“Best Kept Secret” is a documentary film (PBS, fall 2013) that chronicles a teacher’s journey in transition her students with autism to adulthood.
At a public school in Newark, N.J., the staff answers the phone by saying, “You’ve reached John F. Kennedy High School, Newark’s best-kept secret.” JFK provides an exceptional environment for students with special-education needs. In Best Kept Secret, Janet Mino, who has taught a class of young men for four years, is on an urgent mission. She races against the clock as graduation approaches for her severely autistic minority students. Once they graduate and leave the security of this nurturing place, their options for living independently will be few. Mino must help them find the means to support themselves before they “age out” of the system.
Since the film’s release, filmmakers scheduled a congressional showing to further the progress of the Age In Act and teacher Janet Mino continues to develop programs to improve transition services for youth with autism.