This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Lang School5
Posted May 02, 2015
- a teacher
The Lang School is a work in progress -- by design. Being the first school of its kind means we cull best practices from the fields of gifted education, special education, and child psychology in a flexible, data-driven, and wholly unprecedented way every day. We adapt these practices for each child who walks through our doors. We offer intensive, ongoing professional development for all staff and are always pushing our individual and collective practices to the next level. Our students needs haven't been served in traditional settings, so we cannot be traditional in our approach-- not in the degree to which we partner with staff, parents and outside providers; not in the degree to which we provide transparency for everyone in our learning community; and not in the degree to which we personally commit ourselves to the success of each child. Lang's leadership founded the school after successful careers in fields that value ethics, creativity and innovation, three of the school's core values. Our team of educators is highly trained, collaborative and exquisitely attuned to the needs of this special population of promising students.
This is my son's third year at The Lang School and we have been very happy. He is an extremely bright child with a very complex array of learning disabilities, speech issues, ADHD and is on the spectrum. While I would not call his previous school experience a total disaster, it was far from ideal. He had few real friends and the teachers had no idea how to work with him and keep him engaged. From the moment he walked in the door at Lang, we all felt like everyone "got" him. It has not all been smooth sailing in terms of his progress, however, the school - from his fantastic teachers to the wonderful psychological team to the administration - have all worked with us and his outside providers every step of the way to help him become a successful student. Thank you Lang!
My child is finishing her first year at Lang. This school has been an amazing fit for us - the academics are challenging and engaging. The supports provided are individualized and effective. Our child was "unfocused and frustrated" in her last school - a progressive, private school in Brooklyn - and here she is focused, engaged and inspired by what she is learning. We believe Lang is giving our child great tools to function in a rigorous academic environment in a way she is most comfortable and engaged.
Lang is continually changing but not necessary thoughtfully or positively. Teacher turnover is extremely high from year to year and so students must suffer the consequences of teachers who lack experience with this population of kids and must struggle to understand how to educate and accommodate their 2e students. The director of the school has zero ed or special needs credentials, but started the school for her own children. Curriculum and policies are based almost entirely on the director's children's needs, and given that, Lang's one-size-fits-all policies are often not a fit for the children who meet g&t criteria, but who have special needs other than adhd. Most families end up there because they have no other viable educational choices for their child. However, many families of children whose special needs are not supported leave after a year or two, and those who stay beyond that tend to be extremely disgruntled with the administration--making for a unsupportive parent body. Hopefully the NYC DOE will recognize the need for a public 2e program and these kids can be served by educational professionals who have credentials and training in education and special needs.
What a joy and relief that our son attends The Lang School. After a horrible experience in a G&T classroom at a public school, we weren't confident we could find a place where our twice-exceptional kid fit in. Lang is the place. This school works so well with both his strengths and weaknesses. He can work at his several-years-ahead math level and get help with his writing struggles. He's only in 2nd grade, but is studying Logic, Engineering and Architecture & Geometry.He still has meltdowns, and the school can handle them. Our son loves school now.
My daughter attended Lang for its first two years. She was in 5th and 6th grades, then, and is now in 9th. From this perspective I can now tell you: they made miracles for her. I cannot rave enough about what they did for her. The therapy to support her academic challenges was intensive, and it was integrated with every lesson, as well as being done in separate sessions. It was effective in ways that nothing else before or since has been. Yes, they're not the normal, run-of-the-mill, stodgy, sort of administration. But if you're looking at Lang, you already know that that kind of school isn't doing your student justice. These kids are brilliant, one and all, and this school lets them run (which even most "gifted programs" really don't). If you have a brilliant, quirky, kid who needs more than even a good school has given him or her, this is the place to look. If your kid also has learning differences, do whatever you need to do to get him or her in. It's that good.
The lang school is a special education school for children who do not need an individualized program. If your child has a complex set of verbal and non-verbal difficulties, and / or social skills problems I would not recommend the lang school. There is very little psychological support for kids with co-morbid emotional issues.
The Lang School is apart from other schools serving kids with learning differences. It has more the feel of an "alternative" school than a "special needs" school, and that seemed to fit our child's diagnosis, which has a mild presentation. Others see the school's youth as a detriment, I think it lends the school an exuberance & freedom. The faculty is bright and energetic, the space itself is airy and fresh. Yet, a number of the students don't fit the Lang profile, to the detriment of the student body. These kids exhibit severe behavioral problems that seem very disruptive & draw down the school's resources. The school aims to allow each child to advance at his/her pace, with plenty of accommodations in areas of weakness. Even the youngest kids are programming; gardening, welding, and identifying false advertising - a vigorous curriculum that honors the kids' abilities. In practice, some of the kids' weaknesses dominate the scene. Improvement would mean a more careful screening of applicants and monitoring students' progress. Also, a brief weekly email would serve well - poor communication from teachers. I hope Lang grows into its mission, for it fulfills a dire need in our city.
I had written a post here about Lang a few weeks ago and it has gone missing. So i will re-post my thoughts until someone at GreatSchools can 'find' my original post. Lang is a great idea to teach and nurture cognitively intact children who struggle with emotional hurdles. The children they take in have had unpleasant and tragic school histories. I admire the administration for taking on a much needed task - to fill a niche so many children and families need. This school is still in its infancy - there is a lot to be sorted out through this time. My suggestion - to retain professionals to help the administration solidify concept and execution of standard policies, treatments and general school decorum. The school is not nearly 'solid' enough to consistently and thoughtfully serve many of the families it is admitting. While many children will be OK - many will not. Which is a shame. Some more work invested on the higher levels of school administration would make this mediocre school into the envy (or model of) of the Special Ed and 2e world.
The Lang School holds so much promise. Its mission of educating and supporting gifted kids with learning or emotional disabilities, or both, is a lofty but vital one; this kind of school is desperately needed. Unfortunately, administration is still figuring out what the school should be, and for whom; its students have so many different needs. A kid with ADHD & dyslexia needs something far different from a kid with a communication disorder & anxiety. Factor in kids different learning styles and you have a recipe for confusion and inconsistency. All new schools have growing pains: hiring & retaining the right staff, developing & implementing the right curriculum, giving parents the right amount of input, communicating effectively & often enough about the right things, and so much more. Ensuring the best support for each kid, determining each kid s learning style, and providing for the very different needs of the children make it an especially tough gig. The Lang School is a work in progress. No school is a perfect fit for all its students. Lang works for some kids, and it doesn t work for others. When it works, it s a lifesaver; when it doesn t, it really doesn t.