January 15, 2020, Peapack, NJ – ASAH, an organization supporting the special education community, recently recognized Matheny School teacher, Darlene Tammara as Educator of the Year at their annual conference.
Darlene began teaching at the Matheny School in 1990 and has had multiple roles during her tenure. In her current role as the teacher of the Transition classes, Darlene has created and managed numerous authentic transition tasks for Matheny’s high school students and programs that include the “Tea Time Café”, a student-run food and beverage operation; an opportunity for students to sell snacks called “Tea Time on Wheels”; and the “Tea Time Boutique” where merchandise produced by the students is offered for sale to staff. Darlene has developed and fostered long term community connections for the students through a job sampling program at several locations in the community. In addition, the students enjoy frequenting stores in the surrounding communities to purchase supplies for the café.
Darlene holds a Master’s in Education degree and certification as Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired. She works with the Commission for the Blind on functional vision assessments for Matheny students. Darlene created and modified a tactile approach to language-based activities for her visually impaired and multisensory students which incorporated concepts from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired tactile shape library and the Fitzgerald color codes. During this past summer, she worked with classroom staff and taught a lesson based upon this approach to an elementary and middle school class at Matheny.
Under Darlene’s direction, students from the Transition classes have been recognized for their quality work. In what will become an annual event, a group of students made picture frames during their transition class that were used at the Bridgewater library’s awards dinner. In the new year she will be working with Matheny staff to create a multi-sensory space within Matheny for students.
Darlene has presented the Matheny Transition Program to various organizations, including Community Based Instruction teachers and therapists at The Learning Resource Center in Morris Plains, a Community Based Instruction showcase and as a part of the DCDT (Division on Career Development and Transition) International Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
President and CEO of Matheny and Executive Director of the Matheny School, Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD said, “Many of the classes and programs facilitated by Darlene are extraordinary in any educational setting especially when teaching children with medically complex disabilities. Darlene’s unwavering dedication to her students is sincere. We are lucky to have Darlene as a teacher and we congratulate her on this well-deserved accomplishment.”
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 infants, children and young adults with disabilities. Founded in 1974, ASAH now serves more than 145 schools and agencies throughout the state. For more information about ASAH, go to www.asah.org.
The Matheny School, the special education school located on the Matheny campus in Peapack, has been helping students achieve their greatest level of learning and independence through a collaborative approach, integrating traditional academics with therapeutic intervention and pre-vocational skills development. School staff includes special education teachers and aides, licensed therapists in the areas of speech/language pathology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, as well as nurses, social workers and psychologists. The entire team works closely with students’ families and local school districts to design a service plan that is uniquely tailored to each student’s specific needs. For more information about Matheny, please visit www.matheny.org.