WEST CALDWELL, NJ – Hundreds of middle school students and their parents flocked to the student fair hosted by the Essex County School of Technology’s West Caldwell Campus on Saturday afternoon. Visitors got to interact with administrators, faculty and current students, and participate in live demonstrations.
The district offers a full-service program that’s been recognized by publications such as US News & World Report, Business Week Magazine and School Matters Magazine for its outstanding academic performance.
In addition, three of the schools have been recognized as National Blue-Ribbon Schools. There are also two campuses in Newark, including Newark Tech and Donald M. Payne Sr. Tech.
“We have roughly 350 students – 275 full-time and the rest are shared-time – and we serve all of Essex County,” said West Caldwell Campus Assistant Principal Joseph G. DiVincenzo.
The district provides a college-preparatory academic program culminating in advanced placement coursework as well as a competitive Career and Technical Educational program.
“We are a regular high school offering all of the academics and athletics, plus most of the trades,” added DiVincenzo. “We keep up with the times and offer a Robotics program, and the kids love it. Sooner or later, Amazon will be delivering packages via drones so that’s what we are teaching them.”
Innovations such as the Technology Enhanced Active Learning Center, which is centered on a technology-driven, interactive, learner-centered, and interdisciplinary instruction, can be found at all campuses.
“Our student demographics are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), so we’re doing a lot of competitions and we are winning and leading the way as we look to open up career pathways,” said Robert Lorenzo of the Robotics Department. “We were successful in the First Tech Challenge. Our next competition is November 11 at Bayonne High School, followed by January 5 at Liberty Science Center.”
The district offers learning in various potential careers, including Allied Health, Music Production, Computer Science, Business Management, Law and Public Safety, Graphic Arts, Green Energy, Television Production, Dental Science, Automotive Technology, Information Technology, Construction Trades, Engineering, Architectural Drafting, Agricultural Science, Culinary Arts, Animal Science, Manufacturing, Fashion Design, and Cosmetology.
“Business Global Logistics is a new program we started this year and we are hoping students will get a business degree for certification (at the high school level) and be able to take my class as a senior and get credit for college,” said Miss Romanello, a business teacher in the district for 10 years.
Romanello is also advisor for Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), a business program that actively participates in various competitions.
“Last year, we took three students to Georgia and I’m hoping to take more kids next year to Florida for an international competition and leadership program,” Romanello said.
In 2017, West Caldwell DECA and business students began a partnership with AT&T to have juniors and seniors get mentored by their professionals in Bedminster.
“We are one of only two schools in the entire state of New Jersey that are afforded that partnership,” said Romanello.
West Caldwell Tech was named a National Blue-Ribbon School in 2012, and U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2016.
“This prestigious award is evidence of the first-class education provided in our school district,” said Essex County Executive Mr. Joseph N. DiVincenzo.
The district has announced a comprehensive $35 million initiative to expand and modernize the West Caldwell Campus to provide students and faculty with modern accommodations and a state of-the-art learning environment.
The capital project involves building an addition onto the front of the school, renovating existing space to accommodate current and new curriculum, and creating an outdoor courtyard.