The Cooke Center was founded in 1987 by a small group of parents of children with Down syndrome. Determined to find the best education possible for their children, they knocked on many doors to find just one school that would welcome them into its community.
After many visits and many disappointments, the principal of a New York City parochial school opened his doors to these families. He promised them that their children would be equal participants in the life of his school. That principal was Dr. Michael Termini, who years later became Cooke's president.
Cooke has grown from serving seven children in one classroom to become the largest private, inclusive educational organization for children with special needs in New York City. Our children learn in partner schools throughout the city, and our programs are sought out by families and educators looking for quality educational options.
From the outset we educated children with broad spectrum of abilities, and our school teams work continually to ensure that our programs and curricula fit the varying levels and skills of our students.
The Cooke Center for Learning and Development is the largest private provider of inclusive special education services in New York City, offering preschool programs, a K - 12 school and consulting services that foster inclusive education.
The Cooke center is a non-sectarian, non-profit organization.
At Cooke, we believe that all children have a right to an independent future-- one in which they are included as integral members of their community.
For our students, learning takes place among their typically developing peers and in some of New York City's most prestigious offices and cultural institutions. Our children are building on their own interests and strengths to create a vibrant life and take their rightful place in the world.
Download some of the Cooke Center's yearbooks.