High School Activities

Our schools partner with volunteers and other organizations to strengthen our programs and offer the most innovative opportunities for our students.

Student and teacher painting t-shirt
The Arts
Theater Production

Our theater production highlights the abilities of our students and accommodations ensure all students have a chance to participate.

Chorus

Students are involved in writing original music and perform during our special events and provide entertainment to our school and the community.

Paint Rollers

This is an adapted art group run by therapists that focuses on choice making, various grasping patterns, basic concepts such as color/shape/size, and multi-sensory learning. Students create collaborative works of art by using custom-made adapted art equipment such as switch adapted paint sprayers, strap-on writing tools, and built-up stencils.

Student hands on computer
Totally Wired

This is a therapist run group for students who are primarily nonverbal, non-ambulatory and with limited voluntary movement of their bodies who are all working to gain better access to their environments through switch access and use low or high tech augmentative or alternative communication systems. The group works on social skills, which may include talking about emotions and commenting to share their opinions. Therapists teach and work on expanding students use of descriptive language. Totally Wired also performs at various times of the year as part of the school plays and puts on shows in the summer and around the holidays. In the past, they have read books aloud using Augmentative and Alternative Communication, provided instrument sounds to popular songs using switches, and sung songs using Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Students and teachers cooking in kitchen
Curriculum Enhancement Opportunities
HHS Cooking Show

For our cooking show, students research and prepare a 30-minute meal which is recorded on video. Students select what they want to make and choose their sous chef.

Horticultural Program

Students tend to an outdoor vegetable garden which is used to teach students about exploration of fruits, vegetables, and healthy eating.

Female student smiling in chair
Young Men’s and Young Women’s Groups

The groups allow our students to interact with each other, share common interests, and support each other throughout the course of their high school experience. Our Young Men’s Club won the 2007 Innovations In Special Education Award for being the first of its kind. The Young Women’s group plans and carry out projects to support the surrounding communities including food drives, school supplies donations, providing socks, mittens, and hats for various community partners, and sending birthday cards for soldiers who are deployed in other countries.

Smiling boy in standing chair

Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Board
Our students send representatives to the Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Board, which is comprised of program participants of all ages from all Pillar Care Continuum programs. The group meets quarterly to discuss and advocate for various issues of common interest.

Newscast
There is a weekly news broadcast to keep staff and students up-to-date about events at the school and other parts of the agency. During the broadcast, the students report on news within the school and agency, sports, and weather.

Student Government
Led by our President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, the school’s student government provides the students the opportunity to have their opinions heard and implement change in the school program. In order to be elected for a position on the Student Government Council, the students create their own campaigns with slogans, posters, speeches, and go through an election process where all students vote for the candidates they want to represent them. The student government plans our annual assemblies, organizes school spirit days, and initiates fundraisers to support school-wide activities including school social events, community projects, and school reform.

Pet Therapy
Certified therapy animals periodically visit with students. Some of the benefits of pet therapy are that it decreases learners’ anxiety, creates positive changes towards learning and improved motivation, and reduces stress.

Parked school bus
Family and School Connection

Family Nights

To foster and develop positive relationships with our families, we offer regular Family Nights that include everything from movie night out to appearances by live entertainers.

PTTA

The Parent Teacher and Therapist Association was established by Pillar Schools parents to encourage families to remain actively engaged with the schools’ educational-therapeutic program, lend their support by spearheading education and fundraising activities, and to meet and interact with other Pillar families.

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Staying Active

Physical Activity is an important aspect of a healthy, active lifestyle. The benefits of regular exercise for students with special needs can range from physical, emotional, and social. At Pillar High School, many programs that focus on safe and engaging physical activities to promote the physical and mental health of the students are offered.

  • Karate
  • Adapted Yoga
  • Basketball Team
  • Hot Wheels-Adapted Dance Group

Students are accompanied by their therapists to focus on adapted karate, which meets weekly. During the group, the students work on improving strength, range of motion, balance, and following directions. Our karate instructor helps students learn discipline and respect while building self-esteem.

Under the direction of our therapy staff, adapted yoga incorporates warm-up exercises, breathing exercises, yoga poses, and ends with relaxation time. Yoga is used to promote the development of body awareness, dynamic core stability, coordination, and flexibility through the physical poses as well as focus, concentration, attention, and emotional regulation through self-reflection, relaxation, and breathing.

Under the coaching direction of an occupational therapist, employment specialist and the adapted physical education teacher, our basketball team travels to compete against local private school programs. Students can also participate in an intramural athletic program.

Hot Wheels is a ballroom dance program specifically for students in wheelchairs offered through a partnership with Pillar’s volunteer department, the American Dance Wheels Foundation, and Seton Hall University’s Division of Volunteer Efforts. Wheelchair dance provides multiple physical, physiological, functional, and psychosocial benefits and we are the only school in New Jersey to offer this class to its students.

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How to Help

Our supporters are critical to helping our schools to go above and beyond for our students. There are a number of ways you can help.