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Cooke Center School Approach

A private special education school in New York City, Cooke Center School provides a continuum of education for students ages 5 through 21 with mild-to-moderate cognitive or developmental disabilities and severe language-based learning disabilities.  From New York State Common Core Standards-based academics, to arts and sports programs, to real-world internships, Cooke students learn every day how to tackle life's challenges and find their place in the world.


The Cooke Continuum

At Cooke, we approach special education from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with teams of teaching and related service faculty who are dedicated to collaborating to help each student achieve a purposeful life.  Serving students from Kindergarten up through age 21, our school includes:

Grammar School

Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Grammar School serves students from Kindergarten through 8th grade.


With two locations—in Manhattan’s SoHo and Chelsea neighborhoods— the Academy serves students ages 14 through 21.

Summer Academy

A summer program for ages 5 through 21, designed to reinforce the academic and social skills that were developed in classrooms during the school year.


Components of a Cooke Center School education

The following core components of Cooke Center School have fostered the growth and independence of our students for over 25 years:

  • Instruction that begins with each student’s strength and interests: Our instruction follows an academic sequence based on the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. Instructional strategies are individualized to build on students' strengths and meet their developmental needs. This strengths-based approach supports strategies that foster independent learning skills.  
  • Integrated education: Related service providers—speech and language therapists, occupational and physical therapists and counselors—work with students both in the classroom and in one-on-one settings. By collaborating regularly with classroom teachers, they help deliver an individualized and comprehensive education for each child.
  • Community inclusion & transition planning: Beginning in Kindergarten, all Cooke students learn the importance of making a meaningful impact on their communities. Our younger students participate in service learning projects, while Academy students participate with local employers and cultural institutions in a variety of service, job training and employment opportunities, all of which serve to reinforce the social and life skills taught instilled within school walls.
  • Parents as partners: Parents are our most important partners. They are integral members of the child's instructional team, participating in educational planning, goal setting, and reviews of their child’s progress.
  • Commitment to diversity: Cooke is committed to maintaining a diverse community of students and to accepting every child who can benefit from our programs, regardless of the family's financial circumstances. Our students live in every borough of the city, reflecting New York City's economic and cultural diversity.




Cooke Center School is proud to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and to be a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools.  Cooke Center Academy is registered as a high school with the New York Board of Regents and can award New York state diplomas.



Inside Cooke's classrooms and out in the community, our students are discovering their strengths and passions so they can determine for themselves a future that is truly theirs. 

Visit our division pages—Grammar SchoolAcademy and Summer Academy—to learn more about the age-specific settings of Cooke Center School.


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Accredited by The New York State Association of Independent Schools

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