For more than 50 years, The Center School has served students with learning disabilities; most of the school’s 100 students in grades 3-12 are on the autism spectrum, and there’s also 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.

“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. “We’ve continued to implement additional services for these students, particularly as remote learning gave many parents a window into their child’s education and motivated them to advocate for what their student needs 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 afterschool clubs and athletic teams like soccer and basketball. The school continues to grow and has returned to its pre-pandemic lineup of trips, parent events, concerts, plays and more, and also offers an e-sports gaming program for students to compete against kids at other schools.

“Our goal is to help students work through their challenges and prepare them to go back to their original school district,” Rinaldi says. “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.”

2 Riverview Dr., Somerset