This is a collaboration between Secaucus High School and the Hudson County Schools of Technology, a partnership program that will offer academic science enrichment courses to students who wish to pursue careers in science, medicine allied and public health.
This academy is a four-year program in which students will enroll during their freshmen year and conclude with graduation from high school.
"This is a course for talented students who wish to take up a career in science or medicine," said Patrick Impreveduto, principal of Secaucus High School.
The idea is to provide students with an opportunity to increase their academic, interpersonal and life skills while still in high school, and give them a head start in their careers before they get to college.
Not only will students' self-esteem be increased by their taking this program, Impreveduto said, but it will give each student something that will allow him or her to compete effectively for admission to top colleges and universities throughout the country.
The agreement with Hudson County Schools of Technology will bring to Secaucus students additional educational resources such as teaching professionals, college professors to work with the high school teachers, and a variety of intern opportunities.
"Our teachers will be working with college professors," Impreveduto said. "And through this program we could see students being placed in such places like Merk or Hoffman LaRoche"
In proposing the program for Board of Educational approval earlier this year, Impreveduto presented a list of goals that he hoped to achieve through this agreement, including: improvements in student learning, increased learning opportunities, providing different and innovated teaching methods, gaining improved methods of measuring learning outcomes, and remaining current on new developments in science and technology education so the school can better prepare students for science careers.
"This will have a rigorous schedule," Impreveduto said. "But I think our students are up for it."
This new program will help individual students meet and exceed the state's Core Curriculum standards in math and science, and will allow students exposure to career choices in science.
The academy would adjust many of the typical subjects a high school student would take, such as English, to reflect the needs of science, giving students lessons in the vocabulary and reading skills necessary to better understand scientific concepts and materials.
Students would be required to take language study, social studies, health and physical education. But math, chemistry, and science would be emphasized with a host of Advanced Placement courses in these areas.
Impreveduto said staff members are already reaching out to students currently in the eighth grade for those students interested in participating in the new program. Guidance counselors and teachers are looking at state test result for these students, and teachers will recommend those they think would be suited for such an academy.
Students would be required to have a B plus or better grade average and honors in math or science to even be nominated. Then staff will interview students to determine interest.
"This is for the truly outstanding students," Impreveduto said.
Students would travel as a group from class to class, or would have teachers and professors coming to them. "All of these kids would be in the same classes for all four years," Impreveduto said.
The program will begin with the expected completion of the new science labs on the second floor of the high school. Although most aspects of the high school expansion are expected to be completed by Sept. 2003, special construction will be needed in reconfiguring the area of the high school's upper resource center into the new labs. Display cases for the lab need to be handcrafted, and thus that section of the work will completed in time for September, 2004 instead.