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Community-based Instruction

Community-based Instruction: The Key To Independence

Community-based Instruction (CBI) is a research-based teaching practice that assists the transition to work and adult life for students. 

A comprehensive program with ambitions far beyond behavior management during field trips, CBI includes job shadowing with community employers.ecognizing appropriate behavior in different setting ranging from a restaurant to a movie theater, participating in community activities,and safe practices for traveling on NJ transit. CBI is also effective facilitating skill development and generalization of various academic, motor and social skills.

Vocational skills

Components of the Vocational Program at PRDS



  • Job Sampling (Structured Learning Experiences)
  • Pre-vocational Workshop
  • In School Paid Work Study Program

This component of the vocational training program gives students opportunities to develop their work skills in realistic settings.  These experiences help students develop job preferences and accumulate a list of experiences for future job applications.  In addition, the instructional staff is able to assess students’ skill levels in various work settings.  Students work individually and in small groups Small groups of two to three  participating in Work Based Learning (WBL).

The training sessions take place in the morning or afternoon. Photos of the students working on site and assessments based on WBL training plans are collected.  This information is then included in the students’ portfolios which can be shared with post graduate agencies.  Students must be 16 years old to participate in this aspect of the vocational program.   

Community Education

Community-based Instruction
The goals of consumer/community living are to provide students the opportunity to generalize skills, and  develop relationships with community members. Additionally, it helps prepare students for post graduate life by increasing their readiness for independence.


At PRDS, small groups of two to three students participate in morning or afternoon community trips, once per week for six  to eight weeks. Community Education trips include helping out with a community activity,   weekly shopping at grocery, department and drug  stores. Students also practice consumer skills at laundromats, the post office, dry cleaners, local farmer markets, as well as participating in typical community activities such as eating out, banking and using various public transportation.

Current PRDS student employment sites:

- Shoprite
- Global Grace Cafe
- Francis E. Parker Memorial Home
- International American Supermarkets
- Moghul Restaurant
- Popcorn for the People
- Food Architect
- Once Upon A Child
- Walgreens
- Ocean State Job Lot
- Burlington
- Sprinjene
- JFK Library


In the pre-vocational workshop, students work on real community jobs and simulations of work they complete in the community.  The community jobs include assembling pizza boxes for Rutgers football games and for local pizzerias.  The students place decaf coffee stickers on lids for Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.  Additional jobs include sorting plastic size markers for TJ Maxx, assembling toiletries bags for Franklin Township Food Bank, and sorting newspapers for the animal shelter.


Students also use the Ellison machine to cut out letters and symbols for two local libraries and nursery schools.  The simulations include sorting hangers, a job they do in TJ Maxx.  Other simulations include folding towels as they are expected to fold them in the laundry department at Parker House Assisted Living and filling sugar caddies, a job that is assigned at Henry’s Diner on Rutgers University campus.

The students develop their work skills as well as their work behaviors.  Instructional staff works with students on developing work performance skills. These skills include maintaining accurate work throughout the training session, asking for more materials when needed, and maintaining a work pace acceptable to the given task. Students’ interpersonal skills such as accepting constructive advice and a change in a job assignment are also addressed. In conclusion, a wide variety of work skills and behaviors are taught in the workshop.


The paid work study program includes jobs completed in the school building. Students work in the cafeteria, library,classrooms, and in the maintenance department. Students average about two hours of work per week and are paid minimum wage.  They receive a paycheck on the 15th of every month.

The students selected for this program are have  achieved a high level of independence after a brief training period.

Work Study