Education

ESCNJ Expansion to Support Independent Living Skills

7bcc13f7a4f9cf2157ba_construct.jpg
A 50,000 square foot expansion to ESCNJ schools to help additional students strengthen independent living skills is well underway. Credits: Educational Services Commission Of New Jersey
7bcc13f7a4f9cf2157ba_construct.jpg

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Construction is underway at the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey’s (ESCNJ) Piscataway Campus for a 50,000 square foot addition to provide more space to help additional higher functioning classified students meet the challenges of independent living, announced commission officials.

A major influence for the expansion project is the trend towards classified students residing in smaller living quarters as opposed to large group homes, said ESCNJ Superintendent Mark J. Finkelstein.

“The move to smaller living quarters for some classified students behooves organizations like ours to expand our capacity to help more students strengthen their independent living skills to the fullest extent possible,” said Finkelstein.

Sign Up for E-News

For many years, primarily through its Community-based Instruction (CBI) program, students have worked on learning the functional living skills necessary for living and working independently, said officials.  The program has included meal preparation, house cleaning, minor repair work, safe use of household equipment and appliances, along with job sampling opportunities, use of public transportation and appropriate behavior.

“The CBI program is already a proven support to students, so it makes sense to expand its capacity, a recommendation unanimously endorsed by our Board of Directors, and supported by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders,” Finkelstein said.

According to business administrator Patrick M. Moran, ESCNJ facilities are currently filled to 90 percent capacity.

“We’re already digging out the footprint while the weather is warm, and intend to complete the project to meet anticipated enrollment increases by 2019,” said Moran.

The addition will include a culinary kitchen, horticultural opportunities, 12 classrooms fully equipped for digital resources, a gymnasium, and fitness area. 

The flexibility provided by the expansion also allows standardization of CBI programs for ESCNJ and shared time students participating from other districts, officials said.

“To date our schools have run similar but independent CBI programs,” Finkelstein said. “We have reached the stage where the program requires uniformity, which is why the board approved our request to create a CBI supervisor position. I am delighted to promote Raissa Prus to the positon, as she has been an integral part of the growth of our CBI program for over two decades.”

Prus’ accomplishments include building dozens of relationships with community employers who offer job sampling opportunities to students. The job sampling partnerships include Rutgers University, ShopRite, Walgreens, Burger King, in addition to International American Supermarkets, Elijah’s Promise, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and T.J. Maxx.

The expansion will also include training space with a 300-seat capacity that can accommodate advanced technology.  The training area will be available for community use, and enable the ESCNJ to host comprehensive educational programs, and attract notable speakers.

The Educational Services Commission of New Jersey operates six Middlesex County schools for students ages 3-21 with autism, moderate to severe disabilities, and at-risk behaviors, and extends special education services to school districts statewide.

The largest educational services commission in the state, the ESCNJ also coordinates transportation services for over 10,000 students across New Jersey and manages a co-op pricing system with over 1,100 members, the largest cooperative buying program in the state.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Police Issue Alert for Missing New Brunswick Girl

June 21, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Police today issued a plea for the public’s help in finding a missing 13-year-old girl.

Payton Tomesell, was last seen on Wednesday at 18 Abeel St., authorities said.

The girl suffers from anxiety and depression, and is taking medication, police said.

Tomesell is described as 5-feet, 9-inches tall, weighing about 120 pounds. She was wearing a white tee-shirt, ...

Obituaries

Piscataway – Michael John Doherty, 73, passed away Saturday June 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, ...
Read more
Toms River – Mary Stella Whiteman, 97, passed away peacefully Saturday May 19, 2018 in Rose ...
Read more

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019 and Awards 13 Grants to 11 Local Community Non-Profit Organizations

June 21, 2018

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019

and Awards 13 Grants to 11 Local Community Non-Profit Organizations

June 21, 2018  – Susan G. Komen North Jersey announced that it will award a total of 13 grants to 11 local community non-profit organizations in its nine-county service area for 2018-2019, with an increase in total program funding at 15% ...

The ESCNJ Offers Innovative Software To Strengthen School Transportation

New software promising greater speed and efficiency for school transportation departments is now available through the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ).

The software is the result of a two year collaboration between the Princeton based Artha Systems, an international supplier of business management software, and the ESCNJ.

“The software is unlike anything on the ...

Rutgers takes over New Brunswick police dispatch service

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University will provide the city’s police dispatching services in a move that New Brunswick says will cut costs and put an end to dispatcher shortages that resulted in officers doing the job.

The city’s 12 current dispatchers will be laid off at the end of the day on June 30, and Rutgers will supply dispatchers as of July 1 under an agreement that city ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8f0a915f696bb2ae1366_community_shred

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Quibbletown Park, Piscataway

Piscataway Township Paper Shredding Event

Government Green

Wed, June 27, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, Piscataway

Empowerment for the Job Search: Applications & ...

Business & Finance

Thu, July 5, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, Piscataway

Trivia Night at the Library!

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

My So-Called Graduation

The last of my children graduated from high school.  

 

My son and daughter threw their caps high into the air and cheered their liberation from one symbolic institution before contemplating their matriculation into other, much larger institutions significantly further away.  

 

Or at least far enough away that they won’t be needing rides home from ...