BxC is founded on the principle that children learn best when they are active participants in their own learning and are supported by teachers who know them deeply. Instruction at BxC is delivered in a workshop model that allows for direct instruction and large blocks of time for individual and collaborative student work.
By Robin Lake August 3, CRPE TALKING POINTS NYC Autism Charter School is personalized learning at its best, with intense dedication and commitment to its complex learners nycacs This essay was originally published on the CRPE websitepart of a 25th anniversary series re-examining assumptions about education in light of new technical possibilities, changes in the economy, and a recognition that even the most effective schools may need to develop new approaches to better serve students whose specific needs warrant more individualized learning pathways or support.
My day at the NYC Autism Charter School began by joining the staff to help welcome each of the 33 students into the school with smiles, high-fives, and big hellos. Despite their profound autism, nearly all the students their ages range from 5 to 21 ride buses provided by the New York City Department of Education to school each day and walk independently to their classrooms.
That might not seem remarkable, but consider that most of these students are significantly verbally and cognitively impaired, and many deal with severe anxiety and frustration from trying to navigate a world that overwhelms and confounds them.
To help their students succeed each morning and afternoon, staff writing a school charter bronx the stairwell and occasionally ride the buses to provide guardrails for them, standing back as much as possible to encourage independence.
The morning routine is representative of what happens throughout the school day. The youngest students are patiently taught to learn how to learn. For many of them, just sitting at a table and conversing with a teacher and other students is a goal that takes months to achieve.
An intensive system of individualized goal setting, data collection, and intervention strategies is constantly being deployed, based on the Applied Behavior Analysis therapy methods developed by psychologists as a way to shift behaviors using positive incentives and reinforcements.
The school was founded in by two desperate moms who had children with profound autism. Julie Fisher, the executive director, has a background in social work and is a behavior analyst. The success stories I heard were moving. For the past several months, teachers have worked with the boy to slowly, step by step, increase his tolerance for toothbrushing and dental procedures.
On the day of my visit, the boy showed his father how he can now independently brush all his teeth. His reward was a loud round of cheering and a scooter ride down the hall. Several months prior, none of them would sit in a group, and they spoke only about their own interests and thoughts.
Older students have much more advanced goals and accomplishments. While I visited, students were doing simple research projects, simple literary text analyses, and all kinds of job-training tasks.
By no means are students at the school doing what most of us would consider high-level academic tasks or college prep work, but there is also no doubt that they are working extremely hard every minute of the day toward clear life goals that their family and the school believe are achievable for them.
After intensive therapy at school, the family recently began attending church together again. I heard once that the divorce rate for parents who have children with autism is 80 percent. This is apparently a myth, but the amount of stress, fear, and isolation that families who have children with autism endure makes that an easily believable figure.
Families at the school are deeply engaged. There are twice-annual Individualized Education Program meetings to set and review goals, plus monthly meetings to review data and adjust strategies.
The teacher used the rest of the time to ask how things were going at home, help the parents develop strategies to address issues, and think through ways to help with the issues at school.
Whether teachers were trying to help students with self-care, job training, or academic tasks, I observed ongoing diagnosis, creative problem-solving, and determination from the staff to focus on setting students up for an independent life. An array of programs at the school are designed to facilitate successful pathways for each student and to draw on resources outside the school.
Middle school students from nearby district and charter schools are recruited to serve as peer mentors. The goal is to expose the students with autism to neurotypical peers and to help build understanding and empathy in the other direction.
The school also runs an extensive internship program in partnership with local businesses as wide-ranging as Facebook, Shake Shack, and White Castle.
The school has moved students into more inclusive settings, but it is rare. I also wondered whether staff at the school are as determined to teach academic skills as they clearly are with social and life skills. I saw little in the way of art and music classes, where many students with autism shine.
While all students are taught piano and perform at an annual recital to a packed housethere is not a great deal of music outside that, and art tends to be part of individual instruction if, or when, students show an interest. In one class, students were asked to write about what happened in a picture showing two people sitting near a log in a park with a basket.
In many ways, they must, but they also need as many opportunities as possible to be valued for who they are. Despite regular efforts at the school to provide positive feedback and asset-based thinking, I wonder if it could do more to celebrate and share the wonder and beauty of the autistic mind.
There are no easy answers to these questions.
Julie Fisher and her team are well aware of the tensions and worry about them. The school is an extremely resource-intensive endeavor.Each of our schools currently serve kindergarten and 1st grade students. We will offer kindergarten through 2nd grade at both locations for the school year, and are in the process of applying to offer pre-kindergarten at our Bronx 1 location.
Bronx Preparatory Charter School reported that 95% of its students for the school year qualified for free or reduced lunches under the Federal School Lunch Program.
In , % of students in Community School District 9 failed to meet state standards on the. The Bronx charter is believed to be the first in the U.S. designed for children in foster care or at risk of entering it.
Ps 2 Morrisania School, New York City Public Schools, Bronx has a homepage to make vocabulary and spelling lists available to students to study at school or home. Students can take vocabulary and spelling tests online and play many learning games with their word lists for reinforcement.
Bronx Writing Academy serves students in grades The student:teacher ratio of is lower than the NY average of Minority enrollment is 99% of the student 5/5(1). University Prep Charter High School is 1 of high schools in the New York City Public Schools.