Celebrating our Seniors at Ring Day!

Ring Day Celebration

Ring Day—one of the most anticipated and celebrated events at Cooke—represents the first step that our seniors take to bring them closer to the biggest day…graduation! 

Students, families, staff and faculty gather to share in the joys and triumphs that mark this important phase in their academic careers. There isn’t a dry eye in the house!

Though Ring Day occurs a few months before graduation, it kicks off the energy that builds during this time of year. The hallways come alive as students discuss upcoming celebrations: the Senior Luncheon, Senior Trip, Senior/Junior Prom, and Graduation! Students eagerly talk to their friends and teachers about their plans for the future, as many head off to Transitions or other post-secondary programs. 

Members of the Cooke community know they are witnessing a very special season in our seniors’ lives. We cheer them on, let them know we are incredibly proud of them, and wish them all the best as they complete their studies in preparation for moving on to the next chapter of their education. 

View Photo Gallery: 

The Transitions Experience: Intentional Preparation for Life

Learning, especially real-world lessons, never ends. When students graduate high school, their next big step is usually entering Transitions. Transitions teaches students what it means to be an adult, focusing on paid internships to put into practice the real-world expectations of work life. Students also manage their money, open bank accounts, apply for state ID cards at the DMV, use library cards, and travel independently with their friends for daily outings like lunch and shopping. 

Through a community partnership with St. John’s University, students can take adapted college-level courses in tech or humanities, experience campus life and interact with other college students. 

Back at Transitions, some students are exploring the world of digital arts through a new class that introduces students to the principles of digital art and design. Students engage in applied learning projects using digital tools such as  Adobe Photoshop. They’ve made some very cool creations, including illustrated google maps!

Cooke Transitions is truly life-changing for our students. It strengthens their confidence and gives them decision-making power that will impact their future.

Everything at Transitions supports student independence. Cooke’s six-year-long collaboration with Supported Decision Making New York (SDMNY) is a perfect example. Through a seamless collaboration, students have been empowered to advocate for themselves as they become aware of their personal decision-making power. Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is “a practice where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are able to make their own decisions, with the support of trusted people in their lives, while retaining legal and civil rights.” (SDMNY website)

Out latest endeavor with SDMNY—SDM-specific education groups.  

Who: SDMNY Site Coordinator Joan Cornachio and Hunter School of Education Professor, Gina Riley 

What: SDMNY created a 10-week Decision-Making curriculum, which is being piloted with Cooke Transitions students and alumni. The sessions are co-facilitated with our Director of Alumni, Michelle Lang and Transitions Head Teacher, Annabel Ray. There is a session during the day and one in the evening.  

Get involved: We are currently in our second 10-week pilot group. Students continue to develop strengths, consider choices, and make their own decisions. Parents, family members and supporters are also invited to join some sessions.   

SMD is one way to help students explore alternatives to guardianship and promote independence. 

Learn more about Supported Decision-Making New York HERE

Check out this clip of Dr. Tabone, speaking about the benefits of Supported Decision Making: 

The LOVE Art Series at Cooke

“Love is an Action, Never Just a Feeling”- bell hooks

At Cooke, our students learn and create in an environment that supports their needs and encourages them always to feel free to be themselves! This guiding principle is particularly true in Cooke’s art therapy studios. There, students can explore their emotions through discussions and exercises that help them analyze why and how certain emotions impact their daily lives. 

Oftentimes, these activities lead to the creation of stunning works of art that bring color and energy to the walls of our school buildings. Recently our art therapists led a topic focused on LOVE. What is love? What does love mean to Cooke? How is love cultivated amongst cohorts, families and friends? What does it mean to love authentically? How does love integrate into our community? 

From these discussions came thoughtful ideas from our students, translated into compilations of powerful and beautifully-executed artwork that encompassed the ideas that resonated with them. Using graffiti, creativity, and community participation, our students made a ‘LOVE’ art series that represented the ways in which love is an action!

View some of the artwork from the LOVE series: 

Join Us on May 12, 2022

Cooke’s 35th Anniversary Virtual Benefit

It’s Cooke’s 35th anniversary! We have so much to be proud of—student success, innovative teaching, and a fun, spirited school community. Join us as we celebrate some special moments at this FREE virtual event. Everyone is Invited! 

Everything we do at Cooke is to benefit our students’ futures. This event celebrates our legacy of excellence in education and raises funds to support future successes we strive to achieve. Most importantly, your support helps provide outstanding programming for all students, no matter their financial circumstances.

Our students and families have unique stories about how they found Cooke and how it impacted their lives. During this event, you’ll hear from special guest parents who will share their stories and successes. We will watch lively student videos and have an opportunity to make a donation.

You are invited. Please note: RSVP required to join the event. More information to come. 

Follow Us:  @CookeSchoolNYC

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