The Phoenix Center's 30th Anniversary Milestones

The Phoenix Center celebrates its 30th birthday this year, and we’ve never been more happy and grateful for the contributions from those who have helped us get here. Thank you !

Below, we have created a “historical perspective” showcasing a milestone from every year. Enjoy and hope to see you at our commemorative Fundraising Gala on Saturday, June 5th, 2021!

Year 1


The Phoenix Center is co-founded and opened with 16 students and 12 staff in a 13,000-square-foot space in West Paterson. Enrollment as of June 1992 is 49 students.

Year 2


Home and School Association, Partners in Caring, is formed with the mission of supporting fundraising for the school.

TPC Milestone Year 2

Year 3


Approval for Supported Employment program received the first private school in the state.

TPC Milestone Year 3

Year 4


TPC Staff and enrollment continues to grow from original 16 students and 12 staff to where it is today.

TPC Milestone Year 4

Year 5


Community-Based Instruction (CBI) is introduced to allow students to learn how to use such local institutions as banks, bookstores, grocery stores, the public library, the post office, and restaurants.

Year 6


Interactive Restaurant Program is started with state-of-the-art kitchen equipment and furnishings (donated by Inserra Shop Rites of Mahwah).

Year 6 at The Phoenix Center

Year 7


Phoenix develops inclusion program to return students to their local public school districts.

TPC Milestones Year 7

Year 8


Percussion Ensemble is formed and cuts own CD.

TPC Milestones Year 8

Year 9


Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program starts.

TPC Milestones Year 9

Year 10


Phoenix purchases two additional vans to transport students into the community.

Year 11


School finds a permanent home in 44,000-square-foot former Catholic School in Nutley.

Year 12


Drama Club is formed. To date, they have performed five productions including Hansel and Gretel, Wizard of Oz, The Holka-Polka, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Lion King, Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, and Alice in Wonderland.

Year 13


Dance troupe is introduced to enhance participants’ rhythm, concentration, and team spirit.

Year 14


First Annual Student Art Show is held at the school for families and the community.

Year 15


Phoenix introduces a Sensory Motor Gym.

TPC Milestone Year 15

Year 16


Family Night Out program is introduced to parents.

Year 17


The Phoenix Center purchases its first 16-passenger school bus (donated by the Dorothy B. Hersh Foundation).

Year 18


Consumer Family Life Skills Program is introduced (funded by Columbia Bank Foundation).

Year 19


Bowling League is formed with other Private Schools (funded by Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation).

TPC Milestone Year 19

Year 20


Horticulture Program is instituted to give students hands-on gardening experience and enhance beauty of the school’s outdoor garden (funded by Ramsey Area Garden Clubs and Columbia Bank Foundation).

TPC Milestone Year 20

Year 21


SMART Boards are installed in 14 of 16 classrooms.

Year 22


Achieved NCASES Accreditation.

Year 23


Multisensory Environment is opened thanks to a grant from Seton Hall University.

TPC Milestone Year 23

Year 24


Achieved Middle States Accreditation.

Year 25


Pet Therapy is introduced.

Year 26


Provided supervision for eight graduate school student interns in Occupational Therapy, Physical therapy, Speech and Counseling, from Montclair State University and Seton Hall University.

Year 27


Our students engaged in 3,930 hours of CFL in the areas of cooking, laundry, kitchen organization, and living space maintenance.

Year 28


Columbia Bank Foundation funds the construction of a secure school lobby.

TPC Year 28

Year 29


Met MSA goal for 90% of our students in all grades to increase their access to technology weekly within Academic Content areas by 200%.

Year 30


Happy Birthday to The Phoenix Center!