JERSEY CITY, NJ -When graduating students from The A. Harry Moore Laboratory School (AHM) gathered at Bayonne’s Chandelier restaurant in June 2019, they thought they might be the last class from a program that started almost 80 years ago.
Last week, however, the Jersey City Board of Education and New Jersey City University (NJCU) announced that an agreement has been which could give new life to the program that helps children with multiple disabilities for at least another three years.
Opened in 1931, The A. Harry Moore Laboratory School was one of the first such schools in Hudson County. NJCU assumed control of the program that provides comprehensive academic, therapeutic, pre-vocational, and social programs to students between the ages of three and 21 in 1963 and designated it as the college’s demonstration school.
Now part of a special education department of the college that was already nationally recognized, the AHM gave college students the opportunity to earn a B.A. in special education, leading to a Teacher of the Handicapped Certification. The close association between the partners eventually resulted in housing the college’s Department of Special Education in the AHM building, further providing a real-time learning laboratory for college students, giving them the opportunity to collaborate with—and learn from—the faculty working directly with the special needs students.
Although traditionally the school had more than 100 students, enrollment dropped last September to around 90. At the same time, after months of rumors, NJCU announced it would sever ties with the school at the end of June leading to a strong public outcry, including from Mayor Steven Fulop.
With 75 students expected to be enrolled in September, NJCU reentered negotiations leading to the five-year agreement, including an opt-out after three years, that most say will be approved later this month.
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