More than 150 students, teachers, parents, school board members and others gathered to applaud the accomplishments of special education students last week, at the state’s annual Celebration of Special Education.

The Innovation Awards, which recognize exemplary programs in special education, were presented to 10 schools at the event, which was held at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal and organized by NJSBA and ASAH, a special education group. Among the attendees were New Jersey Commissioner David Hespe and State Board of Education President Mark Biedron.

A well-received musical performance, by the New Road School Chorus, opened the celebration.

Honored programs included the Panther Assisted Learning Software program at Point Pleasant Borough High School, in which advanced software engineering students develop apps to meet the needs of special ed students; and CFS@CMS, a “buddy” program at Carteret Middle School, that pairs special education and general education students.

“The 10 programs being honored today represent the high quality of special education programming in our state,” said NJSBA president Don Webster Jr., who presented awards.

The schools and programs that received Innovation Awards are:

  • Chapel Hill Academy, “Arts for the 21st Century”
  • West Orange High School, “Adaptive iSTEM”
  • Carteret Middle School, “CFS@CMS”
  • Irvington High School, “Career Advancement and Transition”
  • Benedict A. Cucinella Elementary School, Washington Township, Morris County, “Fluency, Focus & Solving Story Clues”
  • Dumont High School, “Mental Health Awareness Wellness Program”
  • Point Pleasant Borough High School, “Panther Assisted Learning Software (PALS)”
  • The Matheny School, “Peace of Mind Preschool Program”
  • The Bridge Academy, “Social House Program”
  • P.G. Chambers School, “The ATEAM Approach: Linking Education, Access and Movement”