January 2024

Jan 17, 2024


Our admissions team, Billy English and Gail Gerzetic, are working hard with potential students for the 2024–2025 school year! Each year we admit about 50 new students! This requires hundreds of parent interviews as we welcome families every week for tours of the program. 


Students who seem to be a good fit for the program spend a day with us visiting classes. It gives the student a chance to see what Cooke is like and gives teachers and staff the opportunity to work with prospective students. Admissions is a process in which we endeavor to serve all prospective families well and to build strong future classes.


In addition, Billy and Gail host many educational professionals from around the city. One of the most important things the special education community does is share information and resources. The special education community is united in making sure every student has the resources they need for success.

More information about Admissions can be found HERE.

Francis Tabone, Head of School
Cooke School and Institute



Free Afterschool for K-12 students at 1713 Madison


Every week, more than 150 students take part in innovative after-school programming, which is free for all K-12 families. Our after-school classes, led by Jessie Gardner (Assistant Head of School) are hosted by Cooke staff from across grade levels and disciplines! We have Occupational Therapists, Counselors, Speech and Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists, Teachers, and Paraprofessionals working together to create sessions designed specifically for our students. 


The current season includes offerings of Drama and Art: Disney Edition, Soccer, STEAM, Cooke School Play, Collaborative Board Games, Expression through Art, Science in the Kitchen, and Dance Dance Karaoke. We also have two amazing community partners, Fast Feet and KAFFA.

  • Fast Feet coaches work with our Cooke staff to make athletics accessible and inclusive by providing adaptive running programming. We are in the third year of our partnership with Fast Feet, so we have a lot of track stars in the building now!
  • Karate And Fitness For All (KAFFA), a new community partner this year, focuses on the therapeutic aspects of karate, promoting physical fitness, coordination, and mental well-being.

Thanks to generous donations from many of you, we can offer this programming free of charge. Thank you for your continued support of Cooke’s mission.

Middle School Science: Food Group Engineering Project

The middle school science class is extending their knowledge of food groups (in this case, grains) with a fun engineering design challenge. Students designed and constructed a vehicle using pasta and crackers. Check out their work!

January is Kindness Month @ Cooke, K-12

It’s always fun talking about kindness with Cooke students; they are so kind already! This month, let’s make an extra effort to call out and acknowledge when students are being kind to each other and to explore more deeply what it means to be kind to ourselves.

Cooke School and Institute’s Founders Day Celebration is a community event for parents, commemorating the work of our founding families and emphasizing Cooke’s core values. Cooke hosts a “parents night out” (adults only!) to promote community connection and encourage hardworking caregivers to take a night for themselves.

This Founders Day Celebration is taking place from 6-8:30 PM on February 8, 2024 at The Campbell Bar, conveniently located in Grand Central!
We are pleased to offer heavy appetizers and an open bar.

Come and be a part of our event! We welcome the parent community, and your attendance matters more than the cost of a ticket. Click here to say “yes” in whatever way feels right to you!

Why do we have a Founders Celebration?

Our Founders Celebration highlights Cooke’s core principles of community and inclusion, guiding everything we do. Originating from a group of visionary parents, Cooke’s journey began without a board, staff, or a dedicated classroom. These founding parents, driven by a shared vision, established Cooke School in 1987 to create an inclusive environment that nurtures children’s strengths and fosters independence.


Among these founding parents, Karen Robards, Ken Wirfel, and Roger Miller have contributed to Cooke’s legacy as board members ever since. After 37 years of leadership, Ken Wirfel has stepped down from the Board of Trustees. Join us in toasting the legacy of founding parent Ken Wirfel, and legacy school leaders Katie Riordan and Vicki Doucet at this year’s event!


Come together for a night honoring the work of Cooke’s founding families, expressing gratitude, and anticipating a new era of leadership and growth. While our programming evolves and our community diversifies, our commitment to quality special education and a supportive community remains unwavering. As we raise a glass, let’s celebrate the magic in the mix that defines Cooke.

Dates to Remember

January 29: No Students – Staff Development

February 8: Cooke’s Founders Celebration @ The Campbell (Grand Central)

February 19 – February 23: Mid-Winter Recess (School Closed)

February 26: School Resumes



May 22: Cooke’s Food For Thought Gala


Follow Us:  @CookeSchoolNYC

Copyright © *2023* Cooke School and Institute*, All rights reserved. 

Planning Giving

Legacy giving is very important to Cooke’s sustainability.  Please contact Michael Eaton at Advancement@Cookeschool.org for more information.

Through the Affinity Membership Program, TD Bank will make an annual contribution to Cooke School based on the activity of all participating members’ TD Bank accounts.

Eligible accounts include:

  • Checking – Business & Consumer

  • Savings

  • Money Market

  • Certificate of Deposit

  • Retirement

If you are already a TD Bank customer, please visit any one of their locations and ask to have your balances included as part of the Cooke’s Affinity Membership Program (code: A1923).

Please see the Affinity Membership Program flyer for more information.