Cooke envisions a world in which all people with disabilities are included as valued members of their communities, leading independent and purposeful lives.
Our Guiding Principles
At Cooke, instruction is guided by students’ strengths and interests, not just their learning deficits. Programming is designed with an explicit focus on developing social/emotional and adaptive skills, as well as robust academics. Clinical services are seamlessly integrated into classroom lessons and school-wide planning, as well as provided through individual and small group sessions. School activities are designed to ensure that every student can meaningfully participate so that each child is included, each makes a contribution, and everyone shines. In this setting, friendships flourish and peer-to-peer learning thrives.
Our school brings together students with a range of strengths and challenges, selected so they blend well together socially and academically. We welcome families of all income levels, and our policies ensure that the cost of tuition is not a barrier to enrollment. Thus, Cooke’s educational model is aligned with its longstanding commitment to equal educational opportunity.
Cooke has a proud history of adapting to changes in the special education environment to address a broader range of student disabilities and evolving parent interests. We draw from a variety of empirically-grounded methods and develop new instructional techniques that succeed with our unique mix of students. We encourage families to be partners in their children’s education and growth towards independence and welcome their input on program offerings. We innovate by incorporating experiential learning within and outside classroom walls, multi-disciplinary programming, alternative interventions, and transition-to-life planning and programming.
Generalizing classroom lessons in real world settings is the linchpin of student progress towards independence, and a hallmark of a Cooke education. Our partners provide settings in which our students can apply and practice what they learn at school in authentic community and work settings. For this purpose, Cooke administrators forge alliances with a wide variety of businesses, non-profits and cultural institutions that support our mission. In this way, we seek to transform attitudes and practices in workplace and community settings so they become more welcoming and accommodating of people with disabilities.
Cooke has always sought to extend its reach beyond its school by sharing its knowledge and expertise with others. Cooke School and Institute works to improve the educational experience of thousands of students in underserved neighborhoods by consulting with general education schools and teachers. Cooke is also an active participant in advocacy efforts to reform special education in the NYC public schools.
Board of Trustees
Ellen J. Bickal, Esq.
Sarah E. Paul, Esq.
Arthur N. Skelskie, Esq.
Rosemary Suh Watts
Francis Tabone, Ph.D.
Head of School
Deborah E. Cooper, Esq.
Chief Advancement Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Associate Head of School, Transitions
Associate Head of School, K-12
Director of Human Resources
Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Operations
Cooke School & Institute
(Lower, Middle and Upper School K-12)
1713 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029