PS 373R Overcrowding Issue addressed by NY1 News and S.I. Advance


From left, Elizabeth Kuhn, Lynne Licitra and Scott Kuhl hold photos of their children

during a rally at PS 373 in New Brighton.

From the Staten Island Advance:

Staten Island parents of children with autism and other disabilities rallied at PS 373 in New Brighton today, pleading with adequate space for their kids’ classrooms.

 About 40 advocates held up photographs of their children and posters showing school rooms that were cleaved in half last year to accommodate a growing popluation of students with special needs.

Staten Island’s three City Council representatives toured the school today and pledged to heed the call for added space.

Catherine Spicer of Brighton Heights attended in support of her autistic granddaughter, Rachel, a student at PS 373 who shares with five classmates and three faculty members a classroom measuring 18 by 13.

Rachel, who is 9 and uses sign language to communicate, is a student with maximal needs: but she goes to school in a long, shack-like facility within the school complex known as the “mini-building”.

“Rachel needs more space to learn,” said Ms. Spicer.  “These kids are not getting their fair shake from the Board of Ed.  It’s more like they’re being housed than educated.”

That sentiment was repeated by dozens of parents representing the PS 373 Parent Teacher Association, whose members are calling for a permanent, three-story extension to the site.

-Contributed by Tevah Platt

Link to the article at: l

From NY1 News:

February 08, 2008

Parents and advocates for special needs children say P.S. 373 offers excellent services and staffing for Staten Island’s kids. But they say overcrowding in their “mini-building” is putting their children at risk.

“We don’t want to change the school, we just want to expand the room, their space to work, so they can be more efficient with their therapy for the kids,” said parent Jennifer Acosta.

“My son is in a very small classroom with six children and it’s still too difficult for them to move around,” said another parent Karen Herman.

The parents say the mini-building holds far too many students and some classrooms have been split down the middle – squeezing these special needs children into even smaller spaces.

Staten Island’s three city councilmen took a tour of P.S. 373 to see the situation for themselves.

“We come to a school like this and we see rooms that have been dissected in half and cut in three,” said Councilman James Oddo.

“It seems almost Byzantine that we stand here arguing for equal rights for our children with special needs,” said North Shore Democrat Councilman Michael McMahon. [Schools] Chancellor Joel Klein and [Deputy Chancellor] Kathleen Grimm and Mayor Michael Bloomberg need to hear us loud and clear.”

In between the main school building and the so called mini-building is an expanse of open space that advocates say the area is perfect for the buiding extension they’re looking for.

“Everyday it seems we hear about more budget cuts at the DOE but that can’t be a reason to keep our most vulnerable children in tiny or overcrowded classes, especially when there’s plenty of land to develop,” said PTA President Siri Kagan.

Kagan says she’s been trying for years to alleviate the overcrowding at the school. Other parents NY1 spoke with say their children would benefit greatly from less-cramped classrooms.

“It breaks my heart to see my daughter work her butt off to improve her own life and the DOE has this money and we have the space. I don’t understand why we have to wait so long to get a building built to save our children,” said parent Jen Walsh.

The Department of Education told NY1 they will consider the parents and council menbers’ requests for a building extension as part of the 2009 school budget capital plan.

– Jon Weinstein

Link to the article at:



Drop Everything and Read Day – Ask Beverly Cleary


If you’ve ever wanted to ask Beverly Cleary a question about her
books, the memorable characters she has created, or her life as
a writer, here’s your chance! In celebration of National
D.E.A.R. Day — that’s Drop Everything and Read — Reading
Rockets is collecting questions for Mrs. Cleary from readers.
Teachers, librarians, parents, and readers of all ages can
submit their questions. They’ll select the best and most unusual
questions for Mrs. Cleary to answer. Come back to Reading
Rockets on April 12th to hear what she has to say in a new
exclusive audio interview.
You have until February 29 to send them your question. If your
question is selected to be answered, HarperCollins Children’s
Books will send you a set of Beverly Cleary titles! Visit the
Reading Rockets D.E.A.R. web page to learn more and to submit
your question.

CCSE Monthly General Meeting – Dyslexia Information

CALENDAR MEETING AGENDA                                 

Date:                 Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Time:                 6:30 p.m.

Location:        P79M,  55 East 120th Street, New York, NY 10035  

  • Call to Order and Roll Call        
  • Secretary’s Report – Charles Henderson
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes dated 1/16/08            
  • Report of the President – John Englert     
  • Report of the Superintendent – Bonnie Brown        
  • Inside Dyslexia: A Documentary Film by Josh Eason and Nate Hamlin     
  • Q & A Session on Programs/Resources Available for Children with Dyslexia  Danielle Mowery, Outreach Associate, The International Dyslexia Association Marjorie Bissainthe, Outreach Director, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic  Public Forum  

The Public is requested to keep its questions and comments to under four minutes.

 Announcements:      Next CCSE Calendar Meeting/Topic: Wednesday, March19th at 6:00 pm in Tweed Court House , 52 Chambers Street, New York,  NY 10007 / Special Education Question and Answer Session / Special Education Survey.  MEETING DATE & TIME IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.  INTERESTED PARTIES REQUESTING TRANSLATION SERVICES SHOULD CONFIRM BY CALLING THE CCSE OFFICE @ 718-752-7393 OR VIA EMAIL AT CCSE@SCHOOLS.NYC.GOV .  

All meetings are held at wheelchair accessible sites. 

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Disabled – Jonathan’s Law


Jonathan’s Law was named after Jonathan Carey, 13, who suffered from autism and died while under the care of a state-run residential facility near Albany. The boy’s family fought for the new law after they were refused access to information related to Jonathan’s care and treatment.

The New York State Senate has passed legislation that would make it a felony to endanger the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. The legislation (S.3894), cosponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza, is related to Jonathan’s Law which was enacted last year.“This bill recognizes that those who are unable to care for themselves because of physical disability or mental disease or defect are especially vulnerable. Those individuals who endanger the welfare of such people should be charged with a felony,” said Senator Lanza, member of the Senate Mental Health and Development Disabilities Committee. “This legislation increases the punishment for those who act in disregard to the welfare of members of the community who deserve special protection.”

Under current law, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person is a class A misdemeanor. This bill would elevate the offense to a class E felony, which carries a penalty of up to 4 years in prison. The bill was sent to the Assembly. Jonathan’s law ensures that parents and guardians have access to records pertaining to allegations and investigations of mistreatment of children in residential care facilities. 

Twenty-Seventh Annual Report to Congress on the I.D.E.A.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that the Department of Education report annually on the progress made toward the provision of a free appropriate public education to all children with disabilities and the provision of early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities. The report consists of two volumes. Volume 1 focuses on the children and students being served under IDEA. Topics covered include trends in numbers and percentages of infants, toddlers, preschool, and school-age children served; educational environments of preschool-age children; declassification of elementary school-age students; and characteristics of secondary students served for emotional disturbance. Volume 2 contains state-level data profiles.
The report is available at