Newmark Education, new-state-of-the-art educational facility serving the special needs community, is open for school and will celebrate with a ribbon cutting today in Scotch Plains.
The new home for the Newmark K-8 School, Newmark High School and the Teacher Training Institute is 1000 Cellar Avenue in Scotch Plains. Capital Campaign Co-Chairs, Alison and Duncan Niederauer will join Newmark students, staff, parents and local officials at a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13.
“By bringing the Newmark K-8 and High School together into a brand-new 60,000 square foot facility, the Newmark team will be positioned to provide a broad array of much needed services to our current and future students as well as the community of children living with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders throughout New Jersey," said Niederauer. "Delivering on our promise to these children and their families would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the community and generous donations from corporations, foundations and Newmark friends and families.”
Newmark K-8 School and Newmark High School are state-approved, private schools serving children living with autism spectrum disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, attention issue and other developmental disabilities since 2001. The curriculum at Newmark is based on integrating academic achievement with effective social learning in a highly structured educational environment. All students receive an individually tailored academic plan with appropriate educational material and learning tools for their level, delivered by trained staff members.
Project Director and Principal at development company Avision Young Tom Walsh said this project was dear to him.
"This kind of job is a bit special," Walsh told Patch. "It's not your normal job. This is a non-profit, kids with disabilities. Keeping everything under budget was tough, but we saw that these children really needed help and we worked with our consultants and manufacturers and partners to bring the budget down to about 1 million dollars."
Walsh says among the upgrades in the new school are a cafeteria, gym, learning commons and teacher training area.
Director Dr. Regina Peter is over-the-moon about the new facility and told Patch she loves watching the students react to their brand new school.
"Myself and my co-director really had a vision of having a great school environment for kids with special needs and a wonderful place for staff to craft teaching," said Peter. "We have a great staff and terrific parents behind our vision of having our own school facility. This project was a lot of hard work with a lot of people involved and our vision has come to reality right now."
When summer program students saw the new school, they were thrilled, Peter told Patch.
"The reaction has been incredibly positive," said Peter. "The kids are extremely excited to come to school even in the summer. There's a real great positive energy."
Peter also stressed how the new building will help to expand Newmark's Teacher Training Institute, which provides educators, including teachers, para-professionals, specialists and administrators, with the opportunity to learn the teaching methods used at Newmark.
"We work with public school district teachers to help them understand how mental health issues affect students in class and affect student learning," said Peter. "That’s one big piece of new facility. We can have other districts come in and see what we do and take some ideas back to their home schools and really implement them."
Peter says the school serves children from all over the state, some traveling more than an hour.
"If your son or daughter is in school struggling, parents will drive anywhere to fix that," said Peter.