Eatontown Special Needs School Turns 50!
What if you had a child with special needs in 1969? Fifty years ago there were not many services or programs for children with special needs. (The federal law mandating such programs would not be enacted until 1975.) A group of Ocean Township parents founded the Harbor School in September of 1969, now one of three RKS Associates private special education schools approved by the N.J. Department of Education for students with special needs and disabilities.
Initially the Harbor School, 240 Broad Street, Eatontown, started with four classrooms, about 25 students ranging in age from six to 14. Today Harbor School has about 90 staff members, 75 students, and a very active PTA.
To mark its 50th anniversary, the Harbor School is holding a celebration at the school on August 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. that will include a 50th anniversary video produced by Gilbert Velasquez and Don Silvernail of GVCERV, a digital and print design studio; carnival games run by Jenn Bogin, the physical education teacher; music performances led by music teacher Amanda Latham; and dance and cheerleading performances led by Santhe Bielk, the dance/theater group teacher. Staff members will give their reflections of the past and present
Dr. Anne Gunteski, principal of Harbor School, said, “We are having a celebration of the history of our school and tribute to all those who have been connected to the school in any way over the years that it has been in existence.”
Invited guests include Governor Phil Murphy, N.J. Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet, Mayor Anthony Talerico, Police Chief William Lucia, Senators Cory Booker, Robert Menendez, and Vin Gopal; and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman, Joann Downey, both District 11; and Assemblyman and Assembly Speaker, District 10, Craig Coughlin. Executive Administrators Ruth Reinhard and Jean Stack, and Harbor School Principal Dr. Anne Gunteski are the featured speakers.
Each RKS school offers twelve-month program of education, and therapeutic and behavioral support for children from many New Jersey counties and more than 70 school districts who have challenges, such as being multiple disabled; cognitively impaired; and have autistic spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury; behavioral disorders, or other health impairments. Services include speech, occupational and physical therapy; counseling; music; computers; physical education; and vocational training.
For more information, contact or for school enrollment in an RKS school, contact Dana Giblin at 732-544-9394.
RKS Associates Schools: Gateway School: 60 High Street Carteret, NJ 07008 (732.541.4400) https://thegatewayschool.com/; Alpha School: 2210 West County Line Road, Suite #1, Jackson, NJ 08527 (732.370.1150) https://alphaschool.com/ ; Harbor School: 240 Broad Street, Eatontown, NJ 07724 (732.544.9394) https://harborschool.com/