P.S. 721R Hungerford School,
Staten Island, NY
The practice: Professional development should provide learning opportunities that relate to individual needs but are, for the most part, organized around collaborative problem solving.
At Hungerford, every student is everyone's student. The uniqueness of this school and its students creates a culture in which collaborative problem solving is basic to the students' well-being. Since the students at Hungerford are classified as medically fragile and severely to profoundly retarded, collaboration includes parents, physical therapist, occupational therapist, learning specialists, nurses, doctors, community service agencies, and other special education and mental health professionals. It is common for parents to provide special training to the school's staff on how to care for their children or to find the school staff working with community agency helping them place students in appropriate jobs.
Collaborative problem solving at Hungerford is
constant. Staff, parents, students and community
members have established a governance structure
that provides opportunities for involvement of all
stakeholders. This school-based management
team serves as the planning team for the school.
Other school-based committees provide
opportunities for staff members to share ideas and
solve problems related to student success. The
school has committees to work on school-wide
initiatives including technology, literacy,
math/science, behavior management, and