a co-ed, independent, inclusion school for grades k-12

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A Message from the Head of School

September 27, 2021

Dear IDEAL Families:

It has been such a unique pleasure this year to have our students and staff reunited on campus in the first two weeks of school. Students are already embarking on art projects and writing assignments, running with our APEX cross country team, joining clubs, practicing songs, planning Identity Museum projects, and rehearsing for Failure: A Love Story, IDEAL’s Upper School play.

The 2021-22 school year brings with it the celebration of IDEAL’s Sweet Sixteen. We opened our doors in 2006 with 20 students in kindergarten to second grade. Today, at sixteen, IDEAL enrolls nearly 220 students in Grades K-12 and Next Steps. For IDEAL’s Sweet Sixteen, we have planned a year of celebration and outreach, extending our mission into the wider community. 

To kick off the year, on Saturday, October 16, we will host our second annual 5K The IDEAL WayThe day will include free virtual fitness classes such as pilates and yoga, as well as opportunities to join a Peloton class using the hashtag #idealridz. Of course, you can also opt to 5K your own way and run, wheel, walk, or even host a special brunch at home. Invite your friends and family to join us for any part of this special virtual Sweet Sixteen kickoff! Our goal is to log 16,000 minutes as a community. If we each do one hour of activity “our way,” we will easily reach this goal!

In the coming weeks, we will also be sending you more information about the following special initiatives designed to celebrate our growth and our students and to extend the reach and recognition of our mission in the broader community:

  • The IDEAL Next Steps Speaker Series will feature topics such as adult services and benefits, housing and self direction, and guardianship and trusts. All IDEAL community members, as well as members of the broader NYC inclusion and special education communities are invited to attend the series. Job Path will kick us off with “An Introduction to Adult Services” on October 7, from 5-6 PM, on Zoom.

  • IDEAL’s Next Steps Transition Program is introducing a very special partnership with the Bridge Program at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. The Bridge Program provides students of different learning abilities and styles with an immersive, inclusive college experience combined with rich engagement in academics, career preparation, and student life. IDEAL’s partnership will allow those Next Steps students who are ready and accepted into this exchange to take a non-credit class with students in the Bridge Program and to get a taste of life on a college campus. We will pilot this exchange in the second semester and look forward to sharing additional information in October.

  • IDEAL is planning an Inclusive Arts Fair on Sunday, February 27. The fair will be open to our community as well as other NYC special education schools and introduce families to local arts organizations and camps that feature inclusive programs for students.  

  • IDEAL’s first-ever Community Civil Rights Day, tentatively scheduled for Friday, May 20, will introduce our Civil Rights Museum to the public by bringing nationally known speakers to campus to lead presentations, panels, and discussions on topics our students have studied. 

In addition to these programs, the Advancement Committee of IDEAL’s Board of Trustees will soon be making an announcement about our spring fundraisers, including a benefit concert and Gala. I look forward to celebrating our Sweet Sixteen with you this year, and I am grateful for all of the ways you and your family contribute to IDEAL.

Janet Wolfe
Head of School
The IDEAL School of Manhattan