At The Center School, Principal Ronald P. Rinaldi, Ed.D., says adaptability and close collaboration with parents have made it a great choice for students in grades 3-12 with special needs. Founded in 1971 to serve students with learning disabilities, the school is approaching its 50th anniversary and continues to evolve to better serve its students and families.
The school, which serves about 90 students, adapted quickly to remote learning during coronavirus, with small group online learning and 1:1 student-teacher interactions as needed. Educators were also able to continue important related services such as speech, OT, and counseling during the pandemic.
About 45 percent of students at The Center School are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder—the other 55 percent have other classifications such as Asperger’s, school phobia, anxiety disorders and other specific learning disabilities. Rinaldi says what sets the school apart is its ability to meet each individual at his or her level and empower students to reach their fullest potential.
In addition to academics, The Center School offers a gym, an art room, a music room and an intramurals program that gives students the chance to play basketball and soccer.
Students either return to their home district, or can stay at the school until age 21, taking advantage of a transition program that can include college prep courses and on the job experience.
Rinaldi says the school’s teachers have adapted quickly and become even better educators during these challenging times.
“What stands out is our staff and our services that we provide,” he says. “Parents have told us, ‘You’re doing more than anyone out there.’”
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