GPA’s rich academic program is fully aligned with New Jersey Student Learning Standards, to ensure our students are prepared for further learning, and life. Individualized, research-based instruction under the Teaching Family Model is provided in accordance each student’s IEP. Regular academic assessment and intervention allows for timely and effective modification of each student’s goals and objectives, and maximizes his or her academic progress and achievement.
All teachers at GPA hold certifications from the New Jersey Department of Education as Teachers of Students with Disabilities. All GPA staff are also trained and certified by the Teaching Family Association in the Teaching Family Model.
A credentialed Social Worker is assigned full-time to EVERY classroom at GPA. The classroom team, comprised of the teacher, the classroom Social Worker, and paraprofessionals, provide wrap-around academic and therapeutic supports, at all times as needed.
Our flexible curriculum — as well as curricular materials — are regularly evaluated and updated for our Elementary, Middle School, High School programs. Descriptions and curriculum materials for each can be found below.
Elementary school classes at Garfield Park Academy provide an academic program geared to the reading levels of the students in each class. Students are grouped according to age first and then by grade equivalent levels. The program provides individualized instruction, remediation when necessary, and enrichment for those students who are above grade level.
GPA’s Elementary program focuses on experiential learning, and allows students to explore curricular content using hands-on projects and activities appropriate for each child.
Many students come to us with significant delays in reading and math. Our staff are trained to use research-based programs, including Orton-Gillingham®, Lindamood-Bell®, The Language Experience® and other proven strategies to address decoding, fluency, pragmatic language and comprehension. Students learn math through hands-on manipulative activities designed to get them involved.
The elementary schedule includes two reading periods and two mathematics periods giving the students as much time to spend on basic skills as possible. Remedial teachers provide both reading and mathematics assistance at different times during the day, adding to the individualization and additional time spent on academics. The elementary program is research based and uses the very latest materials and resources.
Lower elementary students, Grades K-6, are located in a separate wing of the main building with their own entrance. Teachers are skilled in the latest methods for teaching the youngest students and are supervised by an early childhood specialist who also advises on the curriculum.
In grades 7–8 students are provided the core curriculum academics taught for this level, as well as a pre-vocational program. Children learn to apply their academic skills by rotating through electives which prepare them for vocational classes when they reach high school.
Depending on academic levels, departmental classes are offered in which students rotate through English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science rooms, or self-contained classes where each teacher teaches the four basic subjects.
Each year GPA provides a foreign language curriculum and classes that explore the culture, language, customs and dress of a variety of countries.
Pre-vocational classes are available in horticulture, retail trades, cosmetology, culinary arts, auto mechanics and carpentry. Students learn required work skills and are encouraged to explore their own goals related to high school and beyond.
Depending on academic levels, departmental classes are offered in which students rotate through the English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science or self-contained classes where each teacher teaches the four basic subjects. Each year GPA provides a foreign language curriculum and classes that explore the culture, language, customs and dress of a variety of countries.
Whether a student is preparing for college or for trade school, vocational classes are afforded to each student in GPA’s High School program. College-bound students use these classes as electives, while those intending to pursue the trades have an opportunity to focus on careers of their choice. Click here for more on our vocational program.
Daily Living Skills
All students who need it receive training in daily living skills. Personal finance, health and nutrition, and preparing meals are taught so each student is better prepared to live independently when they graduate.
GPA’s Guidance Department is unique in that our Counselor knows all the students in the school, and can help in their development, career goals and overall success, not only when they are at GPA, but when they leave either to go back to their school district or graduate.
Garfield Park Academy provides New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Vocational Education-certified programs in Cosmetology, Horticulture (agricultural occupations), Culinary Arts, Carpentry, Retail Trades, and Auto Mechanics. Vocational classes prepare students for the world of work, college, or trade school. GPA’s classes provide students with skills well beyond typical workplace readiness levels, and vocational teachers are certified to teach in their respective fields. GPA’s certification by the State of New Jersey for its vocational programs represents an exceptional level of educational quality.
School to Career Transition
GPA’s School to Careers Transition Program operates within the larger scope of our Momentum Transition Program. Available afternoons from 2:00 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. daily, it provides opportunities for students who may need to work during the regular school day. The program provides vocational and academic credit equal to a full school day. Physical education, vocational classes, counseling and academics are also provided for each student.
Extended School Year
GPA’s Extended School Year (ESY) Program runs from July to August. The ESY curriculum consists of five weeks of academic and physical education, designed to ensure that students maintenance and further the academic, social, and behavioral skills they learn during the school year.
Physical education includes swimming at a local pool and five adventure trips to other locales giving the students fun/learning experiences in new environments and communities.
Much of the academic program in the summer extended school year program focuses on remedial reading and math, when appropriate. The Extended School Year Program is available for students attending GPA during the regular school year and students who attend other schools.