Several adults sit at a long table. One is talking  to the others, another stands and listens.

Parent Workshop

On Tuesday, October 15, anti-bias educator and school consultant Sara Wicht led a workshop titled Building Family and Community Engagement with IDEAL families. The interactive meeting introduced foundational pieces of anti-bias, social justice teaching that will apply to our family and community engagement.

Attendees had an opportunity to think about their own intersectionality and the intersectionality of their children and how current routines and learning goals lean on strengths and grow challenges. Families were introduced to IDEAL’s goals with regards to the social justice domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action, which teachers have been exploring and embedding within and across the curriculum.

Ms. Wicht has been facilitating training and planning conversations with IDEAL faculty and staff since August to support our school’s social justice practice. She engaged with small groups of faculty on Tuesday and led a full faculty meeting on Wednesday afternoon, building on her work with parents.

Ms. Wicht provided her slideshow for parents who were unable to attend. Download it here. You can learn more about Sara Wicht here.

A mother holds her child who has face paint and holds white and blue balloons. They are at a professional soccer match.

Soccer Fundraiser Scores a Goal for IDEAL

Many thanks to IDEAL parent Matt Steinberg, who organized An IDEAL Day of Major League Soccer last Saturday, September 14. Over 80 members of the IDEAL community came together to watch the New York City Football Club defeat the San Jose Quakes. IDEAL students took the field for photos at halftime and again after the game when they were able to kick a goal! To cap off the day, team players signed autographs and stood for pictures with our group. The fundraiser earned more than $4,000 for the Pioneer Fund in a great kickoff to the giving season. See photos from the day on Facebook.

Four kindergarten children seated on a gym floor with many more children behind them.

Convocation 2019--The First of Many to Come

IDEAL faculty and students came together in the Upper School gym on the morning of Thursday, September 12, for our first Convocation. The event was led by Head of School Janet Wolfe, who began the meeting by welcoming our many new students--our student body now numbers 210! Ms. Wolfe shared the significance of the core values represented by the acronym IDEAL: Inclusion, Diversity, Excellence, Acceptance, and Leadership. Fifth and twelfth grade students also shared their reflections on the school’s mission. Lower School Head Liz Hazelwood closed the ceremony by teaching the community our school song, “Great Big Beautiful World.” See our Convocation photos on Facebook.

Two young, male IDEAL students with hands on hips and a tree in the background

This article by Katelin Walling was published in the March 2019 edition of Big Apple Parent.

The IDEAL School of Manhattan Provides an Inclusive Learning Environment with a Focus on Social Justice

At this inclusive, independent school on the Upper West Side, children with special needs learn alongside their neurotypical peers.

The IDEAL School of Manhattan, a coed, independent school on the Upper West Side provides an inclusive learning environment for its students. Plus, with a focus on social justice and service learning, students learn the importance of celebrating everyone's differences. 

"Both my children have a real strong understanding of people’s differences…and how everybody is stronger when they’re all working together,” says Jeff Frank, father of Milo, a fifth-grader, and Eira, a first-grader, who are enrolled at The IDEAL School of Manhattan, located on the Upper West Side. He credits their understanding to the school’s community and educational philosophy.

The IDEAL School is an inclusive, coed, independent school for kindergarten through 12th grades. It was founded by three families of children with Down syndrome who wanted their children to learn alongside neurotypical peers, according to Joseph Kemp, director of communications for The IDEAL School.  

While neither of Frank’s children have Individualized Education Programs, he says they both needed a little extra instruction, which they weren’t getting at their previous school. When he and his wife were looking for a new school for their children, “IDEAL became an ideal choice because we really enjoyed the idea of having an individualized learning center, so every child is working at their own pace regardless of their obstacles or their learning needs,” Frank says.

The IDEAL School of Manhattan reinforces the message of inclusivity through its social justice and service learning programs. “Inclusion becomes, essentially, a civil rights issue, so I think it makes sense that their social justice curriculum is very much at the center of their emphasis on inclusion,” Frank says. “All the messages that you would teach in inclusion about respect, about communication, about cooperation, all of those things lend themselves to the social justice curriculum. …It teaches children that they have to support each other and be allies even when the issue isn’t affecting them directly.” And it’s something he says his children have internalized.

“Even more so than my wife’s and my appreciation for IDEAL, I think my children love it most. They look forward to going to school every day,” Frank says. “When my son first visited IDEAL, he walked away saying, ‘I feel like these children are just like me, these are my people.’”