The Mercer County Special Services School District (MCSSSD) educates and supports students with special needs to help them reach their full potential as members of the community. Like all the districts that make up the New Jersey Joint Council of County Special Services School Districts, MCSSSD provides personalized and specialized services and programs designed to support students and their unique needs.

Since its founding in 1977, MCSSSD has been committed to providing stellar programming for special needs students throughout the county. With the collaborative help of the Mercer County Administration, the Board of County Commissioners, the Parent Organization, the Mercer County Education Office, public school districts of the county, and state and county agencies serving students with disabilities, MCSSSD has been able to provide innovative and specialized services for students. Through leadership and the collaborative efforts of staff, family, sending districts, and community, the mission of the district is to equip individuals with the skills necessary to successfully function in their environment.

A staff member sits between two students at a desk, where the two students are looking at tablets. The staff member is guiding the student on her right through an activity on the tablet.

Staff members assist and support students as they navigate their classwork.

Students benefit from every aspect of the special community at Mercer County Special Services – from physical therapy rooms, interactive activities and a library at each school to the enthusiastic staff. These schools offer tailored programming to serve a variety of unique needs, including early intervention, emotional disabilities, multiple disabilities and many more.

Joseph F. Capello School has a mission to help children ages three through seven through a play-based learning environment where they can grow and thrive. The school offers areas for students to immerse themselves in their learning experiences, such as a playroom, a sensory integration room and an indoor playground. These rooms, paired with guidance from staff members, allow students to become acclimated to the world around them at their own pace.

About two years ago, the Capello School installed inclusive and accessible raised gardening beds with a goal to grow crops that could be used in conjunction with the food service program and implemented a program teaching wellness and healthy living. Since then, the program has grown and earned the school a “Best in New Jersey Farm to School Award” from the state Department of Agriculture. The garden served as a living laboratory for students where they practiced ownership, collaboration and responsibility. The students’ work in the garden produced enough food to incorporate into the food service program and donate to a local organization.

A large group of students and staff members in green shirts pose outside the Joseph F. Capello school with yellow, orange, and green balloons behind them as they are honored for their partnership with Jersey Fresh.

Students from Joseph F. Capello celebrate being honored as the Best of NJ in partnership with Jersey Fresh. The students were able to share the kitchen with staff and learn about the value of fresh foods.

Mercer Elementary School is designed to assist a wide range of students in their learning journey. Students are encouraged to learn both independently and in groups, in both academic and social settings. Life skills, like making appropriate decisions, accepting consequences, and developing independence are all learned throughout a student’s time at Mercer Elementary.

Students are able to participate in interactive activities such as slime making and physical therapy in the hallways, as well as quiet reading time. There’s something for everyone.

A male student and his instructor wearing white aprons stand behind a metal kitchen counter with the cookies they have baked on cookie sheets on the counter in front of them.

Students have the opportunity to practice life and job skills like baking as part of the curriculum.

Mercer High School offers students aged 14-21 a range of academic and therapeutic services. The school provides a structured learning environment to guide students to post-secondary life. Students are prepared for their next steps with a positive and supportive learning environment.

Students have different opportunities available to them like Chuck’s Place, where they can prepare meals and staff the store. Another option is the Hardhat Café, which is half classroom and half kitchen to blend experiences like food preparation and customer service.

The scope of opportunity is just one of the few reasons that MCSSSD is a thriving school community. Students who emerge from the district are well prepared for their futures and can continue to receive support and resources from their school community even after they have gone on to their next adventure.

To learn more about MCSSSD and its programs, please visit their website