The Center School , a private, non-profit, state-accredited facility for bright, learning-disabled students was founded in 1971 by a small group of concerned parents and educators. The first location was a church school in Bound Brook, New Jersey. The doors opened in September 1971 with 34 students and a staff of 15.By 1976 the need for more space was critical, so the school moved from Bound Brook to Warren, New Jersey, where a newly vacated public school was rented. There was now space for an enhanced special education curriculum with a maximum of 13 classes.
It continued to be apparent, however, that Center School needed a building of its own. The Warren school was rapidly reaching its maximum student capacity, and local public schools were beginning to reclaim their rented facilities. Consequently, a vacated Highland Park school built in 1915 was purchased; major renovations and state required upgrades were completed prior to opening in September 1989.
Since 1971, there have been many changes at Center School. The student population is now four to five times larger then the original enrollment with corresponding expansion in staff and budget. There are three separate divisions including an Elementary, Middle School, and High School which provide individualized programs that adhere to New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards.
Although the number of school districts served each year is usually between 55 and 65, approximately 150 districts have made referrals to Center School. Disabilities served have included Learning/Language Disabilities; Dyslexia Spectrum Disorder affecting Reading, Spelling, and Written Language; Mood Disorders/Bipolar, Depression; Anxiety Disorders/OCD, PTSD, etc.; Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Oppositional Defiant Disorder; Adjustment Disorders; Asperger’s Syndrome; Motor Skills/Sensory Integration Deficit; and Tic Disorders.
A long-standing record of creative shared-time scheduling, a strong return rate to local districts, and frequent transition to higher education reflects Center School’s philosophy of preparing students for future educational and vocational experiences.It is hoped that with ongoing support by dedicated members of the Center School community, our services will continue to expand to meet the ever growing needs of our student population.