Matheny School Graduation 2024

They did it! Please join us in congratulating our Matheny School 2024 graduates!

Thank you to the families and loved ones who supported and encouraged our graduates on their educational journeys, and to the many teachers, aides, therapists, and other Matheny School staff members who are so dedicated student success.

All of us at Matheny have enjoyed getting to know these students and learning their unique interests, talents, and aspirations. We can’t wait to see what’s next for them!

Please enjoy the photo album below. We also shared several videos of the graduation ceremony on our Matheny Facebook page.

Miles for Matheny 2024 – Photo Album

We’re still riding high from Miles for Matheny 2024! Our community put on their Matheny green and joined us for a day of music, games, and fun.

There were some changes to the annual celebration this year. We brought the event to our hilltop campus and threw a BBQ for all attendees, added an obstacle course to our popular Kids Fun Run, kicked off the morning with a picturesque Trail Run and Fitness Walk, and designed an indoor/outdoor route for our beloved Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk. We appreciated everyone’s enthusiastic participation in these new ideas, and we hope you had as much fun as we did.

Check out the photo album below (thanks to our photographer, the talented Keith Bratcher). See you next year!

Matheny School Prom 2024

It’s been a busy few weeks at Matheny! Whether it’s prom, graduation, or Miles for Matheny, we always love sharing special occasions as a community. Thanks to all who participated and worked hard to make this celebratory season possible!

See our Prom 2024 album below. Thanks to our talented photographer Keith Bratcher and the prom committee for making this beautiful evening happen!

Art Without Boundaries

Thank you to all who attended Art Without Boundaries, the second Arts Access exhibition at Sotheby’s! Featured artists  JessKarenBari KimTammy, and Paul were so happy show their work in this prestigious gallery, and the whole Matheny community is always thrilled to share the mission of Arts Access.

Thank you to Keith Bratcher and Twelve09 Photography for capturing all these wonderful moments of artistic expression and community connection.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: A Small School with Big Impact

The Matheny School enriches the lives of NJ’s most vulnerable students

March 21, 2024, Peapack, NJ – At the Matheny School the sounds of silence are never welcome. Silence is not a virtue here. Nor is sitting quietly in a classroom absorbing a teacher’s lecture on geography, waiting for the bell to ring. This school is clearly different from the traditional schools that most of us know. According to Principal Sean Murphy, “We work closely with any school district that needs our help. We are here to ensure that out-of-district placement is available to those who qualify so that every student gets the best educational and life enriching opportunities they can find.”

Matheny School’s students range in ages from pre-school through high school – students graduate at the age of 21. Matheny was established in 1946 by a husband and wife, both educators, to provide a stimulating and effective learning and living environment for children with a wide range of medically complex developmental disabilities. At the time, Marguerite and Walter Matheny could not find such a place for their son Chuck—born with cerebral palsy on March 30, 1941. He became the inspiration for the founding of Matheny, and its decades-long development into a renowned specialized school, an accredited special hospital, adult day programs, and community-based group residences. Students here complete all state requirements to earn their high school diplomas, like their peers in traditional schools.

When a new student starts at The Matheny School, there is an initial evaluation of their language and feeding skills. Christine Mayercik, the school’s speech language pathologist points out that the goal is for the student to take the skills learned in therapy and then to use these skills outside of therapy—in the classroom, at home, with caregivers and out in the community. The therapist also works with teachers and caregivers to help facilitate the student’s communication and help ensure their success. “Students often get 90 minutes of therapy each week, but never less than 60 minutes per week,” according to Mayercik. Like traditional schools, Matheny issues quarterly reports, evaluating each student’s progress toward their individual goals. “Here, it’s all about learning to communicate your thoughts and needs, and learning the subject matter ‘your way’,” stated Mayercik.

Some students use iPads with dedicated communication apps as their primary communication tool. “Our kids are mobile, moving from classroom to classroom or to therapy sessions during the day. They need a communication device that moves with them—light enough to be mounted on their wheelchair or mounted to a classroom chair. For those that are ambulatory, the device needs to be light enough to hold in their hands or in a backpack.”

Therapists work together to include vocalizations, eye gaze, facial expressions, body language, gestures, and sign language, in addition to augmentative communication devices.  The watchwords with students are always to help them be as independent as possible. All seniors participate in the PCAST (Person-Centered Approaches in Schools and Transition) program. “We help each student prepare for their post high school life by identifying their likes and dislikes, their needs, the activities and things that make them happy, and their hopes and plans for the future,” said Mayercik

The students each put together a booklet talking about themselves, which Mayercik calls, “the Cliff Notes on who the student is. What technology the student uses is part of that, since technology is part of their daily lives.” One of the school’s main focus is communication, particularly as graduates take their next steps into their future.

Ten students will proudly graduate from The Matheny School this spring. They will wear caps and gowns and listen to messages from the class valedictorian and salutatorian; and as they receive their hard-earned diplomas, their families and friends will cheer. All students will have learned the primary lessons that their teachers and parents strive to impart—culminating in the graduates’ readiness to move into their young adult lives.

A Matheny School mom expressed her gratitude for the education her daughter Serenity has received at Matheny. “I am tremendously grateful for their teamwork and efforts! These are huge accomplishments in our world and make such an impact on our success with keeping our children safe, healthy and happy! Thank you for taking such wonderful care of our daughter and being flexible, innovative and patient while still providing the best possible opportunities.” said Renee Apuzzo.

School enrollment takes place year-round and an extended school year is available to all. Families and caregivers of students with medically complex disabilities are invited to tour Matheny to witness everything Matheny has to offer. Call us at (908) 234-0011, ext. 1264 or email us at schooladmissions@matheny.org to schedule a tour.

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Photo Caption:  Matheny student Emma Webster works with Donna Kelly, Matheny’s Director of Occupational Therapy

 

About Matheny. Matheny’s mission is to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and is headquartered in Somerset County.  It was founded in 1946 after Walter and Marguerite Matheny’s son, Chuck, was born with cerebral palsy (CP) into a world ill-equipped to care for children with special needs. Matheny patients have a diverse range of medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of rare diseases. Matheny is comprised of a special hospital, five community group homes, an adult day center, a non-profit private special school, and outpatient clinics serving the community. To learn more about Matheny, visit us at http://www.matheny.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram: @mathenymedical.

Five Matheny Artists Featured in New Exhibit at Sotheby’s, NYC

The works of five talented Matheny artists will be showcased in a new exhibit at the renowned Sotheby’s in New York City. Paintings by Jessica Evans, Bari Kim Goldrosen, Karen Frascella, Paul Santo, and Tammy Heppner will be featured in “Art Without Boundaries.” A portion of the exhibit will be devoted to “Rising Artists” – a display of other talented artists creating art in many forms in Matheny’s Arts Access program. The exhibit reveals the variety of works, multitude of subjects, and the diversity of media used to create these stunning pieces. The exhibit will run from March 29th through April 7th at Sotheby’s 1334 York Avenue, New York, NY location.

Eileen Murray, Director of the Arts Access Program, said, “We are immensely grateful for the opportunity to showcase the extraordinary talents of artists with disabilities once again at Sotheby’s NYC. Their return to this prestigious stage is a testament to the power of creativity that lies within these outstanding artists. We are thrilled to see these remarkable individuals rightfully bask in the spotlight, demonstrating that creativity knows no bounds. Thank you, Sotheby’s, for recognizing and celebrating their exceptional contributions.”

Matheny previously collaborated with Sotheby’s in 2019 for an exhibit titled “The Art of Choice.”

Arts Access’ multidisciplinary program offers specialized systems of communication and assistance for individuals with disabilities that enable them to freely express themselves in the arts. Instead of defining those participating in Arts Access by their disabilities, Arts Access enables participants to define themselves by their accomplishments. Assisted by professional artist-facilitators, the artists use specialized systems, methodologies, and assistive technology that have been designed to enable individuals across the full spectrum of disability to clearly communicate their ideas. To learn more, go to artsaccessprogram.org.

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About Matheny. Matheny’s mission is to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and is headquartered in Somerset County.  It was founded in 1946 after Walter and Marguerite Matheny’s son, Chuck, was born with cerebral palsy (CP) into a world ill-equipped to care for children with special needs. Matheny patients have a diverse range of medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of rare diseases. Matheny is comprised of a special hospital, five community group homes, an adult day center, a non-profit private special school, and outpatient clinics serving the community. To learn more about Matheny, visit us at http://www.matheny.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram: @mathenymedical.

About Sotheby’s. Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access to and ownership of exceptional art and luxury objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 70 categories which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Design, as well as collectible cars and real estate. Sotheby’s believes in the transformative power of art and culture and is committed to making our industries more inclusive, sustainable and collaborative.

This exhibition is a part of Sotheby’s Community Gallery initiative, where we partner with mission-driven organizations to spotlight artists and creatives. We firmly believe in the transformative power of art and culture, and are committed to making the art and luxury industries more inclusive, sustainable, and collaborative. We hope this space inspires you to consider how you define community, and expand the ways you see yourself and others.

Halloween 2023

Halloween is an extra special time of year at Matheny! Trunk or Treat, the Halloween Parade, and a special “Cabinet of Curiosities” were all full of creativity, joy, and community in 2023.

As usual, our staff went above and beyond to make this variety of activities possible, and our community enthusiastically supported our patients as they celebrated and showed off their unique costumes.

Thank you to all who made this beautiful (and spooky) season possible. We can’t wait until next year!

Enjoy the full photo album of this year’s activities below!

Photo Album – Fall Formal

On Tuesday, September 12th, the Matheny community gathered with friends, family, and loved ones to enjoy the 2023 Fall Formal! Everyone posed for photos, showed off their dance moves and Disney-themed outfits, and enjoyed one another’s company. Thank you to all the staff, family, and volunteers who made such a lovely night possible!

NJ awards $72K to arts program for people with disabilities

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA) awarded Matheny − a Somerset County-based hospital and school for people with developmental disabilities − $72,732 for its arts program, according to Matheny.

Arts Access, located in Peapack, is in its 13th year of making art, including music, theater, poetry, painting and more accessible to people who often have “complex” medical needs and limited mobility.

Founded by the Matheny family who wanted better for their son, it also trains health care professionals, educators, and offers a variety of services to people with disabilities such as life skills training, therapy and wheelchair repair. Its participants come from across the state.

Read more here or at at northjersey.com.

Matheny School: Transportation Safety Webinar

Back to School at the Matheny School!

The Matheny School Provides Complex Solutions for Medically Complex Students

August 22, 2023 – Peapack, NJ – New Jersey students will return to school in just a few days. Back to school can be stressful for anyone, but for kids with special needs finding the right school environment is essential. The Matheny School, located on the picturesque campus of Matheny in Peapack, has provided a blend of high quality therapeutic and educational services for students from all areas of New Jersey with medically complex developmental disabilities for over 75 years.

Anne Bruno, the Matheny School’s Assistant Principal, stated “Our students have many different learning styles and educational needs. Each student’s team addresses all of his or her requirements. Therapies such as physical, occupational and speech are integrated into the student’s educational routine. Many therapies are delivered right in the classroom, minimizing the amount of classroom time the student misses,” she added.

The Matheny School also provides skilled nursing care via their school nursing team.  According to Bruno, “Many parents are struggling to find 1:1 nursing care in schools and Matheny has excellent school nurses dedicated to providing care to our students during the school day so they can attend class with their peers.”

Technology is fully utilized within the Matheny School. Students have access to iPads, computers, Smart technology and individualized augmentative devices. Staffing is maintained at a high level to ensure that each student can reach his or her maximum potential.

Recent events have focused attention on the critical issue of safe transportation of all students. Those who need to be transported while seated in their wheelchair or on a stretcher are especially vulnerable. The utmost care is taken to ensure every student’s safety and comfort.  Matheny’s dedicated school and transportation teams will be presenting a webinar on safe transportation practices at 2 pm on September 13th.  Please go to Matheny.org for more information or to register.

The Matheny School offers year-round enrollment for all NJ school districts and an extended school year program during the summer. For more information, please visit matheny.org, call 908-234-0011, or email mathenyschool@matheny.org.

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About Matheny – Matheny’s mission is to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is headquartered in Somerset County. It was founded in 1946 after Walter and Marguerite Matheny’s son, Chuck, was born with cerebral palsy (CP) into a world ill-equipped to care for children with special needs. Matheny is comprised of a fully accredited special hospital, five community group homes, an adult day center, the Matheny School – a non-profit private special school, The Arts Access Program – an award-winning fine arts program, and outpatient clinics serving the community. Matheny patients have a diverse range of medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of rare diseases. To learn more about Matheny, visit us at http://www.matheny.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram: @mathenymedical.

Arts Access Program Receives $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

July 12, 2023, Peapack, NJ— The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced more than $103 million in recommended grants in the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2023. Organizations in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions will carry out arts projects in three NEA funding categories: Grants for Arts Projects, Our Town, and State and Regional Partnerships.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design.”

Matheny has received a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects. Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) is the National Endowment for the Arts’ largest grants program for organizations. Matching grants range from $10,000 to $100,000, and are recommended for organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.  Matheny’s grant will support a multidisciplinary arts showcase featuring original work created by artists with disabilities.

Eileen Murray, Director of the Arts Access Program, said “We are honored and thrilled to have the generous support of the NEA for our Full Circle event. The funds will support our artist with disabilities to display and perform their creative masterpieces. No one understands the power of art better than the NEA, and we are so gratified that they appreciate and acknowledge the impactful art that is being created in Arts Access.”

Full Circle 2023: Reemergence, the Arts Access program’s biennial showcase of its talented artists, takes place on November 4th in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus in Peapack. It consists of professional performers, designers, and curators who work alongside Arts Access artists to help bring their visions to life. Light refreshments will be provided. Desserts are donated by CocoLuxe Fine Pastries in Peapack. To purchase tickets, go to artsaccessprogram.org. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news

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About Matheny’s Arts Access Program: Arts Access, celebrating its 30th year, gives people with developmental disabilities the tools necessary to create fine art. Assisted by professional artist-facilitators, the artists use specialized systems and methodologies that have been designed to enable individuals across the full spectrum of disability to clearly communicate their ideas. The fruits of their creativity – acrylic paintings, digital art, choreography, poetry, plays, essays and more – are highlighted at Full Circle through a gallery exhibition of visual art followed by a multi-media stage show of dramatic works, staged readings, and choreographed dance.

About the National Endowment for the Arts: Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.

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