Friday, April 20, 2018

The Quad Preparatory School

Yesterday, Dr. and Mrs. Yellin had the opportunity to visit Quad Prep - The Quad Preparatory School, located in lower Manhattan. Quad Prep was founded to serve "twice-exceptional" or "2-e" students - gifted children with learning differences.

It was actually a second visit to Quad Prep. Their first visit was shortly after the school was founded  by Dr. Kimberly Busi, a physician who is the parent of a 2-e child, who believes that parents should not have to choose between settings that foster gifted children's enormous academic potential and those that provide appropriate support for their areas of challenge, without sufficient academic stimulation. Dr. Busi took action to address these concerns and Quad Prep was founded with just a handful of students in an East Village location.

Now, only a few years later, the growth and development of the school is astonishing. The attractive and open physical space is on one large floor of an office tower, and has been designed to foster the individualized learning model that is fundamental to Quad Prep's approach. Classrooms have places for one-on-one instruction as well as group activities and there are numerous "nooks and crannies" where support services or individual or small group work can take place. Students range from kindergarten through 12th grade, divided into multi-age groups (within two years) of eight to ten children, based on the students' needs and abilities. Even this arrangement is individualized, so that a third grader with extra skills and interests in chemistry, for example, can work on that subject with a more advanced, older group.

The academic curriculum is rigorous, with emphasis on both STEM subjects and the arts. Upper school students take a foreign language, currently selecting from Latin and Arabic as well as more traditional choices.

However, academics are far from the whole story. Each classroom features a team of teachers, including both academic instructors and clinically trained psychosocial teachers who support the school-wide social-emotional curriculum and who act as liaisons with  the therapists and other specialists who work with each child. There are weekly phone conferences with parents and any outside providers, supplementing the individual instruction and support with a team approach to each student.

The students were saw were thoughtful and engaged in a wide array of challenging activities. As the school notes:
"...If you have met one twice exceptional child, you have met one twice exceptional child. No two Quad Prep students are the same and there is not a specific mold into which we expect or even hope our kids to fit.... We pride ourselves on how well we individualize attention: rather than expect a child to fit us, we truly fit ourselves around each of our students. In turn, each child is given the opportunity to capitalize on their strengths and further develop their passions, while also receiving empathic support and empowerment to cope with challenges."  

These are impressive goals and, for the right student, this is an impressive school.

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