The Daytop Preparatory School

A nonsectarian licensed private alternative school providing a very special education
Our alternative school program provides special education services to adolescents struggling with substance abuse, behavioral and co-occurring disorders. Our goal is an uplifting and joyful education experience, so Daytop Prep is filled with the spirit of love and hope. In all things we strive to recover the essential joy, wonder and innocence still present in all Daytop students even while they may be experiencing life crisis and change.

Daytop NJ Prep Alternative School StudentsDaytop Prep expresses our Alternative School educational model by expanding the options and educational possibilities for our students who lost these opportunities through addiction and/or behavioral problems. To achieve this mission, the school encourages personal growth in mind, heart, and spirit - the foundation of the entire Daytop New Jersey program.

The same supportive system for Residential and Day School students
Daytop Prep Residential Program students may come to us from all across the country. They are in residence 24/7, typically completing an individualized program of recovery ranging from three to nine months. Daytop Day School (link to Day School page) Program students attend the same classes but commute daily from their homes in the surrounding areas.

Daytop NJ Prep Alternative SchoolStudents are placed in classes through a thorough assessment process including input from the referring school's guidance staff, district child study teams, review of the student's IEP (Individual Education Plan), consultation with parents, and discussion with the student. The initial placement also incorporates considerations of age, credit status, preparation for graduation, and other requirements.Daytop Director of Education Erin Carrabba personally conducts the initial placement process for each student. Ms. Carrabba holds a comprehensive entry interview with the student, which is vital for getting to know each student and their unique educational needs. Ms. Carrabba then assigns the student to a Teacher Advisor who guides the student and is their advocate, serving as the primary communicator with child study team personnel, district personnel, parents and other concerned parties. Each Advisor is certified as a Teacher of the Handicapped with knowledge of regulations and requirements for special education services. The Advisor assures that all teachers who work with the student are aware of special accommodations and modifications to programs stipulated in IEPs.

Daytop Preparatory School offers:
  • Clean, drug-free, state-of-the-art facility
  • Integrated technology in academic classes
  • Full gymnasium with extensive fitness equipment
  • Technically well-equipped music and art studios
  • Academic courses that emphasize mastery of content
  • Skills development application of learning to projects
  • Practical experiences and supervised excursions

Our Alternative School model emphasizes intensive small groups and individual sessions in academic subject areas. In addition to core required academic subjects in Math, English, Social Studies and Science the school prepares students for SAT, HSPA and other qualifying examinations.

Students choose courses in visual arts, technology, physical arts, and performing arts and join in a broad range of expressive experiences. Through these courses students are encouraged to express individual preferences and to develop their unique talents.

  • The elective program is structured to foster joyful learning experiences.
  • The Art Program offers courses in sculpture, painting, printmaking, and the study of art history.
  • The Technology Program includes web design, power point, graphics, publishing, and programming.
  • The Music Technology Program includes original music recording and production, playing traditional musical instruments, and small group performances.
  • The Physical Education/Health Program offers gymnastics, weight training and fitness, team sports including volleyball, badminton, basketball, soccer, softball, and tennis.
  • Reading is important in both academics and in broadening our students' understanding of the world around them, so we have incorporated Kindle classes. Kindle tablets make it a more fun to read and learn and by leveraging the vast catalogue of materials they provide, Daytop Preparatory School's library resources are able to rival that of much larger learning institutions.
  • Through the use of online courses and proprietary instructional software our students are given the opportunity to learn new languages as a credited course, as an elective or as an independent study course.

The history of Daytop Preparatory School
Founded by Rev. Joseph H. Hennen, Daytop New Jersey is a nondenominational private nonprofit organization. Daytop Preparatory School was licensed in 2001 to provide special education services to adolescents. Since that time, Daytop Prep has helped hundreds of students and their families find peace, joy and success. Father Hennen has more than 30 years of experience working with adolescents experiencing addiction, behavior and co-occurring disorders. He is an ordained Roman Catholic Priest and holds a School Psychologist Permanent Certificate, is a Licensed Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. Daytop Prep is located in Mendham, NJ. Because our campus is adjacent to a convent, many assume we are a Catholic school, but Daytop New Jersey is not affiliated with any religious institution, and is an equal opportunity and nondenominational nonprofit organization.

Daytop Prep is a special place!
Please call or email for more information and to schedule a personal interview and tour. We are proud of all we have to offer and the success of our students.

Director of Education Erin Carrabba at 973-543-5656 ext. 708 or


Crawford House