2019 Blackboard Award Honoree: Atlas School

Atlas School
Executive Director Amanda Friedman
Ages 7-21
252 West 29th Street, 3rd Floor
atlasforautism.org

Award: Outstanding School

Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.

Atlas honors and embraces students’ unique minds, spirits, and voices. Empowered communication and respect for student’s passions and abilities ease them into rich social and emotional relationships and experiences. Self-identity, growth and joyful engagement join with academic learning and choice-driven community integration to aid students in pursuit of their own life goals and happiness.

Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.

Our school was recently identified and chosen by Lowe’s Heroes Project for our nonprofit community work and integrity as a special-ed school—we received donated time and materials and labor to renovate our 7,300-square-ft space with new paint, sinks, cabinets, sensory friendly lighting, and other repairs. We pride ourselves on truly differentiated instruction and an inclusion based model that builds self-confidence and empathy for others. Our program includes a multi-strategic model and a focus on mindfulness and communication that is unique and powerful in a very personal and profound manner. Our foundation provides free open play programs opening our school to the public every other Saturday encouraging neurodiverse connections, parent and caregiver support, and a fun judgement-free zone to bring people together!

What’s new?

This past year we were recognized by Access VR and the NYC Placement Consortium for our “commitment to the promotion of employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.” We are a versatile school looking to meet the needs of our students and the community as they shift and expand. It is our honor to collaborate and connect with other schools and organizations in the community to truly build and sustain a village of children and adults who know they are seen, respected, and valued for the incredible people they are and with potential that knows no ceiling!

What do you love about your school?

What I love most about our school is our complete dedication to authenticity. We pride ourselves on our ever expanding repertoire of strategies, supports, and creative forms of communication and resourcefulness for our amazing kids. Our team is caring and motivated to incorporate presence, character, and a love of learning into every nook and cranny of every day and our students and families know we are here to make the most impact possible helping them achieve the greatest learning, peace of mind, and happiness.

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