ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT – Andrew Isaacson ’11

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT - Andrew Isaacson '11.JPG

When he first came to Parkside from the Central Park Early Learning Center in the Fall of 2004, Andrew Isaacson ’11 remembers being a shy boy who didn’t like loud noises.

He recalls making friends in his classroom, and credits the connections he made with his therapists and teachers for helping him to overcome his early challenges. He said of Mr. Alston, “He was always there to talk to me about my feelings and support me through whatever struggles I had at a school. He was always there to have a fun time with me.” Mr. Vargas and Mr. Cruz, “with all their jokes” he said, provided a lot of support during assemblies, because Andrew didn’t like it when the audience clapped for him. Working with his teachers, Andrew came up with a plan to have people give him a thumbs up instead of applause. By the time he was performing a dance routine from STOMP during the school play in his final year at Parkside, he was widely known by everyone at school as “the thumbs up guy.”

Ms. Ament made a lasting impression on Andrew as well, because she was “a strict interpretation of what a middle school teacher could be like.” He says she taught him manners, kept him on schedule, and taught him how to be organized and handle himself going into middle school, so that by the time he got to Gateway the transition was very smooth. He had learned to advocate for himself, and to never back down in the face of a challenge. The confidence he learned at Parkside enabled him to easily discuss his schoolwork with his teachers, to ask for extensions on his assignments when he needed them, and to be more comfortable speaking in front of people. He learned to take charge of his educational journey, which eventually allowed him to transition to a mainstream high school education at York Prep, where he continues to flourish academically and will graduate this spring.

Inspired by his teacher at York, Andrew enjoys studying history, especially modern history from World War II through the Civil Rights Movement. He also volunteers as a peer tutor, helping younger students at York with their math. He hasn’t decided on a college major yet, but he counts his acceptance to the prestigious Lehigh University as one of his greatest accomplishments, and is excited to begin the next step in his academic career. 

Tennis and Cross Country are among Andrew’s favorite sports, and he is active in a number of community service initiatives. Two summers ago he had the opportunity to spend three weeks as a camp counselor at a camp in Hawaii that serves underprivileged children, facilitating field trips, games and a variety of activities the children might not otherwise have experienced. 

Looking to the future, Andrew has his sights set on academic and social success in college, in the hopes of finding a career that will help to secure his future and enable him to start a family. Andrew is proud of the progress he’s made since his time at Parkside, saying “Parkside is a school that will set you up for success down the road, no matter what your challenge is.”

As he celebrates his recent graduation from York Prep and begins the next chapter in his life, Andrew has the following advice for our current Parkside students: “Never back down from any challenge. Always prove your doubters wrong, and respect those around you. Be the person that everyone wants to look up to.”

We couldn’t agree more, and for that we give Andrew a big thumbs up.

Unexpected Connections at Japan Society

 Rachel Kahn '00 & Yukako Yamazoe

Rachel Kahn '00 & Yukako Yamazoe

New York City is a big place, but it doesn’t stop our Parkside friends from connecting!

One of our current parents, Yukako Yamazoe, mother of Teru in Class 4-2, recently discovered that one of her coworkers at Japan Society is a Parkside alum! Rachel Kahn graduated Parkside in 2000, and works at Japan Society as a Visitor Services Assistant while she is completing coursework towards a Master of Library Science degree at Queens College!  

The two had the opportunity to catch up and learn about their shared connection to Parkside. Rachel loved her time at Parkside and misses it, and Teru was sure excited to hear that his mom, who is a Program Associate for Performing Arts at Japan Society, works with a Parkside alum! 

The Masters degree Rachel expects to complete next year will be her second! She previously earned a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies at San Francisco State University in the hopes of becoming a film librarian and archivist. She recently won the 2017 New York Library Association Dewey Scholarships, and will be attending their annual conference in November. 

In addition to her work at Japan Society, Rachel also works at the Queens College Rosenthal Art Library, and is assisting as an Archival Research Intern for the upcoming HBO series, "Random Acts of Flyness." 

Why We Give


Jake has always been a happy kid, but he always stayed back from the crowd when he was younger. He often avoided playing with friends or his brothers because he didn't have the words to interact. You could see that he just wasn't confident in these situations.  

Since coming to Parkside all of that has completely changed. Jake is still a happy boy, but now he has built confidence and skills that allow him to be part of larger groups. He interacts and plays with his peers, and his language has dramatically improved. He feels good about himself and what he can do, and he doesn't hesitate to get right "in it" with his brothers (3 kids vs. 2 parents!!!) 

What Parkside has given Jake and our family doesn't stop at language. Jake's academics are continuing to thrive, beyond what we could have imagined.  And he gets the opportunity to participate in fun activities like art, music, drama, and yoga - which he loves. He confidently participates in all sorts of family activities with us from skiing to visiting a cool NYC exhibit. 

The teachers and administration at Parkside are amazing and all this progress could not have happened without them. They get to know each student so well, and then care about what goes on not only inside of school, but outside of school as well, and do whatever they can to make sure each child thrives and is happy.  

Jake cant wait to jump on the bus each day and head to school, and that is why we choose to prioritize Parkside as the place we give. This school has done so much for our family, and we want to help fund Parkside's mission so they can continue to help Jake and others like him. 

Corinne & Michael Bilerman
Parents, Class 3-2

For information about making a gift to Parkside, CLICK HERE

We Feel Like We Won The Golden Ticket

Finding the right school for your child is a funny thing. It can be like an apartment or a significant other -- when you know, you KNOW.  The moment my husband and I walked into Parkside, we could envision our daughter Emmy climbing the spiral staircase to a classroom where she would be challenged but nurtured, and where she would learn and grow both socially and academically.

To say that her teachers and therapists understand Emmy is an understatement. At every annual team meeting, it never ceases to amaze me how well everyone at Parkside "gets" her. What motivates her, what frustrates her, what works to keep her engaged and encouraged -- everything at Parkside is individualized to help every child grow and learn how they grow and learn best.

So why give? Give because you have won the golden ticket. Your child, your grandchild, your friend's child -- they have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend The Parkside School, and you have the opportunity to pay it forward and give other children that same amazing opportunity.

We hope you will join us in supporting this very special school, with a gift during Giving Week.

Katie and Sam Holliday
Parents, Class 3-4

Heads of School Speak Out Against Gun Violence

Parkside recently joined other New York City Independent Schools in signing an 'Open Letter' to the President and nation's lawmakers calling for action to ensure the safety of students. We stand with our fellow educators throughout New York and the entire country in support of the Parkland, Florida school shooting survivors to call for gun reforms. 

The following is a copy of the draft later as of Friday, February 23:

Heads of Schools Speak Out Against Gun Violence
An Open Letter to the President and Our Nation’s Legislative Leaders

As Heads of Independent Schools in the New York City metropolitan area and across New York State responsible for the education and physical safety of tens of thousands of children, we are heartbroken over the recent massacre in Parkland, Florida. We stand in support of the Parkland survivors and their efforts to effect change.

It was five years ago last month we wrote following the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut. Sadly, we have seen too many school shootings since cut short too many innocent lives with little to no change in gun laws. But the horrific dimensions of the Parkland tragedy are so profound that we are compelled to rise up again and say, “Never Again!” As the recent events in Parkland and the scenes of other mass shootings teach us, the easy and virtually unrestricted availability of highly lethal, semiautomatic assault weapons and ammunition places our schools, most especially our children, in jeopardy.

We implore you, Mr. President and our national legislative leaders, to do everything necessary to stem this tide of senseless gun violence. Address, and ultimately deny, unrestricted access to weapons and ammunition that have no legitimate sporting, recreational or protective purpose. Recognize that the proliferation of military-grade guns and ammunition leads to more gun violence and more gun deaths. The statistics are compelling and cannot be ignored.

The United States leads the world in the number of guns per capita; it leads in homicides, suicides and accidental deaths involving guns; and it leads the world in the number of children killed by guns, every year. In these grim statistical categories, no nation comes close to our level of violence and gun-related deaths. The United States of America can and must do better. Now is the time to take action. As educators, we believe in the United States Constitution. We also believe our country need not choose between the protection of responsible gun ownership and the prevention of gun violence and that both can be achieved through thoughtful and forceful legislation.

Never before have so many Independent School leaders in our region spoken with one voice on behalf of a single issue. We are moved to do so out of a duty to our students and all of our nation’s children and we find inspiration in the voices and actions of the students who are refusing to go about business as usual. We stand ready to help in this effort, and encourage our colleagues leading schools across the country to join us. Above all, we demand that reason and compassion prevail.

We are Heads of schools serving children from nursery through high school. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We are parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. We are responsible for the education, safety and welfare of children each and every day, and we know the time for action is now.


Heads of Schools (Listed Alphabetically)

John Allman, Trinity School

Concepcion Alvar, Marymount School of New York

Jessica Bagby, Ethical Culture Fieldston School

John Baldi, Vincent Smith School

Bart Baldwin, St. Luke’s School

Audrius Barzdukas, Poly Prep Country Day School

Mimi Basso, West Side Montessori School

Alan Bernstein, Lawrence Woodmere Academy

John Botti, Browning School

Micaela Bracamonti, The Lang School

Susan Braun, Waldorf School of Garden City

Bodie Brizendine, The Spence School

John Buck, Long Island Lutheran

Paul Burke, Nightingale-Bamford School

Frank J. Carnabuci III, Birch Wathen Lenox School

Brian Carty, De La Salle Academy

Drew Casertano, Millbrook School

Maria Castelluccio, Léman Manhattan Preparatory School

Carrie Catapano, West End Day School

Ken Catrone, Soundview Preparatory School

Benedict Chant, Poughkeepsie Day School

Joseph J. Ciancaglini, Convent of the Sacred Heart

David S. Ciancimino, Canisius High School

Chad Cianfrani, Oakwood Friends School

John Cissel, Harbor Country Day School

Pam Clarke, Doane Stuart School

Bill Clough, Nichols School

Donna Cohen, International Preschools

Virginia Connor, St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School

Angela Coombs, Academy of St. Joseph

Bob Cunningham, Robert Louis Stevenson School

Melissa Dan, School of the Holy Child

Laura Danforth, The Masters School

Eileen Davidson, The Ursuline School

George P. Davison, Grace Church School

James Dawson, Professional Children’s School

William DeHaven, Winston Preparatory School

Andre Del Valle, George Jackson Academy

Bruce L. Dennis, Packer Collegiate Institute

Christopher Devron, Fordham Preparatory School

William Donohue, Columbia Grammar and Prep

Jesse Dougherty, The Green Vale School

Dianne Drew, Dwight School

Ariela Dubler, Abraham Joshua Heschel School

Jim Dunaway, Manilus Pebble Hill School

David Egolf, Corlears School

Caroline Erisman, Cornelia Connelly Center

Gina Farrar, Blue School

Charles Fasano, Bay Ridge Preparatory School

Anthony G. Featherston IV, The Town School

Dean S. Foster, Hoosac School

Jane Fried, Brearley School

Michael Frosch, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School

Scott Gaynor, Stephen Gaynor School

Patricia Geyer, Long Island School for the Gifted

Ward Ghory, The Harley School

Nancy Glauberman, Barrow Street Nursery School

Evan Glazer, Avenues New York

Felicia Gordon, The Brownstone School

Laura Graceffa, Robert C. Parker School

Laura Graham, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Day School

Martha Haakmat, Brooklyn Heights Montessori School

Tully Harcsztark, SAR High School

Patricia T. Hayot, The Chapin School

Matthew Heard, Dutchess Day School

George Higgins, The Beekman School

David Hochschartner, North Country School

Simon Holzapfel, Darrow School

Adrian Hood, Woodstock Day School

Stuart Johnson, St. Bernard’s School

Jean-Marc Juhel, Buckley Country Day School

Susan Kambrich, Woodland Hill Montessori School

Danny Karpf, Rodeph Sholom School

Phil Kassen, LREI Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School

Michael Kay, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester

Andrea Kelly, Friends Academy

Thomas M. Kelly, Horace Mann School

Donna Kennedy, Gillen Brewer School

Eve Kleger, Village Community School

Tara Christie Kinsey, The Hewitt School

William Knauer, Harvey School

Binyamin Krauss, SAR Academy

Daniel K. Lahart, Regis High School

Jonathan Lamb, Storm King School

Robert “Bo” Lauder, Friends Seminary

Christopher Lauricella, The Park School of Buffalo

Lee Levison, Collegiate School

Avi Levitt, Magen David Yeshivah High School

Sharon Lickerman, Resurrection Episcopal Day School

Jed Lippard, Bank Street School for Children

Sean Lynch, Lycée Français de New York

Colm MacMahon, Rippowam Cisqua School

Carla Jantos MacMullen, The Kew-Forest School

Timothy P. Madigan, Churchill School and Center

Helen L. Marlette, Buffalo Seminary

TreeAnne McEnery, Green Meadow Waldorf School

Albina Miller and Leslie Thorne, Parkside School

Brenda Mizel, Metropolitan Montessori School

Scott Moran, City and Country School

Kim Morcate, Rockland Country Day School

Ronnie Moskowitz, The Washington Market School

Nicole Nash, Hannah Senesh Community Day School

Eve Nealy, Westbury Friends School

Marsha K. Nelson, The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine

Scott Nelson, Rye Country Day School

Douglas North, Albany Academies

Virginia O’Brien, Notre Dame School of Manhattan

Michael O’Donoghue, Holy Child Academy

Eavan O’Driscoll, St. Ignatius School

P. David O’Halloran, Saint David’s School

Greg J. O’Melia, Buckley School

Tony Oroszlany, Loyola School

Simon Owen-Williams, Portledge School

Maria Palandra, La Scuola D’Italia Guglielmo Marconi

Susan Paynter, High Meadow School

Joel Peinado, French-American School of New York

Kevin Pendergast, Kildonan School

Margaret Poggi, LearningSpring School

Dominic A. A. Randolph, Riverdale Country School

Jenny Rao, Emma Willard School

Jack Raslowsky, Xavier High School

Amani Reed, School at Columbia University

Jim Regan, Martin Luther School

Scott Reisinger, Trevor Day School

Jean Rosenberg, Chelsea Day School

Janet C. Rotter, The Studio School

John Russell, The Windward School

Carolyn Salzman, The Gateway School

Joe Santos, International School of Brooklyn

Diana Schlesinger, Greene Hill School

Susan Sheahan, Episcopal School

Karen Smith, Smith School

Michele Sola, Manhattan Country School

Steven Solnick, The Calhoun School

Jeffrey Spade, Rudolf Steiner School

Stephen Spahn, Dwight School

Lydia Spinelli, Brick Church School

Todd Stansbery, Tuxedo Park School

Ellen Stein, The Dalton School

Matthew Stuart, The Caedmon School

William W. Taylor, Trinity-Pawling School

Michael Termini, The Cooke School and Institute

Kristen Tillona-Baker, The Knox School

Barbara Tischler, The Speyer Legacy School

Vincent Tompkins, Saint Ann’s School

David R. Trower, Allen-Stevenson School

Salvador Uy, United Nations International School

Jennifer Vest, All Souls School

Patti Vitale, Brown School

Bob Vitalo, Berkeley Carroll School

Daniel Vitow, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School

Larry Weiss, Brooklyn Friends School

Michael Wirtz, Hackley School

Janet Wolfe, IDEAL School

Debbie Zlotowitz, Mary McDowell Friends School

Parkside Celebrates 30 Years

The Parkside School community gathered on Thursday evening at Arena in celebration of the school's 30th anniversary. It was a night like no other! From Al Roker's remarks, to The Dance Cartel's performance, to the Parkside parents, alumni and friends dressed to the max in 80s/90s gear, a fun time was had by all. 

The event benefited new outdoor play and learning spaces for Parkside students, and thanks to the generosity of our benefactors and donors, raised more than $260,000 that will enable construction to begin on the third floor terrace within the next year. 

One of the highlights of the evening was the video above, produced by Craig Kabrhel and Melissa Gelade to commemorate this important milestone. 

The following slideshow, a look back at 30 Years of Parkside, was also shown at the event:

Many thanks to all who attended the event and gave in support of Parkside's 30th anniversary, and special thanks to Heidi Green of Heidi Green Photography for capturing the night for us!

Alumnus Conor Devlin '06 Delivers Graduation Speech

Alumnus Conor Devlin '06 Delivers Graduation Speech

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, The Parkside School celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2017. Our thirteen graduates will be going on to school's including the American School of Milan, Community School, The Computer School, Lowell School, Mary McDowell Friends School, Summit School, and York Prep.

During the ceremony, which was held at the JCC on 76th and Amsterdam, Conor Devlin '06 reflected on his Parkside experience, and gave our newest class of alumni some great advice. The following is the full trascript of his speech.

Parkside's Fund for Teacher Excellence

Parkside's Fund for Teacher Excellence

In 2014, The Parkside School held a benefit at Del Posto honoring Al Roker and Deborah Roberts. It was a festive evening, featuring “A Night of Comedy” exquisitely crafted by Sherri Shepherd with comic Joy Behar, Judy Gold, Diane Neal, and Tammy Pescatelli. Leading up to the event, Parkside set the goal of creating a dedicated fund that would help our school attract, develop and retain exceptional teachers and offer outstanding professional development opportunities.

The event raised more than $3.1 million thanks to 64 donors and a generous leadership challenge from the Isenberg family. Today, the fund’s balance has grown to more than $3.5 million, and the impact of that support can be seen throughout our school. Parkside’s annual budget for professional development includes more than $65,000 specifically for teacher training, consultants, conferences and initiatives that strengthen our curriculum and allow our staff to be leaders among special education professionals in New York City.

There is exceptional work happening year round to support our teachers and therapists. The following is a representative sampling of the type of impact the Fund for Teacher Excellence has had on our school.

An Inside Look at Occupational Therapy at Parkside

An Inside Look at Occupational Therapy at Parkside

Occupational Therapy in an integral part of Parkside’s educational program. Our team of therapists provide treatment in the classroom and in a fully-equipped sensory gym in order to facilitate the improvement of fine motor skills, develop and refine handwriting skills, support improved sensory processing and self-regulation, and ultimately provide students with the tools they need to achieve greater independence at school and at home.

Parkside’s four Occupational Therapists – Christine Yen, Michelle Redler, Tara King and Shannon McDowell – are a close-knit team. They recently sat down together to respond to some questions about why they choose to work at Parkside. These are their responses.

Staff Spotlight: Roberta Favant

Staff Spotlight: Roberta Favant

Before coming to Parkside full time in the Fall of 2016, Roberta Favant worked in an inclusion program but was looking for a school whose resources were dedicated 100% to special needs students. “As a speech and language therapist, my purpose is to support special needs students, and I wanted to work is a setting designed for them. The Parkside program places a particular emphasis on language learning, and that has been the focus of my practice over the years,” she said. Ms. Favant had attended professional development workshops at Parkside, including the Constable Reading sessions as part of the Parkside Summer Institute, and a Carol Gray lecture on social stories. “The workshops were excellent, as is the reputation Parkside holds in the special education community, she recalls. 

Ms. Favant took some time to share with us her unique perspective on The Parkside School, our students, and our philosophy of teaching.  

Alumni Spotlight: Robert Stewart ’00

From his post in Morocco, where he and his wife Kate are serving in the Peace Corps, Parkside alumnus Robert Stewart '00 took some time to reflect on what his Parkside experience meant to him. There isn’t one thing he remembers most vividly, he says, “rather, it is a mix of everything -- the tight knit social groups, the library on the first floor, the music room, the ball pit in the occupational therapy room. There are too many good memories to count.” He recalls that Parkside did a wonderful job preparing him for the future.

Why I Give

Why I Give

Every day I feel lucky that my son William goes to Parkside. William is a funny, smart, loving, happy and in many ways a complicated little boy. He needs to be at a school where the directors, teachers, therapists, and staff not only recognize, but understand his strengths and challenges, are attuned to his feelings and appreciate him for his unique self. A place where he can feel part of a community and develop an identity. Parkside gives him all of these things and more. 

The Importance of Giving in Uncertain Times

The Importance of Giving in Uncertain Times

We are very fortunate at Parkside to benefit from a caring educational environment with an amazing student/staff ratio addressing the needs of our children. This has made for many smiles and sunny days at Parkside.  In the distance, however, there are ominous storm clouds brewing.  The current political environment may lead to an uncertain future for specialized programs like Parkside’s. There are proposals out there that threaten funding from the federal Department of Education.  There are proposals to eliminate federal laws which guarantee IDEA funding for learning environments like the one we have at Parkside. In New York, the push towards Charter Schools has come at the expense of public programs, and support for tuition reimbursement at special education schools.  Future funding levels for our school are not guaranteed.

Staff Spotlight: Audrey Eisenberg

As part of our Staff Spotlight series, we recently sat down with Audrey Eisenberg to learn about her experience at Parkside. Ms. Eisenberg is a Group Teacher in 4-1. 

This post is part of a series designed to highlight the outstanding staff that support Parkside students. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Anthony Kapp.

The Parkside School relies on the generous financial support of our community to ensure the individualized curriculum we offer for each child while maintaining our commitment to a diverse student body. Whether you are a grateful alumnus, thankful parent, or caring friend, your support enables Parkside to meet our day-to-day operational needs while offering a thoughtfully designed, comprehensive array of academic and support services.