The Center School recently celebrated 50 years of serving students with learning disabilities. Most of the 90 students in grades 3-12 are on the Autism spectrum, and the school also offers a transition program for high school graduates up to age 21 who may not be ready to pursue college, a vocational school or enter the workforce. Most students join the school around third grade, as families recognize that their child has learning differences and seek out the services of a specialized school. 

“Many parents don’t realize schools like ours exist—they have a child with a learning disability who is taking advantage of interventions or special education programs at their district school, but still may not have the support their child needs to thrive,” says Executive Director Dr. Ronald Rinaldi. “From physical and occupational therapy to counseling and behaviorists to reading specialists and speech/language therapists, we have everything that a special needs student requires to be successful.” 

Along with a robust academic curriculum that mirrors that of mainstream schools, students have access to electives like music, woodshop and physical education, as well as after-school clubs and athletic teams like soccer and basketball. The Center School also offers an e-sports gaming program for students to compete against other schools. 

“Our goal is to help students work through their challenges and prepare them to go back to their original school district,” he says. “Our students are getting a similar academic curriculum and the same access to activities, but with the accommodations, services and supports they need by tailoring each student’s program to their specific IEP needs.” 

2 Riverview Dr., Somerset

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