St. Joseph's School for the Blind began in 1891 owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. The school provided an academic program and an enriched extra-curricular program to an average and above average population of students who were blind/visually impaired.
The school was then, as it is now, a non-profit, non-secreatarian agency accepting children of every race, creed and national origin and continues to be the only school for the blind in New Jersey.
Today, St. Joseph's School for the Blind continues its primary mission to serve individuals who are blind/visually impaired and has expanded service to include individuals with multiple disabilities and preschool disabled from throughout New Jersey.
The school offers a full range of programs and services from birth through adulthood. Our Early Intervention Program for infants/toddlers from birth to 3 years of age provides teams of special educators to teach infants/toddlers in a natural setting how to compensate for any reduced or total lack of vision.
The school also provides a 5-day-a-week education program over a period of ten months per year, with an extended school year program in July and August. The major areas of curriculum emphasis include: New Jersey Core Curriculum, Activities of Daily Living, Pre-Vocational Skills, Communication and Sensory Motor Skills, Orientation and Mobility and Personal/Social Skills. Arts and Crafts, Music, Technology and Community Integration activities are also incorporated into the curriculum as well as Speech, Physical and Occupational therapy services.
In addition to the full-time day program, the school offers a residential program on a five day/four evening per week basis which provides an expanded core curriculum for students and better prepares them for independent living.
To meet the growing need for special services, the school recently added the Realizing Adult Potential (RAP) program, a self-directed day program for adults with special needs. The program promotes independence through life skills training, real life experiences and includes training in personal care, meal prep, vocational/job skills, personal finances and more.
In an effort to better utilize our facility and meet the growing needs of our Jersey City community, a Preschool Program opened in 2009 with the approval of the New Jersey Department of Education. The program currently provides vital services to 105, 3-year-old Jersey City non-disabled residents. The state funded program is one of the highest quality pre-k programs in the nation, offering a developmentally appropriate curriculum. The program is designed to have a significant impact on academic achievement in early and later school years and has additionally provided the opportunity to integrate children with disabilities with non-disabled students. Working together, teachers have designed academic and social activities for the children, which have resulted in positive experiences for all students.