The Bergen County Technical Schools District was founded in 1951 to oversee the County's growing need for vocational education. The following year, Bergen County Vocational-Technical High School, the first full-time facility of its kind in the state, opened at 200 Hackensack Avenue. At that time, students studied the union trades of plumbing, carpentry, masonry, and electrical work.
Because technical and vocational schooling is always closely tied to the job market, the cornerstone of the district’s success has been its ability to adapt to the changing needs of local industry. When industry’s needs later changed from hand tools to computers, technical education had to adapt as well.
The district believed students needed strong academic and technical skills to meet the challenges of the future. In the late 1980s, the district began offering before- and after-school enrichment classes for students interested in high-tech areas such as computers, physics, and electronics. The program opened the world of modern vocational education to gifted and talented students. With the aid of a $6 million county bond, the district began to bring unparalleled technology to the county.
Secondary students from throughout Bergen County used the campus’s computer and science labs in cooperative and exploratory programs. Middle school students—and their teachers—were exposed to new technologies through a program called ECEMS (Enrichment and Career Exploration in Math and Science). In-service workshops and a professional development school, Apple Academy East, one of the most successful test sites for Apple Computer, followed. These innovative offerings helped initiate full-time programs in technical, career-driven areas for talented students who wished to study in an exciting, nontraditional learning environment.
Today, the district’s secondary programs include the Bergen County Academies, seven magnet high school programs that meld college prep classes with a career focus; Bergen County Technical High School/Teterboro, a full-time program with nine technical concentrations; and Bergen County Technical High School/Paramus, a secondary program with a full-time option for special needs students and a shared-time option for students from local sending districts.
The District offers full- and part-time technical instruction to over 18,000 secondary and adult students. Through innovative programs, the district has created a new model for secondary education in New Jersey.
The mission of the Bergen County Special Services School District is to effectively address the unique social, emotional, physical, intellectual and career needs of students by creating positive, stimulating and encouraging learning environments in schools, homes, and communities.
Through dynamic collaborations with families and partnerships with community resources, the District will enable each learner to realize his or her highest potential and to become a self-directed and contributing member of society.
Bergen County Special Services is a unique county-wide public school district that was established through an act passed by the New Jersey Legislature in 1971. Distinguished as the first Special Services school district in New Jersey, Bergen County is now one of eight such districts funded by county, state, and sending schools.
The District offers a broad spectrum of special education programs and services for children and adults with disabilities. Students are placed in the least restrictive environment according to developmental and chronological levels. Flexible and highly individualized learning environments are designed to meet individual needs. BCSS offers local school districts a wide range of programs incorporating the most effective and up-to-date technology available to meet the needs of students with diverse learning disabilities.
Students are afforded an extensive array of services to facilitate the transition from school to adult life, including employment and/or postsecondary education. A team of qualified professionals conducts individual assessments and develops personalized, holistic plans to ensure each student's successful integration into full community living.