ALJ’s New Learning Suite Ready to Support Special Education Initiatives

Thanks to donations from the community, this new space will help students work on functional daily living skills. Credits: Kristen Busch
Thanks to donations from the community, this new space will help students work on functional daily living skills. Credits: Kristen Busch
The first classroom will be used by 9th through 12th grade special education students. Credits: Kristen Busch
The first classroom will be used by 9th through 12th grade special education students. Credits: Kristen Busch
The second classroom is for a transition program for 18 through 21-year-old students. Credits: Kristen Busch

CLARK, NJ – The Clark School District is making strides to invest in their special education students with the roll out of two new programs for the upcoming school year.  A new dedicated space was constructed at Arthur L. John High School to support students enrolled in these programs.

The curriculum for the new programs, titled Learning and Language Disabled and Career, Community and Life Readiness, was approved at the March Board of Education meeting

Donations from throughout the community made the construction of the space possible.  “Whole Foods ran a five percent give back day in January to support this new program,” said Doreen Babis, Supervisor of Special Services.  She also said that the local Columbia Bank branch made a generous donation to the program.

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Clark residents Mr. and Mrs. Jack Scaturro also kindly donated kitchen cabinets as well as a refrigerator and stove to the new living suite.  Babis shared that the Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds for Clark Schools, John Pingor and his crew worked to fit the cabinetry and appliances into the converted space. 

The room was previously used for storage and had experienced much wear and tear.  “The whole room was just transformed into this beautiful space now,” said Babis.

The space is divided into three different areas.  The first features a kitchen and laundry area. “The kids that are in this program will be working on functional daily living skills and being out in the community,” said Babis. 

The second area is a special education classroom for 9th through 12th grade students.  The teacher for this program is moving to the ALJ from Carl H. Kumpf Middle School.  “She knows these students,” said Babis.  “She has worked with these students which is really great.”

The third area, also a classroom setup, is for a transition program for 18 through 21-year-old students.  Babis shared that the teacher for this program has been working throughout the past year on a Structured Learning Environment Certification thanks to a Morris-Union Jointure Commission grant for transition programs.

“We are excited about this new space that will allow us to serve the needs of our students right here in Clark with their peers and are thankful to the donors who helped make this possible,” said Grande.  (Grande discussed the impact sending students out of district has had on the district’s budget at the May Board of Education meeting.)

“We continue to welcome partners from around the community to provide valuable learning experiences for our students,” said Babis. 

For more information on how you can help support Clark School District’s programs, contact Doreen Babis at (732) 388-6200 extension 3333.

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