On Tuesday, October 29, 2013, a representative from the Morris County Vocational Schools visited Unity Charter School to give a presentation to the 7th and 8th grade students. Parents were also welcome to attend. The presenter, Gina Didomenico, introduced and played a movie about the academies, then answered questions from students and parents.
The Morris County Vocational School District is made up of 11 academies on three campuses:
Morris County School of Technology in Denville: Child-related Careers Culinary Arts Finance and International Business Veterinary Science Computer and Information Sciences Design Health Care Sciences Visual and Performing Arts
Morris Hills High School in Rockaway: Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
Butler High School in Butler: Academy for Law and Public Safety Academy for Sports Medicine and Management
The Experience – Academics and Extracurriculars Each academy provides a traditional high school experience – with typical high school courses, sports, and clubs but also includes classes specific to the academy interest area. Each school day runs on a block schedule with five 80 minute blocks per day. Some classes specific to the academy interest area, such as Culinary Arts, have double blocks of 160 minutes.
The academies are academically rigorous. In senior year, students can qualify to take college courses at the County College of Morris and receive college credit. Currently, about 50% of seniors do so. Also in senior year, all students are required to do 170 hours of an internship. (Coordinators help students find and arrange internships.) Ninety to ninety-five percent of Academy graduates go on to college. Just this week, the Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering was listed number two in NJ public high schools with the highest SAT scores.
Many sports, clubs, and activities are offered at each academy. Basketball, softball, yearbook, chorus, student government, prom, and National Honor Society were some that were mentioned. If the academy doesn’t offer the sport that a student is interested in, the student can try out and play for their local high school team.
Application Process Any student from Unity Charter School can apply to the Morris County Vocational Schools, with two caveats: Morris County students are given first preference and out-of-county students can only apply if their county doesn’t offer the same program.
Acceptance into the Vocational School program is based on: Grades (starting in 7th grade) NJASK Scores Teacher Recommendation from either a Math or English teacher Entrance Exam
To apply, a student first fills out the application, available online. At that time, the student will also pick a time and date to take the entrance exam as well as have a parent or guardian sign a release form. Release forms are submitted to the Unity Charter School main office and allow Unity to share transcripts and test scores with the Vocational School.
Application deadline for 2013 is November 22. Supporting documents must be received from Unity by December 6.
Notifications for interviews are sent by January and acceptance decisions by February.
Students may only apply to one academy, and cannot switch academies. Also students can transfer out if the program isn’t working for them, no students are accepted mid-way through the academy four-year program since interest area curriculum is cumulative.
Information sessions are coming up at all academies: Denville: Saturday, November 2 Rockaway: Thursday, November 14 Butler: Monday, November 11
More information about all the academy programs can be found at the Morris County Vocational School District website (http://www.mcvts.org).