Commissioner John King Visits with NYS Regent Christine Cea in Staten Island
A strong group of about 40 leaders in special education in Staten Island gathered for an intimate talk with NYS Commissioner John King and Kevin Smith, Deputy Commissioner, NYS Education Department about building stronger pathways to continuing education and vocational education early in a student’s life.
King stated that the focus should be on partnerships. Several principals and superintendents expressed the need to begin transitions as soon as possible, for example, in independent living centers.
King asked the group what was working well and what resources they needed. A principal in District 79 suggested that career technical education be expanded. Another suggestion from Port Richmond High School was for programs to co-exist. Some said that programs have to be connected to jobs. King agreed: programs have to lead to careers.
Some of the programs cited as examples for inclusion were culinary, financial literacy, letter writing and how to get a job. The Hungerford School has been helping special needs students for over 40 years and according to principal, Dr. Mary McInerney “our population is aging and we have to find ways to support them in their older age.”
King summarized, “We must set meaningful standards and apply them across grade levels and ability levels.”
Kudos to Dr. Christine Cea for bringing educators together with the Commissioners for an informed conversation about special needs students. Conversation and collaboration can only lead to crystallizing goals and implementing change together. All agreed this conversation should take place 3-4 times per year. #