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NEWARK, N.J., Sept. 18, 2017 — Forty-five ninth-graders from the Orange School District started their school year on-campus at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The students are participating in NJIT’s Center for Pre-College Programs’ (CPCP) Options for Advanced Academic Achievement and have spent the first few weeks of the fall at NJIT’s Faculty Memorial Hall.

The move came as the students waited for the finishing touches on the district’s newly renovated STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges, with which CPCP signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) July 12, 2017. They are the first cohort of participants under the agreement.

The Options program offers an opportunity for qualified high schoolers from partner schools to earn college credits at their school during the academic year. Courses are taught by high school teachers certified by NJIT as adjunct faculty members, and require the same syllabus, textbook and prerequisites as the on-campus course. CPCP has partnered with nine schools to date for Options, with a few more anticipated.

“The Orange Board of Education, superintendent of schools [Ronald C. Lee] and the district administrative team are to be applauded for making such an extraordinarily bold commitment to their students, parents and community-at-large,” said Jacqueline L. Cusack, Ed.D., CPCP executive director. “Their partnership with NJIT represents a resolve to ensure that the students of Orange are prepared to engage competitively in a STEM-driven world arena in which challenges abound.” 

NJIT’s MOU with the STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges includes a long-term commitment by the Orange Board of Education to fund the provision of college credit-bearing courses in computing sciences, mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering to Academy freshmen, effective for their junior year and administered by CPCP. The commitment will continue with succeeding cohorts. For several years already, the board has funded both the enrollment and transportation of district students taking part in CPCP’s Early College Preparatory Programs.

In support of the temporary arrangement at the university, Orange School District Director of Mathematics and Science Tina Powell, Ed.D., remarked, “Our thinking is that the students are beginning with the end in mind — seeing themselves on NJIT’s college campus as freshmen in both contexts.”

One of only 32 polytechnic universities in the United States, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. NJIT is rated an "R1" research university by the Carnegie Classification®, which indicates the highest level of research activity. NJIT conducts approximately $162 million in research activity each year and has a $2.8 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey. NJIT is ranked #1 nationally by Forbes for the upward economic mobility of its lowest-income students and is among the top 2 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT also is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 50 public national universities.