The Work Readiness Academy

June 2023 Newsletter

Director's Message

Dear WRA Families,

I hope your summer is off to a good start! It was so nice to see so many of our parents and families at our end of year recognition ceremony last week. Congratulations to our graduates!

Please enjoy our last official Newsletter of the 2022-23 school year which includes highlights from the month of June at the Work Readiness Academy.

The Work Readiness Academy is dedicated to providing your child with an excellent educational experience. In order to ensure our school is meeting your needs and to identify areas where we could potentially address unmet needs, we have developed a feedback survey. We would greatly appreciate you taking 10-15 minutes of your time to provide us with your valuable insights. Your input will be vital as we ensure that we continue to provide the services that make us strong and work to improve in areas that need our attention.

Thank you to those who have already completed the survey. If you have not yet done so, you can access the survey at the following link:

Thank you for trusting us with your child's education!


Josh Bornstein

Director at the UCESC Work Readiness Academy

ESY 2023 @ The WRA

The Work Readiness Academy will again be offering an Extended School Year Program for eligible students beginning Wednesday, July 5th. The program will run through Friday, August 11th. Summer program hours at 9am to 2pm. Students will be participating in community-based Work-Based Learning experiences over the summer.

Eligible students should have received an ESY welcome letter in the mail. If you did not receive one, or if you have any questions about the ESY program please contact me at or (908) 895-8585.

Our staff is looking forward to a fun summer program!

Upcoming Dates

Wednesday, July 5th - ESY Program Begins

Friday, August 11th - ESY Program Ends

Friday, September 8th - First Day of the 2023-24 School Year

Student Absences, Late Arrivals & Early Dismissals

As a reminder, in the event that your child will be absent, arriving late, picked up early, please call our main number at (908) 633-2704 and speak with our secretary Maureen Wakeman. If it is before 8am, please leave a message. You can also email Maureen at

New WRA Supervisor

We are excited to welcome Ms. Rachel Richer as the WRA's new Supervisor of Instruction! Ms. Richer brings more than 20 years of special education teaching experience, including a long career teaching vocational skills, functional academics, and life skills to students from the Elizabeth Public Schools. She has also served as an instructional coach with the district and helped to design and develop their first 18-21 transition program featuring a multitude of internal work-based learning experiences and community-based instruction experiences. Ms. Richer also brings a wealth of knowledge about instructional and differentiation strategies to support students diagnosed with Autism and other Mild to Moderate Cognitive Impairments. She is passionate, positive, and clearly shares our program's core mission to prepare students to become independent and contributing members of society. She described this position as "the job meant for me." She was chosen from a field of four semi-finalists and two finalists. The interview team was unanimous in agreeing that Ms. Richer was the best candidate for this position.

Ms. Richer will start with us on July 1st and will be involved with helping to supervise our summer Extended School Year program.

Ms. Richer can be reached at

June Spotlights

WRA Graduation and End of Year Recognition Ceremony!

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On Monday, June 19th the Work Readiness Academy celebrated another successful school year with our annual End of Year Recognition Ceremony. The morning program featured remarks from WRA DIrector Josh Bornstein, WRA Teachers Sharlene McQuade and Phil Acosta, WRA Student Thomas Joseph and UCESC Superintendent Carrie Dattilo. Additionally, WRA staff presented certificates to each of our students and shared some collective thoughts about each student's strengths and personalities!

If you are interested in watching the replay of Thomas Joseph's wonderful student address, please click the link below:

Once again congraulations to our five graduates in the class of 2023!

Nathan Almeida

Vanenburg Innocent

Alex Mclean

Dennis Santos

Justin Seigerman

We also want to say good luck to those students leaving the WRA, but heading to our Project SEARCH program at Overlook Medical Center next year! They are Jonathan Wiener, Thomas Joseph, and Cole Perillo!

Please enjoy some additional photo highlights below.

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June Pictures from our Work-Based Learning Experiences!

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Community Trips to Nomahegan Park and Linden Lanes

To celebrate the end of another successful school year, the students and staff from the Work Readiness Academy enjoyed community trips to Nomahegan Park (field day) and Linden Lanes (bowling). Pictures are below!
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About the Work Readiness Academy

The Work Readiness Academy serves students ages 18-21 with disabilities and provides a comprehensive employment training experience that incorporates both classroom-based instruction and community-based work-learning experiences. While in the training classroom, students work cooperatively with similar aged peers to learn critical skills related to employment and socialization. Students also work on career exploration and planning, including the development of a person-centered, post-secondary vision and plan with clear goals and action steps. Program staff remain on-site during the internships to provide and fade support and assistance as needed. Students also participate in field trips focused on career discovery, independent living skills, recreation and independent travel training.

For more information or to make a student referral, please email Josh Bornstein at