PSI Physics began in one classroom in 1999 at Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, NJ. Then, Bergen Tech was just beginning to add academic courses to become a full-time county vocational school. Now, U.S. News and World Report ranks it among the top 3 schools in New Jersey and Niche ranks it as number 12 out of 14,000 public schools in the nation, indicating “the school is an exceptional academic institution with a diverse set of high-achieving students who rate their experience very highly.” (https://k12.niche.com/rankings/public-high-schools/best-overall/)
Bergen Tech’s turnaround and current success can be attributed to teacher leadership, correcting the science sequence and ongoing commitment to providing all students access to rigorous courses. For the past decade, Bergen Tech has led the state of New Jersey in AP Physics participation and performance. All 9th grade students in the school take PSI Algebra-Based Physics, providing the foundation for advanced physics, chemistry, biology and calculus. The majority of 10th grade students elect to take AP Physics as sophomores and pre-engineering students take AP Physics C as juniors or seniors. Last year, Bergen Tech. physics teacher Yuriy Zavorotniy and others led the effort to create a new PSI AP Physics 1 course and piloted it with their students. While the national pass rate for the first AP Physics 1 exam was a low 37%, Bergen Tech students garnered exceptional results: 81 sophomores took the exam and 72% earned qualifying scores. The materials Bergen Tech teachers used to prepare students for this exam are made free and available for the use of all at www.njctl.org.