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Reilly working with NYC DOE to expand ACES program for students with intellectual disabilities

For Immediate Release: April 29, 2019
Contact: Peter Giunta, 347.621.8031

Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) announced today that he is working with the New York City Department of Education to expand the Academics, Career, and Essential Skills Program in Staten Island public schools.  The program – which provides students who have an intellectual disability such as down syndrome with an opportunity to learn in their local community school and is commonly referred to as the ACES Program – is currently offered in middle and high schools on Staten Island, but not in elementary schools.  If a parent wishes to enroll their child in an elementary school that offers the ACES Program, they must be willing to travel to another borough.

In April, Assemblymember Reilly wrote to Chancellor Richard Carranza expressing frustration that the program was not offered in full on Staten Island, and also requested that the Chancellor reconsider in time for the upcoming school year.  A copy of that letter can be viewed here: www.bit.ly/2XMw8cB

“It is ridiculous to expect the parent of a child with an intellectual or developmental disability to travel from the borough with the longest commute time in the nation, over a bridge with the highest toll in the nation, to another borough so that they can attend school in a community they aren’t even part of.  We should be making it easier for these parents and students, not harder,” said Assemblymember Reilly.

Chancellor Carranza’s office responded to the Assemblymember and expressed interest in expanding the ACES Program on Staten Island; however, part of this process requires the Department of Education to identify sites for the program to be offered at, typically based on need, which is why Assemblymember Reilly is asking parents interested in enrolling their child in the ACES Program to contact his office so they can obtain a copy of the application.  Alternatively, parents may visit www.schools.nyc.gov/special-education/school-settings/specialized-programs and select the option ‘Academics, Career, and Essential Skills Program’ to access the application.

Assemblymember Reilly’s office can be contacted by phone at (718) 967-5194, or by email at [email protected].

“I spent almost a decade on the Community Education Council and developed a strong passion for improving the accessibility and accountability of our public schools.  After hearing from several parents who were upset that their child could not participate in this program, I knew something had to be done,” continued Assemblymember Reilly. “I am grateful to Chancellor Carranza and his staff for their consideration on this matter, and for giving us a chance to show that there is, in fact, a need for this program on the elementary school level on Staten Island.”

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