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A Big Year to Volunteer

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The 2016-2017 school year saw a tremendous turnout for Benway students giving back to the local community. In total, students volunteered over 500 hours to organizations such as Cumac Food Bank, Foundation for the Handicapped, Sunrise Assisted Living, and Habitat for Humanity. As part of Benway's Community Based Instruction, students are provided opportunities to help others in need. Benway has also hosted numerous fundraising events this year, including Alex's Lemonade Stand, Breast Cancer Awareness walks, and Autism Awareness activities and bake sales. The generosity that was displayed this year is something that everyone at Benway is extremely proud of.

Red Nose Day 2017

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For the second consecutive year Benway School participated in Red Nose Day, a fundraising campaign to end child poverty through fun activities and events. On Thursday May 25, Benway students competed in numerous events including relay races, hula hooping, a putt-off, and even a tug-of-war! All of this while wearing red noses, the fundraiser’s symbol. Students were able to have a day of fun, while raising money for other children across the world.

Benway's First Student Film

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After a marking period of Film Production Class, and a few weeks in our music lab, the student short film, Escape From Benway, is finally ready for release! The students who participated in the class wanted to make a movie that spoofed horror films and so the project began. Their hard work was guided by both our film instructor and music teacher, Matthew Bijas and Vincent Scalia respectively. The students learned about acting, lighting, editing, adding a musical score, and more. Their efforts received a roaring ovation from the student body during a school premiere; which included pop corn, a red carpet walk, film awards, stars, a Benway Walk-of-Fame, and an environment that you can truly find "Only At Benway." So we are proud to present to you, the comedic student film, Escape From Benway! (Please do not forget to check your YouTube settings, as this video is available in 1080P.)

Benway Celebrates Fine Arts

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On Friday May 12, Benway School gave a presentation called The Arts: Engage, Educate, Enrich. The presentation demonstrated the importance of having art programs and how they impact students, allowing them to express themselves in a positive way. The day started with talks from both students and staff, explaining why having the arts in school was so important to them. An art exhibit followed which displayed the work of students from Mrs. Shannon DeCoursey’s class. Oversized treat replicas, Van sneaker contest submissions, paintings and more filled Benway’s cafeteria.

The day culminated when students preformed "Believe 2017," an original musical written and directed by Mary Tashjian and Amy Schindler of Viragomusic. Mrs. Joli Simpson asked Mary and Amy to come in and work on something creative for the students. They decided on a musical so that students at the school could learn about all the different components of what goes into such a production: music, singing, dancing, and acting. Benway’s very own music instructor, Vincent Scalia, was also brought in to provide his expertise to “Believe 2017.” This artistic collaboration focused on emotions and how they may be expressed. The students’ efforts were rewarded with a spotlight on News 12 New Jersey later that night!

Benway is very grateful for the efforts of Mary, Amy, Mrs. DeCoursey, Mrs. Simpson and Mr. Scalia for providing such a wonderful opportunity and experience for its students!

 

Parenting Baby Sim

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Benway School is always trying to find new ways to help our students grow and make educated decisions with their lives. This year we added a project to the Health curriculum to strengthen those efforts, a parenting simulation. In this simulation, students were responsible for an interactive doll for 48 hours and logged their experiences. The video below explains the project in greater detail, through the experiences of one of those Benway students. 

MetLife Stadium Tour

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On Friday March 31, the Benway School took a tour of MetLife Stadium for our monthly incentive field trip. Students were able to walk around the Giants trophy room, sit in the press box, see luxury suites, and even go on the field! The tour group consisted of a sea of Giants blue and Jets green as students showed their support for their favorite teams, both of which call the 82,500 seat stadium home. Next month, students will be able to take a Circle Line Cruise around New York City!

Growing Awareness

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The Benway School once again made a difference by offering to host an event for the surrounding communities. On April 12 United By Autism sponsored speaker, Gary Weitzen, from POAC Autism Services shared his presentation entitled: Hidden Dangers- Keeping Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Safe in the Community, School, and Home. The event was open to parents, service providers, and educators to receive valuable training on strategies that could be applied immediately to increase safety and decrease risk at home, in the classroom, and in the community. Participants could not get enough of the presenter as he addressed wandering, internet safety, bullying, school and transport issues, safety curriculum, tracking resources, fire and disaster preparedness, and physical modifications to the home and classroom to protect our families and students. This information was literally lifesaving.

United By Autism is a 501c3 organization that uses the donations they receive to share resources like this with the public to increase autism awareness. For more information on this subject visit www.poac.net and for more information on United By Autism visit www.unitedbyautism.org.

To help make this workshop possible, students from Benway’s Adult Transitions program worked diligently to set up for the event. A member of United By Autism wrote this letter to those Benway students, in recognition of their efforts:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the transitions students at the Benway School for volunteering their time to our organization, United By Autism. They rolled up their sleeves setting up and breaking down tables and chairs so that we could share an important workshop with so many families and educators on April 12 at their school. We could not have had the room look so beautiful without their help. It was a pleasure meeting Ms. Simpson at the event and I heard so many wonderful things about Ms. Alves and Ms. Persson and the work they are doing to prepare their graduates for the “real word”. Thank you to Benway and this team for helping to spread autism awareness and doing such a great job in the process. We look forward to working with you again in the future!

Greta LePera
United By Autism"

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Benway Recognized for Innovation and Leadership by NAPSEC

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On Wednesday January 18, the Benway School received the 2017 award for “Innovation and Leadership in Special Education” from the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC), during its annual conference. This award was presented for Benway’s “21st Century Careers” program.

“21st Century Careers” exposes students to growing technological fields through use of robotics, coding, 3D printing, drones, and film production. The program is designed to broaden the career options for students, as well as give hands on experience with the new technologies. This is part of an ever-growing effort by the Benway School to provide more opportunities for their students to succeed.

The program is led by Mrs. Julie Morganti, who is both a teacher and technology expert for Benway. Morganti’s persistence to add new technology to the school is what created “21st Century Careers” and is why it continues to expand. For more information, click on the 21st Century Careers link at the top of our homepage!

Benway’s New Knot

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Mr. Peter Puccia recently created a new type of knot for his Navigation class. It is a rescue knot that can be used to save people in perilous situations.

This knot is designed to create a loop, which will go around a victim and under their armpits. Once attached, both the rescuer, and the victim, can help pull the victim to safety. If the victim becomes unconscious, the rescuer can turn the knot into a noose to secure the victim, and pull them to safety.

Mr. Puccia envisions this knot being able to help victims who are stuck on a ledge, are in danger in water, are stuck in a cave, and other life threatening situations. The Navigation class has practiced this knot extensively, in case they would ever need to use it in their travels.

Below is an instructional video, demonstrated by a Benway Navigation student, on how to make this knot. The hope of the class is to spread awareness of this knot, so that it may help save lives.

12 Days of Giving

Click Here to Read the Article on NorthJersey.com!

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In hopes of spreading Holiday spirit, the Benway School is celebrating “12 Days of Giving” in which students and staff members are giving back to the local community. So far, Benway students have volunteered time at the Foundation for the Handicapped and the CUMAC food pantry,  wrote Holiday letters to veterans and children at St. Jude's Hospital, donated money to Susan G. Komen, held a sock drive to donate to those in need during the winter, and went caroling at senior living centers. Staff members also donated gifts that Benway Student Council Members wrapped, after students made purchases with their behavior points at the Benway Boutique. Today will conclude with the 12th Day of Giving as Benway Student Council members will hand out stockings filled with treats throughout the school, and read stories to the elementary classes. All of this in an effort to promote giving back to others and a sense of compassion during the Holidays. The students' generosity did not go unnoticed, as their story made it on NorthJersey.com, which can be found in the link above. Benway students have mentioned feeling like a family and wanting to help those in need during the 12 Days of Giving, which will look to become an annual event at Benway School!

Benway School Hosts Holocaust Survivor

Holocaust survivor Rickie Bernstein visited Benway School on Monday November 30th, to tell her story to the students. Bernstein was asked to come in to Benway School as part of the New Jersey state mandated curriculum on Holocaust education. Bernstein Is a member of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, created by Steven Spielberg in 1994. As a member, she recorded her testimony about her Holocaust experience, which started before she became a teenager.

Local newspaper, Wayne Today, printed a story by Debra Winters about Rickie’s visit to Benway School and her experiences. Read the Article Online Here!

 

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Miss New Jersey Raises Awareness at Benway

 

In her final public appearance as Miss New Jersey USA 2016, Jessielyn Palumbo joined Susan G. Komen North Jersey to visit the Benway School on Thursday October 6, 2016 to promote Breast Cancer Awareness.

Miss Palumbo and Gina Fernicola, Director of Development for Susan G. Komen North Jersey, gave a presentation to the student body that expressed the need for fundraising for breast cancer, how donated money is used, statistics for people at risk for breast cancer, and how to be screened for the disease.

Benway followed the presentation with a Breast Cancer Walk to kickoff the school’s fundraising campaign “Benway Battles Breast Cancer”. The Benway community donated money, crafted signs, and wore pink in support of the cause as they took their walk around the campus. The Benway School will have another walk on Friday October 21, as well as numerous other fundraising events throughout the month.

 

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ASAH Names Benways Vincent Scalia Educator of the Year

ASAH is a not-for-profit organization of private schools and agencies in New Jersey which provide highly specialized services to more than 11,000 children with disabilities. Founded in 1974, ASAH now serves more than 145 schools and agencies throughout the state.

Each year, ASAH (Association of Schools and Agencies for the Handicapped) members are asked to nominate an educator and a paraprofessional who demonstrate excellence and commitment to their students. We are proud to announce that the winner of this year’s Region 1 ASAH Educator of the Year is Benway’s own, Vincent Scalia, Teacher of Music!!!! Benway and our students could not be happier or luckier to have this amazing teacher as our own.

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Proud Member Of:

Alliance of Private Special Education Schools of North JerseyCouncil For Exceptional ChildrenNew Jersey Educational Computing CooperativeNew Jersey Association of Pupil Services AdministratorsAssociation of Schools and Agencies for the HandicappedAssociation for Supervision and Curriculum DevelopmentNorth Jersey Special Education Administrators Associationaff_njseaa50.jpg