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Cooke Center Academy

A rich combination of academics, social skills training and extracurricular activities, coupled with a unique Transition to Life program, provides Academy students, ages 14 through 21, with the opportunity to make New York City a “living classroom” as they prepare for life as adults.


Cooke Center Academy students in science labWe established Cooke Center Academy in 2005 to meet a critical need for a New York City high school to serve students with mild-to-moderate cognitive and developmental disabilities and severe language-based learning disabilities.  A small student body and support from a collaborative team of faculty and related service providers offer Academy students with the appropriate environment to prepare for an independent future from the day they enter as 9th graders.  With campuses in Manhattan’s SoHo and Chelsea districts, opportunities abound for our students both in and outside of the classroom.  For students who are eligible for year-round education, we offer the 6-week Cooke Center Summer Academy.

An Academy education incorporates individualized, standards-based academics, integrated related services, and community inclusion.  Our small, multi-age groupings allow for the flexibility to address cognitive, social and therapeutic needs.  A Daily Living Lab (a simulation of a typical apartment with a full working kitchen and laundry area), group therapy spaces, a science lab, an art studio, a tech center, a fitness room and two large spaces for student dining and social activities, all serve to support these pillars of our curriculum. 

Our preeminent Transition to Life Program fosters the development of life skills through off-site education, travel training and professional opportunities in some of New York City’s most prestigious offices and institutions (such as Moody’s, American Museum of Natural History, and NYU Langone Medical Center).  Additionally, our highly qualified Transition team offers individualized, ongoing support to every Academy family in accessing the social services available to adults with disabilities. 

For students requiring more than four years to meet the requirements for graduation, we offer SKILLS, an Academy program dedicated to transitioning young adults with disabilities to an independent adulthood.   SKILLS incorporates a person-centered planning process that places a strong emphasis on vocational training, leisure activities and daily living skills, and ultimately promotes a level of independence that is appropriate for each individual student.


A Cooke Center Academy education includes the core components and values intrinsic to the entire Cooke Center School, including: 

  • Instruction that begins with each student’s strengths and interests
  • Integrated education that focuses on academics, social and life skills through a combination of instruction and therapy
  • Community inclusion to help students practice skills in the real world
  • Parents as partners in their child’s education to foster growth and independence
  • Transition planning and experience to prepare for post-secondary opportunities


 Please visit our School admissions page for an open house schedule and more information about applying to Cooke Center Academy.

Click here to view a Cooke Center Academy adaptive class schedule

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Accredited by The New York State Association of Independent Schools

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