Chatham School Holds In-Person Graduation

Some positive news to brighten your day!

The pandemic has changed everything this year and brought challenges to so many. Yet, it has also made us more flexible and creative, in many ways.

On July 29, our Chatham school did something new, hosting its first ever outdoor graduation to honor the Class of 2020. It was a special evening for the 16 of our 22 graduates who were able to attend with their family and friends. The ceremony was abbreviated and diplomas were picked up off a table, without any congratulatory handshakes, of course.

Despite the masks and requirement for social distancing, the upbeat spirit of this resilient class was evident, especially at the conclusion when they got up on their feet for a final dance together!

View video highlights of the ceremony.

Zooming into Graduation!

Like everything during this pandemic, June graduations at our schools were markedly different.

Our students Zoomed, instead of marching in a procession. They sat at home with family members, instead of on stage with their classmates. There was no after-ceremony cake celebration or time for taking photos with friends.

However, the same level of excitement and recognition for their accomplishments shone through the virtual ceremonies. Students read heartwarming speeches, and there was plenty of clapping and cheering!

Our graduating students have truly earned their diplomas, from academic achievements to learning work and social skills. The obstacles our students surmounted on their journey to a diploma are each unique. Yet, they all share a spirit of resilience and perseverance, especially after the past three months of distance learning. During this difficult time, our graduates dug in and showed us their positive attitudes and deep commitment to completing the journey. We are so proud of them!

Some grads will continue in our PRIDE Adult Program, while others will begin jobs through our affiliate Community Personnel Services (CPS). Other graduates will start anew elsewhere.

All will remain part of the fabric of our tight-knit ECLC family. We look forward to welcoming them home for alumni events and annual dinners in the years ahead! Congratulations Class of 2020!

Celebrating How We are Still Connected

The second week of May typically marks the celebration of New Jersey’s Special Education Week across the state.

Sadly, this year, the poster art contest, awards luncheon and official recognition all had to be canceled because of COVID-19.

At ECLC, we decided to celebrate, anyway, but in a safe, virtual way. We asked our Chatham and Ho-Ho-Kus school students and staff, plus community members, first responders and elected officials to create paper links, with messages about the importance of special education or just to send good wishes.

The paper links symbolize “connections” to our schools; to the community; and, most importantly, to each other. Right now, connections to one another at ECLC and within our families, friends and neighbors are how we are coping during this crisis. We may be physically apart, but together in spirit!

ECLC of New Jersey Update on COVID-19 Outbreak

ECLC of New Jersey is closely monitoring the evolving situation with the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the health and safety of all students, clients and staff.

The Chatham and Ho-Ho-Kus campuses are closed effective on Monday, March 16, and both shall remain closed until further notice. Re-opening will depend in part upon the resumption of transportation services from the sending districts. This morning, both schools smoothly transitioned to remote learning, using SmartBoards, Zoom video conferencing and other tools.

As of this morning, the PRIDE Program closed for the week. If an extended closure is required, parents and guardians will be notified.

The Support Coordination services provided by Community Personnel Services (CPS) are continuing through alternate arrangements approved by the state.

In addition, the following measures were taken prior to closure:

There was increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols throughout all facilities. All community-based outings were terminated. Staff made sure that students and clients followed health safety protocols.

Meanwhile, the annual school fund-raising dinners have been postponed. The Ho-Ho-Kus school event will take place on June 23 at the Estate at Florentine Gardens. The Chatham school will hold its dinner on June 8 at the Birchwood Manor.

These measures were taken in response to the outbreak and not because of any exposure. For more information about ECLC’s response to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 page.

ECLC Of New Jersey’s Chatham Cub Scouts Compete in Pinewood Derby

Winners of the Pinewood Derby with Chatham Troop 28 Leader Tom Sugrue and Patriots Path Council Unit Service Executive Marc Maratea.

It was a heated competition for students with special needs at ECLC of New Jersey’s school in Chatham on March 4!

The 12 students who are party of ECLC’s Cub Scout Troop 100 raced small wooden cars in a traditional Pinewood Derby.

They built and decorated their cars during Scout meetings at the school with Troop leaders Principal Jason Killian and teacher Wade Dendy.

At the Derby, the Scouts were assisted by Tom Sugrue from Chatham’s Troop 28 and Marc Maratea of the Patriots Path Council, who organized the race heats and awarded trophies to the top three fastest cars.

“It can be difficult for our students to access recreational opportunities in their home communities, so sponsoring a Troop at school gives them a chance to join Cub Scouts,” said Principal Jason Killian. “This is part of the difference that ECLC is making in the lives of our students and their families.”