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Local Progressive School Director Receives Award From New York State Assembly

Ali Friedlander

31 years after opening Long Island's first progressive school, Eric Jacobson was honored on June 15th with a Citation Award from the New York State Assembly. Based in Merrick, NY, Jacobson and his wife Eva opened the doors to the Progressive School of Long Island in 1985, with one five-year old student, $30,000, and the goal of a new school that was based on teaching Neohumanist ideologies.

Today, the school has grown immensely and successfully. What was once a one-student venture has expanded to include kindergarten through eighth grade, and has an average enrollment of 120 students per year.

The goal of the Progressive School is to "teach the whole child - physically, mentally and spiritually - to teach a child so that he can put what he has learned into practice using all of his intelligences, to value product, not just scores." This methodology has proven to be effective, as students graduate from the school with superb results, and go on to become valedictorians or place within top percentiles in their graduating classes in upper schooling. However, the school views that the most important skill to impart on their students is their "strong sense of self awareness and responsibility to our planet and its co-tenants" and a lifelong desire to learn.

The award was given to Jacobson at the request of the parents of many 8th graders at the school, who are grateful for the Progressive School's alternatives to traditional education they feel their children have benefited from, and wanted to thank Jacobson for his "ingenuity and commitment to the education and well-being of each student at the Progressive School."

Jacobson was surprised with the award at the class of 2016's 8th grade graduation ceremony.

The Progressive School of Long Island is located at 1425 Merrick Avenue, Merrick. For more information about the Progressive School of Long Island, visit www.progressiveli.org.

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