We believe that every student should be given the opportunity to prepare for life beyond the classroom. Our core philosophy is about developing real-life skills through classroom instruction, Community-Based Instruction (CBI) and supported employment options.
Community-Based Instruction (CBI)—also known as Community Referenced Instruction—facilitates students’ transition from school to work, independent living settings or other post-graduation outcomes by using the community as a classroom. The Phoenix Center was a pioneer in this arena and our program was the first of its kind approved by the New Jersey Department of Education in 1994.
During CBI, instructional content focuses on those skills that are essential for the students’ success and productivity as adults in the community. This includes shopping in a store and ordering at a restaurant.
Community-Based Instruction is a regularly scheduled program that provides the opportunity to practice and collect data on the academic goals of our students within a community setting. The purpose is to provide structured opportunities for skill generalization. Specific community activities are predetermined by classroom teachers so that they directly correspond to the students’ communicative and academic needs. All community based lessons and activities are aligned to New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) and The Phoenix Center’s Life-Centered curriculum.
The Curriculum Department is dedicated to designing and providing teachers with the instructional objectives and methods that will provide the framework for a comprehensive program. Educational activities have been adapted to meet the various needs of The Phoenix Center’s student population, with different abilities, learning styles, and ages. Its’ focus is on developing academic skills; increasing adaptive behaviors; teaching communication systems for students that are verbal and nonverbal; developing leisure and social skills in order to provide the students the opportunity to interact and engage in meaningful experiences/interactions with adults and peers while also increasing pre-vocational/life skills.
The curriculum takes into consideration that all skills acquired need to be maintained and generalized; thus, we implement specific strategies to foster and increase independence.
This program aims to provide students with authentic opportunities for learning in supportive, dedicated environments. Currently, the program maintains three working labs within the school: a teaching kitchen, a dorm room and a laundry room. Students are introduced to skills in these areas or work to maintain and refine their skills while staying aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) set forth by their individualized education programs. These experiences regularly lead to job placements in the community.