When Omri Shefet started at East Side Middle School two years ago, as a sixth grader, he felt quite small.
He had learning problems and needed special education services, including speech and physical therapy, as well as extra support in math and English.
He was mainstreamed in regular classes, but in some ways that made things harder. The school is on Manhattan’s well-to-do Upper East Side, serving mostly high-achieving students. They often get top scores of 3 and 4 on the state tests and go on to selective high schools.
The thing Omri is really good at — sports knowledge — doesn’t get graded. In the morning, until he has to run out the door at 7:55, he watches “SportsCenter” on ESPN. When he gets home in the afternoon, he reads Wikipedia to learn about the former greats; he is that rare 13-year-old who knows that Oscar Robertson was “the Big O.”