Parents of children with special needs often find themselves seeking alternative options to public school because of the lack of quality special needs services. This week, two Brooklyn schools were highlighted for their unique approach to special needs education. Schools Chancellor David Banks has advocated for expanding programs that educate students with disabilities alongside their general education peers, and both P.S. 958 in Sunset Park and P.S. 15 in Red Hook are doing just that.
P.S. 958 is a new school that currently offers Pre-K and kindergarten classes and will eventually expand to fifth grade. About half of the school’s students have disabilities, giving local families the option to send their children to a nearby school versus a District 75 school that can be far from home. Rather than segregate the students with special needs like District 75 schools often do, the school goes out of its way to create inclusive settings whenever possible, like during music class and recess. Read more here.
Meanwhile, over at P.S. 15, a pilot program that began in 2017 is still going strong, with 40% of its students in special education. Some classrooms are fully integrated with both general education students alongside those with special needs, while other students who are in special-education-only classrooms still have opportunities to integrate for certain activities. Some teachers from the school are even helping a small district in Texas model the program. Read more about it here.