Integrating State of the Art Psychiatric Treatment With Outstanding Academics in a Dynamic School Environment

To learn more, or to refer a student, contact Jennifer Hayes, our Director of Enrollment, at 908-543-0220 Ext 200 or


●  Middle School
●  High School
●  Early College and Work Study Programs
Parents, Students and Educators
What They Say

“Though I didn’t know it at the time, CDS meant everything to me. Ultimately, I was the one who made the choice to turn my life around and go down a new path.”
Student, Fort Lee, NJ

“I want to personally thank you for all of your help with this very difficult family. Their son is in great need of treatment and I know both parents are comforted by the high level of care that he will receive at Cornerstone. For them I know that they see the 24/7 hot line as a godsend: Mom said that it’s the first time that she can really sleep at night.”

Case Manager, Essex County, NJ

“Cornerstone meant a lot to me. It taught me how to cope. It has truly made me the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Student, Union, NJ

There is no educational compromise for students at CDS

Cornerstone’s curriculum, instructional practices and support services provide the full spectrum of academics necessary for a quality education for students of varied abilities in a safe, structured learning environment and is, of course, a key component of The Cornerstone Experience. Our use of scaffolded instruction and differentiation ensures all students are able to fully participate in the learning process and knowledge is effectively transferred from teacher to student. Our ultimate goal is to prepare students to be competitive with their peers, whether it is back in district, college or work.

Education Facts You Should Know

  • Cornerstone meets and exceeds the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.
  • Teachers enrich and modify lessons while maintaining appropriate pace of instruction.
  • Average class size is between six and eight students with a teacher and teacher assistant.
  • All students receive a Chromebook and textbooks. Teachers use Google Docs/Google Classroom, eBooks, and Smart Boards.
  • Cornerstone is a Chapter of the National Honor Society.
  • Related services offered include: Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and specialized Orton-Gillingham instruction

Meeting Varied Abilities

Academically Advanced Students:

  • Enriched instruction
  • Accelerated classes: Honors and Advanced Placement (online)
  • Early College Program: College Classes on Campus/Visiting Professors at Cornerstone

Students with Learning Differences:

  • Orton-Gillingham Instruction: Students with dyslexia are instructed by a certified O-G teacher.
  • Study Skills: focuses on developing executive function skills. 
  • Individual Academic Support: struggling students have the opportunity to receive 1-1 instruction for individual tutoring.
  • 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.
  • Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy: provided as needed.

Middle School

The middle school is distinct both programmatically and physically from the high school. Semi-departmentalized instruction and small class sizes allow us to meet the needs of all middle school students. Direct instruction is provided in developing executive function skills and reading comprehension and creative writing instruction is enhanced using Lindamood-Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing.

Middle School Course Offerings

  • English Language Arts/Literacy
  • Math 5, 6, 7, 8 (Pre-Algebra and Algebra)
  • General Science: Physical, Earth, Life
  • Social Studies
  • Physical Education
  • General Music/Therapeutic Art
  • Health
  • Structured Study

High School

The high school course offerings ensure our students satisfy all NJDOE requirements. 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. 

Ninth grade students participate in Freshman Seminar which instructs students on executive function and study skills. Our seniors participate in College and Career Exploration coursework preparing them for life after Cornerstone.

High School Course Offerings (Honors classes offered at all grade levels)

  • English: World Literature, Exploring Literature Perspective, American Literature, English Language and Composition
  • Math: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, Calculus
  • Financial Literacy: Offered in grade 12
  • Science: Biology, Physics, Chemistry/Instruction is enhanced via virtual science labs
  • History: World History, US History I, US History II
  • Physical Education/Health/Driver’s Ed.
  • World Language: Spanish I and II
  • Music Studio/General Music/Vocal Lessons
  • Art Studio
  • Senior Electives: College/Career Exploration, Communications, Life Skills, Psychology, Music Appreciation
  • General Electives: Freshman Seminar, Structured Study, Study Skills, Instrumental Music Lessons, Fitness, Creative Writing, SAT Prep, Drama

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 for their next step in life.

Early College Programs

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

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.