The Cape May County Special Services School District (CMCSSSD) educates and empowers students with special needs to reach their highest potential. Like all the districts that make up the New Jersey Joint Council of County Special Services School Districts, CMCSSSD provides personalized and specialized services and programs to support students and their unique needs.

Founded in 1974, CMCSSSD is committed to providing effective educational programs that meet the social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and career needs of students. By providing specialized academic instruction, vocational and career development, functional life skills and individualized therapeutic intervention, the mission of CMCSSSD is to enable every student to realize his or her highest potential as a contributing member of the community.

From the beautiful mosaic murals in the hallways to the cheerful door decorations, every student, staff member, and visitor who walks through the school is met with a sense of joy and warmth. Students have access to an entire campus as opposed to one classroom within a school and are encouraged to be themselves as they accept and work through challenges to achieve growth, all with the support of a caring staff. Serving students ages three to adulthood – there’s learning happening at every level.

A student is seated at a table sorting dominoes in a box while his teacher watches him from her seat across the table.

A staff member supervises a student with his task box in the Raucci Room. Task boxes are offered at three different levels that students can complete based on interests and abilities.

The Raucci Room is a prevocational classroom where older students learn hands-on skills that prepare them to enter the workforce. Just like they would at a job site, the students must sign in and out of each designated work area. Students work on tasks at different levels, according to their interests and abilities – some of the tasks include coin sorting, using coupons and learning how to calculate a discount, and packaging.

Baked goods are displayed in baskets on a table with a chalkboard sign that reads Welcome to the Back Porch Cafe.

The Back Porch Café offers students an on-campus work-based learning experience. Tasks in the café are done by students according to their interests and abilities.

Students get to put those skills to use in a variety of ways such as working in the on-campus Back Porch Café, food pantry, and wood shop, as well as outside of the school through community-based instruction via partnerships with local businesses. In the Back Porch Café, students can sharpen their work function skills by doing basic food preparations, making smoothies and keeping the coffee station stocked. The school also operates a food pantry in partnership with a local food bank. The pantry is set up like a grocery store; each week students assemble 60 bags to be distributed to those in need and take inventory of the supplies to make sure the pantry stays fully stocked.

Aisles of packaged food are numbered, labeled and organized like a store inside a large room with a loading dock.

The Food Pantry is another opportunity for students to work on campus putting together 60 baskets per week and also maintaining inventory for the supplies.

Offering comprehensive and individualized occupational and physical therapy, CMCSSSD has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which provides students with the opportunity to learn to swim within the physical education program. There’s another pool located in a therapy room that is accessible for students who utilize wheelchairs or other mobility devices. This pool has a floor that can be raised or lowered, allowing students to easily enter and exit.

The Outdoor Experiential Education (OXE) program provides students with innovative educational opportunities through a variety of outdoor and indoor activities in the community (such as hiking, camping trips, community recreation activities, and service projects). The OXE curriculum emphasizes the development of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness, problem-solving skills, and recreation skills.

One of the newer programs at CMCSSSD that has gained a lot of interest is the Special Olympics Unified Sports Program, where CMCSSSD students compete against other districts in conjunction with Cape May County Technical School students. Currently students compete in soccer, basketball, and track.

Colorful playground equipment such as swings, slides, a covered chair, talk tubes and play huts are arranged on rubber safety matting and enclosed in an area surrounded by white vinyl fencing.

A state-of-the-art accessible playground opened at CMCSSSD in 2022. The playground was constructed as part of a CMCSSSD Education Foundation initiative.

The variety of different offerings at CMCSSSD is just one of the reasons enrollment is currently at its strongest point in the last 10 years. Another reason is the dedicated and caring staff members who come to work every day ready to make a positive impact on each and every one of their students.

To learn more about CMCSSSD and all that it offers, visit their website