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    Tom Rosenthal
    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock

For Release: February 27, 2003

Commissioner of Education William L. Librera and Others Celebrate the Inaugural Year of the Cherry Hill School District’s and Commerce Bank’s Career Academy

CHERRY HILL — Commissioner of Education William L. Librera, joined by Vernon Hill, Chairman and President of Commerce Bank, Lucille Davy, Governor James E. McGreevey’s Special Counsel for Education, and other distinguished guests today celebrated the inaugural year of the Business Academy for Studies and Experiences (BASE) in the Cherry Hill Public Schools.

The Business Academy for Studies and Experiences is a model partnership among the State of New Jersey, Commerce Bank, and the Cherry Hill Public Schools — one that is a specific example of Governor McGreevey’s Career Academy initiative.

"We are here today as the result of the work of partners who are dedicated to providing students with opportunities for successful careers in business," Commissioner Librera said. "The Cherry Hill Academy for Studies and Experiences will better prepare students both for the workforce, and for after they graduate and enroll in rigorous business programs in college."

"This program is indicative of Governor McGreevey’s commitment to education for New Jersey students," Davy said. "The Governor, along with the Department of Education, Commerce Bank and the Cherry Hill School District, sees myriad opportunities within the BASE program. We are confident it will lead to nothing but future success for our students."

"We at Commerce Bank are excited to collaborate with the Cherry Hill schools and our partners at Drexel University, Camden County College on this innovative program," said Commerce Bank’s Hill. "The academy will offer students a dynamic and valuable exposure to subjects such as accounting, business law and management and leadership while they are still in high school."

About the Cherry Hill Academy for Studies and Experiences

The academy is available to the more than 3,600 high school students from Cherry Hill’s two high schools. Students can choose to apply for full enrollment in the academy or take just one or two courses that will be offered by the school in coordination with Commerce Bank, Drexel University, as well as Camden County College and Rutgers University.

Commerce Bank and Drexel University, who were instrumental with the Cherry Hill district in creating this program, have collaborated to allow students the opportunity to earn college credits on-line or in person at Drexel University while they are still attending high school. Drexel was an early partner to the academy and will continue to assist the high school program. In addition, Drexel is offering courses in areas such as accounting and business management at 50 percent reduced tuition.

The academy curriculum, under the direction of the Cherry Hill Public Schools, benefits from the review and input from the Department of Education, area business leaders, and representatives of higher education. Courses that prove to be successful will be improved. In addition, students in the academy will receive certificates based on their level of participation.

The academy is initially serving students in grades 9 and 10 and will be expanded to include students through the 12th grade by the program’s third year.

Governor’s Career Academy Initiative

The partnership with Commerce Bank is part of Governor McGreevey’s effort to fundamentally change the way New Jersey’s education and business communities approach public education – as a key to improving schools and preparing the state’s workforce for world-class jobs.

Previously, the Governor helped launched the following programs:

    • a partnership between Pfizer Inc., the Morristown Public Schools, and Morris County Community College to create a medical science academy and a partnership between the state;

    • a partnership with PSE&G and Mercer County Community College to create a career academy focused on utility engineering at Trenton Central High School.

    • the Academies at Englewood in the Englewood Public Schools. This academy, which has the support and involvement of Verizon as its corporate partner, features programs in law and public safety and informational technology.

The BASE program is one of the many initiatives Governor McGreevey, Commissioner Librera and the Department of Education encourage for innovative lessons for students in the state.

Specifically, the program is an example of the DOE mission statement: "The New Jersey Department of Education will provide leadership for a superior education by utilizing multiple and diverse paths to success for all children in New Jersey."

On Sept. 17th, the Governor and Commissioner hosted an Educational Summit in Trenton, where they outlined the Administration’s 21-point plan for educational reform. The 21-point plan is available on the Department of Education’s website: