MCVSD 50 years

part 1
The Monmouth County Vocational School District

The Foundation of Excellence
The Monmouth County Vocational School District has achieved a milestone that any establishment continually strives to reach: a fifty year celebration. So what does this mean? For five decades, the MCVSD has continually endeavored to create innovative learning environments for students interested in pursuing a vocational education, providing such students with the tools and personnel necessary to succeed in a given industry. This philosophy has truly redefined education all across New Jersey, proving that a successful and challenging specified curriculum can give a student the chance of a lifetime to prepare for their future as early as their high school years. Students in both Secondary and Post-Secondary Programs have excelled academically, have been given opportunities to work with professionals in their given fields, won national awards, and, most importantly, have been utilizing their lifelong skills they have learned from the MCVSD to not only give back to their local communities, but the global society. But all great institutions must begin somewhere. The 1950s is usually referred to as the time of conformity. Young men and women were usually expected to enter the local work force with little hope of rising through the social ladder that had developed at that time. The primarily agrarian society that was present in Monmouth County throughout that time provided a limited spectrum of occupations to high school students. Several forward

thinking educators at that time decided to enhance the Monmouth County student’s ability to become part of the movement into the new and improved national labor market. In 1958, the Board of Freeholders signed a resolution that created the framework for the MCVSD. Once this district was funded, the first program that was instituted was Post-Secondary Nursing Education, which ran out of rented classrooms in Long Branch High School. It is quite fitting that such a program should mark the commencement of such an academic tradition because not only did students learn more about the nursing occupation, but they were given the unique opportunity to work with the medical facilities that are now Jersey Shore and Monmouth Medical Centers.

first programs
1959 1960 1961
Long Branch High School Licensed Practical Nursing Drafting and Electronics Matawan High School Machine Shop Manasquan High School Agriculture

Nurse Alice Phillips, Instructor along with her LPN class.

Monmouth County’s first vocational high school
Long Branch also marks a pivotal site in MCVSD history with the establishment of the first vocational high school program in Monmouth County, Technical Drafting, in September of 1959. Not only would students have been able to work hands on with materials previously only utilized by professionals, but they were granted the unique, and at that time unheard of, opportunity to be taught by architects in the local area. By 1961, an agricultural sciences high school curriculum had been born, allowing students to perfect the art of flower arrangement as well as gain experience with the biology related to this trade. Around this time, MCVSD also expressed a great deal of interest in a site at the Post-Technical School, (which has become Brookdale Community College) to develop a Post-Secondary Auto Mechanics program. With the great success these forerunners of concentrated vocational education, a demand grew for several various new programs to be designed. In 1966, the district created two more curriculums in Wall Township and Middletown in order to meet the growing interest. The school at Wall was especially unique throughout the district because it was the sight of a printing facility that gave students hands on experience working within the media industry, a growing field at that time. This building was also the predecessor to what would be become Communications High School in 2000.

Although these curricula provided a phenomenal foundation for alternative education, many students who were interested in a certain field had to travel across the county to the site of the school. According to the current Superintendent, Brian D. McAndrew Ed.D., “MCVSD grew in quite a maverick fashion from that point…these programs were well ahead of their time, but they was a desire for new programs that wouldn’t require students to leave their home highs schools.” The proposed solution to this issue was the idea of a Shared Time Education, in which students would spend a half of their day at their home high school and be transported to the various sites of these programs around the county. Although many board members felts this concept didn’t adequately solve the problem, the Shared Time approach to education would come to play an immense role in the Monmouth County vocational scene in later decades.

Technical Drafting Class.

MCVSD 50 years

part 2
The Monmouth County Vocational School District

According to the current Superintendent of the MCVSD, Brian D. McAndrew, Ed.D., “the years between 1968 and 1978 saw a continued desire to provide exceptional vocational education to as many students as possible throughout the Monmouth County area.” With over fifteen hundred students enrolled in vocational curriculums, forty seven shops, and twenty two various high school enrollments, MCVSD was most certainly maintaining its reputation as a successful and progressive district. By 1977 alone, eleven Shared Time Programs were introduced, making it much more convenient for students to choose any of the numerous sites around Monmouth County to pursue a vocational education.

Continuing the Legacy

Dental Assistant Students, Sabrina Brown, Christine Adock and Michael Schleggel.

Chris Chadwick, learning to use a forklift.

No great institution is without its obstacles, however, and the MCVSD reached one of the largest on its road to success: a plummeting economy. Between 1978 and 1988, the nation was facing a prolonged decline of its financial status, making it more and more difficult to receive the proper funding needed to fuel vocational programs. It was at this point the new Superintendent, Edward Davy, and the Board Members reevaluated the execution of the MCVSD’s mission. “A truly successful education relies on extending learning to all students,” states McAndrew, “that was something that wasn’t really implemented at this time in MCVSD history.” In order to truly provide the best education for all students in Monmouth County, Davy and the Board decided to reach out to create the missing link of the district: a special needs program.

In 1984, a pivotal landmark in MCVSD history was achieved, the foundation of its first career academy. “It was more or less placed in our hands,” states the superintendent, “a series of legislation was passed in 1983 that gave us the task of refurnishing the property on Sandy Hook.” This property soon became not only the first institution for full time vocational education in Monmouth County, by completely changed the focus of the districts mission and philosophy. Never before had MCVSD, nor any other school district in New Jersey for that matter, developed a full time high school education program that completely immersed the students in a thematic field of interest. By broadening its mission from merely preparing students for the blue collar work force, to allowing students throughout the county to seek jobs in the new and prospering white collar economy, MCVSD once again leapt forward, providing students even more options to strengthen their high school education.

The first Career Academy

The “Blue Sea” is a 65-foot research vessel owned and operated by the Marine Academy and berthed at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Sandy Hook.

Career Center, serving students with special needs.
Long Branch also marks a pivotal site in In 1984, the MCVSD received for a state grant for funds that would create a career center focused on provided vocational education to special needs students. This site, located in Freehold, offered programs in horticulture, food service and baking, building trades, auto mechanics, marketing, dry cleaning, and warehousing. The building itself was designed to mimic a “mini-mall” so as to teach its students to interact with the public. “The building would be open to shoppers to come in, drop off their dry cleaning, grab a bite to eat, and get some work done on their car all within the span of an hour or two,” explains McAndrew, “it allowed special needs students to receive a vocational education while provide services to the community; most importantly however, it allowed for students to boost their selfesteem while enjoying their education.” To this very day, the Career Center, as it came to be called, is the only school in New Jersey in which students in the Warehousing program can actually fully operate a forklift. This truly exhibits the spirit and the exceptional education the MCVSD provides to vocational learning.

Michelle Koehler watering plants in the Greenhouse.

The facility at Sandy Hook became known as M.A.S.T., or the Marine Academy of Science and Technology. But as all great legacies that lay the foundations, there were many obstacles that mark the path from the school’s humble beginning to its current recognition on the national level. Much controversy erupted from the concept of a full time education environment and whether or not students could truly benefit from being so isolated in one field of study, as well as the baffling question of where to receive such tremendous funding for the desired facilities. NJROTC program was an integral part of the curriculum, the United States Navy donated numerous funds and equipment, among which is the school’s first vessel. The district later purchased a new ship, The Blue Sea, which is a critical part of the school’s unique approach to vocational education. The natural success of the program, as well as the evident passion displayed by its students, allowed M.A.S.T. to set the scene for more career academies, propelling the MCVSD into the new era of education.

MCVSD 50 years

part 3
The Monmouth County Vocational School District

The Future of Education
Ever since its birth in 1958, the MCVSD has never ceased reaching beyond the known boundaries of education, challenging its students to always seeking new heights and new obstacles of their own to overcome. Over the past fifty years we have seen this district rise from its first program run out of a classroom at Long Branch high school, to the conception of the state’s first career academy, constantly raising the bar for education, proving the motto that the sky truly is the limit for its students. In 1988, the popularity of the Marine Academy astounded and inspired the new and optimistic superintendent, Brian D. McAndrew, Ed.D., to set his new agenda towards further developing the concept of a comprehensive full time high school career academy. With the increasingly competitive applicant pool and highly specific curriculum available at M.A.S.T., many parents and students alike were seeking alternative institutions that would provide a career academy education to those students

who were interested in more than just Marine Science. Within merely three years of the opening of the Marine Academy, McAndrew was working out a proposition with Brookdale Community College that allowed 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students the opportunity to experience a highly rigorous engineering and mathematics curriculum on an actual college campus.


Education like no other.

When the doors of the High Technology High School (HTHS) opened in September of 1991, however, the entire school was organized out of the cellar of a Brookdale Community College building with limited equipment and space. The faculty and students remained optimistic however, eventually opening up the academy to 9th graders as well as watching two more renovations being added to increase the educational capabilities of the school. To this day, HTHS is an institution of tremendous national achievement and houses some of the most gifted students in the state, ranking it 4th on the U.S. News and World Reports’ top fifty high schools in America.

MAST Color Guard Presentation, ROTC is part of the curriculum.

forging ahead

Looking towards the future, MCVSD is adamant on maintaining the academic excellence as well as the innovative education methods that have made it a success. The current site in Asbury Park will soon be transformed into a Culinary Education Center, allowing students of secondary and post-secondary levels to work with Brookdale Community College to further develop their finesse in the fields of cooking, baking, and presentation. As the county continues to evolve, more and more students in the Shared Time program are looking to attend institutions of higher education, unlike the first Shared Time students who immediately joined the workforce. As a result, many programs and buildings will be adjusted to fit and exceed the growing standards for academic and career success. For example, the first MCVSD building in Long Branch will be completely renovated and reopened in September of 2009, housing the Law Enforcement and Public Safety program. “Law and Safety have become tremendous issues in society, ever since the effects of 9/11,” explains the Superintendent, “it is only fitting that we allow this program to expand and train our students in this growing field of interest.” The Superintendent also stated that this program has the possibility to develop into the district’s next Career Academy.

High Technology High School students in Advanced Placement Biology.

a new mellinieium

With a new millennium right around the corner, the MCVSD spared no time in implementing three brand new career academies in rapid succession. The first was the Academy of Allied Health and Science, opening in September of 1996, which sought to introduce students to a rigorous premedical curriculum. National recognition is no stranger to the MCVSD’s career academies, and AAHS is no exception having recently won the Service Learning Award, the first school in New Jersey to receive this national honor. With massive interest sparked as a result of the first three career academies, the time had come to finally create an environment in which students seeking a degree in the arts could more efficiently hone their skills and develop portfolios showcasing their talents like no other learning environment could provide. In the fall of 2000, Communications High School opened its doors to its first freshman class. “The timing was perfect,” McAndrew states, “we had a state of the art printing facility stationed at the Wall site, which was just waiting to be further developed.” With a much broader theme, CHS students has more fields of exploration than any other academy, which has lead to several state and national honors of its own including Journalism instructor Andrea Mulshine being named “Journalism Teacher

of the Year” for the state of new Jersey, a team that placed second in the nation in a Broadcast News Competition, and Principal James Gleason receiving the Nationally recognized Milken Award for outstanding educational leadership.

In 1991, MCVSD was seeking to continue providing options for all of Monmouth County’s students. With the birth of KIVA High School, students with particular learning disabilities and behavioral problems have a unique chance to study their academic subjects as well as various vocational disciplines such as auto mechanics and cosmetology, with a Native American themed curriculum. Students also take part in Service projects throughout the Tinton Falls area to further their connection and importance to the community. Also, during the mid 1990s, the Class Academy was founded initially at Monmouth University (now located at a building adjacent to the Academy of Allied Health and Science), for students who weren’t able to successfully interact in their home high schools. The purpose of this institution is to further the belief that all students, given the proper approach, can succeed in any environment they attend school. Class Academy provides individualized attention to students, as well as allowing them to express their creativity in ways that improve their intrapersonal relationships, while developing their talents.

KIVA An Alternative High School

Pottery is part of the Fine Arts program at KIVA.
Communications High School students in the control room of theTV Studio.

From 1958 to 2008, students of the Monmouth County Vocational School District have been given the extraordinary capability to not only contribute to the world in which they will become a part of, but to use their talents and skills to reach out to the global society with the prospect of creating a better society. As the current Superintendent, Brian D. McAndrew, Ed.D, prepares to retire, the district continues to strive towards more adequately

A Global Society

equipping their students with the tools they need for success. When asked what the future goals for the district will be, McAndrew stated, “just as in the past, we are just searching for another segment of the community that needs to be served.” This philosophy is the true spirit of the MCVSD and continues to be the inspiration that will preserve the district with the familiar notion of accomplishment it has been used to. Ideas have been born, challenges have been conquered, and the resolute leadership that MCVSD has created is ready to meet another fifty years, head on.

Over the past fifty years the Monmouth County Vocational School District has dedicated itself to providing its students with an unparalleled education that allows students to take part in emerging global issues, as seen through its final career academy just opening in September of 2005, Biotechnology High School. Just as our nation’s leading scientists are constantly searching to introduce more modern scientific discoveries into our daily life, MCVSD has given students at BTHS the ability to search for their own new contributions to the field of science without ever leaving Monmouth County. With state of the art laboratories and research facilities, students at BTHS are truly becoming a part of these emerging global issues, an opportunity that only the MCVSD can provide.

fifty years of excellence

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