I Changed Careers to Teach at a Bronx School for Students With Severe Disabilities. Here’s What I Wish People Knew About My Students — and Job.
May 24, 2019
By: Sara Mosle
For a dozen years, Danielle Felicissimo was a bookkeeper and accountant. The work was sometimes challenging but “also really boring,” she said, and Felicissimo yearned for something more meaningful. When her son was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, she saw up close the struggles he endured and decided to change careers, going back to school to become a teacher. While pursuing a master’s degree, she taught at a Catholic school in the Bronx.
Then a friend pointed out a job opening in the same borough at a public school, but Felicissimo was hesitant at first to apply. The school was in District 75, which exclusively serves city students with severe disabilities, including non-verbal autism, muscular dystrophy or emotional afflictions, who need highly specialized instructional supports. Her professors had often disparaged the district for its lack of inclusion of general education students. But she applied, eventually took the job, and has come to love it and believes passionately in District 75’s mission.