The Craig School in New Jersey is a Beacon Of Light and Learning
The Craig School offers a shining light for students with language-based learning disabilities in grades 2-12.
"Our unique mission is to educate students with language-based disabilities, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other oral and written language disorders," explained Kara A. Loftin, Ph.D., Head of School. "We focus on each individual student and use a number of measures, educational testing reports, and our own faculty's expert assessments to develop a customized program for each student."
According to Dr. Loftin, several factors differentiate The Craig School from other institutions. Among them, "We're very mastery-based, but our program takes a holistic look at each student and emphasizes academics, social/emotional learning, and health and wellness," she said. While many other schools support broader exceptionalities (including disorders along the autism spectrum, emotional disturbances, etc.), "We understand the challenges and comorbidities that can be associated when a student struggles to read and write, and are uniquely focused on addressing and remediating language-based disabilities."
Faculty members employ several evidence-based approaches to learning, including the Orton-Gillingham method and a multisensory approach emphasizing visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile learning. "In some cases, students in different grades may participate in an Orton-Gillingham group based on their need and skill rather than just on their grade level (as in a traditional school)," Dr. Loftin said. "The outstanding certifications, expertise and caliber of our faculty enable us to customize and individualize programs to students' needs so that we can help their intelligence shine."
With 50 staff members on the team, a high ratio of staff members to students, and small, intimate classes that average just three to eight students, "We're a small, caring community," Dr. Loftin said. "And because a child's disability affects the entire family, we're also very focused on the family journey and in fostering partnerships with family members. Overall, the care and support students receive at The Craig School allow students to move more fully into who they are and to achieve their potential while bringing comfort and peace of mind to parents."
With an emphasis on the health and safety of all students, faculty and their families, "Our reopening plan for this fall is extensive and parents can choose from one of two different plans," said Dr. Loftin of her team's thoughtful, strategic and multi-layered response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"First, parents can opt to send their children to The Craig School five days a week for in-person instruction with the full schedule," she said, noting that the school has employed a broad range of safety measures, including masks, face shields, sanitizing stations and socially-distanced desks with barriers between them. "Parents can also choose a home-based option for their children, through which we use Google Classroom and Google Meet along with special external cameras that allow greater visibility to the whole classroom as well as an auditory system for amplification so that online students can be included in the classroom discussion."
Since taking the helm at The Craig School this year, Dr. Loftin is proud of her institution's robust curriculum and status as one of the only schools in northern New Jersey to address its unique niche. "We hope to continue serving our specialized population of students for generations to come because the support, expertise and services we provide are much needed," she said. "We're a beacon of light and hope for families on a journey with a child who has learning disabilities and are excited to provide the right educational supports to help each child blossom."
Founded in 1980 and celebrating 40 years of excellence, The Craig School is located at 10 Tower Hill Road in Mountain Lakes. For more information, call (973) 334-1295 or visit www.craigschool.org.