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Mission

Lavelle provides students who are visually impaired and have multiple disabilities with a nurturing educational environment that challenges them and focuses on their individual needs, ensuring each student reaches their full potential.

History

1904

Margaret Coffey opens a school for blind Catholic children in her NYC apartment, where she both educates and houses the children. She was blind herself.

1913-6

Monsignor Lavelle, Vicar General of New York, requests that the Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt accept the mission of administering the school. Then known as the Catholic Institute for the Blind, the school soon moves to its current location at 3830 Paulding Avenue, Bronx, New York.

1938

The School is renamed in honor of Monsignor Lavelle.

1942

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) recognizes Lavelle School for the Blind and 10 other specialized schools for the blind and deaf. The schools are designated as 4201 schools and receive direct financial support from NYSED.

1983

Lavelle School closes its residential component and begins daily transportation for students from home to school.

1997

In response to the critical need for special education services, Lavelle School refocuses on those who are blind with additional disabilities.

2002

The 4410 preschool (ages 3-4) for children with disabilities opens at Lavelle School.

2011

Direct funding from the NYSED is changed to a per pupil charge paid for by local school districts. NYSED reimburses districts for the cost.

2016

Lavelle School hosts first talent show and art exhibition to showcase student accomplishments to parents and community.

Diversity

Lavelle students and staff come from all over the world and reflect the glorious diversity of New York City. Our staff empowers this diversity by teaching students to respect each other’s differences. This not only includes differences in race, gender, religion and national origin, but also various disabilities. We pride ourselves on having a diverse team that recognizes the uniqueness of our students.

Diversity

Lavelle students and staff come from all over the world and reflect the glorious diversity of New York City. Our staff empowers this diversity by teaching students to respect each other’s differences. This not only includes differences in race, gender, religion and national origin, but also various disabilities. We pride ourselves on having a diverse team that recognizes the uniqueness of our students.

Our staff and students come from a variety of countries including:

Our staff and students come from a variety of countries including:

  • The United States
  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Jordan
  • The Philippines
  • Puerto Rico
  • Barbados
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Ghana
  • Antigua
  • India
  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • Trinidad
  • China
  • El Salvador
  • St. Kitts
  • Bolivia
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Korea
  • Haiti
  • Cuba
  • Yemen
  • Bangladesh
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Egypt

Faculty & Staff

Diane Tucker

Diane Tucker is the Interim Executive Director of Lavelle School for the Blind. She has been with the school for over thirty years, previously as a teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dominican College and a master’s in special education from College of New Rochelle. She is also School Administrator/Supervisor certified and Teacher of Visually Impaired Children certified.

Diane is inspired by the diverse students and staff who are drawn to Lavelle. In her three decades at the school, she has seen hundreds of students overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. She believes the greatest gifts she can give students are the ability to communicate and reach their maximum level of independence. Her approach is inspired by the psychologist Jean Piaget: “The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge, but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create people who are capable of doing new things.”

Deni Fraser

“We should all be life learners.”

Deni Fraser is the Assistant Principal at Lavelle School for the Blind. He has worked at Lavelle for over 12 years, first as a job coach and a school counselor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Atlantic Union College, a master’s in education, school counseling and rehabilitation counseling, as well as an administrative certification as school building leader from CUNY-Hunter College.

Deni was inspired to work with the disabled community from a young age. His mother, who was legally blind, was a foster mother to over 35 children throughout his childhood, many of whom had special needs. He is proud of Lavelle’s unique “one-stop- shop” approach to students with multiple disabilities, and is passionate about teaching academics as well as social and interpersonal skills. In his work, Deni integrates the belief that all students deserve to be taught in an emotionally and physically safe environment where their diverse needs and multicultural backgrounds are valued.

Faculty & Staff

CPI Team

The Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) facilitates the welfare, safety and security of everyone involved in a crisis situation. The program provides members with the skills needed to effectively respond to anxious, hostile or violent behavior while balancing the responsibilities of care. CPI members are trained and certified to use specialized techniques that promote safety, de-escalating situations by being supportive and directive, creating a therapeutic rapport, and providing non-violent physical intervention if needed. Once the involved student(s) respond in a positive manner, they are able to return to their classroom or scheduled activity.

CPI Members

  • Kim Perlongo, Teacher
  • Deni Fraser, Assistant Principal
  • Shari-Gaye Rennick, Teacher Aide
  • Terissa Joseph, Teacher Aide
  • Allison Fisher, Clinical Supervisor OT/PT Department
  • Christine Rivera, Teacher Aide
  • Brigida Liriano, Social Worker
  • Awilda Bravo, Social Worker
  • Adonys Espinal, Teacher Aide
  • Shamela Patrick, Teacher Aide
  • Denise Mendez, School Nurse
  • Joshua Gomez, Teacher Aide

Facilities

Lavelle School for the Blind occupies an entire New York City block. The handsome brick exterior is accompanied by lush trees and a community garden tended by students. The campus offers an array of special facilities and equipment that cater to each student’s needs. Receiving instruction in our specialized facilities enables students to better perform in academic classes and helps them reach a higher level of independence. Amenities include:

  • Physical and occupational therapy gym
  • Sensory room
  • Computer and technology room
  • Fully-equipped student kitchen
  • Cafeteria
  • Outdoor playground
  • Art room
  • Music room

Accreditation

Special Ed Quality Assurance Review

Middle States accreditation

Parents Testimonials

“The program is amazing. Teachers and staff are patient with my daughter and adamant about achieving her goals and providing all that is needed.”

“My son’s teachers are great. All three of them have made themselves available whenever I need them. They provide daily insight into his school day and make notes of his achievements, which I am very happy with. Their job is not an easy one, but they do it with pride, and it makes me proud.”

“I am extremely happy with the education programs and services they provide to my child, and I cannot wait for more achievements to come. It’s been great for my son and for me, as I am very involved. I see this program helping my son become stronger in his personal caretaking skills and being able to express himself more. He has gained so much independence.”

“My daughter’s teacher is extraordinary. She is supportive and always keeps my daughter involved. She is great in communicating with me and is very attentive to my child’s needs. It is teachers like her that make Lavelle School for the Blind such a great school.”

“We frequently receive invitations from the school’s transition coordinator and social worker to attend workshops at the school and different facilities. It helps us learn and educate ourselves about services and the possibilities for our kids.”