Past NCAPPS Webinars

Person-Centered Practices in Schools: Lessons from New Jersey

Monday, March 29, 2021

Students, parents and educators from John F. Kennedy (JFK) School in Newark, NJ have been on a journey to explore the use of person-centered approaches in their school. They are one of many schools that are part of a statewide project called Person-Centered Approaches in Schools and Transition (PCAST) at Rutgers University. In this webinar we will hear from a dynamic panel at JFK that consists of students, parents, educators, and administrators. They will share their unique perspectives on using these approaches to improve plan facilitation, the IEP process, classroom implementation, and school culture and climate.

Opening remarks from Bill Freeman, the CSPD Coordinator at the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education. He develops and provides training and other forms of assistance to improve the educational services provided to students. Bill’s work focuses on improving the transition from school to adult life for students with disabilities. Prior to joining the NJDOE, Bill was a teacher, case manager, and school administrator where he focused on assisting students with disabilities to be successfully employed and fully engaged in all aspects of life upon graduation.

Meet the presenters

Jill Summers-Phillips

Jill Summers Phillips is the Principal of John F. Kennedy School in Newark Public Schools in New Jersey, which supports and educates students with disabilities at the middle and secondary level. She has been working in education since 1996 and in 2018 Mrs. Summers-Phillips was appointed Principal of John F. Kennedy School. At JFK she encourages the students and staff to embrace the “No Limits” motto which challenges everyone to push beyond any limits that this world may have set for them.

Michael Steinbruck

Michael Steinbruck, MA is a Senior Training & Consultation Specialist at The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities. Mr. Steinbruck’s programmatic focus is on developing the Person-Centered Approaches in Schools and Transition (PCAST) project. He provides training and technical assistance related to the development and delivery of person-centered thinking and planning, and works with schools on implementation of person-centered approaches and related organizational improvement efforts.

Lenya Morgan-Banner

Lenya Morgan-Banner is a servant of God, wife, mother, teacher, chaplain and advocate for children with special needs. She is a lifelong learner and holds a MA in Educational Administration. In 1997, her son Farad was diagnosed with ASD. Subsequently, she founded YANA-PGRS. A nonprofit organization providing cost free aid to families of children with special needs. Lenya currently works diligently to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats individuals with disabilities.

Ruby Frempong

Ruby Frempong is a senior at John F. Kennedy High School. She enjoys music, specifically 90’s hip-hop, pop and rhythm and blues. After graduation, Ruby plans to further her education by attending a two-year college with a focus on business and entrepreneurship.

Derick DJ Scott

Derick "DJ" Scott is a sophomore at John F. Kennedy School. He is an adventurous foodie who enjoys reading fictional titles with a unique story line. After graduation, DJ plans to attend college with a focus on genetic science, energy and space travel.

Raquel Hernandez

Raquel Hernandez is an LPN who currently works in a maternal fetal medicine department where she aides in monitoring high risk pregnancies. Raquel has been dedicating herself to the health care profession for the past 12 years. Raquel is a proud mother of 3 and is a strong advocate for her son DJ who is autistic. In Raquel’s free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and is also the entrepreneur of Oshe Candles.

LaPrice Weatherington

LaPrice Weatherington M. Ed is a special education teacher for the Newark Board of Education. She is a co-author of #HELPME: A Parent’s Guide to Navigating the School Experience through the Eyes of Teachers and a member of the National Association for Special Education Teachers. Ms. Weatherington received her undergraduate degree from New Jersey City University and her graduate degree from Concordia University.