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Q & A

Q: Can I switch my cohort right now? 

A: No. Cohorts, schedules and staffing have been set. Because of the complexity of scheduling, as well as the allocation of staff in and out of the building, we cannot  switch students from remote to in person or vice-versa on short notice.  On October 27th parents can elect to switch cohorts beginning in November. 

Q: Who is remote in my class and who is in the hybrid model?

A: Teachers will communicate which students in your class will start in the Hybrid vs. Fully Remote Program. 

Q: If my child is fully remote, will they join their classmates in the hybrid program during the remote weeks?

A: Scheduling is very complex and where it is possible and appropriate to join the in-person class, we will make every effort to do so.  However, in some cases, this is not an effective approach to educating students who are remote and may be confusing or emotionally difficult for students to see their classmates in school. We will approach this on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How were Cohorts A and B assigned?

A: Great consideration was taken when making our groups, factoring space, room shares, staff resources, developmental levels, class sizes, how students use space, scheduling, and more. The highly individualized nature of our program requires a great deal of thought and consideration.

Q: Will my child receive the mandated therapies in their IEP?

A: Gillen Brewer is a private, independent school. The IEP does not dictate the services we provide, but rather what would be mandated in a public setting. Gillen Brewer is a therapeutic program that integrates all aspects of therapies into the classroom model. Our model goes far beyond what the public school can offer in relation to a therapeutic approach. The teaching and therapeutic team, along with Department Heads and Program Directors, considers the best way to target skills for each child in all of the therapeutic and educational domains.  The class and therapy schedules are set by our teams with each child considered. Generalization is the goal for building skills in all therapeutic domains. We want our students to use skills learned in therapy sessions in the classroom, at home, and in the outside world. Therapists integrate this work into the classroom as well as with you at home through discussions and remote sessions. Integration and generalization of skills used in a classroom setting are the most effective ways to build mastery of skills that stick.

Q: My child is assigned to be in a staff to student ratio of 10:1:2, 8:1:2, or 6:1:2. I notice there are only 2 teachers. Is this in compliance? What happens when and if other students join the class?

A: Some classes are fully enrolled and others are not. In order to provide the best and most effective remote and in-person programs for our students, staff have been assigned according to the needs of our students and are proportionate to the student’s ratio assignment. Some fully remote students will be assigned our GBS remote teachers and therapists in order to provide an optimal learning program with the appropriate and highest level of support. For classes with two teachers whose student in-person numbers are lower, once the number of students increases, another Associate Teacher will be assigned to the class to maintain the class ratio.

Q: What will change if my child moves from being fully remote into the hybrid model?

A: Students moving from fully remote (Cohort C) to hybrid will join Cohort A or B and their assigned class. For remote students assigned to a remote teacher and/or therapist, once a child moves from remote to hybrid, the hybrid staff will do their best to integrate these students into the hybrid schedule.  All in-person instruction and therapy is done with the staff who are in-person.

Q: My child has a therapy session scheduled during a classroom activity or academic time. Can that be changed?

A: Since Gillen Brewer is an integrated academic and therapeutic program, our teachers and therapists work together to build thoughtful and balanced individualized schedules for each student. In order to make these schedules work, it has always been the case that a student may be “pulled out” of an activity in the classroom schedule for a therapy session. Since literacy and math activities are among the most frequent on the classroom schedule, students will be pulled out of these subjects from time to time. It is not possible for a school like Gillen Brewer to provide high amounts of therapy for all of its students without this type of flexible schedule in place. In all cases, the team works in an integrated fashion to ensure that each student’s academic and therapeutic needs are balanced and met and that the student does not miss an excessive amount of any one subject.

Q: If my child is pulled out of a portion of a classroom activity for a therapy session, how do I move between the two events?

A: Please attend the first event via the calendar and switch over to the next event at the correct time. Your teachers and therapists will be prepared for this and will plan accordingly.

Q: Will OPT school buses be running?

A: The mayor has announced that school busing, including special education busing, will run on schedule as is legally required. However, we have seen reports from other independent special education schools that to date, busing is not in place for some of the schools who opened last week. We have also not seen any updates in our OPT terminal to indicate new routes yet. NYC DOE is slated to return to their buildings with students on September 21, so that will give us some indication whether they are up and running that week. We’ll continue to keep you posted with any developments, but we are recommending that families think about alternate arrangements. Should you want to seek reimbursement for the cost of those alternate arrangements (car services, babysitter who will transport their child, etc.) you should speak to your reimbursement attorney.