engineering Design Technology (AEDT), and the Academy for Medical Science Technology (AMST). The following year, three career institutes, renamed a year later to become academies: the Academy for Culinary Arts (ACA), the Academy for Power and Transportation (APT), and the Academy for Visual Arts and Graphic Communications (AVAGC). Soon, the seven programs were geared less towards career prep and more towards college prep, adopting a liberal arts curriculum with an extra focus on their respective fields.
In 2001, a dispute initiated by the Bergen County School Administrators' Association focused on what Paramus Superintendent Janice Dime called "elitism." Several of these districts threatened to withdraw funding from the program. The Bergen County Technical Schools agreed to increase the transparency of the admissions process and enter into talks with a number of sending districts.
In 2002, APT was eliminated. ABCT was split into the Academy for Business and Finance (ABF) and the Academy for Technology and Computer Science (ATCS), ACA added hotel administration to its coursework and became the Academy for Culinary Arts and Hotel Administration (ACAHA). AVAGC expanded its scope to include performing arts and became the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA). The school itself also changed its name numerous times, from "Bergen County Regional Academies" to "Bergen Academies", to "Bergen County Academy" and to the present "Bergen County Academies."
Started in 2004 to support the class of 2008, GLE was the newest program at the academies; its focus is the field of biotechnology and global leadership. It was initially designed to give its students the state high school requirements in two years, with International Baccalaureate courses being later added to the program. The GLE program existed only for the classes of 2008 and 2009. Much of the GLE program's focus and goals are now being integrated into the Academy for Medical Science Technology.
Core members of the school's administration are:
- Russell Davis, Principal
- Raymond Bath, Vice Principal
- Harry Altman (class of 2005), featured in the 2002 documentary film Spellbound. about the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
- Ryan J. Condal (Class of 1997), writer and producer of the TV series Colony.
- George Hotz (born 1989, class of 2007), famous for computer and device hacking.
- Sachin H. Jain (born 1980, Class of 1998), CEO of CareMore Health System and former Chief Medical Information Officer of Merck.
- Kaavya Viswanathan (class of 2004), author of the controversial 2006 novel entitled How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, since withdrawn due to accusations of plagiarism.
- Indrani Das (class of 2017), Winner of the oldest and largest science fair in the world, the Regeneron Science Talent Search, for her work on brain injury and neurodegenerative disease.
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