Keeping Up With Cooke – A Great Start to the School Year!

Internships at Cooke

The start of a new school year brings tons of excitement about internship placements for our high schoolers and SKILLs (Skills and Knowledge for Independent Learning and Living) young adult students. All students participate in internships—and beginning in 11th grade, they get paid for their work. Many students eagerly await their internship assignments, which fall into one of six career areas, including animal care, clerical and retail.

To prepare for the start of the internships, Cooke’s vocational services staff (including our two Chairs of Vocational Services: Jennifer Dinney and Dana Pelerin), as well as a team of Community Inclusion Assistants (CIAs), work with students to identify their interests, skills and work preferences. Students are matched with job sites that will expose them to the expectations of work and professionalism, including appropriate workplace attire, attendance, teamwork and integrating into an existing work culture.

CIAs work as job coaches and accompany students to their internship sites to help them learn to take on workplace tasks and interact with their new coworkers. Traveling to and from internships is one important way in which Cooke puts its travel training curriculum into action, helping students learn to navigate public transportation to travel to neighborhoods across NYC.  

In the coming weeks, Cooke students will be starting their jobs and taking on new challenges! We hope Cooke families will share in the excitement.


Cooke Institute: Strategic Planning

With Lido Beach (Long Island) in the background, Cooke Institute hosted a team-building retreat for its staff to reflect on past successes and plan for the busy year ahead. Coaches gathered to examine and share success stories and intervention techniques all while enjoying one last sunny day before fall sets in. It was a great way for staff to reconnect and usher in a school year that promises to be a busy one, with a full calendar of new and returning clients taking part in our coaching and teacher training services.


CI is pleased to welcome back the Archdiocese of New York’s Pre-K for All as a partner. CI will provide 70 school-age literacy and special education coaching engagements across three boroughs. As part of an expansion of our coaching outreach, the Institute is excited to welcome a new partner: the Brilla College Prep Charter School. As this new and rapidly expanding charter school network grows, Cooke will support them in addressing the needs of their diverse student population through special education consultation services. We’re also pleased to re-establish our connection with West Harlem Head Start, where we will provide Pre-K coaching this school year.

Grants Update: 

The TAFT Foundation Increases Funding

For the second year in a row, the Taft Foundation is funding Cooke’s internship program through a generous grant of $147,675. Together, we’re creating programs that improve students’ workplace readiness skills, helping students:

  • gain exposure to workplace culture,
  • understand job expectations and
  • explore vocational interests.

The foundation—which toured our SKILLs program last spring to meet with students and staff and see the program in action—works with a variety of nonprofit organizations, including Job Path, to improve access to quality vocational programming for young adults with disabilities. Their support of our internship program reinforces the importance of providing students with early (and ongoing) opportunities to engage in meaningful work, across a variety of career sectors. Students develop important workplace behaviors and skills, including communication, problem solving, punctuality and taking initiative.

We thank the Taft Foundation for their continued support!


Barclay’s, the Taproot Foundation, and the Cooke Institute Partner on New Market Research Project


Cooke School is moving to a new neighborhood: District 4. Find out how the Cooke Institute, our teacher coaching and training division, plans to partner with District 4 educators and social service agencies to expand its services.

The Cooke Institute (CI), provides professional development to teachers in early childhood, elementary and middle school classrooms. CI’s educational partners include: the Archdiocese of NY, West Harlem Head Start, and Brilla Public Charter Schools. To prepare for Cooke’s move to our new school building in Harlem next spring (CI’s offices will also move to the new facility), CI has been establishing new partnerships with local social service agencies and educational organizations within the school’s District 4 neighborhood.

To help identify the market needs for CI’s services across NYC (including District 4), CI recently applied for, and was accepted, as a grantee of the Barclay’s Pro Bono Program. Beginning in October, CI will work for 12 weeks with a team of five Barclay’s staff experts on a unique market research and data analysis project. The pro bono program, in partnership with the Taproot Foundation, will help CI:

  • conduct research on Early Childhood Education programs and charter school networks in NYC
  • use data to recommend highest-potential opportunities for CI service expansion within those educational markets

The goal: to improve CI’s ability to bring its teacher training and coaching services to educators and schools in need of expertise in differentiated instruction, best instructional practices for diverse classrooms and teacher collaboration, mentorship and support.


Mark Your Calendars!

On Tuesday, September 17th, Cooke hosted its first official tour of our new school building. Cooke families visited the site to get an inside peak at the state-of-the-art learning spaces, ask questions about the facility and familiarize themselves with the neighborhood that will be our new home in 2020. These tours will be hosted weekly until October 29, and are open to Cooke families with currently enrolled students. 

We invite you to join us for a hard hat (insider) tour.  Registration is required as a limited number of spots are available for each sign-up date/time. Please check your calendars, and sign up for your preferred date. The address of our new school building is 1713 Madison Avenue. To RSVP for a tour, please click here.

Every year, students and families bring in tons of coins for our annual Coin Campaign fundraiser! Students enjoy the sense of accomplishment and school spirit as they see their change make a difference. Our goal is school-wide participation, and families can send in any amount of spare change. A little change goes a long way!

Ways to participate:

  • Send in your change to help increase the funds raised by the Cooke community.   
  • Spread the word! Encourage the people in your networks to #SupportCooke by donating their change to Cooke. Everyone can participate …every coin counts!

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