I am a teacher here and would also point out it is a Special Act District dealing with students who have a wide range of emotional/behavioral and/or learning disorders. I feel very sorry that the students and parents who wrote reviews here felt as they did, and also do not doubt their experiences at the time. The school is in the midst of an overhaul at this point and staff are being held much more accountable for achieving results with the students. The school for a long time focused more on the severe behavioral needs of the students without placing the same value on concurrently educating them. Fortunately, with a new administration this has changed and students are being challenged academically while also being given the behavioral and emotional support they need. I am hoping that the school will continue to grow and change in order to offer the quality education that the children here deserve in order to have a better chance in overcoming the many challenges they have already encountered in their young lives.
I attended Mount Pleasant Cottage School. I was placed in a 9th grade classroom and took the appropriate courses for my grade level. But the classes were nothing better than unsatisfactory. I was the least bit challenged. I more frequently dodged flying desks and chairs then I actually learned anything. The environment was impossible to work in. My classmates were out of control. I observed more violence than real classroom teaching. I was promoted to 10th grade with little to no experience in biology or algebra. I passed my Regents Test with little preparation and my fortunate prior test taking techniques. I would not recommend any children, not even the most troubled of them, to attend this school. A child with special needs is in need of better service than this. This school is providing below average education, safety, and counseling service than the average public school. With all their tools, funding, and support they should be providing the best care for their students NOT even average. Instead the children aren't getting the least they deserve. I wish the state would see where their funding is today...in the hands of self acclaimed "non-profiting organization", the JCCA.
The school has finally received the related services staff denied to them by the State Education Department. New leadership in the CSE office has enabled parents to be a vital part of the process. Students continue to benefit from the non-coercive approach to developing appropriate behaviors as well as increased focus on academics that is enabling children to pass Regents exams at unprecedented levels. Coordination with the agencies and CSEs that send students to this special school continues to improve. The staff all share the mission of helping students become thinking caring and productive adults. The after school program offers enrichment in areas from chess to cooking to basketball.
I have found the staff at this school to be either inexperienced or incompetent. I have spoken to other parent advocacy groups who have told me that parents who try to be involved are treated as adversaries which mirrors my personal experience. Children are not receiving services that they are mandated to and when questioned the staff becomes threatening. IEPs are at best vague and at worst dangerous in that they are not specific and lack evaluations by professionals who care about the population they serve.
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