Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 years. Beth is the author of Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test (FSG Books) which grew out of a radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students. Follow her @bethfertig.
SI Gets 1st Charter School; Will Help Mentally Ill
Thursday, April 23, 2009
New York, NY —
A lottery will be held tonight for seats in Staten Island's first charter school. As WNYC's Beth Fertig reports, the grade 6-through-12 school has an unusual program.
REPORTER: When the John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School opens in September with its first class of sixth graders, organizers expect a large number of them will have emotional challenges. These include schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and anxiety.
The school's president, social worker Ken Byalin, says students with mental illnesses have high dropout rates, but they could do much better if they had the right support.
The Lavelle school will have a clinic and small classes. But it won't be exclusive to students with mental illnesses. All students can apply and organizers sent invitations to families throughout Staten Island. 150 students applied for 75 seats and more can apply after the lottery to join a wait list.
Byalin envisions an inclusive community for all kinds of students. The school will share a building with a new high school for its first two years. For WNYC I'm Beth Fertig.