How it Works: Private Education Within a Public School

Every morning students can expect to be greeted on arrival by one of their teachers. Then they will head to their ILA designated classroom and prepare to begin the school day. Essential subjects such as English language arts, math, social studies, and science are taught in the ILA classroom by one of our teachers with the assistance of at least one teacher aide.

However, those students who have demonstrated the intellectual and behavioral ability will have the opportunity to participate in mainstream or advanced classes, as determined by their IEP. A teacher assistant will accompany the student, at all times, and provide the additional support necessary. For special subjects and electives such as physical education, foreign language, art, and music, our students will join their mainstream peers. A member of our staff will be present for these classes as well. Our students enjoy lunch and recess together with their mainstream peers.

ILA students are supervised at all times by our professional and clinical staff. All of our staff is certified in crisis prevention and intervention (CPI). Most of our teachers do not take a formal lunch or planning periods. Counselors meet regularly with students in accordance with their Individualized Education Plan. Additionally, counselors are always available throughout the school day.

ILA students are also welcome to participate in their public school’s after school activities, such as sports and clubs, when transportation can be arranged. Access to the school’s support staff, such as the school nurse, is part of ILA’s arrangement with the public school.

What makes ILA unique?

1. ILA is one of the only institutions in northern New Jersey that is state-approved to operate a private program from within a public school. All other private programs for children with special needs are conducted in separate, freestanding buildings where the children are segregated from the mainstream of students. The Inclusive Learning Academy allows students to receive their specialized education without being isolated from their peers. The benefits to our students are tangible and compliant with least restrictive environment.

2. The mission of ILA differs from that of most other private schools for children with special needs. The aim of most private schools is to provide a specialized education required for a student to graduate from their institution. By contrast, ILA aims to teach students the necessary learning and behavioral skills to thrive academically and socially before transitioning back to their district school. It is important to note that a return to district is only one possible goal for our students. ILA has enrolled some students for ten months and some students for ten years. Many of our students thrive between an inclusive learning environment and the support our staff offers. All placements are determined, in cooperation with the student’s Child Study Team, based on the needs and performance of the individual.

3. There are many schools and agencies that offer services to help children with special needs in specific areas. Our whole-child-approach is aimed at providing our students with the resources to prosper academically, socially, and emotionally so that they may thrive at home, in school, and in their community. ILA offers an academic regimen that is as comprehensive as any public school curriculum. Students interact socially with their mainstream peers on a daily basis. Our counseling services and behavior modification system contribute to a therapeutic environment that is most conducive to learning.

4. At ILA we are committed to building a genuinely collaborative partnership between public and private education. Our administrative team is largely comprised of formerly public education leaders. Their insight and experience is instrumental in determining policies that will best serve the needs of the school district. We do not regard ILA as an alternative, but rather as a supplement to mainstream-public education. Additionally, ILA seeks to combine the best elements of public education with special services and opportunities that are distinctive to a private institution.

Student Population

The Inclusive Learning Academy serves students with disabilities, grades K-12, who require a small, structured class size as indicated by their Individual Education Program. Typically, ILA enrolls students who are classified as Multiply Disabled; that is, students with disabilities which fall into more than one category and require highly individualized instruction and related services.

ILA specializes in developing appropriate programs for students who are classified as Emotionally Disturbed (mood and conduct disorders), Other Health Impaired (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and physical conditions where medication compliance and/or emotional issues are a factor), or any category of disability resulting in behaviors that adversely affect the student’s educational performance.

Staff Training and Certifications

All of our counselors, teachers, and teacher assistants are certified in nonviolent crisis prevention and intervention by the Crisis Prevention Institute. Each teacher is a certified teacher of the handicapped. Most of our teachers, and many of our teacher assistants, possess advanced degrees. Our counselors are all credentialed by the state and supervised by a certified school psychologist.

The ILA Triangles

The Inclusive Learning Academy logo is not a randomly generated image. Each of the triangles that comprise the ILA logo represent a set of three principles. The triangles are interlocked to express that all of these concepts are linked and build upon each other to encompass what it means to be a part of the ILA community.

The First Triangle

Home, School, Community

  • “The mission of ILA is to provide our students with a comprehensive education in accordance with their individualized needs while simultaneously facilitating opportunities for growth and achievement in educational, social, and civic settings.”
  • At ILA we take an interest in the student’s growth inside as well as outside of school. The goal is to take the social and academic skills learned in the classroom and use them to make a positive contribution in their home and I their community.

The Second Triangle

Teach, Transform, Transition

  • “It is our goal to instruct students in the skills necessary to thrive academically and socially, so that they may confidently and ably participate in all aspects of the public school program.” – ILA Mission Statement
  • The “3 T’s” represent the ILA mission to teach our students vital academic and behavioral skills, so that we may nurture their transformation in to students capable of partaking in the same educational experience as their nondisabled peers, and finally oversee their transition back to their home district.

The Third Triangle

Respect, Accountability, and Perseverance

  • Respect, Accountability, and Perseverance (RAP) are the core values of Inclusive Learning Academy.
  • Respect for oneself and others.
  • Accountability for one’s own actions.
  • Having the perseverance to work hard, overcome challenges, and achieve one’s goals.