Accelerated Enrichment Program (AEP)

The Accelerated Enrichment Program (AEP) program is hosted in two locations: Academy I and MS #4.  The program serves about 900 students in 6th through 8th grade in Jersey City. The curriculum is the same at both locations, and testing results seem to indicate that they are indeed equivalent, as is asserted by the program coordinator.

AEP Program Admissions

Applications, typically due in February, are evaluated on a point system, and the approximate cutoff for admission is between 65 – 72 points:

  • 40-50pts OLSAT
  • 30pts PARCC
  • 30pts Report Card (4th grade + first marking period of 5th grade)
  • 15pts Teacher Recommendation and Attendance
  • 5pts Essay

Entering middle school students must take the OLSAT (typically in 5th grade), the same exam that is used for admissions to Infinity Institute.  The test is offered by the district often on the first Saturday in March.  During the test, parents typically receive information about AEP and Infinity Institute, the two magnet middle school programs in Jersey City public schools.

Application information is generally made available to parents via public, private, and parochial school administrators and guidance counselors.

Acceptance letters are sent in the first week of May, and student responses are expected within the following week.  About 350 to 400 of the 750 students who take the OLSAT are offered admission to AEP.  The vast majority of those are entering 6th graders.  About 155 students are accepted to MS 4, and about 150 students are accepted to Academy I.  About 40 entering 7th graders are accepted.

The location of each students’ placement within the AEP program is randomly assigned, with the sole exception of preference for students whose siblings will be enrolled in Academy I or MS 4 at the same time.  After acceptance letters are mailed, the AEP Director will entertain email requests to switch between Academy I and MS 4 on a best efforts basis.  Some students will be placed on a waiting list, which typically is activated in June once enrollment figures become more clear.

[Example Acceptance Letter to AEP program at MS 4.]

AEP Program Curriculum

The AEP program is a middle school program with advanced curriculum.  In short, students entering 6th grade will transition into 6th/7th grade level curriculum.  And by 8th grade, they will be working on 9th grade honors curriculum.  As a result, as 9th graders, students will typically take the district’s 10th grade honors or AP (Advance Placement) classes.  Hudson County high schools (High Tech High School, County Prep High School), however, may not honor the AEP curriculum as a substitute for 9th grade honors classes.

Homework is often project based, and it is not unusual for students to spend up to 3 or 4 hours of homework per night.  All textbook content is available online (Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Science). Students are encouraged to leave textbooks at school. A summer project is required and counts toward the 1st Marking Period grade.

While the curriculum is rigorous, the program offers counseling, tutoring, and family services.  In a small percentage of cases, students who are failing any subject at the end of the 1st marking period, 2nd marking period, or at the end of the school year may be exited from the program to return to their home school.

Class size is approximately 25 students.

The math curriculum is newly developed for 2018-2019 school year, and the math textbooks are different than math books used by the rest of the district.

Chrome books are utilized in AEP. Most classes are equipped with a Chrome cart which has one Chrome book for every student. Chrome books do not leave the class or go home with students. Each class is equipped with a Promethean board.

MS 4 School

Frank R. Conwell Middle School #4 (MS 4) is located at 107 Bright Street Jersey City, NJ 07302

MS 4 serves both general education and AEP students.  The AEP program at MS 4 has about 375-400 AEP students.  AEP students take most classes separately, but physical education, lunch, and recess are integrated with the rest of the school.

MS 4 does not host a CASPER after school program, but extracurricular activities are available.  The campus is relatively new and is shared with PS 3 Frank R. Conwell School.

Uniforms at MS 4 are a navy blue collared shirt (dress shirt or polo) and khaki pants. Khaki dresses and khaki skirts can also be worn. Shirts can be purchased with the school logo, but are not required. There is no dress code regulation on sweaters, winter coats, backpacks, or shoes.

School hours are 8:30am – 2:55pm. Students are allowed on premise at 8:20am.

There is no early care (Morning STARRS) or afternoon program (CASPER).

Academy I

Academy I primarily serves AEP students, but also hosts a Bridges program and special education program.  The AEP program at Academy I has about 400 students.

Academy I is housed in an older building located next to Snyder High School and shares a gymnasium with the high school.  It recently won a National Blue Ribbon award.

Uniforms at MS 4 are a navy blue collared shirt (dress shirt or polo) and khaki pants. Khaki dresses and khaki skirts can also be worn. Shirts can be purchased with the school logo, but are not required. There is no dress code regulation on sweaters, winter coats, backpacks, or shoes.

School hours are 8:30am – 2:55pm.

There is no early care (Morning STARS) or afternoon program (CASPER).

What do parents like about this school?

The AEP program is a relatively large program that has an advanced curriculum.  It is selective, and therefore academically rigorous, which shows in the standardized test scores of its students.  Many graduates of these middle schools are accepted to the most selective high schools in Jersey City and Hudson County, such as McNair and High Tech High School. In recent years, about 75% of graduating 8th graders were accepted to McNair Academic High School.

AEP Program Transportation

Transportation is not provided.  For students outside of a 2 mile radius from the school, the transportation office offers public city bus tickets.  For MS 4, the light rail also provides additional public transportation accessibility.  At Academy I, teachers stand outside across the street at the bus stop to ensure students get on the appropriate Bergen Ave bus.

Preparing to Enter AEP as a New Student

New Student Orientation for AEP Students

Ms. Iannetelli
Ms. Elizabeth Iannitelli, AEP Supervisor, speaking at MS 4 New Student Orientation on June 28, 2018.

New Student Orientation typically held the last week of June. Parents will be notified of the time and date of orientation by letter via mail.

2018 MS4 AEP New Student Orientation was held Thursday, June 28, 2018 9:00am-2:30pm at MS 4.

2018 Academy 1 AEP New Student Orientation was held Wednesday, June 27, 2018 9:00am-2:30pm at Academy 1.

During orientation, students are registered to their accepting school (MS4 or Academy 1) with a parent/guardian, official transfer notice, and proof of residency.

During the orientation the following things were covered:

  1. Mandatory AEP Summer Assignments and Projects
  2. Summer AEP Reading Lists
  3. Probationary Status of New Students in AEP
  4. Overview of the Acceleration and Enrichment Program
  5. AEP Program Highlights
  6. AEP Curriculum

AEP Summer Homework

Summer homework for incoming sixth and seventh graders is assigned during New Student Orientation.

[Example of Summer Homework packet for sixth grade entry at AEP]

AEP Jump Start

Jump Start is a program for students only (no parents) that introduces incoming students to life on campus. Bell schedule, class schedule, locker combinations are given to students at this time. Jump Start is typically held in the last week of August. Absence from Jump Start does not count against Attendance during the school year; the program is offered as a courtesy by the district to ease the transition into a new school.

Jump Start is open to registered new students entering sixth or seventh grade and will be held at the accepting school (either MS4 or Academy 1)

Jump Start is currently scheduled for August 28 – 29, 2018 from 8:30am – 12:30pm. Students are not required to wear school uniforms at Jump Start. Uniform order forms will be distributed at Jump Start. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Students are encouraged (but not required) to bring their summer homework to Jump Start for feedback and guidance on progress. Packets do not have to be completed.

Academic Probation

Students will be placed on Academic Probation if any grade in a core subject (Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, Science) drops below a 75. During Academic Probation, parents, teachers, and student will meet to go over academic goals. Students are not allowed to participate in any non-academic extra curricular activities while on Academic Probation. Students are required to attend tutoring in failing subject during lunch period and after school. If a student has two failing grades on a marking period report card, OR, one failing grade on a mid-year marking period report card (50 or below) the student will be exited from the AEP program. Exits occur at the end of the first marking period, end of the second marking period, and at the end of the year.

Students who are exited from AEP program must enroll in to their home school. For example, a student who went to PS 25, would be placed in MS 7; a student who went to PS 16 would be placed in MS4 general population or HOPE program based on marking.

Cell Phone Policy

Students are allowed to have cell phones on their person during class. They are not permitted to operate, use, or look at their phone during school hours. If so, cell phones are confiscated and must be retrieved by a parent or guardian, only. Locker storage for cell phones is discouraged.

Additional Links

JCBOE Academy I


Contact Information

Elizabeth Iannitelli, Supervisor of AEP, HOPE, and K-8 Social Studies

phone: (201) 369-3720

email: (Ms. Iannitelli’s preferred method of correspondence)

Ellen Ruane, Assistant Superintendent

(201) 915-6208