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.”

ECLC Opens Winter Pop-Up Shop

Chatham students have opened a Winter Pop-Up Shop in downtown Chatham to sell products they make in school.

ECLC of New Jersey’s students with special needs are hoping their new Pop-Up Shop becomes a hot destination in downtown Chatham this winter.

The Pop-Up Shop features products ECLC students make in school as part of the vocational program. The shop is located at the Yo Lotta Luv store, 258 Main St., in the heart of downtown.

The new shop offers students an extension of their in-school work activities. At the Pop-Up, they are learning how to greet and interact with customers, sell and handle transactions!

Their products range from coasters, mugs, water bottles, matted photographs taken around Chatham, cocktail napkins and more. They are also taking orders for customized items, such as T-shirts, mugs, tote bags, wine and drawstring bags, napkins and hand towels. In addition, students can manage mailings, collate newsletters and do more small jobs for local organizations.

It’s all part of the school’s vocational program called SKIL (Seeking Knowledge for Independent Living). The goal is to prepare students for life after graduation, so they can lead productive lives as adults. ECLC provides students with transition services and offers an adult day/evening program called P.R.I.D.E. and job placement and support through its affiliate, Community Personnel Services.

In their final year at ECLC’s school, students go out into the community to “sample” jobs. They work at everything from child care and retail to food service, maintenance and office administrative support.

“So far the Pop-Up Shop is a big success! We sold out of our holiday items, and it’s been steady business for the students,” said ECLC Chatham School Principal Jason Killian. “We are appreciative to Jeff Burnett, the owner of Yo Lotta Luv, for giving us the space, rent free!”

The Pop-Up Shop is open for business on Mondays and Thursdays, from Noon to 2 p.m. Residents are encouraged to stop by and support ECLC’s students with special needs.