Share this school
ASD Nest program for children with autism
Teachers could foster more student discussion in class
PS 396 is a tiny school that has long embraced students with special needs. It is home to an ASD Nest program, which places students with autism in classrooms alongside general education students. These are small Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes, with one special education teacher and one general education teacher. Kindergarten classrooms combine four children in the ASD program and eight children in general education. As students get older, the class size increases, with a 4 to 16 ratio in grades 4 and 5.
“My child attends the Nest program for [kindergarten] and loves it,” said a parent in our comments section. “Everyone is so nice.... We live a bit far but it’s worth the travel. Definitely a good program at this school.”
While test scores have a ways to go, the school boasts excellent attendance. Staff reward children who get to school regularly with special events, such as a game night, according to the school website. And, although the school is small, it has a healthy selection of arts. Music, art and theater teachers work with classroom teachers to weave art into academics. Social justice is also emphasized in the arts through residencies with DreamYard. Additionally, children take field trips to art museums.
After-school programs occur in three cycles throughout the year, with choices that include sports and arts programs, gardening, musical theater club, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), movie and book clubs, and computer, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan.
The school can do more to challenge students to discuss topics in class, which helps them understand and stay interested in the lessons. The majority of the classrooms still place emphasis on the teacher talking and lecturing. The Quality Review states, “…high levels of student discussions and participation are not yet evident across the vast majority of classrooms.”
The school is housed in a sprawling complex consisting of a main building constructed in 1938, a modern addition with curved walls built in the 1980s, and an earlier annex built in 1922. It shares the complex with a middle school, MS 390.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, March 2020)Read more