2014 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

The Children's Learning Center at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County Inc.

The Children's Learning Center at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County Inc.

Diane Berger, Ed.D.

The Children's Learning Center (CLC) has been serving children with special needs on Long Island for more than 60 years, with an annual enrollment of over 250 students. Students with moderate to severe disabilities from the age of one to 21 are served by a devoted faculty of more than 200 educators, clinicians, support staff and administrators. Each year, approximately 45 preschool students graduate from CLC and return to their home districts.

Students receive special education and therapeutic services in a state-of-the-art educational setting that includes a SMART Board in every classroom, music and art therapy, and numerous extracurricular activities including clubs, field trips and special events, from concerts to museum sleepovers to Homecoming and Prom.

United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County's mission is "to provide the highest quality services to children and adults," and a large contributing factor to the success of that mission is the CLC's long-standing, mutually supportive relationships with Long Island school districts. CLC faculty members work closely with district staff to assess student progress and plan for the future. But the partnership goes beyond educators and curriculum -- the public school students get involved, as well.

The Roosevelt High School championship football team, cheerleaders and marching band take part in the CLC's Homecoming event each year. The Carle Place and West Islip high school bands, orchestras, and choral groups perform regularly at CLC assemblies. And for the past 15 years, the Wheatley School has sponsored a student carnival for CLC and annually invites CLC classes to join them for Wheatley's Intercultural Unity Day.

"We believe that CLC makes a major impact on public education by being a partner in caring about students and directly providing the foundation they need to succeed," said Principal Diane Berger. "CLC is a special education school with an emphasis on the word 'special.'"