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

School Avoidance

School Avoidance
●  Pathways
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

Answering the needs of both students and parents

Approximately 20% of all students referred to Cornerstone have a significant school avoidance problem. We have developed specialized clinical and educational protocols for these students that have proven to be highly successful. When a school avoidant student is enrolled at Cornerstone, he/she may begin in the mainstream structure or more typically, at Cornerstone’s specialized school-within-a-school setting, Pathways at Cornerstone Day School. In both settings, the student is assigned to a member of our school avoidance team and all clinical and education services are highly student-specific and emphasize stress-free experiences. Such individualized attention by both clinical and educational staff allows for rapid progress and the development of a healthy teacher-student relationship, which is key to helping students successfully attend regular Cornerstone classes.

Pathways at Cornerstone Day School is New Jersey’s most unique special education opportunity for students challenged by school avoidance and is the ideal first step for them to return to school. Here is what makes Pathways so special:

  • A school within the school structure, Pathways is housed in a spacious and secluded suite adjacent to the mainstream setting and feels more like a living room with learning, eating, and counseling areas rather than a standard classroom.
  • Each student receives 1:1 or small group instruction, depending on academic needs and emotional readiness.
  • Clinical treatment incorporates proactive outreach activities such as home visits, nightly phone calls, family therapy, and parent support programs.
  • The stay in Pathways can be short or long, with flexible scheduling to meet late start/early dismissal needs.
  • Most importantly, Pathways is not the end point but the starting point for each student. Once ready, a transition plan is developed that brings them into the school’s mainstream setting. There, they get to benefit from the full Cornerstone Experience, which further prepares them to return to their home district.

Pathways at Cornerstone Day School offers the best of everything for school avoidant students: proven treatment and education strategies, a comforting, stress-free setting, and a strong road to thriving in school environments.


Pathways at Cornerstone Day School