Reprinted from http://www.nypost.com Special needs At “Chaotic” Arab Middle School
By Yoav Gonen, Education Reporter
January 28, 2008 — Special-education students at the new Arab-themed Brooklyn middle school have gone nearly five months without receiving any of their state-mandated services, staff members charge.
In a twist on a frequent criticism that the city’s small schools initially exclude students with special needs, teachers at the Khalil Gibran International Academy said administrators enrolled 10 special-ed students – but then failed to provide needed programs.
They said former principal Danielle Salzberg, who in August took the reins of the controversial school, never hired a special education teacher.
“Every [staff meeting] it would be brought up, ‘Why aren’t we providing services for our students?’ ” said science teacher Sean Grogan. “Since October she said, ‘I’m looking to hire someone.’ ”
The lack of services has only worsened a learning environment that some parents characterized as “chaotic,” seating kids that need extra attention in classes with one teacher and 30 students.
“The school has issues,” said Muhammed Fakir, whose daughter, Serena Muhammed, is among the school’s 60 sixth-graders. “Even she has a hard time learning because of other students causing trouble.”
Department of Education officials said they are working hard to find a special-ed teacher. Candidates do not have to speak Arabic.
Earlier this month, Holly Anne Reichert was named as the academy’s third principal in six months. Reichert has told parents she’s looking to cut class sizes down from 30 to 20 students.