Q&A about the ACES-ICT – Inclusion Program

Quick Overview

The ACES-ICT program is an inclusion program implemented at PS15 in Brooklyn, New York. It was launched in 2018 and aims to provide an inclusive learning environment for students with diverse abilities. The program involves integrating general education students with ACES (Academic Career and Essential Skills) students in the same classroom. The teachers, Rachel Marks and Catherine Lipkin, emphasize the importance of peer modeling and individualized instruction to meet the needs of all students. The program has been successful in fostering empathy, support, and growth among students. Challenges during the pandemic led to adjustments in classroom setup and remote learning, but the program is set to return to its original model. The teachers highlight the need for ongoing professional development and support from the school, district, and families to ensure the program’s success. They also emphasize the importance of promoting the program to reach more families and expand its impact.


In this Q&A session, Nitya Chavillo from Angelman Academy chats with Rachel Marks and Catherine Lipkin, the teachers of the ACES-ICT (Academic Career and Essential Skills – Integrated Collaborative Teaching) inclusion program at PS15, a public school in Brooklyn, New York. They discuss the importance of inclusion in education and share insights about their program.

Meet the Teachers

Rachel Marks, a special education teacher, and Catherine Lipkin, a general education teacher, have been working together since the launch of the ACES-ICT program in 2018. They are passionate about inclusion and believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn and grow together, regardless of their ability level.

What is Inclusion in the Classroom?

Inclusion, according to Rachel and Catherine, means that all students, regardless of their abilities, should be included in the classroom. It is about embracing everyone’s unique qualities and creating a setting where all students can learn and succeed together. In an inclusive classroom, children benefit from peer modeling and learn from each other.

The ACES-ICT Program

The ACES-ICT program at PS15 is an inclusion program that aims to provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students. It started in 2018 with four ACES students and thirteen general education students in the kindergarten class. The program has since expanded yearly, and the first group of kindergartners is now entering third grade.

The Benefits of Inclusion

Rachel and Catherine have witnessed the positive impact of inclusion on their students. They have seen how all students, both ACES and general education, support and learn from each other. In an inclusive environment, students develop empathy, love, and care for one another. The program has also allowed ACES students to showcase their talents and be proud of their achievements.

Recommendations for Replicating the Program

Rachel and Catherine emphasize the importance of building a strong partnership between the school, families, and the community. They believe that everyone involved should be committed to the success of the program. Additionally, investing in professional development and specialized support for teachers is crucial to meet the unique needs of ACES students.

Challenges Faced During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges for the ACES-ICT program. Space limitations required Rachel and Catherine to split classrooms, and remote learning disrupted the usual model of the program. However, they made efforts to maintain connections through Zoom and outdoor activities. As they return to in-person learning, they focus on social-emotional learning and safety precautions.

Future Plans and Challenges

As the ACES-ICT program continues to grow, Rachel and Catherine are considering the challenges that come with different academic levels in upper grades. They want to ensure that the program remains inclusive and provides academic connections for students at their age level. They also highlight the need for better promotion and resources for families interested in the program.


The ACES-ICT program at PS15 is a shining example of the power of inclusion in education. Rachel and Catherine’s dedication to creating an inclusive learning environment has had a profound impact on their students. By sharing their experiences and insights, they hope to inspire and support other schools and families interested in implementing similar programs.

For more information about the ACES-ICT program at PS15, visit their school website.

Talk details

  • Title: Q&A about the ACES-ICT – Inclusion program
  • Author(s): Eve Colavito, Catherine Lipkin, Rachel Marks
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: None
  • Publication date: 2021-11-13
  • Collection: Angelman Academy