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Inclusion The Default At Innovative School


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A unique New York City school is successfully serving kids with developmental disabilities alongside those who are typically developing by assuming that each child needs their own curriculum in order to thrive.

At The IDEAL School, children of varying abilities all learn the same topics, but each student does so at their own level with an individual lesson plan tailored to their needs. Specialized services like speech and physical therapy are provided during elective periods so that no student misses out on academics or feels different.

The school, which was started by a group of parents, is built around the idea that inclusion is merely a form of diversity. School leaders and parents say that the extremely inclusive model of education breads an environment of total acceptance where each child values the strengths of their peers.

“The kids are partners with each other. They support each other, they advocate for each other,” one parent told NBC News.

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Comments (4 Responses)

  1. William Felts says:

    Great story – so thrilled to see this model catching on. Where I live, In Seattle WA, we are lucky to have some great programs here as well. Some have been in existence for 20+ years!

  2. MeToo says:

    My son had the good fortune to attend a special ed school that followed this type of programming. It works, and works best when kids stay with the same teacher for several years, working on skills mastery (instead of “pass or be held back”). It’s good to see this being used for “non-sped” kids, too. As a model for inclusion it works.

  3. Crimson Wife says:

    Too bad it charges $34.8k per year per child, putting it out of reach for the vast majorities of families. Why can’t this model be implemented in tuition-free public schools?

  4. Victoria Graf says:

    I, too, was disappointed to see that extra tuition was required. I am on the Board of the WISH Charter School in Los Angeles, which is a free public inclusive school. This model could be replicated across the US.

    Parents shouldn’t have to pay to get an education that benefits all children.

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