Education

Press Releases

ECSNJ Partnership with Rutgers Behavioral Health Helps Students Manage Life’s Challenges

8f2e570e3f36f25d6189_Photo_1.JPG
(L-R)  Rutgers Behavioral Health Care Director, Sonia Rodrigues-Marto, ESCNJ Asst. Supt. Gary Molenaar, NuView Academy Annex Counselor Amanda Olexian, Host David Sandler discussing collaboration. Credits: Photo Courtesy of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey
1f7cb48b4c379eeaebfa_Photo_2__2_.JPG
Ian Hockley, founder of Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation, created in memory of his son Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy led ESCNJ training on student behavior issues. Credits: Courtesy of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey
8f2e570e3f36f25d6189_Photo_1.JPG

PISCATAWAY – A collaboration with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is providing more behavioral and emotional support for students attending two Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) schools.

Appearing on ESCNJ’s Better Together podcast, Assistant Superintendent Gary Molenaar said Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care “is a recognized leader” in addressing school based behavioral issues.

Since November, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care’s master mental health clinicians have been onsite at NuView Academy and NuView Academy Annex, schools offering support to students ages 5-21 with significant behavioral and emotional challenges. The ESCNJ faculty continues managing the academic program, with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Program focused on psychiatric and therapeutic services.

Sign Up for E-News

Better Together, hosted by ESCNJ Coordinator of Communications David Sandler, can be heard at www.teachertube.com/audio/11429.

Also appearing on Better Together was Rutgers University Behavioral Health Program Director Sonia Rodrigues-Marto, who manages and designs student clinical services.

 “Our emphasis is the link between emotional wellness and academic success, which we personalize to meet individual student’s needs since one size does not fit all,” said Mrs. Rodrigues-Marto.

Student behavioral and emotional challenges include family violence, trauma, deportation concerns, life in homeless shelters, and many other issues, she said.

“We help students learn coping skills to manage life’s challenges so they can stay in school and continue learning,” said Mrs. Rodrigues-Marto, adding the services include a significant faculty and staff training component.

Mrs. Rodrigues-Marto said being onsite is an advantage, because clinicians can respond to student needs immediately, as opposed to outpatient programs, where students need to schedule appointments to meet with therapists.

 Mr. Molenaar said the goal of the collaboration is to help students reach the point where they are psychologically and emotionally available to return to the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

“We ultimately want to return students to their local school’s special or general education program,” he said.  

 NuView Academy Annex Counselor Amanda Olexian said helping students strengthen coping skills so they can remain in school, even when they are upset, is a major area of concentration.

 “I will meet with students whenever they need to talk,” said Mrs. Olexian.

“Sometimes I’ll reach out to a student to meet with me when I sense they are having a bad day.  The student still might be unable to concentrate on their work, but gaining the ability to remain in school and return to class is a significant accomplishment,” she added.

In addition to personal issues, students need support processing horrors like school shootings and acts of terrorism.

“Students bring those kinds of issues up,” said Mrs. Olexian.

“We offer an environment where they can work through their feelings. I often take a step back and let students process their emotions peer to peer which helps them learn how to be there for each other,” she added.

The ESCNJ Superintendent Mark J. Finkelstein, while not a guest on the podcast, said the collaboration with Rutgers Behavioral Health Program could expand based on enrollment.

“Everyone is struggling to prevent the kind of tragedies we’re all devastated by,” said Mr. Finkelstein, referring to the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

“Addressing access to weapons may be part of the solution, but ultimately, educators must find ways to help students manage any destructive behaviors they are contemplating to make real progress,” he said.

Mr. Finkelstein cited Board Member Beth Maroney’s awareness of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation, which led to the ESCNJ hosting a professional development program on stronger social and emotional support to troubled students, which attracted approximately 100 educators statewide.  Mr. Ian Hockley, who founded the Dylan’s Wings of Change Foundation in memory of his son Dylan, one of 20 first graders killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, facilitated the workshop. Mr. Hockley shared information and led exercises from the foundations "Wingman Youth Leadership" program, intended to inspire "all children to go above and beyond and create inclusive communities in their schools, sports clubs, dance studios and more.”

According to Mr. Molenaar, parents and educators interested in learning more about ESCNJ’s collaboration with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Program can start by contacting their local school district.

“As a public district, we are partners with all public schools, so the process should begin in the student’s home district,” he said.

The largest Educational Services Commission in the state, the ESCNJ provides special education services to school districts statewide, coordinates transportation services for over 10,000 students across the state, and manages a Co-op Pricing System with over 1,100 members, the largest cooperative buying program in New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 16, 2018

TRENTON, NJ - The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey, leading to chronic lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer,” said New Jersey Human ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e733205e1006a416118b_unnamed__1_

Thu, August 2, 5:30 PM

Redstone American Grill, Bridgewater

NAWBO Central & Northern NJ Invites Women ...

Business & Finance Giving Back

Thu, September 6, 6:00 PM

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Union

41st Annual Greek Festival

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Viewing Date Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash in Raritan

July 17, 2018

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church, in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

South Plainfield Police Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fatal Crash

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office are looking for the public’s help in the July 4, 2018 fatal motorcycle accident that killed 28 year-old Jessica Montes of Piscataway.

According to police, the accident occurred at approximately 4:50am as the vehicle Montes was a passenger lost control and crashed on New Brunswick ...

Tee times, Pairings Announced for Start of Next Week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol GC in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – The USGA U.S. Junior Amateur Championship starts Monday.  The pairings for the first two rounds of the 71st edition were recently announced.

Monday (July 16) and Tuesday (July 17) tee times will be played on the 7,280-yard, par-71 Upper Course and at the 7,313-yard, par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Monday, Tuesday tee times & pairings

The ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

New Restaurant Buys ‘Pocketed’ Westfield Liquor License

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s town council approved the transfer of a liquor license to Westfield Hospitality LLC for its Westfield Fish & Brew Company during the council's meeting Tuesday night. The license had been bought from Jeffrey’s when it closed in 2014 and remained unused, or “pocketed,” by that owner until now.

Though the restaurant does not ...

Piscataway Woman Identified as Victim in Fatal MVA on July 4th

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Jessica Montes, 28 of Piscataway, has been identified as the victim in the 4th of July fatal motor vehicle accident on New Brunswick Avenue. Montes, who was a phlebotomist leaves behind her son as well as numerous family and friends.

A small shrine with candles and pictures has been erected at the site of last Wednesday’s tragedy on New Brunswick ...

Viewing Date Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash in Raritan

July 17, 2018

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church, in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

South Plainfield Police Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fatal Crash

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office are looking for the public’s help in the July 4, 2018 fatal motorcycle accident that killed 28 year-old Jessica Montes of Piscataway.

According to police, the accident occurred at approximately 4:50am as the vehicle Montes was a passenger lost control and crashed on New Brunswick ...

Tee times, Pairings Announced for Start of Next Week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol GC in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – The USGA U.S. Junior Amateur Championship starts Monday.  The pairings for the first two rounds of the 71st edition were recently announced.

Monday (July 16) and Tuesday (July 17) tee times will be played on the 7,280-yard, par-71 Upper Course and at the 7,313-yard, par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Monday, Tuesday tee times & pairings

The ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

"Xtreme" Adventures for Teens in Somerset County

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center  has scheduled a challenging summer program series for teens 13 to 16.

“Xtreme Adventure” is a summer-long series of one-day outdoor programs that will entertain and educate teen girls and boys. All adventures begin at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...