My son finished his 1st year at MCST with a major in Computers. We guessed right in what we thought the school would be like both in the positives and the negatives but overall we are extremely pleased with our choice. The + are that my son totally loves going to school, he loves his major, loves learning, the teachers are excellent, my son has a lot of pride in his school, the drama club is fantastic and there isn't a lot of clicks at the school. The negatives (which we had guessed correctly beforehand) was that the leadership (communication, principal, etc.) is poor and it is hard for the MCST kids to get together outside of school. The school does a poor job of having dances or social gathering. Yes, my son has developed friendships at MCST but not as many as if he had stayed at his home school of Kinnelon ( which is also a very good school). On a positive note about social is that the MCST students appear to be very good kids who don't get into trouble. The best part about MCST is that it like going to college in that MOST kids really care about their education because they are focusing on something they enjoy and again.
In reference to the parent saying that the VPA academy is bad, I have to say this. Your child would be in the Dance Academy at MCST therefore the soul focus is dance. If your child was to go to the other side of VPA, the Multimedia division, he/she would see a different side of VPA that focuses on film, animation, 3D development, etc. I'm not in VPA at all, so I Don't know exactly what they do in the academy. Also there is not a academy specifically for acting, singing and dancing, but if you wish to have all three of these things I would suggest to go to the school for Dance and be involved in the Drama Club which has more of a singing aspect with a musical every year. ALL of VPA is involved in plays constantly, and dancers still can try our for acting parts if they wish.
MCST is one of the best-kept secrets in Morris County and the local school districts like it that way. They do not promote MCST because (1) they have to send resources ($$) out of the district; (2) they have to transport the students to MCST; and (3) they think it takes good students out of the district, which it does. MCST was a game-changer for my son, who wants to be a film director and graduated from the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) last June. There are two tracks in AVPA: dance and multi-media, but everyone minors in theater, and that was the best thing that ever happened to my son. There is no better theater teacher than the one at MCST and what he learned in her classes was more important than anything else he studied in 12 years of school. All of the teachers were good, but the ones in his Academy were the best...he received individual attention all the way through because they are good people and they care. MCTS stresses the Challenger Program and that was ideal for my son too...for their senior year, they take all college classes and do an internship...it makes them mature and he started college w/21 credits counting toward his degree.
When I came to the school I was nervous but excited to make new friends. However I had a horrible freshmen year. The people in my academy excluded me, they got together & never invited me. Making friends has always been a problem & to have my academy like this was horrible. I also felt the teacher was prejudice against me but I will never know. I went to guidance to ask to switch my academy but I never told them why because I didn't want to cause any problems or get my parents involved w/the prejudice thing. Also I thought if I said I was being excluded I was afraid guidance would not take me seriously. I know it sounds stupid but it affected me emotionally. All my classmates had parties a lot of times & never invited me. I always found out about those parties or like the time they went to friendlys when they told the teacher. Everyone was there but me, no one asked me to go, I wanted to scream in class that day. I never had anyone to talk to. This yr. Mcst has a paper n every classroom w/ rules about prejudice, racism & discrimination. They also have mentors in each academy for the 9th grade & peer leaders. It would have helped me last yr but now it's too late, I switched out.
MCST listens and responds. Our son experienced consistent racial jokes/slurs during his first year at MCST. The staff was responsive and supportive to his concerns and has shared that prejudging and harassment of any sort will not be tolerated. We eagerly look forward to the next steps that the administration will take to activate their commitment to intolerance.
I am currently a sophmore in the Business Academy. Leaving my schools to venture into uncharted waters was not something I entertained, it was my mother who suggested I look into the program. Being an 8th grader, the thought of leaving friends I had gone to school with for 9 years was unimagianable. My mom suggested I apply and go through the process and see what happened. I got in and attending would help be better achieve my college goals. I never intended to love going, but as the saying goes Mothers know best. I love the school, the sports programs and I can't say enough about the professional, dedicated caring teachers. If a students doesn't do well here, its because they don't want to apply themselves. Anyone who is looking for a quality education, should consider this school!
MCST adopted a Global Learning (GL) program that is supposed to instill 21st century skills into the students. One teacher 'teaches' by having the kids read online powerpoint files (with missing info) and taking an online quiz. There are few notes. Is this teaching? Not to me. At a recent new-freshmen event, a teacher said the kids will not be 'spoon fed.' However, they do need to be taught. They are teenagers, not adults. Right now, the Global Learning program needs A LOT of work. Be prepared to help your kids with homework. Aside from this, it's a great school with mostly great teachers.
MCVTS is one of Morris County's best kept secrets. Many people dismiss this school because they believe it is just a vocational technical school for non academic achievers when actually the opposite is true. The school is well run with modern facilities and up-to-date technology. The education the students receive is outstanding. If you are at all curious about the phenomenal education, facilities and staff at MCVTS then you should attend an open house.
My son is going into his Junior year at MCST,and I am so very grateful that we found this ideal environment. He is with students that have the same interests as he does, the teachers are all professionals and have a much more realistic approach to teaching than traditional high school tecachers. My daughter will also be starting in the fall, and we are excited that she will be able to focus on what she loves, which will hopefully guide her on her career path. I can't say enough about how positive an experience this has been. The only downside is the commute.