10 Questions With Jennifer Binkley, Teacher Coordinator of Educational Assessment

In the newest installment of our “10 Questions With” series, we spoke with Jennifer Binkley, the Eden School’s Teacher Coordinator of Educational Assessment.

How long have you worked at Eden?

Jennifer Binkley with a student

I have been at Eden for 26 years. I started as a teaching assistant in Early Childhood. I was then promoted to the head teacher of Early Childhood and then lead teacher. I was the lead teacher for 17 years. I have been in my role as TCEA for the last 7 years and going strong!

What is a typical day as Eden’s Teacher Coordinator of Educational Assessment?

In my role, each day is different, which is what I love. My role integrates training and supporting teaching staff as well as working hands-on with all the school students (ages 3-21).  I support teaching staff through new staff training, scheduling/running in-services, and hands-on training and guidance in the classroom. In regard to curriculum, I assist and collaborate with teaching staff on the implementation of IEP goals, making modifications to programs and troubleshooting.

And my most favorite part of each day is when I am working one-on-one with students during assessments to highlight their strengths and develop new programs to help them be successful.

What would you like people to know about your colleagues?

The school staff are truly caring and committed to hard work. I have always appreciated how the school staff are collaborative on a daily basis for the success of each student, exemplifying true teamwork. There is so much support and collaboration with parents, our clinical team, teaching teams, speech staff, and physical education teachers working together to develop goals for the continual growth of each student. People always say “it takes a village,” and it is true as the success of our students is a group effort.

What has it been like to watch students grow from the time they come to Eden through graduation?

It is both a privilege and an inspiration. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to watch many students grow and learn from the early childhood program up to High School 4 for graduation. I have developed personal relationships with families and have watched the siblings of our students grow up well.

How has Eden changed since you first began working here?

Jennifer dances with a student during an Eden School dance party

The physical change is that the school moved from 1 Eden Way to 2 Merwick Road, as well as the addition of new classrooms and programs within the school. Otherwise, the most valuable changes I have seen have been the school evolving as the field of applied behavior analysis has advanced. As the field has expanded, so has Eden as we continue to learn and integrate best practices to create positive behavioral changes in our students. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of working with our students is watching them each grow and learn. Learning is an ongoing process, and each student works continually to overcome challenges to strengthen their skills and achieve their goals. I love celebrating each of their successes.

What is your favorite memory made with Eden?

Naming one memory would be impossible; let’s be honest 26 years is a long time! One favorite memory from my early childhood days is a trip to Cape May.

Eden owned a house on Cape May Bay that the adult participants vacationed at each summer. With the approval of our director and the parents, the early teaching team took eight students to an overnight at the house. We took the students to the Cape May Zoo, played on the beach, and went to dinner. We returned to school the next day.

It was not only a fun experience for the students but a great learning opportunity for the teachers, as we experienced firsthand a day in the life of the parents. It allowed us to appreciate the challenges our parents may face. It was also heartwarming to see that all of us who went to Cape May volunteered, and our biggest gift was knowing our amazing parents were able to have a night off duty!

If you didn’t choose this career path, where would you want to work and why?

I honestly don’t know but would guess that I would still be in the educational field, as a school psychologist or maybe speech and language pathologist.

Where is your ideal vacation spot?

I don’t have an ideal vacation spot, as long as I have family and friends with me then I am in my happy place. My only requirement is that it is warm!

If you had $1 million to spend but you only had one day what would be your first purchase?

The “type A” in me wants to say that I would invest it, immediately. However, the dreamer says buy a beach house.