Achievement, Independence, Motivating, Students / Extended School Year (A.I.M.S./E.S.Y.):
Tracey Pettiford, Supervisor (201) 915-6032
The A.I.M.S./E.S.Y. 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 PreK to 21. Eligibility criteria for the program are based on student data and the student’s ability to regress and or recoup skills over an extended period of time.
Alternate Proficiency Assessment (A.P.A.) / Dynamic Learning Map (D.L.M.): Danielle Gitlin, Supervisor (201) 309-1642;
Dorothy Walsh and Jaime Merced, Lead Teachers
The APA/DLM is a computer-based assessment that is aligned with the Essential Elements/NJ State Educational Standards, which is designed to measure progress. Eligible students are only those with severe disabilities who are unable to participate in the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (grades 3-8 or the High School Proficiency Assessment grade 11).
Grades and Subjects:
- Students in grades 3,4,6, and 7 will test only in DLM English language arts and mathematics.
- Students in grades 5,8, and 11 will test in English language arts mathematics, and science.
- Students in grade 11 for the first time will test in English language arts and mathematics.
- Retained students in grade 11 only test in English language, mathematics, and science if they did not take DLM the previous year.
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. The targeted groups of 19 self-contained preschool classes housed in 10 schools (PS#12, #14, #15, #22, #23, #26, #30, #37, #39, and #41) meet quarterly for student-centered discussions on progress, concerns, and implementation of strategies to address student weakness. A.C.T. Flyer
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 or the 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 (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 A.S.D program operates under the T.E.A.C.H program, where the emphasis and focus of the program are on language development, social skills, and increasing appropriate behaviors so that students with A.S.D. can be integrated into an inclusive setting.
Choosing Honor, Opportunity, Integrity, Character, Excellence and Service (C.H.O.I.C.E.S.):
Mildred Rivera-Castro, Supervisor (201) 915-6108
The 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 program. 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 management system (Class Dojo) is utilized 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.
Creating Happy And Motivated Pupils to Succeed (C.H.A.M.P.S.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor;
Heather Piechocki and Robyn Drag, Lead Teachers (201) 547-6079
The C.H.A.M.P.S. program is designed for students with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities, as well as, students with severe learning disabilities. Students in the program receive intensive intervention in the areas of Language Arts and Mathematics to reduce delays in speech, language, reading and mathematics development. Other components include Daily Living skills, Pre-Vocational Skills, and Vocations Skills.
Chapter’s 192 and Chapter 193 – Non-Public Schools: Dr. Andrea Blake-Garrett, Supervisor (201) 915-6170
Chapter 192 programs and Chapter 193 programs are provided to eligible students enrolled full-time in nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in Jersey City. Chapter 192 programs provide nonpublic school students with auxiliary services such as compensatory education, English as a second language, home instruction, Chapter 226-nursing, security, textbooks, and technology support.
Chapter 193 programs provided to eligible students enrolled full time nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in Jersey City with remedial services such as evaluation and determination of eligibility for special education and with limited related services that include supplementary instruction in Math and Language Arts as per current ISP and speech-language services.
Charter Schools: Tracey Pettiford, Supervisor (201) 915-6032; Deborah Davila, Charter School Facilitator (201) 714-8374
The Jersey City School District and the Charter Schools of Hudson County have established a collaborative, educational relationship. This initiative is based on shared information and maintaining open lines of communication as we strive to meet the educational needs of Jersey City students. JCPS and the Charter Schools have established ongoing communication in efforts to provide appropriate programming for students with special needs. At present, the Special Education Department collaborates with (10) Hudson County Charter Schools.
Collaborative Consultation Teacher Program (C.C.T.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Sean Healy, Lead Teacher (201) 915-4975
The Collaborative Consultation Teacher (CCT) is a Special Educator who provides ongoing support for students with an IEP in a General Education Class that has no other support. The CCT works closely with the classroom teacher to facilitate modifications, strategies, and implement adaptations and accommodations that will best meet the student’s needs ensuring unlimited educational opportunities to students. Additionally, the CCT 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.
Creative Arts Support Program (C.A.S.P.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Bonnie Shultz, Jennifer Lawrence,
Lindsey Robinson, Lead Teachers (201) 915-4975
The C.A.S.P. program 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.
Children’s Adaptive Physical Education (C.A.P.E): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Mary Hussey and Andrew Esposito, Lead Teachers (201) 915-6108
The C.A.P.E. program focuses on movement skills that encompass locomotor, non-locomotor and manipulative concepts to assist in the student’s psychological, social and intellectual development. This program focuses on students in the self-contained autistic classes, students with behavioral disabilities and students with intellectual disabilities in the school district. The grade level for this program is from Pre-Kindergarten through high school.
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.
Leaders Integrating Knowledge and Support (L.I.N.K.S.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Cara Van Note, Kara Ryan, Melissa Cook, Pedro Lopez, Sean Healy, Jennifer Valdora, Monique Bullock and Jaime Merced, Lead Teachers (201) 915-6185
The L.I.N.K.S. Lead Teachers explore and respond to the professional development needs of our district staff. Student support includes accommodations, adaptations, interventions, modifications, behavior management, support to students using positive guidance techniques, and setting limits with clear and consistent expectations.
Leaps and Bounds Secondary Education: Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Heather Piechocki and Robyn Drag, Lead Teachers (201) 547-2060
The Leaps and Bounds High School Program provides instruction to students with Mild and Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. 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:
Mission R.E.A.D (Raising Expectations, Achievement & Determination): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor;
Cara Van Note, Lead Teacher (201) 915-6108
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 Programs: Dr. Andrea Blake-Garrett, Supervisor, (201) 915-6170
A nonpublic school means an elementary or secondary school within the district, other than a public school, offering education for grades kindergarten through 12, or any combination of them, wherein any child may legally fulfill compulsory school attendance requirements and which complies with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [N.J.S.A. 18A:46A-2(b)].
Nonpublic schools are eligible to receive services for their students through several state and federal programs. The programs are administered through the Jersey City Public Schools district in which the 25 nonpublic schools are located. To be eligible for services, a nonpublic school must be registered with the New Jersey Department of Education and must complete the Nonpublic Enrollment Report annually, located in the NJDOE Homeroom under NonPublic Enrollment.
Out of District Programs: Mildred Rivera-Castro, Supervisor (201) 946-5163, (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.
Project SEACH: Dina Kosc, Supervisor (201) 915-6780
Hudson County 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.
- Hudson County Project SEARCH Brochure
- Project SEARCH Pamphlet
- Project SEARCH Application
- Project SEARCH Application (Spanish)
Program for Preschool Children with a Disability: Carol Curtis Sisterhen, Supervisor (201) 915-6240
The Program for Preschool Children with a Disability serves children between the ages of 3 to 5 who have been identified as having a disabling condition and/or a measurable development delay.
Resources and Interventions for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E.): Candace Coccaro, Supervisor; Cara Van Note
and 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.
Intake Center (Grades K-12): Mildred Rivera-Castro, Supervisor; Contact: Joshua Jantas (201) 369-2833
The Department of Special Education oversees the Intake Center. It is located at 70 Bright Street in Jersey City. The Intake Center facilitates in registering special education students preschool age 3 through grade 12 in order to enroll the child in the appropriate program at their home school, or as close to home as possible.
NOTE: E.S.L. or Bilingual students believed to be in need of services must first appear at the Multilingual Center located at P.S. 8 (201-915-1502) 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 the student is eligible
- Health records
- Proof of eligibility for Special Education (I.E.P., evaluations)
Special Education Preschool Intake and Referral Center: Carol Curtis Sisterhen Supervisor (201) 915-6240;
Preschool Liaisons: Kristen Burke and Kimberly Bilak (201) 915-6506 70 Bright Street
By appointment only.
The Special Education Department has a Preschool Referral Center for families of preschoolers who are not currently enrolled in a preschool program and may require services offered through the Special Education Department. The center is intended to provide families with support and offer an orientation that will facilitate the referral process of your child.
School Psychologist Externship Program: Carol Sisterhen, Supervisor (201) 915-6240
The School Psychology Externship Program provides experiences, training activities, mentoring and field supervision for candidates seeking certification as School Psychologists.
Teaching 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 Therapy, and Adapted Physical Education. Students work on developing their skills, gross and fine motor development, sensory processing, self-expression, and communication.
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.
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.