P.O.V. : Best Kept Secret

About This Episode


At an inner-city public school in Newark, New Jersey, the staff answers the phone by saying, "You've reached John F. Kennedy High School, Newark's best-kept secret." JFK provides innovative programs, exceptional teachers and a passionate commitment for students with special-education needs. Best Kept Secret focuses on the school’s work with students with autism, who are characterized by difficulties with language and social interaction.

Janet Mino, who has taught a class of six young men for four years, is on an urgent mission. The severely autistic minority students, who will "age out" of the system at 21, are about to "fall off the cliff." This is due to the scarcity of continuing adult education programs and the very few options for living independently. In a race against the graduation clock, Mino begins a desperate search for alternatives to homebound idleness, institutionalization or homelessness for her graduating students.