William Paterson University Partners with NJDOE to Open Regional Center for Teachers and Families of Students with Disabilities

Officials from WP and the NJDOE in the new Learning Resource Center North Satellite facility during the ribbon cutting ceremony on January 30. From left: WP College of Education Project Coordinator David Ferrier, NJDOE Education Planner Mary Ellen Simpson, Office of Special Education Assistant Director Damian Petino, WP President Richard J. Helldobler, WP College of Education Dean Amy Ginsberg, Office of Special Education Director Kim Murray, and Office of Special Education Assistant Director Chinwe Osondu.

William Paterson University’s College of Education, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), celebrated the grand opening of the state’s fourth Learning Resource Center this week, located on WP’s campus at 1600 Valley Road in Wayne.

The Learning Resource Center at William Paterson was developed through an agreement with the NJDOE’s Office of Special Education to support the education of students with disabilities, helping them to succeed in the least restrictive environment. The Centers provide regional, targeted support to both educators and families of students with disabilities.

“The Office of Special Education has a single mission: to ensure students with disabilities experience success—whatever that means for them. We accomplish this goal by providing support and resources to the field. The Learning Resource Centers are a cornerstone of our work,” said Kim Murray, Director of NJDOE’s Office of Special Education during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Center on January 30.

Housing the Center at William Paterson, Murray continued, allows the NJDOE to “tap into expert faculty and staff at the University” and “reach pre-service teachers as they complete their college journey.”

“William Paterson is proud to be a key part of this network, which aligns so well with our mission of supporting and educating the students who are changing the social fabric of New Jersey and our nation,” added William Paterson University President Richard J. Helldobler.

The Center offers professional development opportunities for educators, as well as classroom design and décor materials; a collection of educational resources that can be borrowed, such as multi-level curriculum materials, games, big books, story kits, DVDs, and e-books; and assistive technology tools and assessment materials for in-house use and review.

For parents, the Center hosts inclusive family events and provides consultations on politics, laws, regulations, and best practices in special education.

William Paterson University is home to what is being referred to as the Learning Resource Center (LRC) North Satellite. It joins a network comprised of the LRC North (in East Orange), LRC Central (in Trenton) and LRC South (in Glassboro). WP’s Center is slotted to serve educators and families from Bergen, Essex, Passaic, Sussex, and Union counties.

Access to Center materials and programs requires a nominal membership fee of $2 annually, and members pay modest amounts to cover the costs of supplies they use to create classroom materials. An online sign-up form will soon be available on the College of Education website.

“Students, faculty, and staff in the College and throughout the University will benefit greatly from all that the Center has to offer, from the help it provides in designing welcoming educational spaces and course materials to laminating posters and book binding. Our teacher candidates and teachers throughout the region will certainly find a professional home in the LRC-North Satellite,” says WP College of Education Dean Amy Ginsberg. “We couldn’t be more pleased to house the NJDOE’s Learning Resource Center at William Paterson University, right here in the building of our College of Education.”