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issue 2/winter 2016/17

potential p.g. chambers school



a they now?







Where will their journeys take them? Our graduates continue to grow and flourish, going out into the world, using their skills and knowledge, and more importantly, doing good. P.G. Chambers School 15 Halko Drive Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927-1380 973.829.8484 Development Staff Andrea C. Quigley Director of Development Amara D’Aquanni Development Coordinator Erin Martin Development Coordinator Peter Crimi Development Associate

potential Credits Managing Editor Andrea C. Quigley Assistant Managing Editor Erin Martin Executive Editor Susan Seamans Contributors Peter Crimi Amara D’Aquanni Margey Dwyre-Daily Abbey Greenberg Julie Hagerty Amber Hummer Mindy Porcelan Marcie Schembre Susan Seamans Patti Stenzil Michael Thunell Graphic Design Joanne Hemerlein Photography JoEllen Kelly Photography Erin Martin Michelle Norkin Veroluce Photography Printing Professional Printing Center

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Executive Director’s Memo Susan Seamans recognizes promotions, appointments


A Day in the Life Spend a typical day at PGCS with our ever amazing students


Halko Drive Happenings New hires, certifications, promotions, and awards


Leadership is for Everyone Here at PGCS, we believe everyone has the potential to lead!


Social Media & Website Development Adapting to technology’s changing landscape


Innovations in Special Education Award PGCS honored for our ATEAM approach


Unsung Heroes Our dedicated and passionate teacher assistants


Art on a Cart, Music in the Halls Programs an integral part of our students’ development


Red Carpet Market Development team thinks ‘outside the box’ to host successful rummage sale


PGCS Strategic Plan A crossword puzzle to celebrate our accomplishments



issue 2/winter 2016/17


Casino We all ‘Chipped in for the Children!’


Lucy’s Gift Marisa Spagnoletti’s gift keeps on giving


Dear Friends of P.G. Chambers School,

PGCS Auxiliary June luncheon honors Jeanne Nichols

Welcome to our second issue of potential, a magazine published to provide in-depth news and information about P.G. Chambers School. Many exciting things have taken place since our first edition, which featured the school’s 60th anniversary and our Power of 60 Campaign. I am pleased to report that the Power of 60 helped us expand our constituent base, bringing many new friends to the school. We were also able to fund the purchase of equipment and materials that, once again, have placed the school at the forefront of schools for students with disabilities throughout the state.


Early Intervention Program A Q&A with Director, Amber Hummer


Golf/5K Who says fundraising can’t be fun?!

Officers of the Board of Trustees

PGCS Donors

Thomas J. Walsh Vice President

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School Calendar

New Board Members PGCS gains the talent of eight new trustees


MENUS FOR THE MIND Silver Medalist at the Winter X Games, snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s life changed forever when he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Kevin shared his riveting story of survival and recovery at the 2015 fall luncheon.

Unjeria C. Jackson, MD President

One of the most frequently asked questions from visitors to the school is, “What happens to students when they leave P.G. Chambers School?” Our cover story, Where are They Now?, highlights several of our graduates, as well as children who have transitioned to their local public schools. We are proud of their accomplishments and happy to share their adventures with our readers.

Lori Solomon Vice President and Treasurer

In this issue we have also featured A Day in the Life at PGCS, where you will learn what happens each day at our school—from morning announcements, to Middle School Café, to a lesson on blue whales incorporating the Boardmaker ! Did you know you can join us any day for “Morning Movement”? Dance, practice yoga, or just stretch and get ready for the day, each morning at 9:15 am.

Susan Seamans Secretary and Executive Director

You will also find photos and articles about our exciting special events, staff news, and short biographies of our new board members—we have welcomed eight community members to the Board of Trustees.

Board of Trustees Joanne Balady Anthony Bonanno James J. Brazel Patricia Chambers Jerry DeFrancisco Eric C. Elbell Walter Kneis Aftab Malik Pavan Mehta John Mulhearn Gwen Packard Keith Savel Wendy Tait Steve Vittorio

Each time I come to the school, I am inspired by the students, each uniquely talented and each so very happy to be discovering their potential. I am excited to share their stories with you, and encourage your feedback. With warm regards,

Unjeria C. Jackson, MD President, Board of Trustees 1

Promotions and New Appointments 2015/2016


APRIL 10, 2015 Please join me in congratulating Melissa Burrell, MS, OT, ATP, on her promotion to Senior Occupational Therapist. Melissa makes a significant contribution to many of our programs, demonstrating expertise in assistive technology and clinical interventions. She brings her skills and knowledge to our AT clinics, AT contract evaluations, and Access to Education Baseline Assessment. Melissa frequently presents trainings on topics related to assistive technology, and she is an avid supporter of the “move to learn” initiative. She is definitely the go-to person for our long-standing contract with Hanover Township Public Schools and mentors colleagues on issues involving our community-based services. Melissa joined P.G. Chambers School in 2008, and has a background in both pediatrics and adult rehabilitation. In 2013, she earned her Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) certification. Congratulations Melissa!

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JULY 8, 2015 Please join me in congratulating Erin Martin on her promotion to Development Coordinator. Erin joined our Development Team in October 2013, and quickly became one of our rising super stars. By applying her creative spirit, organizational abilities, and people skills, Erin has made an important contribution to many aspects of our development effort. And, most recently, she adeptly applied her leadership skills to planning our most-successful Red Carpet Market. Great job Erin! We all look forward to working with Erin in her new position. AUGUST 15, 2015 I’m happy to tell you that Peter Crimi joined our Development Team on August 3rd as a fulltime Development Associate. During the past year, Peter has been very successful in raising awareness and financial support for our school, and we look forward to further developing his talents in these areas. Please join me in congratulating Peter on his new job!

SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 Joyce Kwasney has been a valued member of our Early Intervention Program staff for 19 years. She is also our Autism Curriculum Coordinator and, thanks to Joyce, we were the first early intervention program in Morris County with an approved Autism Curriculum. Joyce is sensitive and intuitive to the needs of families, and a role model and resource to her colleagues. She has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, particularly with children on the autism spectrum and children with behavioral issues. It is my pleasure to announce Joyce’s promotion to Clinical Coordinator and to formally recognize her many contributions to our organization. Congratulations Joyce! SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 Let’s all congratulate Lisa Grau on her promotion to Occupational Therapy Clinical Coordinator. Lisa joined P.G. Chambers School in 2001 with clinical experience in neonatal intensive care, early intervention, and public schools. She has consistently contributed to the development of our school and Contract Services Programs. Lisa has also led the expansion of our OT Student Program and our OT Volunteer/Observation Program. In 2005, she was promoted to Senior OT and, in 2014, we nominated her for the ASAH Related Service Provider of the Year Award. Lisa consistently goes above and beyond to support her team members. She is one of our most passionate ambassadors. Kudos to Lisa! FEBRUARY 8, 2016 Big congratulations also go to Mary Carroll on her welldeserved promotion to Senior Physical Therapist. Mary began her time with us as a PT graduate student in the late 1990’s. She began working at our school in 2002, then left for a few years to broaden her experiences around the country,

and came “home” to P.G. Chambers School in 2012. For the past three years, she has co-managed our Orthotics Clinic, growing the program beyond expectations each year. In addition, Mary has become the PT leader on the CVI Task Force and an active participant in the various CVI trainings, gaining knowledge that she has eagerly passed along to the rest of our PTs and classroom teams. Mary manages to do all this and provide therapy for children across four programs—school, contracts, early intervention, and aquatics. Many thanks to Mary for all she does for our children and families! Please join me in congratulating Desiree Calabrese on her promotion to PT Clinical Coordinator. Desiree has been a valuable member of our P.G. Chambers School team, contributing to the mission of our organization in a variety of ways. With over 25 years of pediatric experience, Desiree has developed and shared her skills at PGCS, enhancing our programs and improving outcomes for students in our school, contract services, and early intervention. In addition to having a strong clinical background working with physically challenged students, Desiree has extensive experience in gait analysis and orthotics management. She earned her NDT certification years ago and has maintained that certification throughout her career. Of the many talented therapists working at PGCS, Desiree is one of our most skilled clinicians in the areas of facilitation and handling, observational skills, and clinical problem solving. Desiree has also applied her leadership skills in managing our Orthotics Clinic, participating in the Move to Learn Task Force, and acting as clinical instructor and new staff mentor. Best wishes to Desiree on her promotion! To all of the talented, energetic, resourceful, and dedicated staff, thank you for all that you do each day! With great respect,

Susan Seamans Executive Director 3

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Students, Joel and Ethan, give morning announcements AND have fun doing it!

Gym! Teacher Assistant, Janine, and student, Frankie, enjoy a fast and fun game of kickball!

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hen you walk through the doors of P.G. Chambers School, something special happens. Whether it is the students, the staff, or most likely a bit of both—it is an infectious feeling that is sensed by all who enter the building. As many of our readers know this feeling, we thought it would be most appropriate to take you further into the magic—by giving you a “Day in the Life” of a P.G. Chambers School student. As students exit their buses and enter school, they are first greeted by staff members. Smiles and laughter fill the lobby as they realize with excitement they are once again in their favorite place to learn, P.G. Chambers School. As an employee, I cherish the morning moments when I see the expressions on each and every child’s face as he or she enters school. I was lucky enough to spend the day with Summitra Rajah’s Class 3, collecting information for this article. For me, this was not only an assignment, but also an opportunity to spend time with the students and get to know them. Right away, I realized how absolutely seamless the classroom worked as a whole. Throughout the day students left for therapy at different times, as each child marked a “sign out sheet” to ensure his whereabouts. Functional activities were integrated into the rhythm of the classroom and the lessons. Students were learning not only to comprehend and practice certain skills, but they were also learning values, manners, and daily life skills that they will be able to apply outside the classroom.

a day in the life BY ERIN MARTIN

of a PGCS student

9:00 am

Morning Announcements Speech therapists, Jen Jacobs and Dana Hall, wanted to give our students the opportunity to practice their communication skills outside the classroom. Students work with their speech therapists to give the announcements for the day, including birthdays, upcoming events, school happenings, and even some jokes! To date, twenty students have participated in morning announcements—and Jen and Dana tell me that there are many more to come! “Good Morning! This is Julia. Today is Friday, June 10, 2016. There are no birthdays today! Reminders: Pre-school and Middle School graduation is next week! Have a wonderful day and enjoy the weather!”

9:25 am Morning Movement!

What began as a yoga class in September of 2015 soon became Morning Movement. According to a 2010 essay penned by Charles Basch of Columbia University, “Exercise directly impacts the behavior and development of the brain.” He summarized how exercise may affect executive functioning by increased oxygen flow to the brain, neurotransmitters, and increased brain-derived neurotrophins, which are responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking. Led by music teacher, Margey Dwyre-Daily, and principal, Heather Gilliland, the movement committee at P.G. Chambers School was developed from Basch’s concept. Every classroom and every child participates, whether she is in a walker, a wheelchair, or can move 5

on his own—the program is adapted for all abilities. In Class 3, students participated in Zumba and the Macarena, and ended the session with calming stretches and chants so they can start the day with the right mindset.

11:30 am Middle School Café

9:45 am Reading

Students break into groups depending on their skill level, and some children join students from different classrooms to work in specific reading groups. As students transitioned to this new activity, they were acutely aware that their friends were leaving the classroom saying, “Goodbye, see you soon!” I could tell that the students are very fond of each other. Some students work in groups of two or three and some work with a one-onone teacher assistant. Tools such as iPads, visual aids, and communication boards help them answer questions and interact in the lesson. Class 3 incorporates four reading curricula, including SPRIRE, MEville to WEville, Reading Milestones, and Listening Comprehension. I was so impressed by the extraordinary things that were happening in the classroom— the children were attentive and eager to participate in the lessons.

10:45 am Gym!

As we all know, gym is the time EVERYONE looks forward to—a time to get outside, stretch, and feel the sun on your face. PGCS students are like any others—they LOVE gym class. The students organize into a single file as they

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1:30 pm

walk with anticipation to the all-purpose room. Gym teacher, Orla Slattery, welcomes the class and introduces the physical fitness activity for the day—KICKBALL! There wasn’t a disappointed look in the room. First, we walked a few laps around the Learning Park. As we stretched our legs and had some conversation, I was happy to make a new friend, Joel. Joel asked me a few questions: “What color is your birthday cake?” and “How many sisters do you have?” I enjoyed my time chatting with Joel, as we made fast friends. We soon began kickball, and students of all abilities were able to kick the ball and make a run toward first base. They were cheering each other on as they made it all the way home!

The Middle School Café opens at 11:30 AM every Friday. This special program began as a collaborative effort with the Middle School Team and is now maintained by Sarah Clark and Dana Hall. Middle School Classes 1, 10, and 11 all participate in this program, and it is enjoyed by everyone! Early in the week, students vote and decide on the menu. They then purchase the ingredients on ShopRite. com, and on Friday they cook, clean, and set up their cash register for selling. The student roles include a greeter, a server, and a cashier. The Middle School Café not only builds self-confidence, but it also provides practice in math (fractions, counting inventory), science (cooking, chemical reactions), and life skills.

12:00 pm 12:30 pm

Lunch Time Free Time

Brain Breaks!

Students get a break in between math and reading groups to “stretch their sillies out”. They are able to walk, clap, stretch, wiggle, and waggle, as they give their brains a break!

1:35 pm TOP LEFT Ethan & Steven participate in a reading lesson with teacher assistant, Eva. TOP RIGHT Our middle school students prepare all week long for Friday’s Middle School Café experience. BOTTOM RIGHT Math activities relating to daily life experiences help ensure success for students like Olivia.

Group Reading Comprehension Class 3 is working on a book called “Blue Whales: Giant Mammals”. Typically a book will take two weeks to one month to read, depending on the reading level of the students. Summitra practices listening comprehension with the group by reading a page or two, then asks questions. “Is this book fiction?” she asked Ryan, who is non-verbal. Ryan promptly pointed to “no” on his communication board. As she continued reading, the students learned: • A blue whale eats about forty million krill each day! • A blue whale has baleen in its mouth; baleen is like stiff hair. • Food helps them grow blubber! Blubber keeps the whale warm. • They are the biggest mammals on earth! The new knowledge about blue whales was reinforced by having the students gather around the Boardmaker to watch videos about whales and learn more interesting facts. Did you know a baby calf is about the size of a classroom?! The children were amused by the videos and learned a lot—and so did I!

2:30 pm 3:15 pm


End of School Day

Thank you for spending the day with us at P.G. Chambers School. If you would like to volunteer and see first-hand what happens in our classrooms, you can find more information at

During free time students can choose activity centers such as books on tape, the DEAR Program (Drop Everything And Read), color, play with Legos, play computer games, use their personal iPad, board games, card games, compose Madlibs, or listen to music. With the necessity of a highly structured day to cover all of the academics, it is important for students to have free time where they must make independent choices.

1:00 pm


Math activities are displayed on a Boardmaker, used in several classroom activities. A Boardmaker is a trusted tool for teachers and therapists to create symbol adapted, accessible curriculum materials for students, regardless of their abilities. Summitra makes math fun by using it in functional ways, thus the lesson relates to themes that are impactful. Activities such as attendance, number of school days remaining in the year, and counting money, are subjects that students know and can use to strengthen their math skills. Student, Frankie, counted in increments of 10 as she stacked dimes—all the way up to 100—surprising the entire class. Go Frankie!! After the lesson, Summitra showed a video with a motivating song and great visuals to reinforce learning. Who knew math could be so much fun?!

Joel practices his writing skills during reading group. 7

to grow, so does the need for quality teachers, therapists, and support staff. Over the past few

haLko dRive

school news As P.G. Chambers School continues




Congratulations and thank you to all who have worked hard to improve yourselves and our organization!

years, we have hired a great number


of highly qualified and talented


As our staff continues to improve upon their professional skills, there are those who merit recognition through increased responsibility and impact on the organization. Listed below are those who have received a promotion in the past year. Mary Carroll Senior Physical Therapist (Physical Therapy)

Joyce Kwasney Clinical Coordinator (Early Intervention)

Peter Crimi Development Associate (Development)

Erin Martin Development Coordinator (Development)

Desiree Earns PT Clinical Coordinator (Physical Therapy)

Therese Weiss Executive Administrative Assistant (Business)

Lisa Grau OT Clinical Coordinator (Occupational Therapy)

individuals who are using their skills to provide quality services to our

While we understand and recognize all that our staff does for our students, the staff is also recognized outside of our organization for excellence in the special education community. ASAH, an organization “serving the private special education community” in New Jersey annually recognizes an educator, paraprofessional, and related service provider for their outstanding work. Here are P.G. Chambers School’s nominees from 2015 and 2016.

2015: Laryssa Shashkewych Educator of the Year Holli Wright Related Service Provider of the Year (Winner of Region II)

students. Below are the recent new hires at P.G. Chambers School:

Patti Kalita Paraprofessional of the Year Education Department Dina Alves Classroom Teacher Erika Aronson Teacher Assistant Ashley Atalese Teacher Assistant Kim Benedetto Teacher Assistant Kathleen Coleman Teacher Assistant Kimberly Gayle Teacher Assistant Leah Gruber Classroom Teacher Noelle Hynes Teacher Assistant

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Emily Jarger Teacher Assistant Ariella Kastner Teacher Assistant Elizabeth Kling Teacher Assistant Janine Lopez Teacher Assistant Nancy Salus Teacher Assistant Diane Smith Teacher Assistant Pauline Suan Teacher Assistant Jennifer Urciuoli Teacher Assistant

Occupational Therapy Department Brittany Simms Occupational Therapist

Communication Department Ellen Maryam Ahmed Speech Therapist

Jennifer Waters Occupational Therapist

Luba Chesky Speech Therapist

Physical Therapy Department Amanda Bursese Physical Therapist

Jessica Gasalberti Speech Therapist

Jeanine Gervasio Physical Therapist Susan Herrmann Physical Therapist Nursing Department Judith Flower School Nurse

LEAD Program Graduates Below are staff who were selected to participate in and completed the PGCS LEAD (Leadership Exploration and Development) Program. To learn more about LEAD, please see the article on the next page. Jenna Campagna, Nursing

Julie Haggerty, Physical Therapy

Elizabeth Noonan Speech Therapist

Sarah Clark, Occupational Therapy

Dana Hall, Speech Therapy

Annie Clayton, Physical Therapy

Joyce Lewis, Education

Early Intervention Program Catherine Wagner

Margey Dwyre-Daily, Education, Music

Michael Thunell, Development

Kids Count Child Care Candice Iszard

Siobhan Gilfillan, Business

2016: Joyce Lewis Educator of the Year (Winner of Region II) Sarah Clark Related Service Provider of the Year (Winner of Region II) Patti Stenzel Paraprofessional of the Year

Holli Wright, Physical Therapy

Erin Vaccaro Teacher Assistant 9



Leadership is for everyone

I ? R E L A T I O N S H I P








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C H A L L E N G E ?












P.G. Chambers School, we believe that “leadership is for everyone”. While it has always been a part of the P.G. Chambers School culture, this belief was formalized into the Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD) Program, which provides opportunities for staff members to assess their leadership skills, learn about leadership using a broad range of opportunities, and practice those skills through a personal leadership plan and participation in a capstone project addressing an organizational need. The LEAD Program spans an entire year, and begins each spring with the nomination of individuals who have demonstrated initiative, accountability, responsibility, and a high level of skill in their own professional role. From this group of nominees, the school’s directors make the selection of five to six individuals, with final approval of the executive director, and an invitation to join the LEAD program. Once in the program, the members of LEAD are given dedicated time throughout the year to build their skills. LEAD members are guided and coached by their self-selected mentors to create a personal leadership plan based on a self-assessment of leadership strengths and challenges. Mentors are selected among staff, trustees, or a LEAD member may find a mentor outside of the organization. The individual leadership plan is organized around three goals: immediate, mid-range, and long-term goals. Through mentorship, self-study, workshops, and seminars, each member of the LEAD group works on developing a specific skill set in the areas of communication, project management, budgeting, and finance. In addition to the individual leadership plans, the group also works


together to create and implement a project that will have an impact on the organization. These projects have included the development of a leadership resource library, an operational plan and standard operating procedure focused on communication and using technology for communication, and a health and wellness initiative. “Each year,” states Mindy Porcelan, Director of Communications and coordinator of the LEAD program for the school, “we learn more and more about how we can prepare our staff for leadership. The individual and group projects are having a significant impact on how we operate as an organization.” In addition to the formal LEAD program, there are many opportunities for the entire staff to participate in leadership development. An exceptional program that was instituted by one of our LEAD graduates, Nancy Altshuler, is the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) group. PAL is a informal, monthly roundtable, where staff members discuss an article about leadership with their peers. The PAL group has provided opportunities for staff to select specific learning topics and explore their own personal leadership style. Through a Leadership Workforce Development Grant, and our continuing relationship with Morris County Community College, PGCS has offered staff opportunities to participate in continuing education on the following leadership topics:

• Supervisor Essentials • Managing Multiple Priorities • Emotional Intelligence • Project Management • Strategic Planning • Public Speaking • Critical Thinking These trainings have provided our staff with tools to enhance and improve themselves in their roles at PGCS, as well as to become more successful in their lives. Susan Seamans, Executive Director, emphasizes that “The goal of our organization is to provide the highest quality of education and therapy for our students, and the best way we know how to do that is to continue to invest in our staff !”

Members of our staff who have participated in LEAD include: 2016 Sarah Clark Annie Clayton Margey Dwyre-Daily Dana Hall Laryssa Shashkewych Michael Thunell

2015 Jenna Campagna Siobhan Gilfillan Renee Gitto Julie Haggerty Joyce Lewis Holli Wright

2014 Nancy Altshuler Kelly Faber Amber Hummer Jennifer Jacobs Kristin Young 11


the past 21 years, Menus for Mind has been the signature fundraising event for P.G. Chambers School. In addition to raising awareness of the school and its mission, Menus has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide new technologies, curriculum, specialized equipment, and materials to students with disabilities. In February of 1994 the school held its first major benefit, an “Evening of Magic” with Harry Blackstone, Jr. The event was a success both financially and socially. After the benefit, the Friends of P.G. Chambers School Organizational Committee began searching for an attractive program that would raise money on a continuing basis for the school. To fulfill this need, the Menus for the Mind Lecture Luncheon Series was launched. The concept included a series of luncheons spread throughout the year that would combine nourishment for the mind and body. Speakers at these luncheons would be drawn from a variety of worlds: theater, music, the arts, sports, etc., and the common denominator would be that all would be persons of known accomplishment. The series schedule and reservation form were mailed to a list of over 3,000, and although women would remain the primary target audience for the series, it was anticipated that we might also gain the interest of professional men in the Morris County area. The first “Menus” season opened with Jean Harris on November 2, 1995 with less than 100 women. Since then, luncheon subscriptions have multiplied to over 300. The line-up of outstanding speakers have included Frank Abingdale, Ted Allen, David Baldacci, Nigel Barker, Dr. Joy Browne, Mark Malloch Brown, Amy Chua, Harlan Coben, Barbara Corcoran, Kelly Corrigan, Lynn Donohue, Linda Ellerbee, Howard Fineman, Ellen Goodman, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Nancy Grace, Bettina Gregory, Tim Gunn, Betty Halbriech, Heloise, Arianna Huffington, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, Lisa Ling, Andrea Mitchell, Cynthia Nixon, Soledad O’Brian, Dr. Dean Ornish, Richard Picciotto, Anna Quindlen, Dana Reeve, Gretchen Rubin, Timothy Shriver, Christy Turlington-Burns, David Vise, Marsha Wallace, John Walsh, Beck Weathers, Ali Wentworth, Lee Woodruff, and Lauren Wylie.

Our 21st annual Menus for the Mind Lecture Series on November 12, 2015 featured guest speaker, Kevin Pearce, former professional snowboarder, Sports Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society, and founder of LoveYourBrain, LLC. Kevin Pearce catapulted onto the professional snowboarding stage in 2005 at the age of 18, soaring above others in his division and quickly becoming the athlete to watch

Menus for the Mind History & 21st Series BY ERIN MARTIN & ANDREA C. QUIGLEY

in the ever- evolving sport. With his smooth style, spellbinding tricks, and penchant for extraordinary feats, fans came to expect only amazing things from him. In the 2009 Winter X Games, Kevin brought home the Silver Medal for the Superpipe, making him a strong contender to win Gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Everything changed for Kevin on December 31, 2009 while training for the Olympic trials, practicing a trick on the half pipe. Kevin suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him in critical condition and placed in a medically induced coma. Kevin’s story of survival is riveting, jaw dropping, and inspiring. Kevin, his brother, Adam, and friend, Rose, met the students of P.G. Chambers School and were amazed at their abilities

Guest speaker Kevin Pearce was a true inspiration to all who attended our fall 2015 Menus for the Mind luncheon. Here Kevin is pictured sharing a moment with PGCS students, Julia and Michael.

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and the joy they could see on the students’ faces. As Kevin said, “There is something so unique about this place; I have never seen a school like this!” Kevin was able to connect so strongly with the children, staff, and guests, by relating to people with disabilities and telling his story of survival and recovery. The luncheon proved to be an outstanding success, raising $198,712. On May 5, 2016 our mission was at the heart of our Menus for the Mind spring Luncheon — giving guests an opportunity to see first-hand what “helping children lead full, productive lives, develop confidence in their own abilities, and engage fully and frequently in the community” means for students at P.G. Chambers School. PGCS Alumni, Caitlyn, Robert, and Victoria styled looks for a fashion show with a community partner, Bloomingdale’s at the Short Hills Mall. The PGCS alumni attend the Roxbury High School VISTA program— which, until August 2016, operated as a collaborative public high school option between PGCS and Roxbury for students with disabilities. All three students have completed major projects in fashion at Roxbury. Victoria spoke to the guests using her augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) or voice output device, saying, “I attended P.G. Chambers School for eleven years. In fifth grade I organized a fashion show with the help of Mrs. Gilliland [school principal] and another student. I was so excited, because it was my first experience with fashion. Next year, I will be attending Community College of Morris for fashion merchandising. After attending college, I plan to become a personal stylist.” Victoria is fulfilling her hopes and dreams, as she continues to discover her unique potential, just as we hoped she would. Spring guest speaker, Lauren Weisberger, toured the school and was so taken with the students and staff. Ms. Weisberger remarked, “I read and researched, but nothing was quite as powerful as walking down the hallways and seeing the driving passion of the teachers and therapists, and the students glowing with happiness—it was breathtaking.” Our fall Luncheon on November 3, 2016 featured Guest Speaker, Kerry Magro. Kerry

is an award-winning disability advocate, motivational speaker, best-selling author of four books, movie consultant for a major motion picture, Joyful Noise, and producer of social media and digital content at Autism Speaks. He is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization, KFM Making a Difference, which has granted over 30 college scholarships to students with autism. Guests were inspired by Kerry, and he continues to “Make a Difference!” Menus for the Mind has proven to be an enormous success for the students of P.G. Chambers School. This year, the series raised $230,533, and brought in over $35,000 of donated gifts—a total of $266,767. Thank you to event co-chairs, Jerry Rose and Joanne Balady, for bringing your dedication and passion for the students resulting in an outstanding luncheon series. Unjeria C. Jackson, MD, Board President, reflected, “Each year the Menus Luncheons are more and more effective. I am touched and honored that our event chairs and committee members do so very much to ensure both the financial success, as well as bringing the school to life for our guests.” The Devil Wears Prada author, Lauren Weisberger, speaks at our spring 2016 Menus for the Mind luncheon.

new this spring Leslie Odom, Jr. Thursday, June 15, 2017 Join us for an evening of small plates and cocktails 7:00 pm / Park Avenue Club Multifaceted performer Leslie Odom, Jr. has most recently been seen in the Broadway blockbuster, Hamilton, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for the role of “Aaron Burr.” He also won a Grammy as the principal soloist on Hamilton’s Original Broadway Cast Recording. Leslie’s debut solo album, “Leslie Odom, Jr.” was released in June 2016 and quickly rose to the top of the Billboard and iTunes Jazz charts. Renew your sponsorship support or reserve your series reservation by contacting Erin Martin at 973.829.8484 or register online at 13

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Knowing the PGCS audience:

Social Media & Website Development

• The

majority of our fans are online at 9:00 pm

• The

most successful posts come from media content

• The

average reach of a video is 2,761 people with 75 reactions, comments, or shares

• The

average reach of a photo is 762 people with 39 reactions, comments, or shares

•T  he average reach of a status is 344 people with 10 reactions, comments, or shares • The majority of our fans are women ages 25-44 BY ERIN MARTIN

Chambers School launched its first social media platform in the summer of 2011. Since then, PGCS has expanded its social media presence by creating Instagram, YouTube, and WordPress accounts, as well as launched a new website. Keeping up with the ever-changing world of social media and technology is extremely important as we strive to be a cutting-edge organization offering the very best for children with developmental disabilities. Ten, or even five years ago, social media was a completely different entity with different rules… we recognize that the landscape is constantly changing, and so must we. Since 2011, our number of “likes” and reach has grown exponentially. Currently, P.G. Chambers School has 146 followers on Twitter, 188 followers on Instagram, and 1,307 followers on Facebook. With the ever-growing number of platforms on social media—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat… what is most important to know is exactly how and what works best for our audience. In order to continue to grow it is important for us to understand our audience and the kind of information that is most engaging to them.


According to George Weiner, CEO and Founder of Whole Whale, the first ever social media platform, was the campfire. Yes, the campfire! “Campfire metrics” tell us that being a part of a social collective is better than being alone in the cold, outside of the circle. At the campfire, if someone is disengaged from the group, his eye contact changes, he begins to pull away, and when someone is engaged, she wants to be a part of the group and in the inner circle. This is the evolution of the social network—we are and have always been social beings. Social media allows P.G. Chambers School to start the campfire conversation with supporters, families, friends, and community members. Social media allows us to cultivate and maintain relationships with people in the community by keeping them involved with our day-to-day amazing stories. Businesses may have all the tools in the world to produce the results they need to be successful in social media, but do they have a story? P.G. Chambers School has endless stories of development, passion, and limitless possibilities for children with multiple disabilities. This, in turn, gives supporters a reason to be involved and become advocates for the school. Just as in any relaleaders tionship—this is a process that develops over time. According to Whole Whale University, this graphic depicts the evangelists metrics of involvement that followers or fans will have for your business or organization.

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Please help us! Where would you like us to be in 2017?

Tell us now, and help us to build a strong online presence by following us on Twitter and Instagram, and liking us on Facebook!

• • @pgchambersschool •

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• online: blogs, Facebook, websites, YouTube • hard copy: mail, newsletters Watch for our online survey through Survey Monkey in February 2017 OR complete the “How do you like to keep informed?” survey on the enclosed envelope.

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RESULTS: Children Increase in attentiveness 53% Increase in use of assistive technology during academic lessons 67% Increase in motivation to learn 73% Staff Performed the assessments 56% Felt more successful as teachers/ therapists 83% Able to apply what they have learned to other students 93% Improved instruction for the students 93%


or the second time in the past five years, P.G. Chambers School was selected as one of 10 schools throughout New Jersey to be honored with The Innovations in Special Education Award from the New Jersey School Boards Association and ASHA. The award was given for our ATEAM Approach (Assistive Technology: linking Education, Access, and Movement) designed to improve learning outcomes by increasing engagement, motivation, and teachable moments for young students with multiple disabilities, using optimal positioning, movement, and assistive technology. The ATEAM Approach has evolved from the work of several projects at PGCS involving movement, positioning, visual processing, and using assistive technology for learning. “The ATEAM Approach has had a significant impact on learning outcomes for young students with multiple disabilities,” states Heather Gilliland, Principal. “With this project, PGCS has made a bold move, changing the way students traditionally engage in the classroom, and bringing a new perspective to learning based on the factors related to their developmental disabilities.” Many PGCS students have significant physical challenges and we see them expending enormous amounts of energy just to hold their heads up. The impact is that they often do not have adequate energy for learning. “Observations like this led us to hypothesize”, states Maria Smith, Director of Physical Therapy, “if we remove the physical stress of certain traditional ‘learning’ positions, can we free a child’s mind to attend, be motivated, and to learn?” The results of this innovative approach to learning are saying yes we can! In addition to movement challenges, many of the same students have difficulties visually processing information due to cortical visual impairments (CVI). CVI occurs when there is damage to the places in the brain that interpret what the eye sees. The eye generally does not have any internal damage, although CVI can be evident in children who do have ocular damage. CVI is analogous to an imperfect computer chip which cannot fully process the input from the

keyboard.1 This newly identified diagnosis in our student population has also challenged us to identify how we visually present instructional materials and where we place their devices for them to visually access the curriculum.

For more information about P.G. Chambers School and the ATEAM Approach, please visit our website at www.chambersschool. org or contact Maria Smith at or Julie Haggerty at Haggertyj@ An increasing amount of research documents the strong connection between movement, body position (standing, sitting, lying), and learning in early childhood education. In the 2013 and 2014 school years, PGCS conducted a small study to determine the effects of body positions on learning. The study involved 13 students who were diagnosed with significant motor disabilities and CVI. Over an eight week period, staff members observed students and recorded their responses to classroom lessons while seated, standing, and lying on the floor. The results were significant. The students were better able to attend (pay attention) and participate in lessons in certain positions as compared to other positions. For example, one child showed a clear preference, i.e., increased attention, motivation, and response, to lessons while lying on her side. This study supported the hypothesis that there is a strong connection between a student’s body position and learning. The study further demonstrated that sitting was the least preferred by many students. Based on sitting being the traditional position for classroom learning, assistive technology is typically set up to access the curriculum in seated positions (classroom chairs or wheelchairs). Our study challenged this conventional wisdom. “We were compelled to carefully consider and systemically provide assistive technology tools for students to access the curriculum in their preferred positions,” remarks

Anthony, T. L. (2011). Cortical visual impairment: An overview of current knowledge. Anchorage, Alaska. › Program and Administrative Resources. Downloaded April 26, 2013


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Our Aspiration: Assistive Technology Program Coordinator, Julie Haggerty, PT, DPT, PCS, c/NDT, ATP. The classroom teams determined each student’s optimal positions for learning by conducting structured observations. The observation tool: Optimal Positions for Learning, developed during the pilot to identify optimal position, was refined and the teams were trained in observation. As the teams observed the children and recorded the data, they learned about each child’s attention and level of engagement. Our assistive technology team, led by Melissa Burrell, OTR, ATP, designed an Access to Education Assessment Tool that incorporates this positioning data.

Many PGCS students have significant physical challenges and we see them expending enormous amounts of energy just to hold their heads up. Once students’ optimal positions were determined, they were evaluated using the AT tool to determine best access. The team took into consideration the students’ abilities to move, the placement of the devices, and the selection of the devices (switch, iPad, tablet). The results of the collaborative, comprehensive assessment describe how positioning, movement, access, and visual processing come together to influence a student’s ability to learn. Recommendations are developed from the assessment, including the appropriate level of assistive technology support (low, middle, and high level assistive technology devices) combined with the student’s optimal positions for learning. Annual re-assessments are used to demonstrate student progress. Eighteen students participated in the ATEAM Approach and 50 classroom staff were trained in assessing and implementing optimal positons for learning. Twenty teachers and therapists have received training for implementing the assistive technology baseline assessment. To determine if the ATEAM Approach improved both the students’ learning and the staff’s clinical expertise, a survey of teachers and therapists was conducted using a sample of the students who participated. Preliminary survey results indicated that for the four students in the sample, the staff reported positive changes.

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E lla

To be the most trusted source D&B is proud of commercial insight so our to support customers can decide with P.G.confidence. Chambers School

Ella is an energetic and enthusiastic young girl, one of triplets, who loves learning and usually can be observed smiling and taking in everything around her. She has high muscle tone and very limited gross and fine motor skills. She is non-verbal. After collecting positioning data and using the Assistive Technology Baseline Assessment to observe Ella, the team determined that Ella could best attend to a lesson when lying on her right side and that the best and quickest access point should be positioned on the back of the side-lyer, near her left elbow.

Our Aspiration: To be the most trusted source of commercial insight so our customers can decide with confidence.

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When Ella hit the switch, she moved her left elbow back, so that her left shoulder activated the switch. The team was excited to learn that Ella answered questions and participated in classroom lessons many times faster and more efficiently in this position. After considerable practice hitting the switch in this least restrictive position, Ella has now been able to generalize this skill while she is seated in a tumble form (pictured) and eventually in her wheelchair.

©2016 Dun & Bradstreet, Inc.

©2011 Dun & Bradstreet, Inc.

proudly supports P.G. Chambers School 19


UNSUNG HEROES Over the next several issues of potential we will be profiling different groups and departments who work so well together to build an extraordinarily successful team. In this edition, we are featuring the teacher assistants (TAs), who are so very important in each student’s day.


hile the primary responsibility of a teacher assistant is “to contribute to the mission of the school by supporting students with daily classroom activities”, as Callie tells us, there is so much more. Callie’s statement truly captures what is observed every day as these dedicated, talented, compassionate, and caring individuals serve in their critically important roles at P.G. Chambers School (PGCS). “One of the best things we see are the milestones, large and small, that the students achieve,” said Callie. “It may take our students longer than their peers to accomplish something, but we celebrate every step of the journey with them,” she adds. It is apparent to the observer that working with the students is much more than a job, it is a passion. In assisting with a student’s most basic needs: feeding, dressing, and toileting, the TA builds a strong bond and a deep understanding of who the student is: her likes and dislikes, what brings a smile, and what might be a challenge. In the classroom, the TA works


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as part of the education and therapy team to instill in the students a love of learning and a desire to meet “Each day, everyone academic challenges. The TA helps the student grow comes in with the towards independence—they are truly partners as the students’ experiences unfold. same goal—to help PGCS is a place that asks a lot, and gives so much the children.” in return. This is part of the reason that some of the longest working employees can be found among the - Sabrina, TA teacher assistants. Of the 70 assistants currently employed, 21 of them have been with the organization for over 10 years. Of those, six have over 15 years of experience. Cheryl Oaks of Branchville has worked at P.G. Chambers School for over 28 years. Collectively, the teacher assistants have a cumulative 369 years of experience in working with children and young adults with multiple disabilities! The TAs are well prepared for their role of assisting teachers with classroom management—57 of them hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees, four TAs hold New Jersey Teacher Certifications, and an additional 10 are Substitute Teacher Certified. Each year, ASAH, an association of private schools for children with disabilities, recognizes professionals and paraprofessionals in the field for their outstanding work. PGCS consistently nominates one of our teacher assistants, along with a teacher and a related service professional, for these prestigious awards. Patti Stenzel is this year’s paraprofessional nominee. When asked about her nomination, Patti remarked that she was surprised. “I feel like everyone deserves to be recognized for all of the amazing work that they do!” Patti came to work for PGCS through her association with a school family. “I was working for the family of one of the students and I was watching everything that the school was doing to help [the child]… I wanted to be a part of that!” Patti is also the first TA to participate in our formal leadership development program (LEAD). Sabrina Williams, a long-time TA who was nominated for ASAH’s Paraprofessional of the Year in 2012, said that the best things about working at PGCS are the people and the atmosphere. “Each day, everyone comes in with the same goal—to help the children. At PGCS, everyone is focused and works extremely hard to best help the students.” Speaking from personal experience, having worked as a TA for five years before moving to the Development Department, I wholeheartedly agree with my colleagues. My first days as a TA were a struggle. I was meek and not confident; shy and self-conscience about myself, and what I thought was an all too prevalent disability. Soon I began to “Every day is different. see that the teacher assistants play a key role It brings new challenges each and every day. My first few years as and surprises, and laughs! an assistant were different than most. I was not usually in a classroom. I interacted with We get to be a part of the students in our new Technology Lab, everything. We assist with preparing for lessons in computer literacy everything. There is never and operation. I was encouraged, as many TAs are at PGCS, to grow my own skills a dull moment, for sure.” and eventually I helped create an assistive - Callie, TA technology curriculum to implement across the school population. Those daily interactions resulted in tangible changes, bringing success to the students and a shared sense of accomplishment with them. And my disability strengthened my bond with many of the students—they know that I have “literally” walked in their shoes. As TAs we often hear visitors remark, “You must have a lot of patience!” As I look at my colleagues I know that yes, they do have enormous patience and to each child who may need assistance for the simplest of tasks, or need what might be perceived as a very long 21

LEFT TA, Kathy, and Charlotte, enjoy singing and dancing with Holiday Express, as they delivered the gift of human kindness! BELOW Erica and Olivia pose for a silly photo on Grandparents Day!

ABOVE Student, Frankie, and TA, Janine, work on spelling and grammar. ABOVE Student, Jake, and TA, Mikaela, play kickball on a beautiful sunny day. LEFT TA, Miriam, and Charlotte, love to make funny faces with each other!

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time to accomplish it, patience looks like a warm smile, a kind look, and a gentle push towards the next goal. Sometimes day-to-day responsibilities allow us to lose sight of the big picture. We forget what a privilege it is to work alongside the students each day. So the big moments bring focus. To see a student (safely) speed past his parent in his new power chair makes us realize what all of the work is for. As we work to discover the unique potential within every child, we end up discovering the unique potential within ourselves. There are so many of “the best stories”, but the ones that always shine involve the students gaining independence. An iPad™ that helped a child with no verbal language answer questions in class, a computer integrated into a young student’s wheelchair that allowed him to tell his mother he loves her, or the always amazing new power chair that allowed a 13 year-old girl to experience true independence for the first time. When speaking with Callie about this sentiment, she reflected that “while those big, life-changing moments stand out, they are not the driving force that brings me back each day.” She goes on to tell us that “the students keep me coming back every day. They are such strong motivators to me not only inside, but also outside of school. I want to someday be as resilient and strong as they are today. They work so hard and never make excuses; we can all learn something from just watching them. They make me laugh, they make me cry, and they make me smile just thinking about them! Not everyone can come home from work every day and say ‘I made a difference in a child’s life today, and a child made a difference in mine’, but I can! We can all be very proud of that!”

Discovering the unique


every child.


Original art by a P.G. Chambers School student

Unjeria C. Jackson, MD & Mr. Larry Thompson are proud to support P.G. Chambers School

Editor’s note: Just as we went to press with potential, four of our TAs were promoted to Lead Teacher Assistants. Congratulations to Justyna Ratajczyk, Middle School Classes; Eva Ramos, Elementary Classes; Patti Stenzil, Early Childhood Classes; and Emily Jarger, Preschool Classes. 23

“Music can change the world because it can change people.”



usic and art provide outlets for self-expression for all people. And while art and music give color and rhythm to our lives as entertainment, each has even more value for children with multiple disabilities. Music affects gross motor functioning, breathing, and self-regulation for children who struggle to move and to speak, and has been used as a therapeutic tool for many years. Art is an all-encompassing vehicle for learning—it is visual, auditory, and sensory, providing children with disabilities a path for learning in their own way. Most importantly, music and art are accessible to all students, of all abilities, giving them opportunities for independence, ownership, and growing self-confidence.


Music gives our students the opportunity to express themselves in many different ways. Students can participate by listening, singing, or dancing—everyone has a part. When music is shared, beautiful things happen: children vocalize, they acknowledge one another, they access switches to play instruments, they count, can distinguish their left from their right, dance to a beat, and, most importantly, they learn and feel free! Neurological research tells us that music impacts the right hemisphere of the brain. It also shows that rhythm and sound affect sensory systems that directly influence timing and muscle control.


Research shows that music: • Reduces muscle tension • Decreases anxiety/agitation • Increases verbalization • Enhances interpersonal relationships • Improves group cohesiveness, socialization • Increases motivation •P  romotes successful and safe emotional release

The art program at P.G. Chambers School is all encompassing—through visual, auditory, sensory, and knowledge-based lessons. Students learn not only the techniques of creating art— how to cut, paste, color, and paint—but they also learn history and understand emotions, applying these concepts to aspects of their daily lives. Art lessons are structured to challenge students to think outside the box and to experiment with new ideas and feelings. Lessons begin with an art history background—including an inspiration piece, the materials used, when it was created, and how the subject or technique may have been revolutionary during that time. The art curriculum also teaches the children about key concepts, the elements and the principles of art, and color theory. Art class is a venue for self-expression—each child internalizes the project in a different way, which is then projected in his or her final piece. Art teacher, Marcie Schembre, says, “I am always moved to see the students’ faces after their work is completed. Their looks are saying, ‘Wow, I really did it!’ I see their self-confidence build as they produce their unique art.” The art room is the best place to celebrate uniqueness and individuality. The Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education: Exemplary Programs and Approaches provides proven research into the importance of special education in art programs. “In art class, children are often praised for the uniqueness of their work, rather than its conformity to a predetermined standard or response.” 1 Two years ago, as the need for more space grew, our music and art room was transformed into a classroom. Now art lessons are taught in classrooms and music class is held in the large Elm Street lobby. Although there were challenges presented by the reallocation of space, both teachers persevered with great strength as their creativity went into full swing to make it work. The beauty of the change, recognizing the significant challenges, has been that music can now be heard throughout the school. Art teacher, Marcie, has packed her supplies and projects onto a cart and travels the hallways to each classroom, arriving to bring another kind of learning into the environment. “Of course, it would be ideal,” states Susan Seamans, Executive Director, “if we could expand our physical space to accommodate all of the students and projects at the school, but I am encouraged and inspired by the motivation and ingenuity that our teachers use to give the students their very best.”



Teachers Margey Dwyre-Daily and Marcie Schembre are very special individuals at P.G. Chambers School. Margey tells us, “The children at P.G. Chambers School inspire me every day to be present in each moment of my life, to smile or laugh when all else fails, and to never stop trying.” Margey has worked at the school for over 15 years in various educational roles, and found her niche as the music teacher. Marcie has also had a long career at the school, first hired in child care, and eventually practicing her true talents in art. Marcie holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fine arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Her career spans a diverse range of artistic pursuits, from Hollywood special effects makeup artist to teaching children with disabilities. Margey’s and Marcie’s passion and drive show in their years of commitment to PGCS, and in the uniqueness each of these special women bring to their respective roles.

Hurwitz, A., & Day, Al. (2012). Children and their art: Art education for elementary and middle schools (p. 27). Independence, KY: Cengage Learning International


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“Art is not what you see, but what you make other people see.” -Degas

Original art by a P.G. Chambers School student

ABOVE LEFT: Teacher, Margey Dwyre-Daily, and student, Megan, sing together in music class. 25


It is a beautiful Tuesday after-


a they now?

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noon. The whole student population is sitting or standing outside of their classrooms. There is a nervous energy in the air. The sounds of excitement and the occasional bang of a small tambourine can be heard from the main lobby of the building. As the first graduate rounds the corner, cheers and whoops start to fill the air. Adults and children alike break out into applause. The students continue down the hallway beaming with pride. This continues as each graduate makes her lap (or maybe two) around the building. Our graduate “Clap-Out” has been a tradition at P.G. Chambers School and signifies both an ending and a beginning for students leaving P.G. Chambers School. Clap-Out is always bittersweet, particularly for the staff. We have taught, challenged, and been inspired by these students for many years. As they get ready to leave P.G. Chambers School and continue on their journeys, we cannot help but think, “Where will their journeys take them? Will they have inside jokes with their new teachers and friends? Will those new relationships continue to build on the

accomplishments they have achieved here?” best help her develop and refine those skills. We do know that our graduates will continue When speaking about her college experience, to grow and flourish, going out into the world, Julie felt it was important that people realize using their skills and knowledge, and more that her biggest struggles do not always have importantly, doing good. to do with her Cerebral Palsy. “I have difficulty Many students have spent their entire with time management and my workload. I school career here, enrolling in preschool still want to have a social life and not spend at three years of age and my whole life in the graduating eleven years library.” later from eighth grade. Concerning her “If I have to tell people Others return to their CP, “…the commulocal school district before nity of Seton Hall [that I have CP], I just eighth grade because they is very welcoming are ready, having develand awesome. I feel throw it in at the end. oped the skills they need like I am accepted to do well in their neigheverywhere. The I don’t wear it like a borhood school—the physical campus least restrictive environsign around my neck.” grounds… not so ment for them. much. It is sometimes very difficult - Julie for me to move as independently as I would want to, simply because the button for the handicapped door is broken.” Julie tells us that the services she received from P.G. Chambers School truly helped her prepare for the world. “I have been seeing different PTs [physical therapists] and OTs [occupational therapists] for the last 18 years. I am so thankful that they were able to help prepare me to be on my own, and also be effective in getting help. It may sound like a contradiction, but being able to know how Members of the development staff spent to ask for help is very important for me to be time with several former students to learn truly independent.” about what they are doing now—their goals, Michael was enrolled in P.G. Chambers dreams, and how PGCS has helped them on School Early Intervention Program. He started their paths. receiving services at 18 months and was a fullJulie, a 19 year-old college sophomore at time student until the end of kindergarten. After Seton Hall University, is majoring in comreturning to his district for first grade, Michael munications and journalism. Julie continued to receive attended pre-K at P.G. Chambers occupational and School before being mainstreamed speech therapies. in first grade, and continued to While education receive out-patient services from and therapy services PGCS throughout grammar school are at the forefront and high school. She also has Spastic of the services Dipelegia Cerebral Palsy (CP). Julie we provide, P.G. emphatically tells us that her CP is Chambers School not what defines her, stating, “If I also helps educate have to tell people [that I have CP], and support famiI just throw it in at the end. I don’t lies. “The parent wear it like a sign around my neck.” groups and socialJulie loves to write and has ization groups in pursued a college major that would those beginning 27

“I keep myself really busy. I might leave the house at 6:30 am and not make it back until 9:30 pm.” - Michael

There is an African proverb used widely in the media that states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We believe this is particularly true at P.G. Chambers School. So many individuals have a hand in the molding process of our students, so many are invested in their future. Here at P.G. Chambers School, we are each a member of the village, preparing students for success in the greater community. It is through this shared vision that P.G. Chambers School students are able to dream, achieve, and succeed.

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days of early intervention really helped our family,” said Michael’s mother, Charlene. “At 15 months, when Michael first received his diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), we were devastated; it felt like we were on the wrong train, but this is where we ended up.” PDD-NOS is one of the autism spectrum disorders and “we had no idea what this would mean for Michael’s life and for our family. PGCS early intervention program helped us navigate those early years and provided exceptional support during a very difficult time.” Michael is now a 17 year-old young man who states that, “Music is my life!” When asked how his autism affects his life he answered, “Does it? There is nothing special to tell. I have a 504 [educational plan] in school but I only use it when I absolutely have to [mainly for extra time while taking tests].” Michael is enrolled in college prep courses and just completed AP History this year. He plans to add AP Music Theory to his course load in the fall. “I keep myself really busy,” Michael said. “I might leave the house at 6:30 AM and not make it back until 9:30 PM. Between classes and band, my girlfriend, and my friends, I try to pack my days.” Still living life on the autism spectrum, Michael’s time at P.G. Chambers School instilled the need to self-regulate from a young age. “Whenever I get home, no matter the time or the weather, I go outside with my music and jump on the trampoline. You should see me out there conducting the snowflakes. It’s fun!” After high school Michael’s dream is to attend West Chester University in Pennsylvania, with the goal of becoming a music teacher. Robbie also attended PGCS early intervention program, from two to three years of age, and coincidently, Robbie and Michael are great friends. Robbie returned to his district for preschool. He was in a self-contained class [a class composed of only children with disabilities] until fifth grade and then moved to inclusive classes; receiving extra help in Math and Language Arts. “He uses a computer for most things he does,” his mom, Michele, explained. “Assistive Technology gets him through everything!” When thinking back on P.G. Chambers School, Robbie emphasizes that “they [PGCS staff] gave me all of the therapy I needed.” For Michele, “P.G. Chambers School taught me how to be an advocate for my son. Sometimes we have to fight for what we think is best for our children, and P.G. Chambers School gave me the tools that I need to do so.” “Autism might Michele’s advocacy skills were put to the test when slow me down, but Robbie wanted to join the marching band at school. The school administration did not think Robbie would I’m not different. be able to keep up. Michele, smiling at Robbie, said, I’m just me.” “My son shines brightest with music,” with Robbie adding, “Marching band makes me feel important - Robbie compared to other people who are not in marching band. You can’t have a high school without a band. It makes me feel important.” The Boy Scouts have also been a big part of Robbie’s life, and he is planning to work at P.G. Chambers School to complete his Eagle Scout badge. Michele knew that scouting would be an enormous learning tool in her son’s life. Robbie beams, “Scouting has taught me camping, cooking, starting fires, and all kinds of outdoor things.” When asked if he thinks that people might consider him as different, Robbie reflects, “Autism might slow me down and I know I have to do some things to self-regulate, but I’m not different. I’m just me.”

Victoria, Robert & Caitlin In the fall of 2013, P.G. Chambers School launched a collaborative program with Roxbury High School. The VISTA program, unique to both Roxbury and P.G. Chambers School, was both a response to PGCS families who wanted their students to continue to receive the kind of services they had at our school, and with the intention of Roxbury developing an appropriate, successful program for students with disabilities within their high school. This program has now evolved into a self-standing program of Roxbury High School with P.G. Chambers School providing needed therapy for the students. This past May, former PGCS students and current Roxbury High students, Victoria, and her friends Robert and Caitlin, styled a fashion show with community partner, Bloomingdale’s of Short Hills for our Menus for the Mind Lecture Luncheon series at the Park Avenue Club, Florham Park. During the fashion show, Victoria talked with the guests as she operated her augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), or voice output, device saying, “I attended P.G. Chambers School for eleven years. In fifth grade I organized a fashion show with the help of Mrs. Gilliland [school principal] and another former student. I was so excited, because that was my first experience with fashion. I will be attending County College of Morris for fashion merchandising. After college I plan to become a personal stylist.” Victoria is realizing her hopes and dreams, as she continues to discover her unique potential, just as we envision for all of our graduates. To read more about Menus and Victoria’s story please see article “Menus for the Mind History and 21st Series” on page 12.

ABOVE Robert, Victoria, and Caitlin show off their sense of style with the help of community partner, Bloomingdale’s. RIGHT Victoria wishes to turn her love of fashion design into a career as a personal stylist. 29


With great appreciation to:

RED CARPET MARKET As fund development becomes increasingly challenging each year, a need to “think outside the box” becomes imperative for the P.G. Chambers School development team.

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The Red Carpet Market Committee, John Boyle at Boyle Real Estate Group, Charles Moving and Storage, Fran Frigerio, The Liberty Group, MJL Estate Sales, Remmey Antiques and Fine Art, Liberty Antiques, Mike The Junk Man, Nancy Daniels, Millenium Textiles, Once and Again Consignment, Sharon Markowitz at The Rebecca Collection, Lauren Magnusson, Donna Lohmeyer at The Golden Pineapple, Pat Plonski, and Old Feed Mill Auction

fund development becomes more and more challenging each year, the development team needs to stretch our creative minds and identify innovative, fun, and informative ways to raise awareness of P.G. Chambers School in the community and generate new sources of income. At the end of each fiscal year, the team comes together to evaluate the past year’s efforts and brainstorm new ideas. This keeps us fresh and energized, and also identifies new constituents who will help support the school. Our June 2015 planning sessions did just that. We reach a wide range of individuals through Menus, Casino, Golf, and the 5K; what else can we do? Who else is out there? What do people like to do? How can we raise funds with minimal expense? And then it came to us—let’s have a rummage sale, as “one man’s junk is another man’s (or woman’s) treasure, and the “Red Carpet Market” was born. Thanks to community members, staff, family, and local businesses, this small idea quickly became an extravagant reality. What is a rummage sale? According to Webster’s, “a Rummage Sale is a sale of miscellaneous, secondhand articles, typically held in order to raise money for a charity or special event”. Quickly dubbed the RCM, it would be an event for young and old to enjoy, with very low expenses—a dream come true. So, we hit the ground running with nothing more than an idea and some phone numbers in hand. Our long-time friend and member of the development committee, Fran Frigerio, joined us early on, and began collecting the “junk” that would become our “treasures”. One of our earliest partnerships was with Carolyn and Albert Remmey, of Remmey Antiques and Fine Art Appraisers. Carolyn and Albert have been serving the tri-state county for over 30 years, and they graciously offered their expertise in second-hand selling. Along with Carolyn and Albert, local businesses and volunteers began to reach out to be a part

of the first ever rummage sale at P.G. Chambers School, and just like that, the event began taking on a life of its own. Estate sales are held for many reasons— relocating, downsizing, or other life events. Once the sales are over, the furniture, art, and miscellaneous items are typically donated to non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity here in Morris County. P.G. Chambers School became one of the many organizations that appraisers began to call for pickups. Along with Remmey, MJL Estate Sales and Liberty Antiques also became partners in the mission of the RCM, donating thousands of items. Not only did we have donations pouring in from estate sales, but also from families, staff, and friends. As donations accumulated, we began to outgrow our closet-sized storage unit at CubeSmart™ down the road. PGCS family, Elena and Baldo Dattolo, then donated a space in Bernardsville, NJ. Not only did the Dattolos give us a storage space, but they were also on call for pickups, at any time, any day. The Dattolo family, along with many other dedicated volunteers, became our Red Carpet Market Soldiers. The months flew by, and the donations began to overflow—quite a good problem to have! With the sale just three months away and our storage units filled to capacity, we became desperate to find an even larger place to store donations. John Boyle, of Boyle Real Estate Group, LLC, most generously donated an enormous space on Abbett Avenue in Morristown. Now, with 10 times the amount of room to work with, we began to turn what was once a cement palace into a vibrant shopping center full of treasures. Rooms came to life, filled with tapestries of merchandise: Lenox, Waterford crystal, vintage sofas and chairs, wicker furniture, kitchen tables, artwork, fine china, vintage books, chandeliers, and of course, endless tables of knickknacks— there was something for everyone! The Red Carpet Market had an immense impact on our school not only financially, but it also increased awareness about P.G. Chambers School within the community. Thank you to all of the local businesses, appraisers, families, friends, and community members who made this event a success. Please watch for news and announcements for our next Red Carpet Market Rummage Sale planned for 2017. 31


Every two years, P.G. Chambers School develops a Strategic Plan to: • Keep us focused • Identify shared goals • Help us make our best decisions •E  ncourage everyone to contribute

to accomplishing goals


Here we share the accomplishments of the 2014-2016 plan with a crossword puzzle. Have fun!

N EWBO A R D MEMB E R S JOANNE BALADY is a long-time support-

er of P.G. Chambers School, serving as a member of the Development Committee and this year, cochairing her fifth Menus for the Mind. Joanne is the owner and president of Balady Promotions, Inc., located in Parsippany, NJ. She launched Balady Promotions in 1989, after building her promotional strategy skills with Pepsi-Cola. Joanne provides full- service promotional solutions, including strategic branding needs, a range of design services, and customized programs to increase the school’s donor interaction with the Board.

JIM BRAZEL is the Director of Environ-

mental Services at The RBA Group, an engineering planning, architectural, and environmental company located in Parsippany, NJ. He is responsible for the coordination and management of all environmental projects for RBA. Jim is also a certified child advocate and has assisted numerous families in advocating for their children with special needs. Currently, Jim is working to develop a post-high school program that would give individuals with special needs a college experience. Jim brings fundraising, community relations, and financial management skills to our Board.

Across 3. Building new strengths 8. Expand existing programs 9. A core value 10. Enhance program 11. Round tables Down 1. Facility enhancement 2. Develop on- and off-site programs 4. An accomplishment 5. Opportunity 6. Fund development 7. An organizational strength

JERRY DEFRANCISCO had a successful career at AT&T before serving as President, Humanitarian Services, with the American Red Cross. His career spans over 35 years in the telecommunications and management consulting industries.

answer key pg. 41

WALTER KNEIS is a principal with NK Architects where he directs the Educational Design Sector. His focus for the past 20 years has been on developing dynamic learning environments from early childhood through higher education. Walter was involved with the design of our previous building expansion.

Discovering potential. Aiming for endless possibilities. 32 potential winter 2016/17

AFTAB MALIK was Regional Presi-

dent, South East Asia, at Warner Lambert before taking an early retirement. He then joined a major Dubai-based Trading Group as a Consultant/Regional President, and established a Dubai-based distribution and marketing company covering all Gulf and CIS countries. Aftab returned to the US in 2013.

GWEN PACKARD is a long-time

supporter of P.G. Chambers School, serving as a member of the Development Committee and past co-chair of Menus for the Mind. In 2015, following 13+ years in the insurance industry, Gwen joined AIG as Business Development Manager. Gwen brings a vast network of friends and business associates to our organization. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Park Avenue Club.

KEITH SAVEL is a chemical engineer and co-founder of Prime Environmental, which he sold in 2013. Keith then worked as Director of Remediation Services with Stericycle Environmental Solutions. He is currently Director, Business Development, for The RBA Group. Keith brings expertise in leadership, planning, mentoring, and project management to our Board. WENDY TAIT has served as a member of the Development Committee for over four years and co-chaired Menus for the Mind in the 2012-2013 season. Wendy is the Managing Director and Sommelier at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park, NJ. The Park Avenue Club was founded in 1994 to create ongoing support for the Park Avenue Foundation, which in turn benefits 10 charities and cultural organizations. PGCS is one of the organizations supported by the Foundation. Wendy brings a vast network of local vendors and business associates to our school, as well as her talents in public speaking, marketing, financial management, and community outreach. 33

LEFT Casino Night Co-Chairs & PGCS parents, Tiffany Srnensky and Susan Lodge


Chip in for the Children Come on, seven!” was a cry heard throughout the night at the 2016 Annual Casino Night: Chip in for the Children. Not only because seven is the winning roll in craps, but also because this was our 7th annual Casino Night. With over 400 people in attendance, the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park was filled with excitement and laughter as guests were treated to food, drink, and “Vegas style” gambling, all of which set the stage for them to learn about P.G. Chambers School and how this event will impact our students. Returning co-chairs and PGCS parents, Tiffany Srnensky and Susan Lodge, working extremely hard alongside the development department for the six months leading up to the event, made sure Casino went off without a hitch. In an interview with Hip New Jersey, the co-chairs discussed new features at the 2016 event. “We have definitely stepped up the silent auction this year with some unique prizes, including a Rolls Royce for a day and dinner at New York’s Le Bernardin, an Apple Watch, and tickets for Late Night with Seth Meyers.” “The guests were having a wonderful time,” beamed President of the Board of Trustees, Unjeria C. Jackson, MD, who was one of our Jackpot sponsors. “My friends and family just love our private Black Jack table, the dancing, and the ‘celebrity style’ step-and-repeat.” Other guests could be heard saying, “This is such a great night. So much fun! And it is all for a great school and a great cause.” “The set-up, the location, the atmosphere, the food, the drinks, the people. It’s been great!” “It’s amazing to see all of the support for PGCS at Casino Night every year.” Casino Night is one of five major fundraising events that PGCS holds each year, and brings in about 50% of our fundraising goal. “While student tuition is paid for by the sending district, additional expenses in our operational costs make fund development an absolute necessity to maintain the standards of excellence that parents and school districts have come to expect from P. G. Chambers School,” explains Susan Seamans, Executive Director. “[The money from this event] is critical to our students and we thank everyone who gives so generously to make it a success.” The 7th annual Casino Night raised a net profit of over $100,000 that will go directly towards the school’s organization budget and provide the highest quality special education therapies. This was our biggest year ever—we are thrilled and hope next year brings even Saturday, March 4, 201 7 more people to this event. Pa rk Avenue Club Casino co-chairs shared their thoughts: “The school does an amazing job in everything that they do,” said Florham Park, NJ Tiffany Srnensky. Susan Lodge shared, “PGCS has the most dedicated teachers, therapists, nurses, and administrative staff.”

Save the Date:


34 potential winter 2016/17

BELOW PGCS Board President, Unjeria C. Jackson, MD, enjoys an evening of games, dancing, and fun with her friends and family to benefit the students. From left, her daughter, Tameka; friend Anita Spivey-Dent; Dr. Jackson; and Dr. Dean Dent. Dr. Jackson and her husband, Larry Thompson (not pictured), were Jackpot Sponsors for the event.

With a special thank you to all of our sponsors: Jackpot Sponsors Dun & Bradstreet Unjeria C. Jackson, MD and Mr. Larry Thompson The MCJ Amelior Foundation P.G. Chambers School Board of Trustees Tony Esposito Jr. Foundation Full House Sponsors Balady Promotions Breakaway Technologies, Inc. Anabela and Kirk Rossi Roth D’Aquanni, LLC Counsellors at Law Strazza & Roughneen, LLC Counsellors at Law The Tarpey Group Three of a Kind Sponsors John J. Cali and Rose Cali Family Foundation, Inc. Patti and Ray Chambers The Christie Family Foundation, Inc. The Haverford Trust Company Lucy’s Gift Mutual of America NK Architects Aces Dianne and Ray Bonanno Hearts Laura and David Bojanowski Investors Bank Lakeland Bank Next Step Pediatric Therapy Preferred Business Systems Joanne and Jeff Rueff Susan and Richard Sinay

CENTER LEFT P.G. Chambers School teacher assistants, Eryn Porcelli and Emily Jarger, pose for a photograph as they work the “Social Media Lounge” allowing guests to tag and post photos from the event to their personal Facebook pages. ABOVE Casino Night guests play the crowd favorite, a game of blackjack. May the luckiest player win! LEFT Casino Night dealer has some fun with guests at the craps table. Looks like someone was unlucky! 35

Shadows on the wall Noises down the hall Life doesn’t frighten me at all Bad dogs barking loud Big ghosts in a cloud Life doesn’t frighten me at all Mean old Mother Goose Lions on the loose They don’t frighten me at all Dragons breathing flame On my counterpane That doesn’t frighten me at all. I go boo Make them





Way they run I won’t

cry So they fly I just


Life doesn’t frighten me


fight All alone at night


me at all. Panthers in

the park Strangers in

the dark No, they



Lucy ’s G ift









me at all. That new classroom where Boys all pull my hair (Kissy little girls With their hair in curls) They don’t frighten me at all. Don’t show me frogs and snakes And listen for my scream, If I’m afraid at all It’s only in my dreams. I’ve got a magic charm That I keep up my sleeve I can walk the ocean floor And never have to breathe. Life doesn’t frighten me at all

The “Gift” that keeps on giving BY MICHAEL THUNELL

”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

The words of Maya Angelou touched millions of people over the course of her lifetime and continue to have a deep impact on those who read her work. While Angelou’s work can be enjoyed by reading alone, when it is shared with others, its impact exponentially grows. On a recent visit to P.G. Chambers School, community supporter, Marisa Spagnoletti, was spending time in one of our classrooms, wanting to learn what our students did on a daily basis. She sat down next to student, Nataley, and the two began a conversation. They talked about their favorite books, their favorite things to do on the weekend, and then Nataley showed Marisa her favorite poem. It was “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou, and it touched Marisa very deeply. Marisa Spagnoletti has been through a lot in her life and is trying to make a positive difference in the lives of others despite her personal tragedy. After losing her husband in 2011, and motivated by her love for him, she established the Maurice J. Spagnoletti Foundation. The goal of the Foundation is for Maurice’s legacy to live on, through supporting various nonprofit organizations, including P.G. Chambers School. To build her capacity to give back, Marisa opened Lucy’s Gift, selling wonderful handbags and accessories. This store is unique in that all of its net profits go to charitable organizations. Marisa and Nataley formed a bond that day over the words of Maya Angelou. So much so, that the next time Marisa visited PGCS, she brought Nataley a gift. It was a beautiful framed picture of the poem, which Marisa also displays at Lucy’s Gift, telling us, “It is a constant reminder of why I operate the store, and why I choose to give back.” Marisa recently opened Lucy’s Gift in Florham Park, New Jersey, and will soon be opening a third store in Dallas, Texas.

LEFT Marisa shares a special moment with PGCS student Nataley.

Not at all Not at all. Life doesn’t frighten me at all. 36 potential winter 2016/17 37


In Memory With great sadness, the Auxiliary has lost two members this year. Tribute gifts have been made in memory of Harry Kalish and Anny Korn. Both were long-time members of the Auxiliary and played influential roles in the support of our school and the community.

Harry Kalish

(1921-2015) Harry, along with his loving wife Ruth, had been involved with the Auxiliary for over 56 years. Harry was into many projects and became a master of them all! From his early days in radio, to being an engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, to the family business, “Kalish Finest Brushes”, to taking photographs of things he saw and loved, Harry was truly a Renaissance man. Over the years, Harry was involved in the P.G. Chambers School art program, working in the classroom with the children and also donating art supplies. Harry and Ruth are also recognized for the funds they contributed to the school through their fundraising and personal donations. “Our heartfelt love and condolences go out to Ruth.” - Auxiliary Board

Anny Korn

(1924-2016) Anny was a loyal supporter of P.G. Chambers School. There wasn’t a fundraiser that she didn’t contribute to! Anny was consistently there to support the children and always had a kind word when she would meet new people. She will be missed by many. “Our condolences to her extended family.” - Auxiliary Board

38 potential winter 2016/17

Auxiliary June Luncheon in honor of Jeanne Nichols BY ERIN MARTIN AND ANDREA C. QUIGLEY


he P.G. Chambers School Auxiliary was founded more than 50 years ago when a group of dedicated volunteers joined hands to form an auxiliary with the mission to raise money to help fund therapy programs for “our kids”—children with disabilities living in Morris County. That small handful of volunteers has blossomed into a dedicated group of over 50 people, and still growing each day. These passionate women have been spreading goodwill throughout the community since the 1960’s and are still a force to be reckoned with! The Auxiliary does fundraising throughout the year with membership mailings, “non-event” events, luncheons, theatre parties, the annual New York City Lights Tour, pie and cake sales at Thanksgiving and Easter, as well as many other exciting and unique projects. The Auxiliary sponsors an annual summer luncheon for all members to provide the opportunity to come to the school and enjoy a nice lunch, but most importantly meet and interact with the students. On Wednesday, June 8, 2016 the Auxiliary hosted their June luncheon in honor of Jeanne Nichols. Jeanne was presented with many kind wishes and an original piece of student art work. Some history about Jeanne Nichols… Jeanne Nichols, one of the longest standing members of the P.G. Chambers

School Auxiliary, announced that she will be retiring from her position as Treasurer for the Auxiliary. Jeanne knows the most important secret of fundraising—meticulous record keeping. She faithfully managed the finances of the Auxiliary and reported at each meeting with absolute accuracy. With her background as a librarian, Jeanne brought her skills of organization and thoroughness to the many years of pie sales, theatre trips, Holiday Lights tours, and the popular non-event fundraisers each spring. She kept membership up to date, and collected yearly dues, with her sincere requests and sweet disposition. Just as important as all of these skills is Jeanne’s true love and dedication to the children of P.G. Chambers School. This love translated into her exceptional generosity and spreading the word about the good things that happen here. Jeanne celebrated her 94th birthday in April and is enjoying retirement at her new residence at Franciscan Oaks. She promises to stay active with the Auxiliary and she has handed over the checkbook to the Auxiliary’s new Treasurer, Siobhan Gilfillan, P.G. Chambers School Finance Manager. Each year, luncheon guests are delighted with the most important part of the event, the time when members and students interact around music, art, reading, or some dramatic presentation. This year, Class 5 shared one of their favorite books, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell!” with the Auxiliary. Many of the children use voice output devices (AAC) to “talk” to the guests. Class 5 teacher, Margaux, and therapists explained the variety of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) devices the children operated to read the story. A small device was passed around for Auxiliary members to try out—they were amazed by the simplicity of using the device and what an important tool it is. The presentation was not only fun, but informative too! Thanks Class 5! The Auxiliary is recruiting new members to help with their mission of supporting the school and the children. If you are interested, please contact: Fran Schwartz, P.G. Chambers School Auxiliary Secretary, 39 Parker Drive, Morris Plains, NJ 07950. ABOVE Luncheon guests come together for fellowship and to share their love of P.G. Chambers School.

To all the dedicated members of the Auxiliary, we thank you for your devotion and advocacy for P.G. Chambers School: Joyce Blackford, Harriet Broadwin, Nancy Cooper, Betty Davis, Ruth Dickinson, Janet Engelmann, Judith Fallon, Ann Fawcett, Barbara Fernot, Denise Frisoli, Siobhan Gilfillan, Jill Gillette, Dee Goldstein, Flora Grossman, Patricia Healy, Kathleen Hoch, Renee Hopper, Barbara Jacobus, Lonia Kaletkowski, Ruth Kalish, Ruth Kantrowitz, Barbara Kimpland, Marion Kump, Janet Lentz, Edee Levey, Elizabeth Maginness, Jane Malavarea, Jeanne Nichols, Deborah Pasquali, Laura Paulman, Nancy Perkalis, Andrea C. Quigley, Judith Richards, Barbara Scheckman, Deenie Schlosser, Helen Schuyler, Francine P. Schwartz, Doris Smith, Irene Solondz, Helen Szeeley, Mitzi Szerlip, Janet Tamburini, Carolyn Trapold, Dot Walek, Theresa Walsh, and Joan Zarnick 39

those first three years of life are to a child’s development. I believe that my abilities as a physical therapist, combined with my dedication to children and families, and the skills that I developed in the Leadership Program, are a great fit for the work that needed to be done in early intervention.


Q&A with

Amber Hummer, Director

early intervention


In the 2014-2015 school year, P.G. Chambers School (PGCS) Early Intervention Program had a successful, relatively seamless transition between former director, Valerie Bialous, and current director, Amber Hummer. Ms. Hummer, who, prior to her appointment as Director of Early Intervention, had served as a senior physical therapist at the school for 10 years, brought her own unique perspective and talents to the position. Now in her second year of leadership, Ms. Hummer has implemented innovative staffing patterns allowing us to identify and serve more children, successfully increasing enrollment, allocating limited resources, developing innovative group experiences for toddlers with disabilities and their parents, and providing creative leadership and support to the staff. With her ambitious, yet thoughtful expectations for services, our Early Intervention Program is thriving. 40 potential winter 2016/17

Amber, as you see it, what are the benefits of services for such very young babies? The extraordinary impact of services for very young children and their families has been well documented in the literature for many years. We know how important the early years are in terms of brain development. According to The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) there is an urgent and substantial need to identify, as early as possible, infants and toddlers in need of services to ensure that intervention is provided when the developing brain is most capable of change.  e have seen that high quality early intervention programs for W vulnerable infants and toddlers can reduce the incidence of future problems in their learning, behavior, and health status; and, intervention is likely to be more effective and less costly when it is provided earlier in life rather than later. Families benefit from early intervention by being able to better meet their children’s special needs from an early age and throughout their lives.

4. Where do you see our early intervention program going?  ur early intervention program will continue to focus on meeting O the needs of children and families. This year, we are excited to focus on improving the knowledge and skills of our practitioners in the area of Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). As you know, this has been a successful initiative in our school program over the last few years. Recently, we had several children enrolled in early intervention who presented with symptoms of CVI. In response to that need, we have secured grant funding to provide staff education and training in this area in order to better meet the growing needs of the children in our program. I see this trend in greater collaboration between early intervention and school staff, and extending initiatives that begin at the school level to early intervention, will continue to expand and enhance the effectiveness of our program in improving outcomes for this most vulnerable population.

5. Early intervention is one of several programs within

P.G. Chambers School. What do you think the program brings to the organization? I think that the Early Intervention Program and P.G. Chambers School have a symbiotic relationship: meaning that each benefits and needs the other. The early intervention program relies on the wealth of experience and programs that P.G. Chambers School has to offer. In turn, early intervention provides the foundation for so many children and families, embodies the vision and mission of the school, and acts as a gateway for children and families to enter the school program, thus continuing to support families as their child grows and develops through a wide variety of programs and services.

1. What part of your job as Director of the Early Intervention Program

are you most proud of? This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many aspects of this program that make me proud. Most importantly, I feel privileged to work for an organization that puts children and families first. The Early Intervention Program is fortunate to have a strong group of knowledgeable and caring professionals and a wealth of resources throughout the organization. Each member of our team strives to support each other and work collaboratively to provide quality early intervention services to the children and families that we serve. We value continued learning and use best practices in our interventions. I’m also proud of some of the changes and enhancements that we’ve made over the last two years, ensuring a strong future for our Comprehensive Early Intervention Services.


You were a successful senior therapist at the school, what encouraged you to seek this position in early intervention? I was a member of one of the first Leadership Development (LEAD) groups at the school in the 2013-2014 school year. Through the LEAD experience, I was able to see how I could have a greater impact on our organization. I was able to further develop my strengths and also focus on gaining new skills in areas that were challenging to me. At that time, I was chairing the Outcomes Measurement Task Force and began to see how my personal beliefs aligned with our vision and mission and what we do every day at the school.  hen the opportunity arose to apply for Director of Early Intervention, I saw this as my W chance to have a real impact on the school— by working with a population that I’m passionate about: infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Through my work in various programs within our organization, I learned each day how critically important

 he extraordinary impact of services for very young T children and their families has been well-documented in the literature for many years.

 e President’s Council of Economic Advisers describes the ecoTh nomic returns to investments in childhood development and early education, resulting in immediate increases in parental earnings and employment, while other benefits, such as greater educational attainment and earnings, are realized later when children reach adulthood. An important fact that justifies the investment in early childhood suggests that early learning initiatives provide benefits to society of roughly $8.60 for every $1 spent.

answer key Strategic Plan crossword pg. 32 41

walk. run. fun.

RIGHT Guests begin to arrive for the 11th Annual P.G. Chambers School Golf Classic at Roxiticus Golf Club in Mendham, NJ. We could not have asked for better weather on this special day!


CENTER LEFT Golf Event Chair and Board Vice President, Thomas J. Walsh, addresses the crowd at the start of the evening’s program. CENTER MIDDLE One of the more than 90 golfers who can only be thinking, “Now, where did my ball go?” CENTER RIGHT Spencer, who attended our inclusive child care program, Kids Count, giving his dad, Parent Speaker, Russell Fairfield, advice on giving a great speech.

11th Annual ABOVE As the sun begins to set on another amazing event at Roxiticus Golf Club, pictured is the start of our annual $10,000 Putt contest.

42 potential winter 2016/17

Golf classic

TOP LEFT PGCS parent and Development Committee member, Abbey, her husband Ken, and daughter, Jillian, get ready to run! TOP RIGHT Former Kids Count Child Care student, Spencer, and his family, come back to the race every year. Spencer and his best friend, Ella, finished together as the crowd cheered them on!

CENTER LEFT “On your mark, get set, GO!” The Walk. Run.Fun. 5k Committee Chairs, and cousins, Katie Gilfillan and Patrick Gilfillan, announced the start of the race at 7:30 am at Ginty Field in Morristown, NJ. CENTER RIGHT Top finishers in each age bracket, as well as all Children’s Race participants, receive a Walk.Run.Fun. medal! BOTTOM PGCS student, Matthew, and his mother, take off from the starting line with smiles on their faces! 43

The MCJ Amelior Foundation is proud to support P.G. Chambers School as they host another successful

supporting the projects Monsen Family Foundation is a proud supporter of P.G. Chambers School

44 potential winter 2016/17

Menus for the Mind series

children with disabilities

supporting the projects


and programs

P.G. Chambers School

Knippenberg Foundation Proud Supporters of P.G. Chambers School

season of

and programs for

In loving memory of Richard Aboia

for children with disabilities.

Proud Supporters of P.G. Chambers School

Proud Supporter of

“Live each day the way you want to be remembered tomorrow.� 45

JanuaryJune 2016

donor list

HH dream maker

Patti and Ray Chambers Unjeria C. Jackson, MD and Larry Thompson Ruth Kalish F. M. Kirby Foundation Madeline and Joseph Longo Sandy Hill Foundation Summit Area Public Foundation


giving levels

dream maker $25,000+

visionary $10,000-$24,999 innovator $5,000-$9,999

leader $2,500-$4,999

benefactor $1,000-$2,499

supporter $500-$999 partner $250-$499

advocate $100-$249

friend up to $99

Anonymous The Knippenberg Foundation Lesley Draper Carolyn Ferolito George A. Ohl, Jr. Charitable Trust Healthcor Foundation Trust Hyde and Watson Foundation Jerry Rose Floral and Event Design Daniel and Addie Kanter Carol and James Longley The MCJ Amelior Foundation United Way of Northern New Jersey Morris County Office Karen and Ted Walsh


Balady Promotions, Inc. Bayer HealthCare Carroll McNulty & Kull L.L.C. Nanci and Tom Conforti D&B Samuel and Geraldine Dalfonzo Eric and Sarah Elbell Adrianna and Anthony Esposito Henry Louis Gates Jr. The Glenmede Trust Company, N.A. Joanna and Michael Hanrahan The Healey Family Foundation Hidden Pond Foundation Sheila Labrecque Maurice J. Spagnoletti Foundation The Monsen Family Foundation Bernadette and John R. Mulhearn Rose and David Nakamura Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Lori and Jerry Solomon Tiffany and Pavel Srnensky Thermal Service of N.J. Inc. Cathy and Jeff Walsh Audrey and Zygmunt Wilf


Joan and Frank Adubato Atlantic Health System Avison Young Carolyn and James Badenhausen Breakaway Technologies, Inc. Budwick-Bonavita Foundation The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation The Connie Dwyer Breast Center Baldo and Elena Dattolo

46 potential winter 2016/17

Day Pitney LLP The Dwyer Family Foundation, Inc. Epic Health Services, Inc. Jill and David Farris Michael Fiacco Christine and Michael Gilfillan Kathy Grier Megan and John Hagerty The Haverford Trust Company Terry Hayes Jennifer and Anastasios Konidaris Veronica and Ernest Larini Carrie and Scott Leshin Susan and Matthew Lodge Maureen and John Lynch Susan L. Massengill Matthijssen, Inc. Louise and John McGlinchey Pavan and Julia Mehta NK Architects New York Life Foundation Sandra and Gregory Niccolai Normandy Real Estate Management Park Avenue Club P.G. Chambers School Auxiliary Pfizer Inc Prestige Construction Services, LLC Protecs Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Lynn and Steven Robbins Anabela and Kirk Rossi William E. Simon Foundation, Inc Debbie Spicehandler St. Rose of Lima Church Robert Stolar Mary Kay and John Strangfeld Danielle and William Strazza Structure Tone Inc. The Tarpey Group, LLC Zack Painting Co. Inc.


Pamela and Eric Andersen Eileen and Benjamin Appelbaum Debra Balady Elaine Balady Judy Banks, MD Keith Behrens Deborah and Joseph Belfatto Belway Electrical Contracting Corp. Benevity Community Impact Fund Bloomingdale’s Short Hills Michele and Anthony Bonanno Bobbie Jo and James Brusco Patricia and Anthony Calandra John and Rose Cali Regina and Mark Cappiello Herbert Chambers The Christie Family Foundation Inc The Conforti Fund County Concrete Corp. The Cowan Family Charitable Fund Ann and Peter Crimi Amara and Michael D’Aquanni

Thomas Dean Regina and Gerald DeFrancisco Anita Spivey-Dent and Dean Dent, MD Gloria and William Dodd Stephanie and Chris Donato Ina and Howard Drew Gwen and Elias Eid Peter Errigo Noel and Edward Foley Linda Frotton Patricia and Michael Gargiulo Jeanne and Joseph Goryeb Elaine and Anthony Grillo Stephanie and Peter Halloway Harold Wetterberg Foundation Tony Haskel Hollister Construction Services, LLC Kimberly and Daniel Honeker Christa Iamiceli and Mark Anderson Ilene Jacobs JD Shehadi LLC Lori and Richard Kariss Linda and David Kaugher KF Mechanical, LLC Knights of Columbus Marie-Eve Koziol and Russell Fairfield Sue Kraft Elizabeth and Paige L’Hommedieu Scott Lipton Lucy’s Gift Teresa and James Maguire Sharmin and Aftab Malik Lacey and Matthew Malloy Scott Matthijssen Cynthia and Paul McNutt Jennifer and Frederick Moss Alison and J. Douglas Murray Mutual of America Judith Otterman Lynne and Jeffrey Pagano Kathleen and Peter Palmer Mindy and Arthur Papetti Dominick Petrosino Barbara and Michael Phillips Lauren and Scott Pinkus Timothy Pope Robert Rigby Christine Rios Debra Rose and William Focazio Roth D’Aquanni, LLC Donna and Charles A. Rowland Thomas and Gayle Rowland Joanne and Jeffery Rueff Susan and Swift Seamans Lucy Chen, MD and Calvin Shen, MD Sue and Greg Sherowski Carla Skodinski Irene Solondz Marisa Spagnoletti Katye Stanzak Steady Flow Plumbing Heating Corp.

Marybeth and John Tamburro Tore Electric Raymond Torella Truist Turner Construction Co. Vericon Construction Company Margaret and Phillip Walsh Mimi and Frank Walsh Virginia Walsh and Thomas J. Walsh, P.E. Kim and Finn Wentworth


ABM Air Conditioning & Heating Stephen Aluotto American Express Charitable Fund Patricia and Gregory Anagnostis Andersen Interior Contracting, Inc. Anthony Garubo Hair Design Atlas Woodworking, Inc. Patti Barrett Jennifer and Steven Bedell Benmar Conditionaire Corp. Binsky & Snyder, LLC Laura and David Bojanowski Dianne and Raymond Bonanno Melissa and Peter Bracuti Anne Brady Alison and James Breault Patricia and Donald Budis Maya and Paul Buono Allison Canfield Elizabeth Carroll Alessandra and Mark Catania P.G. Chambers School Katherine and John Ciliberti Kimberly and Joseph Ciliberti Christine and David Clark Communities Foundation of Texas Michelle and Brian Cox Melissa and Darren Dagostino Kristen and Robert Doherty Karen and John Dubel F. Gerald New, Inc. Janelle Falcone Annette Fasciano Nelson Ferreira April Fey Carolyn and Edward Foley General Mills Box Tops For Education Siobhan and John Gilfillan Jennifer and Greg Goetz Colleen and Steven Goodyear Anabelle Gray Greenheck Fan Corp Hanover Township PBA NO 128 Deirdre and Edward Hatfield Philippa Hazlitt HB Communications Inc. Abbey and Ken Horwitz Amber and Gregory Hummer Kelli and Charles Hutchinson Dana and Michael Ingoglia Susan and Angelo Intile 47

Supporter (cont.)


Jennifer and Walter Kamienski John Karcher Lizanne and John Kenney Susan Kloss Judy A. Koepff Kohl’s Lakeside Carpentry Mary Leedy Reagan Limbert Mary Ann and John LoFrumento Barbara and John Lynch Suzanne and Michael Maguire Mary Anne and Kevin Martin Leslie Mastin Errolyn and Claude Maxwell Marylyn and Thomas McLaughlin Christopher Miele Millenium Fire Protection, LLC Monique and Evan Misrahi Modern Floors Co. Inc. Rebecca Morano Nancy and Michael Neary Olsen & Thompson, P.A. Donna and Chip Ott Paradigm Pioneers Kathryn and Michael Perlman The Pick Foundation Michael Pustelniak Andrea C. Quigley Virginia and Michael Ranger Ricalton’s Village Tavern Emily Robbins Betsy Robertson Andrea Ross Ann Rubin Caren and Charles Rubin Annaliese and Eric Rush S&S Fire Supression Systems Inc. Angelina Schiavone Helen and Raymond Schuyler Robert Seelig Kara and Jamie Serino Karen and Richard Shea Hermine Silverstein Susan and Richard Sinay Christine and William Slattery Mary Ann and Henry Smith Robert Stiles George R. Tait Rigdon Terrell Patricia and Gary Thunell Stephanie and Stephen Trapp Patrick Tully Union County Plate Glass Verizon Foundation Laurie and Steve Vittorio Ronnie and Tommy Vlahopoulos Pamela and James Weichert Carolyn Young

Advanced Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy Center, LLC Assumption School Margaret and Marshall Bartlett Family Foundation Inc. BBC Associates, LLC Jennifer Becker Phyllis and Henry Beinstein Bella Industries Robin Berg Bryn Berglund Best Way Electric Co., Inc. Eileen Klok Bevan, DC Sonia Billeci Karen Blount Bernadette and Alphonse Briand Michele and Jerry Bruno Julia and Andrew Buteux Cynthia and Stephen Byrd Timothy Cadigan Darlene and Thomas Canete Deborah and Leonard Carlucci Children’s Specialized Hospital Laura and Peter Connell Jennifer Conroy Bray and Paul Bray Kelly and Scott Consentino Linda Cook Kathleen and James Cowan Rosa Cunha-Greenwaldt and Frank Greenwaldt Lenore Dankulich-Smith and Donald Smith Tina and Vincent Dattolo Leticia and Ryan DeCaro Celia DeHuff Rose A. DeLuca Boyle and Reverend Frederick Boyle Carolyn Deodene Edward Eager East Coast Battery of NJ LLC Elizabeth and Jeffery Eilender Kristine and William Emmitt Sarah Epstein Agnes and Simone Esposito Harold Evans Kathleen Fadden, MD and David Fadden Jeanmarie and Kenneth Falco Dennis Fashano Maureen and John Fialcowitz Virginia and Rodney Frelinghuysen Frances and Richard Frigerio Dawn and Kahli Gaita Victoria and Louis Galdieri Judith Gallante-Hooper and Douglas Hooper Garden Club of Morristown Michele and Donroy Gounaud Lisa and Carl Grau Laura and Andrew Grimm Darla and Peter Hall Denise and Harry Hamill Meggan Horowitz

H 48 potential winter 2016/17

Jean Hovey Kathy Hukbert-McKenna Investors Bank Vina Isaac, MD and William Powers, MD Lauren Jacobs-Lazer and Adam Lazer Johnson and Johnson Matching Gifts Program Nick and Kirsten Johnson Rebecca and John Jordan Antoinette and Albert Joseph Laura and Ted Kelleher Keller Williams Suburban RealtySpecial Needs Division Michael Kelly Julianne Kinsey Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany Foundation, Inc. Edna and George Knudsen Carolyn and John Kowalik Michael Krajkovich Lindsay and Christopher Kramer Dawn Kumar Karen and Richard Kuran Michael Kuran Carrie Kurtzman Lakeland Bank Lawall Orthotics and Prosthetics Tess Lewis LJM Engineering Group Alice and Cary Lloyd Elizabeth and Thomas Lodge Michele Logan Olympia and Thomas Luciani Karen and Paul Marden Jessica and Steven Margosian Frances and James McCarthy Helen and David McCarthy Maria and Martin McLaughlin Heather and Bruce Medd Brad Mehl Jennifer and Brad Melvin Janet and Richard Michalowski Don Miller Robert Miller Modern Athlete Anastasia and John Mondelli Morgan Stanley Jeffery Morrison Gregory Mulhearn Kathleen Murphy Jeanne Nichols Sheila Oliver Sonia Rodrigues Maryann Panei and Kenneth Branch Lisa and Steven Petrocino Pfizer Foundation Matching Gifts Program Aileen and Michael Philbrick Bernadette and Jeffrey Pio Tara and Sean Powers Preferred Business Systems Teresa and Fred Puliti Kyle Purcell Lori Rabinowitz

Carrie Reinhart and Sarah Reinhart Shelby Rhodes Linda and William Riedell Riker, Danzig, Sherer, Hyland & Perretti Nicki and Jose Rionda Kim Roberts Julie and Douglas Rodgers Laureen and Thomas Romano Peggy Romano Louise and Craig Russ Gabriel Sasso Aron Schwartz Francine Schwartz Krysta and Sheldon Senek Erik Sletteland Tammy and Brian Spagnolia Suzanne and Kurt Spero Theresa Stansy Rosemary and Paul Stefiniw Patricia and William Stoddard Christine and William Stoffel Sue Ellen Strong Emily Szczerba Mitzi Szerlip Diane Tait Wendy Tait and Christopher Richards Target Corporation Lauren Teetsel Cheryl and Tim Thomas Rose and Robert Tiefenbacher Anna and Javier Torrens Lisa and Kenneth Vanderhoof Caryn Vitolo Nadine and Douglas Vogel Marybeth and Joseph Walsh Therese and Leigh Weiss Stephanie Whitecotton Hallie Wolford Bonnie Wong Betsy and Mark Zindel Karen and Christopher Zipp ZT Technology Solutions

Jacqueline and John Bellitti Kim Benedetto William Benkendorf Elliot M. Bentley Kate and Alfred Bentley Eileen Klok Bevan, DC and Richard Bevan Valerie Bialous Jordana Biancosino Janet and Ernest Biondolillo Monica and Joseph Boswell Jeffery Boyer Theodore and Betty Bragg Jean Brown Michele and Jerry Bruno Bethany and Gary Buccino Sara Budish Erin and Jeffrey Budwick Jean Bullock Raffaellina Buonincontri Eric Burger Stephen Burns Mark Cantaluppi Catherine and Anthony Caputo Dorothy Carter Michelle Catalioto Krista and Philip Cerasoli Yu-Chen and Jun Cheng Choice Benefits Agency, LLC Suzanne and Patrick Christel Leanne and Edward Christian Guiseppina and Giuseppe Ciccone Beth Cohen Peter Crimi Jeanine and Frank Crippen Beatrice Daggett Christine and Nacin Dam John and Margo Dana Daniel Daniello Nancy Daniels Clara and Philip Dattolo Elena and Baldo Dattolo Tamara and Philip Dattolo Caroline Daus Jessica Davidson Susan Dean France and Brian Delle Donne Christine and Philip DeLuca Victoria and Paul Dionne Kristen DiPasquale Colleen and Sean Donovan Jerrine and Jim Drew Fern Gotfried and Michael Dugan Duke Products Inc. Margey Dwyre-Daily and John Daily Theodore and Delores Elbell Frederick Elston Janet Engelmann Jeanne and Ronald Evans Evco Mechanical Kelleesa Ewing Pamela Fani Sandra Fava Kathy and John Feltz



Allyson Agathis Carey and John Ahsle Tina Alessi American Vending and Coffee Service Mike Anderson Stephen Annese Fran and Michael Annunziato Paula and Ira Antin AT&T United Way Employee Giving Campaign A-Tech Concrete Joan Atkin Jeff Bagley Bank of America Charitable Foundation Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic Cricket Barkhorn Nicole and James Beale

Michele and Matthew Feula Jennifer and Michael Flanagan Dawn Fontana Laura Forbes Suzanne and Lance Frase Violeta Fuentes Lisa Furman Patricia Gallante Olivia Ganguzza Pamela and Francis Garofalo Linda and Martin Garry Bryan Garvin Kathie and Joseph Gazdalski Anthony Giacone Evelyn Giacone Elizabeth Gilfillan Heather and James Gilliland Emily and Donald Glynn Todd Goodstein Theresa M. Graham Jaclyn and Josh Greenberg Brian Gudau Suzy Gumm Asli Hamamci Ellen Hansen Emily R. Harding Diane and Ronald Harrell Jane and Richard Haskel Joanne and Paul Hemerlein Heritage Childrens Academy Alison and Mark Hicinbothem Mary and Kevin Higgins Deborah and Frederick Hill Margaret Hinchcliffe Nancy and Hale Holden Marleen and Lennox Holder Richard Hufnagle Kevin Iamiceli Linda and Al Iamiceli Lisa Iamiceli J. McLaughlin Gerald Jackapino Emily and Russell Jarger Catherine Jeackle Noele Jencarelli Carolee Jerome Maria and Jon Jimenez Namita Joshi Diane Judge Pamela Kariotis Katanya, LLC Marcella and John Kealy Thomas Kealy Linda Kearns Eileen and Paul Kelly Mary and David Kelly Carmen and Mike Kenny Gail Kent Emily and Oren Klein Allen Kopelson Anson Koshy Richard C. Kuran Gail and Herman Kurz Joyce and Steven Kwasney

H Allison and Paul Larena Lisa Latino Mark Laverty Jennifer Lawler Terriann and David Lawrence Catherine and Joseph Lee Pui and Stephen Lee Vicki Lempke Arlene and Arthur Leshin Gordon Lewis Barbara and James Liati Ruth and Michael Lipper Diedre Liss Libby and Vincent Longo Long’s Travel Service Dena Lowenbach Jessica Lubow Carmela and Michael Luzzi Josephine Lynch Eugenia and Paul Macchia Jane Malavarea Shamila and Ziad Malik Erin and John Manahan Diane and Corrado Mancini Carolyn Marshall Linda and Alan Martin Elizabeth and Martin Martinez Donna and Richard McAdam Laura McDonnell Amy McHugh Gregory McNab Rick McNeill Darshana Mehta Danielle and Ralph Mendoza Merck Partnership for Giving Margaret and Robert Meyer Tamra Micco Miroslaw Michalski Millenium International Textile Marla Mircovich Julianne and Louis Modugno Kristen and Daniel Mon Kate Monahan Chris Nappi Marie Nardiello Georgeann Natale Michael Nittolo Jennifer Nolan Norman Dean Home for Services, Inc. Tara and Timothy Novak Seth Novosel Alix Oliver Lindsay and Andrew Orak Panatieri’s of Branchburg Phyllis and Daniel Patyk Miriam and Marc Pester Carol Pfister William Philbrick Patricia and Arnold Plonski Mindy and Michael Porcelan Linda Port Carol and Thomas Pugsley Quality Landscape Services

Maria and Luis Quinones Tara and Paul Randazzo Denyse Rawding Sophy Regelous Shannon Reid Suze Risteski Leslie and Steve Ritardi Tara and Brian Roach Stephanie Roberts Patricia Robinson, MD Rockaway Buffalo Wild Wings LLC The Rockefeller Group Matching Gifts Program Ann and Joe Rodrigues Laura and Anthony Romano Sharon and Rick Romano Lauren and Thomas Romano Nancy Rosen Gayle Rossi Elena and Vincent Rotolo Randee and Kenneth Rubenstein Linda and Gerald Russell Andrew Sanford Marie-Josette and Niel Santiago Maria and Andrew Sapol Whitney Saunders Nancy and Nelson Schaenen Jennifer and Brian Schiegg Stacey and William Schlosser Todd Schmidt Rosemarie Sciacca Melissa and Chris Scrittorale Lina and Carmelo Sereno Megan Seyler Jessica Sibley Elliston and Peter Siedem Laurie Siegel Cheryl Silverman Jessica Simao Heather Simpson Michelle Singelyn Darra and Michael Sipper Alison and Brett Skapinetz Robert Skea Paulette Skibiel Sarah Slack Elaine Slattery Orla Slattery Slattery School of Irish Dance, LLC Carmella and Thomas Slivinski Maria and Stephen Smith Nancy Sniffen Deann and Randolph Snook Lisa and Lee Southren Kristine and Michael Spillane Joseph and Kathleen Spinozzi Lenka and Pavel Srnensky Patricia and Dan Stenzel Christopher Stepien Kristin and Jeffery Stuek Lisa and Patrick Stuffle Erin and David Sussman Rebecca and Christopher Tate Janet and Samme Thompson 49

Advocate (cont.) Rita and John Toohey Larissa Torres Uta Totton Toys R “Us” Judith Tucker Maureen and Stephen Tunnell Aaron Turner Victory Lighting Design & Electrical Contractors LLC Stephanie and James Vieira Tracy and Robert Vincent Don Vnenchak Voya Financial Michelle and Paris Vrouvas Julia Walborn Tim Walsh Judith Wesley Marsha and Peter Wolfson Kariya and Tyler Woodman Nadia Yakstis Michael Zack Robert Zack Judy Zinnato


Shirley Agudelo Alisa Alt Amazon Smile Atlock Farm J. Roger Bailey Sandra Bailey Sarah Ballo Kenneth Banasiak Angela Barker Marianne and Joseph Barlotta Cynthia and Dennis Barrett Elie and Lucy Barrieres Jamie and Michael Barry Brittany Basurco Lisa Bellak Megan and Joel Bernstien Stephanie and Michael Bertram Susan and Robert Bethea Beth Ann and Robert Betrus Erica Betti Bella Bien Rachel Bien Joan Blandine Alyson and William Bolton Ann and Joseph Bono Maria Borges Stephanie Bouzas Marie and Anthony Brain Micki Ann and David Brain Nadine Brechner Deanna Brennan Teresa and Dennis Brennan Cheryl Brenner Kelly and Mark Bretz Peter Britton Harriet Broadwin Patricia Brolsma Samantha Brosius Paul Brown 50 potential winter 2016/17

Kevin Brundage Diane Bryan Petrina Bryan Kathleen Buerger Rita Buonavolonta Beth Burger James Burkett Ami Byra Patricia and Christopher Carlson Amanda Carter Barbara and Clifford Carter Katherine Carter Aimee and Anthony Castellana Laura Castellano Glenn Catherwood Christine Cayero Ashley Chardoussin Diane Chiappi Margarita and Paul Cirigliano Sarah Clark Clorox Professional Products Division Randi and Howard Cohen Francesco Colbertaldo Audrey and James Connelly Allison and George Conrad Nancy Cooper Lisa Corliss Sharon Cutler Heidi Davis Angie Dello Marissa DeMichelle Fiorita Di Palma Helga and Panos Diamandopoulos Anthony Difiore Joan and Robert Dixon Mary Doherty Michaela Dolak Wendy and Wallace Dry Elaine Dwyre Sarah and Robert Ehinger Deborah and John Ehrenbeck Martha Ellison Ruben Escudero Gabriela Evans Kelly and Joseph Falcone Patricia and Samuel Faucetta Ann and Robert Fawcett John Fitzgerald Melissa and Craig Fligel Jane Flynn Colette Fraenkel Cindy Franco Susan Fredel Bill Freed Diane Freeman Deborah Fresco Carlos Fuentes Elvia Galarza Helene and Fred Gallucci Bonnie and Gordon Gannon Pamela and Francis Garofalo Jessica Gasalberti Corey and Christopher Gentry Erin George

Kristen Geraghty Josephine and Jerome Giamonco Selma Gilbert Anna Gillespie Beth and James Gillespie Audrey Ginsberg Laurence Go Carolynn Gold Wayne Gooding John Granito Graphic Matter, Inc. Graphique Danielle Green Abbie and David Greenberg Lauren Griewski Bonnie and Keith Gurland Julie Haggerty Kristen Halker Dana Hall Evelyn Hall Michael Hammer Lisa Hannan William and Amy Haskel Dawn Hearne Carolyn Hession Susan and Benjamin Hobson Linda Hogoboom Tyrel Holsten Diane and Richard Horowitz Laura Howering Eileen and Roger Huth Nicole and Shannon Hyland Beatrice and Saverio Iannaccone Valerie and William Ilg Brenda Jaarsma Avery Jacobs Jennifer Jacobs Diane and K.W. Janne Marie Janssen Amy Jillard Hana Johnston Joshua Johnston Arlene and Leonard Jones Maria and Arthur Jordan Joseph M. Juliano, D.C. Michael Kaine Ruth Kantrowitz Pamela and Tony Karais Lisa Keane Debbie Keiper Elizabeth Khalevich Priyeta Khanal Ellen Kiernan Deborah Kim Tom Kimpland Dominika Klausova Stuart Kohn Gregory and Susan Komeshok Carol Kramer Lauren Kramer Helen and Clifford Kreismer Susan and Albert Kroll Debra Krueger Vidhi Kumar Wendy Kupper Janet and Paul Kutzman

Kennith LaBar Wendy Lam and Aaron Shea Rosemary Lang Amanda Lanphear Susan and Patrick Lanza Catherine Lasso Tracey Latham Ellen and Bob Lazer Christina Lee Charlotte and Thomas Leeds Jennifer Lehotay-Taylor Janis and Brian Leinfuss Nicole Leone Joyce Lewis Ariella Lima Danielle and Steven Lindner Michelle Lira Eliza and Andrew Lloyd Stacey Lohninger Janine Lopez Kerry and Michael Lorenca Mary Loughran William Lovas Margaret Lovello Carol and Allan Lutcza Susan Lynn and Cheryl Mone Linda Macario and Jackie Lepow Christina Macasieb Jean Maccarone Kelly Maccarone Kathleen MacDonnel Patricia and John Mahoney Christine Malkinski Phyllis Marino Susan Markowitz Sandra Marrero Erin Martin Melissa and Brian Martin Adriana Mateo Jennifer McCarthy Jean McCarty Jessica and McGovern Pat and Paul McGuire Stephanie Jones and Allen McIntosh Joan M. McKenna Elham Mehdizadeh Patricia Melvin Annie Miller Dan Miller Rachel Miller Gil Milow Larine and Robert Moline Liping and Scott Moorman Jamilee Morgan Rita and Stephen Morrison Emily Mortimer Alicia Lapierre and Dominique Mossmann Jilby and Jeffrey Mullen Edward Murphy Janelle Murphy William and Tracie Murray Karen and Hugh Murrill Agatha Musumeci Bonnie-Lynn Nadzeika Benjamin Natoli


Erin Natoli and Pawel Bielecki Elizabeth Noonan Wendy Nunn Courtney and Joseph O’Brien Mark Oliver Rachel Olivier-Trotman and Lennox Trotman Mary Lou and Elwin Orr Mary Osterman Linda and Fred Packard Tracy Padalino and Craig Brown Jessica Pansini Parents Guild Holly Parker-Romaine Laurie Parsons Karen Pazik Peak Spinal Care Traveling Chiropractic Christine and James Petrat Melissa Philkill Eileen Phoebus Lynne B. Pinto Brittany Pitts Nicole Pitts Allen Ploenes Frances and Richard Pogorzelski Eryn Porcelli Joan and Edmund Pugh Jenny Puzia Suzanne Pye Patricia Racke and William Tutty Summitra Rajah Eva Ramos Jessica Ramos Marie Rasmusson Marilyn Ravaioli Stephanie Recaza Karen Redvanly Susan Rehnquist Joan Reilly Giana Resta Mary and James Riccio Judith Richards Bette and Mark Rieger, MD Marie Roberts Joann Roccanova Lucas Rockwood Lorraine and Robert Rodriguez Tiffany Rodriguez Theresa and William Rogers Bevinn and Robert Romaine Robert and Arline Rosener Matthew and Karen Rosenthal Kathy Rossi Sally Rossi Julie and Christopher Royse Melissa and Christopher Rudzik Emily Sahuto Nancy Salus Margaret Sanfilippo Nicole Santoloci Barbara Scheckman Marcie Schembre Brian Schladitz Deenie and Sidney Schlosser Nicole Schultz

Ellen Seidman and David Smokler Patricia and Sheldon Senek Shalom Club Danielle Sherman Megan Shine Tierney Shine Lynn and Donald Siebert William Siebert Arlene and Kevin Sklow Jennifer Skorski Ashley Slattery Dale Smith Matthew Smith Patricia Snouffer Carol Solomine Nicole Spagnoli Allison and Daniel Speers Elizabeth Spencer Helene Stanton Miriam Stepnowski Christine Sternberg Cathleen Stipek Kathie and Grant Stoms Michael Stoyko Cathy Studer Lisa and Ronald Swanson Helen Szeeley Cathy Tambini Lisa Tambini Shannon Tambini Judith and David Tappen Elizabeth Tarantino Patricia and Pasquale Taranto Kristen Tavares Momta Teetsel Paul Tevelow Elizabeth Thomlinson Karen Thomlinson Renee and Michael Thunell Troy Titus Darren Tom Bobbi Tomalo Richard Torti Donna Tucci Jenna Turiano Margaux and Nick Urciuoli Janessa Valdez Laura Valerio Dorothy and Harry Vannatta Ronald and Mary Anne Verleur Karen and Michael Vetri Sarah and Joseph Vitale Theresa and Armando Vittorio Marie and Norman Volz Erica Von Borstel Jay Voorhees Laura and Shane Wagner Warren Township Schools Jennifer Waters James Way April and Karl Weber Mary and Reginald Wright Kristina Yatskiv Kevin Yeager Kristin and Jared Young Cathleen Zupan

H gifts in-kind

Ackerman Services Anthony Garubo Hair Design B Jones Spa Balady Promotions, Inc. Patricia Bell Bellezza Si Esthetics Bloomingdale’s at the Mall at Short Hills Boonton Lanes Bridge Marina, Inc Beth A. Burger Gilbert Cahill Patricia and Anthony Calandra Darlene and Thomas Canete Patti and Ray Chambers Katherine and John Ciliberti Cosy Cupboard Tea Room Michelle and Brian Cox Ann and Peter Crimi CWI Design Nancy Daniels Elena and Baldo Dattolo Depasquale The Spa Suzanne Donadio Connie and Robert Dwyer Elite Island Resports Equinox in Summit, NJ F. Gerald New, Inc. Annette L. Fasciano Desiree Flaherty Nina Flood Anthony J. Fusco Laura Gallagher Christine Gilfillan The Golden Pineapple Kathy Grier Kristen Griffin H2Ocean Restaurant and Raw Bar Heroes Journey: Crossfit Lake Parsippany Amber and Greg Hummer Eileen Huth J. McLaughlin Unjeria C. Jackson, MD and Larry Thompson Jerry Rose Floral & Event Design Jim Rose Jewelry J-R Cigar Karen L. Kuran Wendy Lam Laurence Craig Distinctive Catering Susan and Matthew Lodge LoveYourBrain Foundation LLC Lucy’s Gift Carolyn Marshall Max Mara USA Mark May McGuggan, LLC Mintea Sushi & Asian Bistro Modern Athlete Moonshine Supper Club Mountain Creek Myofascial Freedom Natrel Communications

NBC Universal – Late Night with Seth Meyers Neiman Marcus at the Mall at Short Hills New Jersey Devils New York Giants New York Jets New York Red Bulls Nola Rose Jewelry Once and Again Consignment Panico Salon & Spa Paper Mill Playhouse Park Avenue Club Peter’s of Millburn Patricia and Arnold Plonski Linda and Gerald Russell Maria and William Scavone Krysta and Sheldon Senek Sephora at the Mall at Short Hills Shetal Shah Susan and Gregory Sherowski Simon Pearce John Simoudis Elizabeth D. Sipper Nichole Soto-Munch Tiffany and Pavel Srnensky The Silver Lining Jewelry Boutique Town Cafe Deli and Catering Mimi and Frank Walsh Judith Wesley Audrey and Zygmunt Wilf Willow Street Boutique Veronica Yankowski Yogasmoga The Mall at Short Hills Judy Zinnato

PGCS strives for accuracy in recognizing donors. If your name was omitted or listed in error, please accept our apologies and contact Andrea C. Quigley at 973.829.8484 or quigleya@ so that the error may be corrected. On request, PGCS Form 990, and related information is available for public inspection at PGCS in Cedar Knolls, NJ. Copies of this information will be provided at cost within five days of the request by calling 973.829.8484. P.G. Chambers School is a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Tax Id# 22-1551480. Information concerning charitable solicitations may be obtained from the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey by calling 609.292.4925. Registration with the Attorney General does not imply endorsement. 51

2016/2017 school year calendar



2 New Year’s Holiday - School & KC Closed

10 Parent Teacher CONNECT: Valentine Dance Prep 16 Martin Luther King Day - School Closed

19 PASS: Behavioral Strategies for Home and School


7 Parent Teacher CONNECT: Behavioral Strategies 10 Valentine Dance & Set Up

20 Presidents Day - School & KC Closed

23 STEP: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting

27/28 Parent/Teacher Conferences - School Early Dismissal

At P.G. Chambers School, we believe


in our mission with a passion beyond

1-3 Parent/Teacher Conferences - School Early Dismissal 2 STEP

4 Casino Night at Park Avenue Club 9/16 STEP

21 PASS: Practical Applications of Mathematics 23/30 STEP

april2017 july2016 11 Extended School Year Begins 14 Opening Reception for the Morris Museum’s Art Exhibition 15-17 Art Exhibition at the Morris Museum

august2016 19 Extended School Year Ends 28-31 KC Closed for Summer Break

september2016 1 KC Closed for Summer Break

1/2 School Staff In-Service Days

5 Labor Day - School & KC Closed 6 First Day of School for Students 12 Golf Classic 22 Back to School Night - Introduction to PASS


12 Yom Kippur - School & KC Closed 25 School Photos 25 First Parent Teacher CONNECT Meeting 28 Trick or Suites

november2016 3 Menus for the Mind Luncheon at PGCS 8 Holiday Express: Interactive Performances 10 PASS: Foundation Skills for Language Arts 11 School Staff In-Service Days 23 Thanksgiving Break - Early Dismissal 24/25 Thanksgiving Break - School & KC Closed 29 Parent Teacher CONNECT: Language Arts Foundations

december2016 6 Photo Retake Day 6 Winter Festival for Preschool 7 Winter Festival for Early Childhood

6 PASS: Parent Academy for Student Success: Core Language

7 PASS: Novels and Picture Books for Everyone

10 Columbus Day/School Staff In-Service Day School & KC Closed

14 Winter Festival for Middle School

52 potential winter 2016/17

13 Winter Festival for Elementary 26-30 Winter Recess - School & KC Closed


5 Science Fair 6 STEP 10-14 Spring Recess - School Closed

all others; we see limitless possibilities for the children and families we serve,

for ourselves, and for our organization; and we promise to keep the needs of

the children and their families foremost, as we help them achieve all that is important to them.

14 Good Friday - School & KC Closed

19 Young Athletes Day and Grandparents’ Day


4 PASS: Science and the World Around Us 10 Spring Festival for Early Childhood 16 Spring Festival for Elementary

17 Spring Festival for Middle School 17 CONNECT Meeting


The P.G. Chambers School mission is to help children lead full, productive lives; develop confidence in their

29 Memorial Day - School & KC Closed

own abilities; and engage fully and


frequently in the community.

1 PASS: Technology Night

4 Walk.Run.Fun. 5K at Ginty Field 7 Graduation Setup and Practice 8 Preschool Graduation 9 Middle School Graduation

15 Kids Count Family Picnic/Graduation Celebration

Parent Table dates will be available on the web calendar

August 28 – September 1 Kids Count Closed for Summer Break

NOTE: There are 4- 5 days of emergency closings in the school calendar. If there are more than 4 closings, the calendar will be adjusted to make up excess days. Unused emergency closing days will be deducted from the school calendar at the end of the year.

15 Menus for the Mind Luncheon at Park Avenue Club 16 Last Day of School 53

H P.G. Chambers School 15 Halko Drive Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927

core values

By working cooperatively, diligently, and thoughtfully, we hope to maintain an organizational culture that values: •S  eeking quality in everything we do by providing the very best services for children with disabilities; •S  howing respect for the children and families we serve, and for our colleagues with whom we work and grow; •S  upporting creativity in our thinking, and innovation in our solutions; •P  ursuing professional and personal growth every day, rewarding excellence and celebrating accomplishments; •T  aking pride in our organization, its uniqueness, flexibility, and capacity for change; •K  nowing the children and families we serve and what is truly important to them; •S  howing ambition first and foremost for the cause, the organization, the work—not for ourselves, and; •B  eing accountable for delivering results, disciplined in our thinking and actions, and responsible to the community that supports us.


Potential Magazine Issue 2  
Potential Magazine Issue 2