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Programs and Services

Achievement, Independence, Motivating, Students (A.I.M.S.) - Extended School Years (E.S.Y.)Tracey Pettiford, Supervisor (201) 915-6032

The Achievement, Independence, Motivating, Students - Extended School Year program is a highly-structured, innovative and supportive summer opportunity for students with disabilities enrolled in the Jersey City Public Schools.  A.I.M.S. serves students ranging in age from PreK to 21.  Eligibility criteria for the program is based on student data and the student's ability to regress and or recoup skills over a period of time. 

Alternate Proficiency Assessment (A.P.A.) / Dynamic Learning Map (D.L.M.): Danielle Gitlin, Supervisor (201) 309-1642; Dorothy Walsh, Jaime Merced-Lead Teachers 

The APA / DLM is a portfolio-style assessment, designed to measure progress toward achieving New Jersey’s state educational standards for those students with severe disabilities who are unable to participate in the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (PARCC grades 3-8 or the High School Proficiency assessment (PARCC) grade 11).

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Assisting Children to Transition into Inclusion (A.C.T.):   Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Kara Ryan, Lead Teacher (201) 915-6185

The ACT program is a collaborative effort geared towards identifying and transitioning preschool disabled children into lesser restrictive settings or inclusive environments. Collaboration between the classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, occupational & physical therapists, speech therapists, child study team case manager, and Preschool Lead teachers is essential to the success of the project.

Assistive Technology Program (A.T.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Jaime Merced, Lead Teacher (201) 547-2094

The Assistive Technology Program serves to increase awareness, provide training, coordinate services, facilitate and assist in the acquisition of and implement and assess the utilization of assistive technology (AT) systems, services, devices and strategies that augment the abilities and compensate for the disabilities of students, making it possible for them to be educated with their non-disabled peers in a least restrictive environment (L.R.E.).

Autism Spectrum Disorder Program (A.S.D.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Jennifer Arends, Kristin Nardini, Amanda Philp, Stephanie Velenger, B.C.B.A.'s; Dorothy Walsh, Lead Teacher (201) 915-6794

The Autism Spectrum Disorder program serves students between the ages of 3 to 21 who are identified eligible for special education and related services under the classification of Autism, providing them with quality services, while integrating them into the general education environment as much as possible. This program operates under the T.E.A.C.H program where emphasis and focus of the program is on language development, social skills, and increasing appropriate behaviors so that students with A.S.D. can be integrated into an inclusive setting. 

Children's Adatped Physical Education (CAPE): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Mary Hussey, Andrew Esposito, Lead Teachers (201) 547-2060

CAPE is a sub-discipline of physical education that was developed to service students enrolled in Pre-K through high school disabled classes.  It is an individualized program created for students who require a specially designed program that focuses on a child's basic motor skills and movement concepts to assist in their psychological, intellectual and social development, and physical fitness.  For people with disabilities, adapted physical education provides safe, personally satisfying and successful experiences related to physical activity.

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Choosing Honor, Opportunity, Integrity, Character, Excellence and Service (C.H.O.I.C.E.S.) Mildred Rivera-Castro, Supervisor (201) 915-6108

C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Program is an alternative specialized program intended to support schools' efforts to achieve positive change for at risk students.  The overall goal of the program is to educate students with challenging behaviors in the least restrictive environment and reduce the rate of referrals to out of district setting.  A mandatory application process is required for entry into the progrm.  The C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Program offers a low student to teacher ratio with a typical maximum of six students per class. A positive behavioral managemnt system (Class Dojo) is uilized to monitor classroom behaviors.  The C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Program provides a strong therapeutic component which teaches and reinforces social and emotional behaviors necessary for a positive classroom setting.  Psychologists and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (L.C.S.W.) provide staff support, conduct individual group counseling services and make weekly visits to the classroom.  In addition, students receive at least one of the following services; art therapy, music therapy and adapted physical education.  Another component of the program is Relaxation and Mindfulness.

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Creating Happy And Motivated Pupils to Succeed (C.H.A.M.P.S.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor;Heather Piechocki, Robyn Drag, Lead Teachers (201) 547-2060

CHAMPS (Intellectual Disabilities): This program is designed for students with Mild and Moderate Intellectual Disabilities in Grades K-8. Components of the program include:

  • Literacy and Math Interventions
  • Functional Academics
  • Multisensory Instruction to reinforce and address deficits in basic skills/concepts and fine motor skills
  • Pre-Vocational Skills
  • Technology
  • Daily Living Skills
  • Real-Life Experiences Classroom for Daily Living Skills: (Middle School) This classroom is designed to make learning basic skills and domestic skills tangible experience for students with intellectual disabilities. The simulated room consists of "real" settings such as the kitchen, dining room, laundry room, office and store.

CHAMPS (Severe Learning Disabilities): This program is designed for students with Severe Learning Disabilities in Grades K-12. Components of the program include:

  • Core Instruction on student's grade level
  • Intensive Daily Intervention on student's functional level
  • Literacy Interventions: Adapted Interactive Reading Instruction for students in Gr. 6-12 (research-based program that addresses critical reading, writing, research, language and media skills.)
  • Math Intervention for students in Gr. K-12 (Hands-on, multi-sensory math instruction)
  • Technology

CHAPTER 193 – Non-Public SchoolsDr. Andrea Blake-Garrett, Supervisor (201) 915-6170

Chapter 193 services are provided to eligible students enrolled full time in nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in Jersey City. Chapter 193 provides nonpublic school students with services, such as, evaluation and determination of eligibility for special education and related services, supplementary instruction in Math and Language Arts as per current ISP, as well as, speech and language services.

Charter Schools: Tracey Pettiford, Supervisor (201) 946-5163

Under the guidance of the Directors of Special Education, the Jersey City School District and the Charter Schools of Jersey City have established a collaborative, educational relationship. This initiative is based on sharing information and maintaining open lines of communication as we strive to meet the educational needs of Jersey City students. The district and charter schools have established a regular meeting schedule where information is shared and common educational concerns are discussed. At present, the Special Education department is currently offering services to three charter schools regarding evaluations and development of the I.E.P. if students are found eligible for special education and/or related services. 

Collaborative Consultation Teacher Program (C.C.T.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Sean Healy, Lead Teacher (201) 915-4975

The Collaborative Consultation Teacher (C.C.T.) is a Special Educator who will provide ongoing support for students with an I.E.P. in a General Education Class that has no other support. The C.C.T. will work closely with the classroom teacher to facilitate modifications, strategies, implement adaptations and accommodations that will best meet the student’s needs ensuring unlimited educational opportunities to students.  Additionally, the C.C.T. provides support and district approved strategic interventions to General Education students that have been identified as “at risk” meaning those that have not been referred to I&RS or the Child Study Team.

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Creative Arts Support Program (C.A.S.P.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Bonnie Shultz, Jennifer Lawrence, Art Therapists Lead Teachers; Jenn Manno and Lindsey Robinson Music Therapists Lead Teachers (201) 915-4975

C.A.S.P. provides students in self-contained classrooms with creative arts experiences designed to help them grow developmentally, socially, emotionally, and academically.  The purpose of the program is to help students be more receptive to academic instruction and to be more successful in the school setting.  In addition, skills acquired through the creative process can help students function more effectively in life.  The C.A.S.P. Lead Teachers service students in multiple schools throughout the district.

Fundamentals Fitness Four Program (F.F.F.P.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Mary Hussey, Andrew Esposito, Adapted Physical Education Lead Teachers (201) 915-6108 

In the Fundamentals Fitness Four Program children participated in lessons to improve their gross motor development. Children had the opportunity to improve their locomotor movements, cardiovascular fitness, eye-hand and eye-foot coordination.


Gaining Opportunities to Achieve Life Skills and Strategies (G.O.A.L.S.S.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Heather Piechocki and Robyn Drag Lead Teachers (201) 547-2060

The G.O.A.L.S.S. program is a collection of lessons and lesson plans that provide instruction in the areas of Daily Living Skills, Motor Development, Academics and Vocational Preparation. The lessons will provide the classroom teacher with the objective of the lesson, instructional strategies and activities, developmental skills/vocational infusion that will be addressed and the resources and materials necessary to complete the lesson.

Helping All To Succeed (H.A.T.S.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Cara Van Note,Lead Teacher (201) 915-6185

The Helping All To Succeed (H.A.T.S.) summer program provides a rigorous academic experience for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade special education and “at risk” students as part of the extended school year. Students were selected from a wide range of class types including general education, self-contained LD and BD classes and inclusion based on a demonstrated need for extra Mathematics and Language Arts intervention instruction. The goal is to provide these students with extra support to increase inclusion opportunities for students with disabilities and reduce referrals to special education for the “at risk” general education students.

Leaders Integrating Knowledge and Support (L.I.N.K.S.):  Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Cara Van Note, Donna Middlebrooks, Kara Ryan, Kathy Kowana, Jakleen Basha, Melissa Cook, Pedro Lopez, Sean Healy, Lead Teachers (201) 915-6185

L.I.N.K.S. staff explore and respond to the professional development needs of our district staff.  Student support include accommodations, adaptations, interventions, modifications, behavior management and support to students using positive guidance techniques, and setting limits with clear and consistent expectations.  

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Leaps and Bounds Secondary EducationCandace Coccaro, Supervisor; Robyn Drag, Heather Piechocki, Lead Teachers (201) 547-2060

The Leaps and Bounds High School Program provides instruction to students with Mild and Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. Held at Ferris High School, the focus of the program is to increase cognitive abilities, communication/social skills, motor skills, adaptive behaviors and personal independence through intensive support. In addition to receiving instruction in academic subject areas, students are provided with an opportunity to participate in the following learning environments:

  • Real Life Experiences Classroom for Daily Living Skills: (Life Skills Room) This classroom is designed to make learning basic skills and domestic skills a tangible experience for students with intellectual disabilities. The simulated room will consist of “real” settings such as the kitchen, dining room, laundry room, office and store.
  • Real Life Experiences Classroom for Social Skills: (Social Room) This classroom is designed to foster social interaction among peers in the program. Students will learn how to communicate effectively with others, establish friendships and develop positive social relationships.
  • Hudson County Community Enterprise: This is a work-based learning program in which students are assisted in making career decisions, network with potential employers, select courses of study and develop job skills relevant to future employment.

Mission R.E.A.D (Raising Expectations, Achievement & Determination): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor (201) 915-6108; Cara Van Note, Lead Teacher 

The purpose of the Special Education Department's Mission R.E.A.D. program is to provide systematic, explicit and data driven literacy instruction with the intent of closing the achievement gap for the most struggling readers.  The Mission R.E.A.D. program services general education and special education students enrolled in grades one through 12 by providing research based effective interventions.

Non-Public School Program:  Dr. Blake Garnet, Supervisor (201) 915-6170

Nonpublic schools are eligible to receive state and federal funded services for their students through several state programs. The services include E.S.L., Compensatory Education K-12, Chapter 193, I.D..E.A. Part B, Title 1, Title IIA, Chapter 226-Nursing, security aid, textbooks, and technology. The programs are administered through the Jersey City Public Schools district in which the 22 nonpublic schools are located. To be eligible for services, a nonpublic school must be registered with the New Jersey Department of Education and complete all annual report requirements.

Out of District Programs:  Mildred Rivera-Castro, Supervisor, (201) 915-1402

Out of District programs services students in need of educational and therapeutic services not currently available in the Jersey City Public Schools system, providing the least restrictive environment for students in need of specialized services and structured therapeutic environment.

Program for Preschool Students with Disabilities: Carol Curits Sisterhen, Supervisor (201) 915-6240

The Program for Preschool Students with Disabilities serves children between the ages of 3 and 5 who are identified as having a disabling condition and/or measurable developmental delay.

Project SEARCH: Transitioning students with disabilities to work.  Dina Kosc, Supervisor, (201) 915-6031

Project SEARCH is a one-year, business-led, unpaid internship program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school that takes place entirely at a host business site. It provides students who want to work a chance to explore careers and develop transferable job skills. The combination of instruction and immersion in the workplace prepares young adults with disabilities to make successful transitions from school to productive adult life. 

Resources and Interventions for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Cara Van Note, Sean Healy, Lead Teachers, (201) 915-4975

The R.I.S.E. Program, Resources and Interventions for Student Excellence, is designed to assist “at-risk” students in grades K-12 who have not been identified as needing Special Education services, yet are in need of additional academic and behavioral supports to succeed in a general education environment. The R.I.S.E. Program helps to identify specific academic/behavioral weaknesses and provides instructional techniques geared towards individual student needs. Some services provided are, teacher professional development, behavior modification tools and techniques, resources for differentiated instruction and cooperative learning, and assistive technology, such as, games, manipulatives, and computer software. You may request support from the R.I.S.E. Program via the Intranet.

Special Education Intake Center:

  • Pre-K ages 3- 5 Carol Curtis, Supervisor, (201) 915-6240
  • Kimberly Bilak & Kristen Ahne, Pre-K Intake Coordinators can be reached at (201) 915-6506
  • K - 12, Mildred Rivera-Castro, Supervisor, (201) 915-1402
  • Grades K-12, Intake Center Coordinator, Joshua Jantas can be reached at (201) 369-2833

The Intake Center is located at 70 Bright Street.

The Intake Center will facilitate enrolling special education students coming into the district with an IEP, in an effort to have them register more easily at their home schools, or as close to home as possible, depending on the IEP’s recommended program, until a Child Study Team can review the documents and conduct a reevaluation, if deemed necessary. The Intake Center will serve as a resource and a point of entry into the district for all classified students.  Please call the Intake Center prior to coming in an effort to familiarize yourself with what documents are required for enrollment.


Special Education Parent Advisory Council: Danielle Gitlin, Supervisor (201) 915-6760

The Special Education Parent Advisory Council consists of a group of parents representing each school in our district, as well as a representative from our out of district school placements.  The parent representatives report to their respective schools on the Department’s activities and initiatives.

NOTE: E.S.L. or Bilingual students believed to be in need of services must first appear at the Multilingual Center (201-915-1502) located at P.S. 8 before registering at the Intake Center.

Please be sure to have the following when registering your child:

  • Proof of age/ grade (birth certificate, transfer, and report card)
  • Proof of residency (rent receipt, tax bill or gas and electric bill)
  • Medicaid number if student is eligible
  • Health records
  • Proof of eligibility for Special Education (I.E.P., evaluations)

TEACH logoTeaching and Education of Autistic Children through Collaboration and Harmony (T.E.A.C.H.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Jennifer Arends, Kristen Nardini, Amanda Philp, Stephanie Velenger, BCBA's; Dorothy Walsh, Lead Teacher (201) 915-6794

The Teaching and Education of Autistic Children through Collaboration and Harmony (T.E.A.C.H.) program provides professional collaboration and support to students with Autism. These professionals will work together to teach and reinforce social and emotional skills, as well as language development. Students receive services including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA.), Art/Music Therapy, and/or Adapted Physical Education. Students work on developing their skills, gross and fine motor development, sensory processing, self-expression, and communication.

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Unified Sports Special Olympics Dina Kosc, Supervisor, (201) 915-6031

An outgrowth from the Special Olympics New Jersey Sports Program, however, unlike Special Olympics which can be segregated, the Unified Sports Special Olympics Program was designed to include students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers (siblings, friends and classmates) in sporting events and competitions throughout the school year.

Students throughout the district ages eight (8) through twenty one (21) are afforded the opportunity to participate in Aquatics, Basketball, Bowling, Softball and Track & Field.   The program runs on Saturday mornings from 10 AM until 12 noon. Additionally, athletes are afforded the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics New Jersey sponsored events. 

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