What makes Cornerstone so special? Quite simply, it is “The Cornerstone Experience”. One of the biggest disappointments when searching for an alternative school is a feeling that one must sacrifice academics or clinical treatment because therapeutic schools typically favor one at the expense of the other and regardless, don’t offer the full range of school activities and electives that add so much to school life and a student’s self-esteem. We have created the Cornerstone Experience so that students and their parents do not have to make these sacrifices.
The Cornerstone Experience begins with an outstanding academic and treatment experience. We do not just meet the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, we provide a rigorous academic program for the full range of student academic profiles that results in Cornerstone students meeting or exceeding their home district expectations. We do not just provide counseling, we provide a comprehensive treatment program utilizing evidence-based treatment methods delivered by highly experienced mental health professionals under the direction of board-certified child psychiatrists that resolves the emotional struggles that brought the student to Cornerstone. However, above all, Cornerstone looks and feels like a “regular” school with all of the events, electives, extra-curricular activities and exciting field trips that define traditional school life. When you walk in our hallways and our outdoor picnic and playing fields, it looks, feels and sounds like a regular school. The Cornerstone Experience is even more enhanced and reinforced by our virtual science laboratory, creative arts program, auditorium/gymnasium, professionally equipped weight room, art studio, music room, lockers and even our ringing school bells.
The Cornerstone Experience conveys the message that we know is so important to our students: they are in a unique school that fully addresses their academic, clinical and social needs, and most of all, one in which they can take great pride.
A key element of the Cornerstone Experience is our Enrichment Program. The range of activities has been designed to meet a wide spectrum of interests, regardless of the students’ talents, prior experiences and backgrounds.
Our walls are filled with the results of the creative arts classes and activities that take place in our large and well-equipped Art Studio. Students learn a wide array of visual arts, including drawing, painting, two and three dimensional printmaking, ceramics, furniture design, pottery, and sculpture.
The musical and acting talents and interests of our students are nurtured through our electives and regularly scheduled student performances on our professionally designed stage. Performances include musical and dramatic productions, some of which are written by our own students. Cornerstone has also developed a special relationship with both the Metropolitan Opera and the New Jersey Ballet. Students attend dress rehearsals for both companies and have access to backstage tours.
Music appreciation and instrumentation are both taught in our music studio. Students can learn individual instruments or be part of a performance group, with an option to perform on our stage during school productions.
Cornerstone students participate in a wide variety of educational, cultural and “just plain fun” experiences. Trips include journeys to the Museum of Modern Art, workshops at the Museum of Art and Design, deep sea fishing, snow tubing, a glass blowing factory, the Metropolitan Opera, NJ Ballet,Turtle Back Zoo, King Tut Exhibit, Hayden Planetarium and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Extra-curricular activities play a big part in a student’s life at Cornerstone. Fall and spring dances, junior and senior prom, middle school parties, family art nights, field days, Halloween and other holiday parties, students’ sports nights and playing on, or rooting for, our traveling basketball or softball teams are just some of the school’s many extra-curricular activities.
We offer many opportunities for students to participate on our sports teams. We all know the advantages of being on a team in terms of a student’s self-esteem, developing connections with other students and an overall feeling of being a “regular kid.” We offer internal school sports teams playing each other as well as playing on the school team in external sports leagues where we compete with other schools. A big focus is on team spirit, and just having fun. We offer softball (we have won our league championship!) basketball (won this one as well!), soccer and volleyball.