What population is served by Westbridge Academy?
Westbridge Academy serves students (ages 5 to 21) with emotional/behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. These challenges can range from mild to severe. They can result when children or adolescents have difficulty balancing their emotions, behaviors and intellectual functioning. Behavior disorders can seriously impact learning and prevent a student from fulfilling his/her true potential.
How are behavioral disorders displayed?
The child/adolescent may exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, and/or poor social skills. Sometimes even more severe symptoms may be present. Our students are carefully guided to integrate life-altering strategies by identifying their unique strengths. Our dedicated staff works together to build upon that base by fortifying academic instruction with a school-wide intensive therapeutic program. As a result, students can experience academic success, improve the quality of their peer interactions, and enhance family and community relationships.
What is the goal at Westbridge Academy?
Our therapeutic model is based on comprehensive, evidence-based psychological and educational principles. We help students develop their self-esteem, enhance their cognitive functioning, and improve their academic performance in order to become more self-reliant and proficient at whatever they choose to do in the future. These plans may include returning to schools in their school districts or pursuing college or vocational opportunities.
What are the admission procedures?
Most students are referred to Westbridge Academy by their local school district’s Child Study Team following a full evaluation of their needs. Applications are accepted at any time of the year and processed as quickly as possible. In order to be accepted into the program, an intake appointment must be scheduled for the student and his/her parents. Candidates and their families are interviewed and provided an extensive description of the school program as well as a tour of the facilities. A decision regarding admission can usually be made at that time.
How long do students remain at Westbridge Academy?
Although there is no set amount of time, the average length of stay is about three years. The key factors influencing the successful completion of our program – the student’s motivation to actively participate and consistent family involvement with the school.
How is the day structured?
Classes are in session between 9:15am and 2:15pm. Transportation is provided by the local school district. Students are grouped in classes of six, according to their age and ability. A teacher and a teachers’ aide are assigned to each class. In addition to receiving instruction in all major academic subjects taught in the elementary, middle and high school classes, students also participate daily in a variety of specialized classes and activities. These include Art, Music, Computer Lab, Physical Education, Family Life, Library Arts and our “Westbridge Works!” program that prepares students for the real world. Additionally, we offer individual counseling, speech services, health services and social skills training.
What other kinds of programs are offered to help students?
Students have many opportunities to develop their self-confidence and increase their self-esteem through a variety of special events and school-wide programs. Activities include art contests, a yearlong reading contest, a science fair, and talent shows. A Student of the Week/Month program also promotes pride and self-satisfaction which encourages students to improve their academic performance, communication and social interactions. And students are rewarded monthly for perfect attendance, as well as for successfully participating in our award-winning “Operation: Good Neighbor,” an opportunity for students to work cooperatively with their peers while learning about civic responsibility.
What services are provided to the students?
We provide small group and one-to-one academic instruction based on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), specific to each student, that we create with the school district. We monitor progress through a curriculum-based testing program, and provide written reports to parents and their school districts three times a year. Individual counseling is offered to all students on a weekly basis. We also provide individual speech services weekly for those students who require it. A full-time registered nurse is available to provide healthcare as needed, including health screenings (hearing, vision, scoliosis), routine medical treatment, diabetes management, and referrals to community resources such as vouchers for eyeglasses as well as mobile dentistry services.
What services are provided to the families?
We believe family involvement is a key element in the student’s academic achievement and social success. That’s why we promote a strong working relationship with the families of our students. We hold frequent telephone conversations and conferences to maintain an active dialogue between home and school. All students and their families are teamed with a School Social Worker, who serves as their on-site case manager. She is the liaison, providing personalized attention between the school, the family, and appropriate community agencies to make sure each child is getting the best help possible. We encourage families to meet the teachers and staff during our Open House, which is held each fall. At that time, parents can see their child’s classroom, view the school facilities, and learn about programs offered during the year. Perhaps most important, parents can see the caring and supportive environment their children experience. Westbridge Academy also offers counseling services to individual family members and provides bilingual services to our Hispanic families.
Where do I get my diploma from?
Upon meeting the graduation requirements of their school district, students will receive their high school diploma.
How is statewide testing handled at the school?
Westrbridge conducts all testing required by the State of New Jersey and does so annually throughout the school year. Students do not have to return to their school districts to take required state tests.
Where do students come from?
Westbridge Academy students come from local school districts within Essex County and many other districts in northern and central New Jersey. We serve the following counties:
Where do students go after they attend Westbridge Academy?
Our goal always is to have students return to classes in their own school districts. Approximately 90% of our students have returned to their districts. For students who are at or near graduation, Westbridge Academy will do everything possible to help students go on to either college or vocational schools, or pursue jobs in the marketplace. In all cases, we take great care in helping our students make a successful transition to the next phase of their lives.