Beginning this coming September, as the Great Neck Public Schools reopen for the 2007-2008 school year, a new program will be introduced --- the SEAL Program. Described by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Terry Horowitz as a "supportive environment for all learning," the program was presented at a recent board of education meeting.
"We need to address the needs of all students," Ms. Horowitz said at the board meeting earlier this month. She reiterated that the SEAL Program (temporarily named) really is what it says, a supportive environment for all learners. "We are still in the conceptual stage, though," Ms. Horowitz added.
The concept was developed via a steering committee with representatives from each school.
Ms. Horowitz went on to explain that the Great Neck School District does indeed have many programs to meet the needs of its students, although some students are still sent out-of-district at this point, in order for their individual needs to be met properly.
According to Ms. Horowitz, the SEAL Program was designed to help children by placing them in very small settings --- a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 setting --- within the school district. This would enable those children to remain in their home school district and be able to participate in extra curricular activities provided by the Great Neck schools. As well, the children in the SEAL Program, by remaining in-district, would also be able to receive the other services provided by the Great Neck Public Schools.
The actual teachers who service the students in the SEAL Program, since it is done in-district, will be able to provide a curriculum more in keeping with the same curriculum being presented in the students' home school. Ms. Horowitz said that this is especially true for middle school students.
Ms. Horowitz also noted that a further reason for this SEAL Program and its ability to keep more students in the district is that it will be cost-effective to have more students remain in school in the community. For medical reasons, too, she said that this program is positive.
"This (the SEAL Program) is a non-traditional model that is flexible," Ms. Horowitz stated, adding, "It's a better way to meet the needs in Great Neck."
The board of education then unanimously approved the program.
Board Trustee Fran Langsner praised the program, stating that "This program looks at every child and their needs and they can get a Great Neck education."
Fellow Trustee Larry Gross noted how the program "meets the needs of all individuals." He emphasized the economics, adding, "We are using these funds well, for individualized needs."
Board President Barbara Berkowitz and Vice President Judi Bosworth spoke of the worth of the program and Ms. Bosworth noted how it "brings normalcy to some." Ms. Berkowitz addressed the fact that such a program keeps students from becoming "disenfranchised."
In conclusion, Ms. Horowitz said that the SEAL Program, and its premise and its resources, "delivers a message to the children how we care."
Ms. Berkowitz asked for a review of the program after one year.