A Supportive Community

Oct 25, 2023


Supporting Our Children in these Difficult Times

The Cooke community places great importance on compassion and social justice. At this time, we are deeply saddened by the violence and loss of life that is taking place in Israel and Gaza. We understand that the emotions and experiences surrounding these events are complex and varied. We acknowledge that this is an emotionally-charged period for many students, parents, faculty, and staff. Each of us is affected differently by these events, as our individual identities influence our personal connections to the situation. 

Our institution’s focus is on the wellbeing of our students. We recognize that our students, regardless of age, require our assistance in processing and comprehending the information that they receive. Our objective is to provide them with relevant information and context while fostering a sense of security, empathy, and understanding. Our approach is tailored to each child’s age, temperament, and level of understanding. Our curriculum directors, along with our teachers, ensure that students  information is appropriately presented. It is important to note that some of our students may not be aware of these events, particularly our youngest students, but they may be sensitive to our emotional state. We acknowledge the range of emotions, and we want to reaffirm our support for those who may be struggling. Additionally, we are committed to helping our students navigate these conversations and process their emotions in a healthy manner.

As always, it is important to maintain routines and provide reassurance in moments like these. It may be difficult to engage in these conversations. For example, experts recommend being proactive about having conversations during a crisis and asking students open-ended questions such as, “What have you heard about what is going on in the world?” This runs contrary to best practices for students with language impairments. Young children may not understand the proximity of the events and believe they are much closer or they are in immediate danger. It is important to reassure their safety. 

If you feel like you need some guidance or support, please reach out to your child’s counselor. These are difficult times. We deeply care about your child’s wellbeing and will try to do everything we can to offer support.

All the best,


Francis Tabone, Head of School
Cooke School and Institute



Hispanic Heritage Reflected in Math and Art at Cooke


Art Through Hispanic & Latine Heritage!

National Hispanic and Latine Heritage Month, holds profound significance in recognizing and celebrating the rich culture, history, and achievements of Hispanic and Latine individuals and communities. Latine is used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina. (Lantine is commonly used by Spanish speakers. It’s easier to pronounce compared to Latinx). 

Students in Transitions “Art & Sip” elective learned and made art inspired by artists Linares Lopez and Danielle De Jesus. Mexican folk art is made with vibrant colors, exquisite details, and deep symbolism. Today, these elements are used to reflect Mexican identity and indigenous traditions, inspired by Linares Lopez’s handcrafted Alebrijes. Alebrijes are mythical creatures that take elements from different animals, color, and patterns. 

Students also studied Danielle De Jesus, a Nuyorican painter and photographer from Bushwhick, Brooklyn. Danielle creates art based on her experience of being born and raised in Brooklyn. Students project were also inspired by Danielle’s painting collection called Paintings on U.S Currency. You can view the collection here. Students were each given three “collage” dollars and asked to draw about personal interest, culture, or neighborhoods. 

Hispanic Mathematicians

Every month in Math class, students discover a mathematician. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, students learned about Dr. Ruth Gonzalez. She was the first U.S. born hispanic woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics. She created 3D images of rock formations underground. In math class, students reviewed 3D shapes and where they can be found in our everyday lives. 

To further their learning, all math groups gathered together for a hands-on activity. Students were given examples of rock formations such as Rainbow Bridge, Window Rock, and Mushroom Rock to help guide them in creating their own rocks out of modeling clay and play dough. We cannot wait to learn who our mathematician of November will be!

Cooke Observes National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and the 2023 theme is Advancing Access and Equity. NDEAM is organized by the Office of Disability Employment Policy to promote the inclusion of adults with disabilities in the workforce. This month, Cooke celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities, noting that more employers across the United States acknowledge that a disability inclusive workplace has been shown to not only improve employee relations, but also makes for a stronger workforce and an increased bottom line. 

Sadly, people with disabilities have struggled to be included in the workplace, but there are now more advocates working to change that. This awareness month is important to our school because Cooke serves students with disabilities from Kindergarten through adulthood. One of our school’s goals is to prepare our students to work in the community when they are adults.

In preparation for employment after graduation, Cooke students begin participation in our internship program starting at age 14. To help our students to identify their interests and strengths, we pair them with jobs (internships) where they can practice working in professional settings.

For example, Upper School students have shown an increased interest in our American Red Cross Babysitter Training internships. In this internship, sophomores learn babysitter leadership skills, communication styles, safety skills, and child development from an adapted version of the American Red Cross training manual. The interns practice safe infant care skills, from holding to diapering with our practice dolls. 

Many 12th graders are excited about culinary internships this year. One of our culinary internship partners, My Happy Tummy Club, a Japanese comfort food delivery service, started by Cooke parent, Yuri Ohara, now supports two interns every trimester in their kitchen in Queens. Our pair of interns have been packaging soups and side dishes for My Happy Tummy Club and are learning about teamwork and safe food handling.

In Transitions, our team of Community Inclusion Assistants  conducted mock interviews with students, then gave them immediate feedback on their performance. This activity supports students in preparation for the real world, and helps them recognize that after Cooke, they won’t be “given” a job, but will have to take the steps to secure employment.

Interest in various career clusters is changing. While students were once more interested in child care, the majority of our students have expressed interest in retail, pet care, maintenance and clerical work.  Some of the new Cooke Transitions internship sites include: 

Our Upper School and Transition students have been learning about the National Disability Employment Awareness campaign this October.  

During Cooke’s Upper School community meeting, Transition’s Vocational Forum, and Transition classes, students have been discussing why employment is important to them. Check out this video to see what they had to say.  

Cooke’s After-School Program Kicks Off for the Year

We are two weeks into our afterschool programming, and it is off to a great start! 
Here are some program highlights:

  • FREE after-school classes are offered three days a week for middle and upper school students, and two days a week for lower school students
  • 11 program offerings, all led by our Cooke staff and one community partner. Programs include Basketball, Creative Writing, Science and Sensory, to name a few. 
  • Year two of our community partnership with Fast Feet. (Many of our families also participate with Fast Feet outside of Cooke.)
  • 50-70 students participate daily

Dates to Remember


October 27: Upper School Halloween Dance 

November 3: Family Movie Night | 6-8:30pm at 1713 Madison Ave

November 7: NO STUDENTS | Election Day | Staff Professional Development

November 9: NOON DISMISSAL | Family Conferences (In Person)

November 10:  NO STUDENTS | Family Conferences

PLEASE NOTE: Cooke’s Founders Celebration has been rescheduled to February 8, 2024


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