Cooke Transitions Accepting Applications for New Students
Cooke’s Student Enrollment
We are thrilled to report that we have over 600 inquiries and dozens of applications from students for the 2023/2024 school year. It is a testament to our exceptional staff that Cooke’s programs are highly sought after by prospective families. Our classroom seats are full and each year, we maintain a waiting list of applicants.
Of note, is the increase in outside applications for our Transitions program. In 2022, we admitted 8 students from programs outside of Cooke. This is happening organically as people learn of Cooke’s offerings. We plan to add open houses and targeted marketing in the coming year to increase the visibility of Cooke Transitions. The need for 18-21-year-old education programming is growing.
Our Transitions program is very unique in its approach. Our goal is getting students ready for the next phase of their life, be it educational, vocational, day habilitation, or residential. The program seeks to help our students develop their independence, make choices pertaining to their interests, and create goals for themselves. It also gives students a sense of possibilities for what their lives can be like after school. Our students participate in internships and take classes outside of Cooke at St. John’s University, culinary institutes, physical fitness centers, and with many other community partners.
We are still accepting applications for the 2023/2024 academic year. Please refer prospective families to our website for further information about applying to Cooke’s programs: cookeschool.org/school/apply
In Memory of Chris Crespo
This week Cooke lost a beloved colleague, Chris Crespo. His untimely passing was a shock to the community and he will be missed by all. Chris was our facilities manager whose top priority was making sure our students had everything they needed. His tireless dedication was a comfort to staff and he will be missed.
Chris worked not only with staff, but with students as well. He helped students learn basic maintenance and cleaning techniques. He sponsored internships with students, training them for a career in maintenance. He was an invaluable part of the community and touched the lives of many. He took time to mentor students who showed an interest in his work. For example, a student was super excited about the installation of umbrellas on our 5th floor rooftop, so he made sure to bring that student with him when he set them up. The joy he brought to that student (and so many others), is unparalleled.
With Chris, one never had to worry about anything. He was truly a remarkable colleague. The care and meticulous nature of his work put all of us at ease. If you said, “Chris is taking care of it…” you could breathe a sigh of relief. This dedication came from his care and desire to help his colleagues. He genuinely cared for us all. I am told that this was no different from how he took care of his family. Over and over, his friends would comment that he “took care of a lot of people.” He was loving, caring, and selfless in all walks of life.
The Cooke community sends its love and best wishes to the Crespo family. We promise to honor the memory of such a great person and well-loved friend and colleague.
Dr. Francis Tabone, Cooke Head of School
January doesn’t have a nationally-recognized heritage month to spotlight. What better way to usher in the new year and nurture the well-being of everyone than to “lead with kindness”? As we go through each day, students are encouraged to identify and seek out ways to be kind to themselves, to each other, to animals, and to planet Earth.
Our community always emphasizes kindness and we do our best to model this action daily. However, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight this theme as we practice it in our everyday lives. It is very sweet to watch our students share special moments that create and strengthen their bonds and lets them show appreciation and gratitude for their friends, and all members of our community.
Check out some of the titles that we will be reading throughout the month (and the year), as we practice leading with kindness!
Cooke Institute Has a New Look!
We are thrilled to announce the launch of Cooke Institute’s (CI) redesigned website. CI coaches and supports school leaders (principals, assistant principals, educational directors and teachers) to increase their effectiveness as they educate the next generation of learners. Learn more about literacy coaching, special education, inclusive coaching, early childhood coaching and leadership coaching at our new website: https://cookeschool.org/institute
Lower and Middle School Science Studies
As part of their year-long exploration of life science, lower and middle school students are learning about habitats. In middle school, students are studying a variety of ocean animals, while lower school students are studying arctic habitats. Students have had the opportunity to get a sense for how animals survive and adapt to their habitats. In one of those studies, students got a sense of the frigidness of the arctic by thawing toy animals, which they had previously frozen, using their hands and warm water.
We also recently learned about the winter solstice. The lower school welcomed the change of the season by making snow using baking soda and shaving cream, while middle schoolers learned about the winter solstice by using their IPads to do research and write answers to the science questions that were posed by their teachers. Their answers appeared on the classroom SMART board, so everyone could participate and share their thoughts and ideas. Students got very creative by adding pictures and emojis to their written answers!
Through new vocabulary words, science journaling, reading books and watching videos, these lessons come to life and are enjoyable for our students. We will continue to learn in fun and interactive ways using technology and hands-on activities to teach science in the lower and middle school classrooms.
Cooke Introduces Math Buddies
Inspired by Cooke’s “Under One Roof” motto as well as the success of the first ever K-12 community assembly, the math department has implemented a new program this year called Math Buddies. Every other week, upperclassmen from the Paradise and Beacon cohorts (11th and 12th graders) join students from the Pizza class (2nd and 3rd graders) to play math games that support the development of their number sense and procedural fluency skills. During the period, the Upper School students are responsible for leading a small group of Lower School students in a math game such as: Number Path Lily Pads, Race to 100, Dominoes, and Ten Frame Bingo. Upper School math teacher, Ms. Leonardo says, “Over the semester, my students have become more comfortable sharing strategies they use and leading their groups with decreasing support.”
Peer tutoring is a research-based practice, in which same-age students leverage each other’s strengths in order to expand their collective knowledge. However, having students from Kindergarten to 12th grade all in one building allows us to take this practice one step further, crafting it into a unique opportunity to engage students of different ages in playing games and learning from each other. This mutually-beneficial program allows Lower School students to practice and develop their own procedural fluency skills and give Upper School students the valuable opportunity to teach skills they have previously been exposed to and/or mastered.
Lower School teacher Ms. Melody reflects that “My students love to see their “big kid friends,” and are enthusiastic about all things math because of the experience they get during math buddies.” As Cooke students and staff coalesce at 1713 Madison, programs like “Math Buddies” show we truly are #bettertogether.
What Cooke Internship Hosts Are Saying
Internships are a required part of the Cooke curriculum. It helps our students gain valuable work experience, so they can navigate professional work environments and maintain their independence through employment. It also enables students to apply the soft skills that they have learned at Cooke to obtain and maintain employment and empowers them to join the workforce with the confidence to communicate and advocate for themselves. We have been very fortunate to have some amazing internship hosts who have been supportive and willing to provide these valuable internship opportunities.
Corporations and organizations (large and small) have benefited from opening their doors to Cooke students. Students are paired with job sites that match their strengths and interests, giving them the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the organization.
Our internship hosts shared testimonials about their experience with our students and this is what some of them had to say:
They are great! They are always positive and communicate their needs very well. They exceed our expectations because they complete every task requested every day they are here [and] are a positive light in our working environment. Our team loves saying hello and getting to know them. They are wonderful support to our day to day. They are always ready and willing to complete any task assigned with a smile.
– Supervisor: Travis, Silver Mirror Spa
Our intern is doing really well at Beacon’s Closet. She has a strong grasp of the requirements of the job and is a great help on the floor when she is here. She is socially engaged with the staff and is a very positive presence on the floor, (but does not let socializing distract her from doing her job). Her job coach Christian is wonderful and does an excellent job of supporting her while she works.
– Supervisor: Caroline, Beacon’s Closet
The Cooke interns have, overall, exceeded my expectations and add a different spirit and dimension to the office which everyone enjoys. They also provide real help to the staff and the office. It is a wonderful experience to have them and help them on their journey.
– Supervisor Dr. Shinhar
Luv Michael recently entered into a partnership with the Cooke School and our first intern, Annika, is doing an amazing job. She comes to work bursting with enthusiasm.
-Supervisor: Diane Chudley, Luv Michael
Interested in becoming an internship host? Please visit our website and fill out an internship inquiry form and our internship team will contact you to assist in the process of hiring a Cooke student intern. cookeschool.org/school/internship
Cooke’s Food For Thought Gala Returns In-Person!
You are invited to join Cooke School and Institute for the Food For Thought gala on May 24, 2023 at the Lighthouse, Chelsea Piers. We look forward to this cherished tradition to come together for the benefit of our students.
More details coming soon!