Academics

There Is No Educational Compromise For Students At CDS

At Cornerstone Day School, we maintain a high academic standard to prepare our students for life after Cornerstone; whether that is back in district, attending college or going off to work. Our curriculum, instructional practices and support services provide the full spectrum of academics necessary for a quality education for students of varied ability and need. Our structured lesson format, use of differentiation and scaffolded instruction ensures learning and knowledge is transferred from teacher to student. 

Education Facts You Should Know

  • Cornerstone meets and exceeds the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Teachers routinely differentiate instruction, enriching and modifying as needed and mandated by each student’s IEP.
  • Teachers maintain the pace of instruction that is necessary to be competitive with their peers either back in their home district, in college or entering the workforce.
  • Average class size is between six and eight students with a teacher and teacher assistant.
  • Teachers are fully credentialed by the state of New Jersey.
  • Technology: All students receive a Chrome Book for School use. Teachers use Google Docs/Google Classroom, eBooks, and all classrooms are equipped with Smart Boards.
  • Cornerstone is a chapter of the National Honor Society
  • We offer full related services including Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy and specialized Orton-Gilligham instruction

Meeting Varied Abilities

Academically Advanced Students:

  • Enriched instruction
  • Accelerated classes such as Honors coursework and online Advanced Placement courses
  • Early College Program: College Classes on Campus/Visiting College Professors

Students with Learning Differences:

  • Orton-Gillingham Instruction-students identified as dyslexic are referred to our certified Orton-Gillingham teacher and are assessed for entrance into the program. Students identified will receive individual or small group instruction in the area of phonological processing deficits. Instruction is systematic, structured and multisensory focusing on developing effective reading skills.  
  • Study Skills-this elective develops executive function skills necessary for school success. 
  • Individual Academic Support- struggling students have the opportunity to receive 1-1 instruction for individual tutoring as well as individual homework.
  • Structured Study- this provides students with instructional assistance in areas where they may be experiencing academic difficulties.
  • Learning Ally- an audio book program for struggling learners, affording them access to grade level content and novels.

Middle School                                    

At Cornerstone, we appreciate the unique needs of the middle school student. The middle school is its own program that is distinct both programmatically and physically from the high school.  

With regard to learning, executive function skill is highlighted each marking period and instruction of the identified skill is embedded across all content areas. English/Language Arts utilizes Lindamood-Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing to enhance reading comprehension and creative writing skills. Project-based learning, differentiation and semi-departmentalized instruction allows us to meet the needs of all middle school students.

Our middle school therapeutic program embeds social skills and various strategies and techniques to enhance learning.  Students start their day with a daily check-in using the Morning Meeting format. This allows the students to “greet one another, share information from their daily lives, engage in a daily group activity and set a positive tone for the day.” In addition, we utilize the Nurtured Heart Approach, classroom positive behavior supports and daily rewards.

High School

The high school course offerings are designed to accommodate individual student need and challenges and ensure our students satisfy all state requirements as prescribed by the NJDOE in a safe, structured learning environment. Our ultimate goal is to prepare the students to be on par with their peers, whether it is back in district, college or work.  High school classes are departmentalized with 40 minute periods offering both college prep and honors level classes. In addition, we offer modified courses for those students who struggle to meet grade level expectations. 

Students entering the ninth grade participate in Freshman Seminar which instructs students on executive function and study skills which enable them to better navigate the academic demands of high school. Seniors participate in the College and Career Exploration coursework thus preparing them for life after Cornerstone.

Early College and Work Study Programs

A major emphasis of Cornerstone is preparing students for life after Cornerstone. For high school students, there are a number of programs to help prepare students for post-high school life.

Early College Program

For students planning on attending college, either after returning to district or upon graduation from Cornerstone:

  • Union County College Bridge Program: Seniors have the opportunity to earn college credit taking one course per semester. This opportunity allows our seniors to experience college life while supported by their clinician and teachers familiar to them.
  • Visiting College Professors: College level courses are offered to students in grades 10, 11 and 12. This experience provides the students with instruction in selected courses presented by Union County College professors on site at Cornerstone. 

Work Study Program

For students planning to enter the workforce upon graduation, Cornerstone provides a work-study opportunity. This experience is under the supervision of our transition coordinator who pairs students with local small businesses and big box stores, providing the students with a supported work environment which can include a job coach.