Project Description
The Caring Schools Inclusion Project uses the Community of Caring character education program to improve the academic engagement, social participation and perceived sense of autonomy of children with disabilities in the development of a positive culture. The focus on students with disabilities will facilitate acceptance and perspective-taking by peers, teachers and other school personnel and improved collaborative relationships between teachers and students. This project serves approximately 9,000 students, teachers and staff in 12 New Jersey middle schools.

Participating Schools

Pictured at right:  Cohort I attending the 2007 Annual Community of Caring Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

Cohort 1:
Implementation of Community of Caring begins in 2007
Dr. J.P. Cleary Middle School, Minotola, NJ
John A. Carusi Middle School, Cherry Hill, NJRosa International Middle School, Cherry Hill, NJ
Marlboro Memorial Middle School, Morganville, NJ

Cohort 2:
Implementation of Community of Caring begins in 2008
Cinnaminson Middle School, Cinnaminson, NJ
Franklin Avenue Middle School, Franklin Lakes, NJ
Northfield Middle School, Northfield, NJ
Lincoln Middle School, Passaic, NJ

Cohort 3: Implementation of Community of Caring begins in 2009
Brigantine North School, Brigantine, NJ
Galloway Township Middle School, Galloway, NJ
Maplewood Middle School, Maplewood, NJ
West Brook Middle School, Paramus, NJ

Goals and Objectives
  • To increase the capacity of New Jersey school systems to implement and sustain character education and social-emotional learning programs in the context of current state reform efforts.
  • To evaluate the impact of character education on the social inclusion of students with disabilities.
Evaluation Design
NJDOE will use formative evaluation and a quasi-experimental research design to determine the effectiveness of the Community of Caring interventions. The evaluation is based upon a delayed-implementation design with three cohorts of schools. A battery of instruments will be used to determine outcomes related to inclusion attitudes and practices and its intended effects on school culture. Student and school personnel attitudes will be assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively over three years, cross-sectionally and longitudinally.