Parent Email

On the occasion of her son's 5th grade graduation, the parent of a Nest student sent the following email to Project Director, Dorothy Siegel, in June, 2016. 

Dear Ms. Siegel,

It is with great pleasure that I write to you on behalf of my son. He will be graduating from the Nest Program at PS 165Q this month! This is a major accomplishment for him. He could not have done it without the continued support, guidance and knowledge of his team at PS165Q.

Our son has participated in the Nest Program since 2009 when he started in Intensive K. The Nest Program was not well known to us at that point in time. However, we knew that we wanted to provide our son the best opportunity that we could in order to develop his potential.  Finding out your child is on the Spectrum is difficult; finding an appropriate school setting was just as challenging.

What drew us to the Nest Program was the integration of students, having role models that were both typical and on the Spectrum.  It was the best of both worlds.  Having the plan executed, however, was yet to be seen.  To our delight, the school started to deliver immediately.  It was not only an education for our son, but for us, as parents.

The team under Raquel DeMillio, the principal, and Kate Bonagura, our son’s guidance counselor since the beginning, is superb. His speech teacher, Lisa Rhine, has come up with various methods over the years in order to “reach” him including telling stories through Michael’s eyes (relating to Mixels and Sonic the Hedgehog). The teachers within the classroom team up for the children; there is no isolation or segregation; the children are treated equally while still attending to their needs. There is continuous communication between us. They have provided us the tools to help our son grow.

It is clear that our son’s team truly cares about his well-being. They have not only provided him an education but have also provided him a solid foundation for the future: he believes in the good in people; he can ask for help and will receive it; he has a safe environment where he can test his skills; he understands that he needs to work in order to get it done; he is a happy boy!

We have come to see the school as family. It is a true partnership. Our son is not keen on graduating, he says that his school is where his heart is and doesn’t want to leave!

Having the Nest Program has made a major difference in our lives. It has given us hope and guidance for our child’s future. The participants in the Program have made it what it is today.  My husband and I will be forever grateful for all of the support we have received. My son has a good view of what school “should be.” It is the foundation that will support him in the coming years.

I thank you for opening the doors to families like ours and giving us the chance to succeed in the future. Nest is a wonderful program. The dedication and professionalism is evident. The experience has been “priceless”!

With thanks and gratitude.