P.G. Chambers School is a New Jersey Approved Private School for Students with Disabilities, and therefore can be considered as an educational option for students with disabilities, 3 through 14 years of age. PGCS offers comprehensive education, therapy, and state-of-the-art technology. The academic curriculum meets the Common Core State Standards.
Private School Programs
The school programs operate Mondays through Fridays throughout the ten month school year and during a six week extended school year program in the summer.
At P.G. Chambers School, beginning in grade three, students participate in the statewide testing program as written in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), with most taking the Alternate Proficiency Assessment (APA), and still others taking the standardized NJ Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK). The NJ ASK is the same test administered to students in the general education population and is available to our students using modifications and accommodations as necessary.
P.G. Chambers School is committed to protecting student, teacher, and staff health. In compliance with the Department of Education regulations, we recently tested our school’s drinking water for lead. Click here to view the results of our testing.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the nation’s special education law, enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997 and 2004. Through IDEA, states and local communities receive funding to provide special education for students with varying degrees of disabilities, ages three to twenty-two years of age.
IDEA and New Jersey State Law (Chapter 6A:24) require local school districts to provide students with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Beginning with preschool and continuing through high school and continuing training until a student is 22 years of age.
Originally enacted as Public Law 94-142 in 1975, IDEA was a response to the growing awareness of the need to educate children with disabilities and to clearly define the state’s responsibility to provide the same educational opportunities for all children regardless of disability.
The Private School Option
Why is it important for parents to understand FAPE and LRE?
The most important parts of the law for parents to understand in making decisions about their child’s educational placement are the concepts of
- Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
- Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Simply put, FAPE means that children with disabilities are entitled to a publicly financed education that is appropriate to their age and abilities.
The concept of LRE ensures that a range of educational opportunities, from the local community public school to private schools, be explored to determine which will best address the student’s needs and maximize the student’s benefit from special education and related services. In New Jersey, students are fortunate to have a full continuum of options for special education services ranging from special education programs in local community schools to very specialized Approved Private Schools like P.G. Chambers School. To learn more about the private school option visit the ASAH* website.
It is important for parents to examine all options, with the help of their local Office of Special Services and child study team to make the best choices for their children.
If the child study team and the parents (who participate in making decisions about their child’s placement) determine that a private school is the appropriate educational setting for the child, the family’s local school district pays the tuition and provides transportation to and from the private school.
To learn more about IDEA, parents’ rights, and educational options available to students with disabilities in New Jersey, visit NJ Department of Education website www.nj.gov/njded/specialed.
*ASAH is a not-for-profit organization of private schools and agencies in New Jersey which provide highly specialized services to more than 11,000 infants, children and young adults with disabilities. Founded in 1974, ASAH now serves more than 125 schools and agencies throughout the state.
Other Useful Web Sites
- IDEA & U.S. Dept of Education Federal site for information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- User’s Guide to the 2004 IDEA Re-authorization The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has prepared an analysis of recent IDEA changes. This is a long (63 pg) and technical document designed for use by public policy professionals. Parents and educators should scan the table of contents for sections of greatest interest.
- The Families and Advocates Partnership for Education project is part of the IDEA Partnership and strives to improve the educational outcomes of children with disabilities. It facilitates communication between families and advocates and focuses on IDEA.
- IDEA Practices, part of the IDEA Partnership funded by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), informs families and educators about IDEA 97 and strategies to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities.
- A Guide to the Individualized Education Plan (IEP)Department of Education guidance assisting educators, parents, and state and local educational agencies in implementing the requirements of Part B of the IDEA regarding IEPs for children with disabilities, including preschool-aged children.
A new second edition of ASAH’s The Private School Option for Children with Disabilities: What Parents Need to Know, is now available. Call ASAH’s Parent Assistance Line at 1-877-287-2724 for a free copy or click here to download a pdf copy now.
Working With the Child Study Team
As provided by law, the local school district’s child study team, who are specialists in the area of disabilities, other school personnel, and parents are collectively responsible for:
- identifying and evaluating students with disabilities
- determining eligibility for special services
- developing and reviewing the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
- determining the most appropriate educational placement for the student
Parents are active and equal partners on the team that makes critical decisions about their child’s education, determining:
- the child’s eligibility for special education services
- the special services the child needs
- the child’s educational placement
The process for the team:
- determine a child’s eligibility through informal and formal evaluations
- determine the child’s strengths and needs
- write the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) based on strengths and needs
The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) identifies the child’s:
- current academic performance
- ability to be included in the general education curriculum
- need for special education and related services
- educational placement (i.e., where the child will go to school)
- need for additional support services
Parents can prepare for working with the child study team by
- organizing a file of the child’s
- medical records
- educational records
- thinking about the child’s educational needs
- identifying any missing records
- their rights as parents
- the educational options available for their child
- the most successful ways to work with their child study team
P. G. Chambers School maintains a Parent Resource Center Library containing materials and information that can help parents become informed partners in determining their child’s educational program. Parents are welcome to visit the Resource Center during school hours: 9:00 am through 5:00 pm.
P.G. Chambers School welcomes perspective families to visit at any time during the school day and provides parents with general information about the programs, enrollment criteria, and services offered at PGCS. PGCS works with parents and child study teams to help identify appropriate educational settings for their children.
For more information about the educational opportunities at P.G.Chambers School for students with disabilities, contact principal, Heather Gilliland at firstname.lastname@example.org