Feather in its cap
High Tech High recognized as National Blue Ribbon School
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Oct 20, 2013 | 4961 views | 0 0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MAJOR HONOR – County Executive Tom DeGise (left) came to High Tech High School on Sept. 26 to celebrate the school's Blue Ribbon award. Also pictured are High Tech Principal Dr. Joseph Giammarella (center) and Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Frank Gargiulo.
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High Tech High School, the countywide public high school that’s based in North Bergen, has been designated as one of only 15 schools in New Jersey as a National Blue Ribbon School by the federal government, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, school principal.

The Blue Ribbon program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories, “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools rank among their state’s highest performing schools (measured by state assessments or national tests), and “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels (also measured by assessments and test scores). High Tech won in the first category.

The other Hudson County schools to receive the honor this year were Harrison High School and St. Francis Academy in Union City.

As part of the selection, the Department of Education will recognize the chosen institutions at a ceremony on Nov. 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C.

Those attending from the school will be Giammarella, Assistant Principal Allyson Krone, Supervisor of Instruction Craig Simon, and Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Frank Gargiulo.
“We spend a lot of time trying to be the best we could be.” – Frank Gargiulo
“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” State Secretary of Education Anne Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this award on only 7,500 of America’s schools.

Officials weigh in

Following the announcement, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise visited High Tech on Sept. 26 to congratulate its administrators, staff, and students.

DeGise was a school teacher for 25 years until 2002, “so the schools are very important to me.”

“I was down there the other day,” he said. “I was taken by the atmosphere. The kids are in a good frame of mind. It’s a wonderful learning environment.”

Gargiulo also had glowing praise for the institution and its students.

“Hopefully it validates all the efforts we put into the program,” he said. “We spend a lot of time trying to be the best we could be.”

The superintendent said that this honor is another in the long line received by the school, including those from U.S. News & World Report and Business Week.

“We do well with poetry, quiz bowls, all kinds of stuff we’re involved in: science contests and science fairs,” Gargiulo said. “Our performing arts people won a big award last year. Those kids do phenomenal things.”

Selection process

To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department of Education requests nominations from the highest-ranking education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Four hundred and twenty schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education then invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.

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