The Success of Washington Academy is due to Dr. Jack Schwartz's keen understanding of what students need within a classroom in order to be successful. His philosophy was simple, "all students are special, but some children need special help."
That core vision drove him to develop the Washington Academy core program over 30 years and the reputation of the school began to grow both within the special education community and throughout public schools in Northern New Jersey. Washington Academy became known as the "school that makes a difference."
Thousands of students have come through the program at Washington Academy over those 30 years with a wide array of challenges. Some students lack academic confidence and some need additional social skills support. Dr. Schwartz always saw each student for who they were, without blame. Dr. Schwartz stressed that every student within his program was a "Washington Academy kid. And Washington Academy kids are good kids." By eliminating the social labels placed on students with special needs, the staff at Washington Academy could see the student for their individual personality and provide direct support for the underlying challenges that student faces.
Each aspect of the school addresses self-esteem, self-confidence, academic success, literacy, social skills, and making good choices in life. That is why parents of former students frequently call the school to provide updates on their children. And also why former students schedule time to come back and visit. The school is a community of learners and each member of that community is important and special.
Dr. Schwartz always believed that with "love, attention and affection, each child shall flourish." And a school that can embody those values can change the future success of any child.
About Dr. Schwartz:
He began his educational career in East Harlem, NY as a teacher, where he learned how environmental issues affect how students interact with teachers and with the instution of school. He became a School Psychologist in the public school in New Jersey assessing and testing students who were identified as special needs. He then earned his Ph.D from Fordham Univeristy and continued in special education until he founded Washington Academy in 1982 in South Orange. Dr. Schwartz was a psychologist in New Jersey as well as a lecturer at Fordham University in teaching, special education and a special United States Grant graduate program in Puerto Rico.
"With Love, Attention and Affection..."
Educational Leadership Director (Current 2012-2013)
David Schwartz, M.A.
Mr. Schwartz brings to Washington Academy a breadth of experience unparalled in special education and school leadership. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Brandeis University in American Studies as well as media communications. He has many years experience in media communications, including several years in Trenton working with the New Jersey State Assembly. He spent a few years in the classroom as a Teacher in the Technology lab. He also has over ten years experience as a Director of Washington Academy first in school operations and now as the Educational Leadership Director, in charge of overseeing the academic curricular program, the school business office and the LCSW program. Mr. Schwartz has a certificate in School Business as well as Superintendent of Schools. He earned his Masters degree from Montclair State University in Educational Leadership.
"It is an honor to continue the legacy of 'Doc'," said Mr. Schwartz. "When a student and family choose Washington Academy as their school they get 30 years of dedication, perserverance and a "failure is not an option" attitude. I love and care about all the students at Washington Academy because each student deserves to have someone encouraging them daily that they can succeed despite external odds, whether real or perceived."
He is trained in Positive Behavior Support systems, Professional Learning Communities (School Improvement Analysis) and Management (AMA). He is currently putting together a book/professional workbook to assist educators in implementing "inclusion" strategies in all classrooms. And he is in the development process of authoring a brand new high school program that will incorporate the College and Career ready goals of the 21st Century and plans to partner with national education book manufacturers.