Source: The Jewish Week
July Wiener writes about Ilana Ruskay-Kidd's plan to establish a pluralistic Jewish day school for children with learning and developmental delays. It would be the first of its kind in New York, and is believed to be the first stand-alone special-needs pluralistic Jewish day school in North America.
At the end of June, Ruskay-Kidd will step down from her position as director of the JCC in Manhattan’s nursery school to work full time laying the groundwork for a school, which she hopes to open as soon as 2014.
In setting up a new institution specifically for special-needs students, rather than pressing to have such children integrated in existing schools, the 40-year-old Ruskay-Kidd is wading into something of a debate in the Jewish — and special-needs — communities.
Many advocates for Jews with disabilities champion an inclusion model, arguing that such an approach, while more expensive, is more compassionate and beneficial to those with special needs.
Ruskay-Kidd emphasized that she does not oppose inclusion, and that she is eager to partner with existing day schools, camps and Jewish after-school programs, including the many inclusion-model programs the JCC has launched in recent years, so that her school’s students have opportunities to engage with the rest of the Jewish community. However, she said, many families want the option of a school tailored for children with disabilities.
Read the entire article in The Jewish Week.