Manhattan Private School Celebrates Diversity
The IDEAL School of Manhattan may, indeed, be “the ideal school.”
A private kindergarten through eighth grade academy located on the city’s Upper West Side, the IDEAL School serves 130 students in an atmosphere defined by inclusion and diversity.
It is a place where special needs children areintegrated into every class; where the disruption of daily therapies for those who need them is minimized by individualized scheduling that eliminates “pull outs” typical of most special education services; and where academic excellence and creativity are stressed along with empathy, social responsibility, and world stewardship for all students regardless of ability or origin.
“The IDEAL School attracts families who embrace social justice,” said Tobie Franklin, Director of Learning Support. “Two-thirds of our students are neurotypical and one-third have learning differences,” she said. “That includes children with mobility issues, learning difficulties, Downs, ADHD, or who are on the spectrum.”
Further evidence of the school’s commitment to diversity is the fact that 65 percent of the students at IDEAL are students of color.
To accommodate such a range of abilities and backgrounds class size ranges from 16 to 18 students led by two teachers, one with a regular education background and one a special education teacher.
Support services are especially robust for a private school. On staff are an occupational therapist, a physical therapist and a behavioral therapist. Said Kristen McElligott, the school’s OT, “We’re the only one of our kind.”
The IDEAL School also uses AlertSeats™.
McElligott read about the chairs in a professional journal and contacted Newman Adaptive about the company’s offer of an evaluation and trial. When the trial period ended, the school bought two for the OT Room where, the therapist reports, AlertSeats help children with fine motor and posture issues, fidgeting and attentiveness.
AlertSeats subsequently migrated into classrooms where they are used by both neurotypical students and those with special needs. Even some teachers have discovered the benefits. The school now has 15 AlertSeats in service and expects to order more.
Learn more about the IDEAL School of Manhattan at http://www.theidealschool.org/