Burlington commissioners cite two districts as Lighthouse Schools

Members also share appreciation for Black Business Month

Accepting the proclamation congratulating BCIT for the Lighthouse School District were Leon Jones, the president of the combined BCIT/Special Services School Board, Dr. Ashanti Holley, the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Diversity and Equality and Dr. Christopher Nagy, the superintendent of both BCIT and the Burlington County Special Services School District. (David Levinsky/ Special to The Sun)

The Burlington County Board of Commissioners recognized Burlington County Institute of Technology and Burlington City with the Lighthouse Award at its Aug. 11 meeting.

The award highlights school districts and charter schools in New Jersey for their hard work toward educational improvement and equitable outcomes. 

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“Burlington County is home to wonderful institutions and schools like BCIT and Burlington City, which are at the top of the list of things that make our county great,” said Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson.

The faculty and staff at BCIT and Burlington City were honored for increasing student equity in course enrollment. In the latter district, about 14 percent of students have a disability and more than 42 percent come from economically disadvantaged homes.

Hopson emphasized that all children, regardless of where they live or how they look, deserve the same opportunity to receive an education. 

The New Jersey Department of Education launched the Lighthouse Award in 2017 to recognize advances made by New Jersey school districts and charter schools to effect equity in their school communities.

Upon receiving this award, BCIT and Burlington City staff will be offered the opportunity to participate in professional learning and networking between other Lighthouse districts.  

“I’m incredibly proud that our county is home to two school districts that are blazing the path to improving equity in education,” Hopson said.

Leon Jones, president of the combined BCIT and Special Services School Board;  Dr. Ashanti Holley, the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Diversity and Equality; and Dr. Christopher Nagy, superintendent of both BCIT and the Burlington County Special Services School District, accepted the proclamation from the commissioners.   

During the second recognition of the night, John E. Harmon, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, received the proclamation for Black Business Month.

August is known as National Black Business Month and Harmon, who founded the chamber of commerce in 2007, has shown dedication to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic initiatives. 

The chamber serves as a proactive advocacy group and promotes economic diversity while fostering a climate of business growth through major initiatives of education and public policy. 

After handing out two awards, the board announced its gratitude for the county’s school-supply collection.

Commissioners, Singleton and fellow state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego have a goal of making sure every Burlington County child is prepared to return to school this fall. Both are collecting donations of new school supplies and other back-to-school items for needy families and will continue that until Aug. 20.

Donations are being accepted at the senators’ legislative offices, 400 North Church St., Suite 200 in Moorestown and 176 Route 70, Suite 13 in Medford, and at county buildings and libraries.

The next commissioner meeting will be on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. For more information, go to https://co.burlington.nj.us/Calendar.aspx?EID=13509

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