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Start your ENGin!
Jillian Gletow

How One Collier Student is Helping a New Friend Learn English

Over the summer, Collier High School senior and aspiring Special Education teacher, Julia, made the selfless decision to help others. So she signed up to help teach English through ENGin, a nonprofit that pairs Ukrainian youth with English-speakers for free online conversation practices and cross-cultural connection.

Julia was paired with Tania, a 17-year-old Ukrainian student who is currently living in Poland due to the war. Once a week for about an hour, Julia and Tania meet virtually and chat. Their talks vary from pop culture and current events, to practicing interviewing, and working on grammar and spelling. “It’s a lot of fun!” exclaimed Julia, “plus I made a good friend.”

“Julia is always a very helpful and kind student. She is always quick to volunteer to help staff and other students. The fact that she is volunteering to help someone learn English does not come as a surprise to me,” explained Collier High School principal, Mr. Normile.

Through the course of their conversations, Tania had asked to see an American school. “I have only seen them in movies and was curious if that was actually what they looked like.” Julia met with Mr. Normile, to see if he would grant her permission to give Tania a virtual tour—and always willing to share the beauty of Collier, of course, he agreed.

Julia walked Tania around on her iPad, showcasing Collier School and the campus. Tania visited Ms. Panza and her Spanish class, Mr. Tyrell and his American Lit students, Mr. Remoli and his Science class, the Cosmetology room, Mr. Bush’s art studio, Mr. Wolf play the piano and even visited the chickens. “Your school is amazing,” Tania stated. “The structure is so different than ours. It’s cozy, cute, and modern,” she continued.

Though Tania already speaks English well, it is her hope to speak English better and more Americanized. “Since I am in my 2nd year at University studying Computer Science, it is important to learn English because that is where the bigger opportunities are. Plus, all of the coding is done in English, so it makes it easier to understand that,” Tania explained.

We are so humbled by Julia’s willingness to help others and desire to make a difference in someone’s life—we should all take a page from Julia’s book!

2022 Back to School Recap
Jillian Gletow

Collier School is excited to be back full-time today with students, faculty, and staff. These past few days, our staff has focused on providing a place of belonging, dignity, and hope for all of our students. The day began with our opening assembly, where our theme- “Hold the door open”- was shared and explained to our community- the importance of kindness and small gestures.

Reynold Forman, M.Ed, Supervisor of Instruction at Collier Youth Services, presented to faculty the value of Praise for children and its importance to their success. The presentation is based on “When the Chips Are Down” by Richard Lavoie. Mr. Forman coached our faculty and staff on the importance of the three most important traits for educators of special needs students a knowledge base, a bag of tricks, and a philosophy to get you through challenging times. His presentation included the importance of praise and positive feedback as key ingredients to changing a child’s behavior rather than just stopping it.

Our counseling leaders also presented to faculty the importance and maintenance of boundaries- on and off campus. Faculty and staff learned from each other in groups and discussed case studies and best practices to protect our students and for employees to protect themselves. The understanding of boundaries is often challenging for many of our students, so this session was uniquely informative for our faculty and staff.

As we finished up our opening week of school, the Collier School faculty and staff had an outstanding opportunity to continue to provide the best care for their students. Jack Hoban from Resolution Group International worked with the staff on de-escalation training. Managing challenging situations in a trauma-informed way is so much more successful and rewarding to the students. Jack has provided over 500 presentations on the best ways to successfully manage interactions with students using the protector ethic, verbal de-escalation, and providing a safe environment during the conflict.

“Today’s professional development was just another example of our commitment to our students and best practices for our faculty and staff,” said Cynthia D’Arcy, Executive Director of Collier Schools.

Collier is a state-approved, private, non-profit school for students with disabilities whose needs cannot be met within the public school. Students at Collier benefit from our environment of belonging, dignity, and hope. Students with any of the following symptoms benefit from Collier: depression, anxiety, isolation, OD behavior, and school refusal and adjustment challenges.

Former Student to attend the Culinary Institute of America
Jillian Gletow

We recently received a visit from a former student, Jace. Jace was enrolled in Collier Middle School, was active in our Culinary Arts program, and after graduating 8th grade, went back to his home district to complete High School. We are proud of all Jace has accomplished and wish him luck in the Culinary Institute of America! (Check out Jace’s cooking video he made while at Collier here:

Here is what Jace’s parents had to say about his time at Collier and the impact it has had on him:

“Jace transferred from public school to Collier for the start of 5th grade. While enrolled in Collier, Jace made real friends for the first time. He attended parties, had sleepovers, hung out, and built relationships that continue to flourish as each of them head off to different Colleges and workplaces in just a few weeks. He learned to take chances and express himself. His dreams and interests were nurtured at Collier while he learned important life skills. Communication with staff was always insightful, as they knew Jace, his strengths, and his needs. Staff cared and took an interest in what motivated him, building a rapport that remains positive 4 years after graduating. Collier prepared Jace to return to our home district for HS. He was self-motivated in academics and work and pushed to be successful, taking on a caseload of honor classes and becoming a member of the National Honor Society. Jace was able to meet all academic expectations as well as the social goals, such as the required volunteer hours to remain eligible. He went on to place second in the Skills USA state finals competition this past year and led another team to the NJAC cook-off challenge in Atlantic City.

Jace heads off to the Culinary Institute of America on September 2 with scholarships, awards, medals, honors, and multiple people in his corner. He has learned to advocate for his own needs both professionally in the kitchen and in preparation for college.”

Collier Middle School ESY Making a Splash!
Jillian Gletow

During ESY, our students get the opportunity to sharpen their swimming skills in our campus pool and on our weekly trips to the beautiful, fun-filled Jersey Shore beaches!



Kateri Day Camp
Jillian Gletow

Week 6: Flying High With Zip Lines And A Carnival

Week six is in the books, and our campers are finishing out their summer strong! Every week campers move up the swimming ranks where they can swim in deeper water, continue to improve their literacy skills, build their confidence, and have tons of fun!

These past 2 weeks, campers

  • Explored the science behind fireworks
  • Made balloon animals
  • Went zip lining
  • Learned about and listened to African drumming
  • Enjoyed a mobile STEAM Museum
  • And enjoyed themselves at the Kateri Carnival!

See what's in store for the last week of camp!