Students succeed at Calais because our differentiated and integrated academic programs are customized to meet each student’s needs and enhance their strengths. The Calais School’s curriculum is aligned with NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards. Each student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is supervised by learning disability teacher consultants (LDTCs) to ensure that each student—from the remedial to the twice exceptional student—has a program to help them reach their fullest potential and become life-long learners.
At The Calais School, we know how important it is to provide a safe, nurturing environment for children with special needs. We base all our programs on positive reinforcement to provide children with the tools they need to deal with social interactions.
Traditional programs are mixed with state-of-the art approaches to target greater opportunities for success. The Pre-school program provides children with special needs an environment where they can work with certified teachers, behavior counselors and speech specialists to help them develop the skills they need to continue on to kindergarten and beyond.
Through the creative arts, students use pretend play, painting, drawing and other art mediums to create their own world where they are the image makers. Students are guided through active learning environments where each teacher recognizes and develops each child’s particular interests and abilities.
Children in both the Pre-K and Elementary programs benefit from the spacious playgrounds and open air activities. Cutting edge technology provides enhanced learning and a small teacher/child ratio ensures focused attention on each student with open communication with parents through daily reports.
Our Middle School curriculum helps ease the transition to high school in a safe, therapeutic classroom. There are more opportunities to use technology and students are introduced to programs that encourage them to employ appropriate social and problem solving skills.
In the 6th and 7th grades, students begin to participate in sports teams, world languages and computer classes. Our 8th grade curriculum features a modified high school schedule, where students get used to changing classrooms to ensure a smooth transition into the high school curriculum.
In high school, students will find individualized academic programs tailored to their interests. While a variety of World Languages are offered, Spanish is our primary second language. Language learning is presented both in the classroom as well as through computer-based programs with integrated culture and linguistics modules.
There are a variety of Fine and Performing Arts classes offered at the high school level. Visual Arts, Media Arts, Music and Theater are all designed to reinforce academic excellence through our Career and Technical Education Program.
Many special needs students benefit from a transitional program to bridge the gap between high school, college and their career. The 12 Plus Program allows students ages 18 – 21 to prepare for the next step in their lives in a safe, nurturing and encouraging environment. There are opportunities for internships in the business community and higher levels of study in Fine Arts, Culinary Arts and Career and Technical Education.
As a parent, it can be very frustrating to know that your child is exceptional in one area, only to have a disability or weakness “define” them. The Calais school recognizes there are Twice Exceptional students who require unique educational opportunities to excel and achieve. Nurturing and cultivating your child’s strengths and talents are the primary focus of our Twice Exceptional Program.
The Calais School’s Twice Exceptional Program has been recognized by the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) as one of the “10 best programs in New Jersey” and is the recipient of a 2015 Innovations in Special Education award.
Our whole-child perspective centers around four major areas: problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, and self-advocacy. The program:
Visual arts courses offer a wide range of opportunities for students to broaden their interests in the arts as they acquire knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the artistic, cultural and intellectual accomplishments of civilization, and develop skills to express personal artistic talents.
Does your child struggle with reading comprehension and fluency?
The Calais School’s reading program is designed to support students who require more individualized reading instruction. Students are assessed for reading strengths and weaknesses (including dyslexia) and a program is designed to meet their individual needs. An Orton-Gillingham trained reading specialist conducts small group and individualized lessons, which incorporates a systematic, explicit, multi-sensory, and language-based approach to teaching reading.
Students are able to work at their instructional level at their own pace in a comfortable atmosphere using a variety of engaging supplemental materials based on their individual learning differences. We use a variety of programs and approaches, including:
• Lindamood Bell (Visualizing and Verbalizing, Seeing Stars)
• Wilson Reading
• Lexia Learning
• Edmark Reading
• Pearson Reading Street
Our school library provides students with a wide variety of reading materials at various levels. Students also have the option of working with online interactive reading programs using iPads, laptops or tablets.
This program provides:
A written assessment with recommendations regarding appropriate long-term placement options assists the child study team in making a longer term determination for the student.
Everyone at the Calais school is devoted to offering support for families and are responsive to changing requests and needs through PTO and Parent Support Meetings. If you are looking for a new learning environment for your child, the Calais school is definitely worth a look.
The entire staff at The Calais School are very supportive... I love everyone equally. They all work very hard to make me feel comfortable and help me to succeed. When I first came to The Calais School, all of counselors helped me work through my anxiety which makes them even more special to me.
The Calais School helped prepare me for the future because they taught me how to open up and express my feelings. I learned not to be afraid to ask any questions. And I learned how to let people love me.
I can’t say enough about the warm, loving approach this school community offers. They have spent countless hours of patience and thought devising a plan for our son’s success. He is thriving academically and socially. Everyone from the Directors to counselors, therapists, teachers and aides bring an individualized approach-making sure that each child thrives and learns in their own unique way.
Calais has prepared me for the future by helping me come over my depression and anxiety and allowed me to look at things in a way so I can deal with them like I didn’t know I could.
The people of Calais are like family to me. Each one of us are all different, but we accept each other for who we are. I tried my absolute best here by turning every obstacle into opportunities to succeed. I have no regrets. Calais has made me who I am today. It has given me the opportunity and the voice to share my story.
I am a graduate of The Calais School. I am honored and proud to say that I graduated from Calais 25 years ago.
I have Tourette’s syndrome and I have to tell you that the seven years I spent at Calais were some of the best years of my life. I was able to be myself and not worry about what others thought. The staff was wonderful and worked hard not only with me but with all the students academically and personally. I left here in 1989 with the self-confidence that I don’t think I would have gotten elsewhere.
I have done so much with my life since graduating from The Calais School. I started a career in the film and television business, and have worked on films such as The Basketball Diaries, The Departed and a number of Indie films. I am a self-taught special effects make-up artist and a well-rounded artist.
Right now I am in the process of filming a documentary about my life. The film follows my life with Tourette’s and the positive things that we all can do when we put our minds to it.
My message to everyone is: stay strong, be positive and don’t ever give up.
Because of my experience at The Calais School, I have become a person which I thought could never have existed. My 10 years at Calais turned out to be rewarding and full of accomplishments. I look back and I really don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for this school. I have become a man…who is able to do so much more with my life than I could have ever dreamed of…and I give a big thanks to all who worked with me – it was time well spent.
We wanted to say thank you for your commitment and effort in teaching and guiding our son… he grew and developed under your guidance, until he was ready to go to the mainstream full time. My husband and I are so grateful that we found Calais School. You carried us through some of the toughest times in Nathaniel’s development.
"Upon meeting with members of The Calais School hearing what type of services would be offered to help our son, we knew The Calais School was the missing piece to our puzzle! Because of the positive learning environment at The Calais School, coupled with cutting edge learning materials, we have seen wonderful growth academically. The teachers are very well trained to help a child succeed while building their confidence. Because of the nurturing environment at the school, our son’s confidence has grown and he now realizes that he can be a success in life."
"Our son has been a student at The Calais School and we have seen enormous progress academically, socially and very importantly emotionally. The exceptional teachers and counselors have been an essential part of his success. The nurturing staff gave him the tools to strengthen his capabilities to deal and navigate through stressful situations. This has been very important as he has learned to not only handle the stressful situations but also advocate for himself in certain challenging situations. This has made him a very happy and confident young man, and for that we are very appreciative."
"My child has benefited from going to The Calais School because the faculty understands my child's academic and social needs. They find strengths and weaknesses in those areas and build on them in his educational program."
"The Calais Staff has literally saved our son’s life. THEY ALL TRULY CARE about OUR child. I wish they had more schools that specialize in our children’s needs like The Calais School. We are very happy to share with you that our son is now a senior and is looking ahead at college to continue his education."
"My child has benefited from going to The Calais School because the faculty understands my child’s academic and social needs. They find strengths and weaknesses in those areas and build on them in his educational programs."
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