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for the Blind

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St. Joseph's School for the Blind - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

St. Joseph's School for the Blind
761 Summit Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07307
(201) 876-5432 (Local)
(201) 876-5431 (Fax)

Brief Description

St. Joseph's School for the Blind is committed to the educational, psychological, social and physical development of persons with special needs in an environment of caring, acceptance and respect for each individual's rights and dignity.

The Center provides life span comprehensive services to people with blindness, visual impairments and/or multiple disabilities. The Center is a NJ Department of Education Approved Private School for the Disabled and is licensed by the Department of Developmental Disabilities.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 AM-4:00 PM.
Staff description: Professionals, paraprofessionals and volunteers.
Geographic area served: New Jersey.
Publications: School newsletter, early intervention program newsletter.


David Feinhals, Executive Director
Anthony Lentine, Principal, (201) 876-5432 102

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • The Realizing Adult Potential (RAP)program is dedicated to enriching the lives of adults with special needs by providing self directed day programs that support the acquisition and practice of life skills in a safe and encouraging environment. The RAP program provides training opportunities that address: Personal Care, Social Skills, Self Awareness/Self Esteem, Meal Preparation, Personal Finances, Vocational Training, Interpersonal Social Skills, Personal Fitness & Health, Home Management and Consumer Skills.

      The Concordia campus is ADA accessible and includes a residential center with a fully equipped kitchen and home living spaces. Meeting rooms, technology center, gym, indoor therapy pool,outdoor recreation area, and opportunities to develop vocational skills are all available within one comprehensive program. The Concordia campus is centrally located near mass transit, a thriving business area and a community recreational center.
  • Information and Referral
    • Refers to community resources for services not provided by agency.

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Concordia Learning Center contracts with school districts to provide the following services:
      • Functional Vision Assessments to measure how a student uses his/her vision to perform routine tasks in different places and with different materials. The assessment integrates this information with medical and educational reports and available assistive technologies in order to provide recommendations to the school and home on how to assist a student to maximize the use of his/her vision. These services are provided by Teachers of the Visually Impaired, typically in the student’s community school during regular school hours. Certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) have the necessary training to complete this assessment.
      • Developmental Vision Services provide a student with instruction, support and strategies that will enable him/her to maximize the use of their residual vision. These services are provided by Teachers of the Visually Impaired, typically in the student’s community school during regular school hours but may also be provided after school. Certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired have the necessary training to provide this service.
      • Braille Instruction requires a student to develop efficient tactual skills, basic reading skills as well as to learn the Braille code utilized for both reading and writing. Braille Instruction is provided by Teachers of the Visually Impaired, typically in the student’s community school during regular school hours but may be provided after school.
      • Orientation and Mobility Assessment and Services teaches a blind or visually impaired student where she/he is in space and where she/he wants to go (orientation). It also teaches a student how to carry out a plan to move about safely, efficiently and effectively in his/her environment. These services are best provided in a variety of environments: school, community, and home both during and after school hours.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • At Concordia Learning Center at St. Joseph's School for the Blind, Braille is an essential component of our education program for those students who demonstrate Braille literacy is appropriate for them. Braille represents independence, equality, and literacy for those students. Students learn Braille within their classroom settings as well as in private sessions with a Braille instructor on a one-on-one basis providing them with individualized instruction based on their specific abilities. We are well equipped with assistive technology devices, which allows students accessibility to information and allows them to be more in tune with technology in this modern information age.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • The Sharon and James D. Held Enrichment and Technology Center at Concordia Learning Center at St. Joseph's School for the Blind plays a key role in introducing students to the benefits of assistive technology. Computers, closed circuit television CCTV), special software, and other state-of-the-art equipment, including optical and non-optical low vision devices for reading and writing, all open up exciting new opportunities for learning and individual independence.
  • Counseling
    • Social workers assist parents and participating agencies with counseling, advocacy and referral.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Essential to the curriculum from preschool through secondary school is training in the extended core curriculum including: orientation and mobility, socialization, recreation, prevocational, self determination, assistive technology and home and community living skills. These skills are taught in the classroom, in the community and in the Concordia Residence adjoining the school.

      The Concordia Residence provides a home-like environment with well equipped living and recreational areas, state of the art adapted/assistive technology and adaptive appliances and equipment. The residence is available to day students as well as the residential students who may spend up to 4 nights a week learning and practicing independent living skills. In addition, Concordia Residence is also available to provide a short term training environment to students and adults with disabilities not attending the school program.

      The Concordia Residential Programs prepare students to be as independent as possible for their lives after school. By providing successful living experiences, the program fosters the development of a positive self-image.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • It is a well-known fact that up to 90% of what a child learns in the first three years of life is through visual observation. This means that infants from birth to three years of age with visual impairments and possible multiple disabilities need the unique expertise of certified teachers of the blind or visually impaired and orientation and mobility instructors with additional special skills in the area of early intervention.

      > Our multicultural teams of special educators teach infants and toddlers in their own homes how to compensate for any reduced, or in some instances, total lack of vision. They also help prepare each child for a successful transition to a wide-range of preschool opportunities.

      The process begins with a comprehensive functional vision and and developmental assessment, which helps define the child's unique needs. An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is then developed that addresses the specific needs of both child and family.

      Through play and other early intervention services, children learn effective communication skills, concept development, orientation/mobility techniques, and awareness of body image and movement.

      It is very important to start early intervention services as soon as possible--ideally soon after birth.
  • Education Services
    • Through Concordia Learning Center at St. Joseph's School for the Blind's five-day-a-week education program, with a 30 day extended school year option, students between the ages of 3 to 21 are provided with the pragmatic skills of personal independence and academics needed to live and work in the community--and to make the very best of their unique abilities. This is an exciting, creative, high-quality special education program, specifically designed to respond to the individual and unique needs of each student who attends the school.

      The academic program is based on the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and is taught by highly qualified New Jersey certified teachers of the blind or visually impaired and teachers of students with disabilities.

      Occupational, physical, speech/language, and orientation/mobility specialists enrich each student's academic program with training in motor, language, mobility, technology, prevocational, and life skills essential to success in the adult world.

      The school's Sharon and James D. Held Enrichment and Technology Center plays a key role in introducing students to the benefits of technology. The Concordia Residence and the adjoining Frank R. Lautenberg Independent Living and Learning Center offers students a realistic home environment to learn and practice home living skills.

      Concordia's team of dedicated and experienced multicultural special educators work with students and their families to assess, custom-design, and implement each student's Indiviualized Education Plan (IEP). Our goal is to ensure our students receive the best possible education in the least restrictive environment--with the overall aim to BE ALL THEY CAN BE!
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Creating an individualized transition program for our students is vital as they prepare themselves for the adult world. Our goal is to provide students with oppurtunities to explore, practice, and experiment with structured life and work-related learning activities that are conducted both in the school and neighboring community.

      Training oppurtunities are offered in the following areas:
      • Job finding skills
      • Job keeping skills
      • Personal care
      • Home skills - laundry, cooking, cleaning
      • Interpersonal relationships
      • Time management
      • Community mobility
      • Social etiquette
      • Critical thinking skills
      • Money management
      • Accepting responsibility
      • Planning for the future

      Concordia actively integrates the efforts of our own staff with parents, the general public, and potential employers, to change attitudes and bridge the gap between school and the adult world.
  • Health
    • Concordia has a full-time nurse on staff to handle routine procedures as well as any emergencies that arise during the school day. Medications are dispensed according to doctor's prescriptions. Vision and dental screenings occur during the school year. In addition, a second nurse accompanies classes on field trips.
  • Preschool Programs
    • Concordia Learning Center at St. Joseph's Pre-School Program is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of children, ages 3-5 years, with visual impairments and possible additional disabilities. Through games, play, and extensive academic activities, our children learn the age-appropriate attitudes and skills necessary for academic and interpersonal success.

      Classes are small and intimate with instruction by a New Jersey certified teacher of students with disabilities and/or a New Jersey certified teacher of the blind or visually impaired and at least two teacher aides. Other related services include occupational, physical, and speech/language therapy, orientation/mobility instruction, and parent workshops run by social workers. Related Services are done in close partnership with the classroom staff in an integrative manner. Together their combined skills assist in developing each child's awareness, movement, socialization, language, communication, functional, and academic abilities.
  • Recreation Services
    • Offers after-school programs, arts and crafts, community integration, year-round swimming and adapted playground.
  • Support for Parents
    • Parental involvment is a key element to the team approach at Concordia Learning Center regarding education and life skills training. This encompasses at-home learning in the Early Intervention Program, participation in school programs and events, ongoing consultation with the school's social workers, and direct involvement in the formulation of Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for their children. Staff periodically hold parent workshops during the course of the school year on a variety of topics. Recent presentations included assisting the child to orient themselves utilizing sighted guide/cane techniques, enhancing the independence of the blind child, and adapting appliances at home.
  • Support Groups
    • Family members play a lead role in directing and supporting their children's education--with guidance, resource information, educational expertise, and support provided by our teachers, therapists, and social workers. Together, families and the Concordia Learning Center at St. Joseph's team implement the child's individual plan. Families also have oppurtunities to meet and discuss experiences with other families.

      Concordia Learning Center offers the following services to support and encourage participation from each student's family - family resource center, family support groups, community-based orientation/mobility assessments and follow-up services, vocational and functional living assessments and follow-up services, advocacy and referral, and family workshops on pertinent topics.

      In addition, social workers and the school nurse hold Health Education Groups for students on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Orientation and mobility instruction is available to Concordia Learning Center at St. Joseph's School for the Blind students from preschool through secondary school. Orientation refers to a person knowing where they are at any given time and understanding their relationshop in the surrounding environment. Mobility refers to techniques visually impaired people use to travel safely and comfortably. Orientation and mobility training offers students an incentive to move and explore and is valuable for all students with visual impairments. Students are taught these skills as early as possible in order to promote personal independence. Orientation and Mobility training provides children with safety, comfort, and success when traveling inside or outside of the school and in familiar or unfamiliar areas. Some of the first skills taught include: how to become oriented to a given space, how to work safely and comfortably with a sighted guide, and how to maximize the use of all senses when moving from one location to another.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Provides assistance to school districts and others serving persons with blindness or visual impairment.
  • Professional Training
    • Offers ongoing professional in-service development activities and internship/fieldwork placement in special education, social work, speech and language therapy.


Transition to Adult Services - St. Joseph's School for the Blind

Ongoing Events/Programs

Pre-school Program
K-12 Program

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