What to look for in a school

News and views on special ed

  • Can "learning as play" make a kindergarten comeback?

    Written by Lydie Raschka
    One day last school year, a girl in Fanny Roman's kindergarten class at PS 244 in Flushing, Queens arrived bubbling with excitement about her new shoes. With Roman's encouragement, she began tracing classmates' feet on paper and constructing "shoes," using pipe cleaners for laces. Her enthusiasm proved contagious; in response, Roman read poetry and picture books about shoes and students set up a play shoe store of their own, with different-sized shoes in boxes, labeled…
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  • Biggest adjustment in middle school? Lockers!

    Written by Nathaniel Cain
    Our 6th-grade blogger Nathaniel Cain checks in with a report after his first full week of middle school in Brooklyn. On Thursday, the first day of school, I was VERY, VERY nervous. I didn't know anyone—except one friend, who was in a different class. It turned out great—all my teachers are amazing. They're super nice and I can tell that they will be teaching me a lot. I can tell this year is going to be…
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  • HS admissions: Register now for our fall workshops

    Written by Insideschools staff
    Got an 8th-grader at home? Then you must be gearing up for high school admissions. Our advice: Check out our tips and handy action plan for making the most of your high school search and register for our fall high school admissions workshops! Insider tips on specialized high schools: September 27, 6 pm Are you auditioning for LaGuardia? Taking the SHSAT and wondering how to rank the specialized high schools? Got questions about the academics…
  • College counselor: Starting over after two years

    Written by Dr. Jane S. Gabin
    Q: In high school, I was sure I wanted to enter the police force, so I attended a police academy for two years. But then I realized this was not the right career for me, and I left the academy. Now I want to apply to a regular college, but am really worried about this. Will my chances of admission be less because I went to the police academy? I want to get into a…
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  • High School Hustle: Let LaGuardia be LaGuardia

    Written by Liz Willen
    The call to our home came a few months into my older son's freshman year at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the performing arts public high now under fire for prioritizing academics over talent. "This is Dr. Barbara Rowes, and I have something to tell you.'' My heart caught in my throat as I waited to hear from this feared but highly respected English teacher, notorious for setting…
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  • Applying to middle school? Tips from a 6th-grader

    Written by Nathaniel Cain
    Applying to middle school—a process that begins in the fall of 5th grade—can be stressful if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s very important that you stay on task. My name is Nathaniel Cain and I am a soon-to-be 6th-grader at MS 51, the William Alexander School in Brooklyn’s District 15. I comment on Insideschools frequently and you may know me from my profile, “sixthgrader.” When I was applying to middle school, I had…
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About Special Education

  • What is special education?

    If your child is having trouble in school, he may need help from a teacher with special training. This extra help is called special education. It’s free, and your child has a right to it under federal law. The public school system has a range… Read more and watch video
  • Noteworthy special education: elementary schools

    These programs were recommended by special education advocates, parents’ groups, university researchers and Insideschools staffers. We looked for schools with high academic standards (reflected by better-than-average test scores); that treat all children kindly; and that serve a substantial number of special needs students. This list… Read more
  • Noteworthy special education: middle schools

    These programs were recommended by special education advocates, parents’ groups, university researchers and Insideschools staffers. We looked for schools that have high academic standards (often reflected by better-than-average test scores); that treat all children kindly; and that serve a substantial number of special needs students.… Read more
  • Noteworthy special education: high schools

    We picked a few schools that have long history of success with special needs students. We also highlight new schools that have a promising approach, even if they are too new to have solid results. Not every school works for every child, and finding a… Read more