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  • Shared Success Applauded at TSP-I Moving Up Ceremony

    From the moment “Pomp and Circumstance” began playing on the overhead speakers, an air of celebration and joy filled the auditorium for the Southern Westchester BOCES’ Therapeutic Support Program Intensive Moving Up Ceremony.

    During the June 16 graduation, which took place at Pocantico Elementary School, 14 students from Mara Ivkosic and Karen Walker’s fifth- and sixth-grade classes were recognized. The children and audience members alike smiled as they reminisced about the past year at school.

    “We are very proud and very excited for our students,” said Principal Jessica Walker of the children who sat in the front row. “But we are having a hard time saying goodbye.”

    She noted that throughout the year, they have worked hard, grown academically and made new friends. While there will be many challenges ahead for them as they enter middle school, Ms. Walker said, she knows that they will flourish in their upcoming adventures.

    During the ceremony, students shared their “Hero Speeches” – words they had written to honor people who are their heroes. The students spoke about their parents, grandparents and other family members who take care of them, make them feel safe and happy, and show them how to be responsible.

    Students from both classes took to the stage to sing “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars. The song’s lyrics depict friends being there for one another to help whenever one has trouble in life.

    The teachers presented each student with their certificates and awards, congratulating them on a year of achievements. Principal Walker and SWBOCES Director of Special Services Lisa Schuchman shook their hands, commending the work since September and wishing them well in the next chapter of their lives.

    Here is a list of the graduating students and the awards that they received:

    Mrs. Ivkosic’s Class:

    Jordan Baldwin – Excelled in Computer; Friendship and Good Citizenship Award

    Nathaniel Davis – Excelled in Math

    Cory Eulin – Overall Academic Improvement

    Patrick Gettler – Most Improved in Reading; Friendship and Good Citizenship Award

    Ajay Gonzalez – Most Improved in Literature

    Gregory Tompkins – Excelled in History

    Mrs. Walkers’s Class:

    Alvaro Alvarez – Most Improved in Reading

    Jasmine Doley-Figueroa – Good Citizenship Award

    Michael Espinoza – Excelled in Science

    Arween Hernandez-Baez – Excelled in Writing

    Miguel Lopez – Most Athletic

    Yeison Parra – Most Creative

    Joseph Pirrotta – Excelled in Art and Music

    Elyjah Williams – Academic Achievement in Math

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • SWBOCES Farragut Students Recognized for Kindness, Resourcefulness, Perseverance

    Eighteen students received awards at the recent Recognition Ceremony for Southern Westchester BOCES students at Farragut Middle School, receiving accolades for their resourcefulness, excellence in art, good sportsmanship, resiliency and other positive qualities.

    The June 9 ceremony was for eighth- and ninth-grade students who will either transition to Irvington High School or their home school district in the fall. They have made significant behavioral and academic progress that shows they are ready to meet high school’s higher expectations, SWBOCES Principal Alberta Grant-Johnson said. They will need to work more independently and take greater ownership of their learning.

    Ms. Grant-Johnson wished the students well on the next part of their educational journey and said she hopes they achieve success and acquire the skills they will need to be happy and productive in life.

    “It’s a really big step. There is going to be a lot of work that you will need to do, projects and things that you’re going to do on your own, and manage your time,” she said. “And these are all skills that you’re going to need if you decide to go to college and when you go into the work world.”

    Fifteen-year-old Jaden Lewis of Mount Vernon closed out the ceremony with a rendition of the song “Lava” from the animated short film of the same name. Jaden, who will attend his local high school in the fall, sang and played the ukulele.

    Dr. Kenn Mann, psychologist, asked Jaden to play a voicemail the student had recently received from the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau. Jaden learned that he had secured a summer job. Fellow students cheered and shook his hand after he played the message on speakerphone.

    Nathaniel Ayewah, 15, said he enjoyed his time in the SWBOCES program. He will be attending Irvington High School next year. “I’ll miss everybody here,” he said. “I love this school.”

    Janine Renzo of Eastchester said she is pleased with the progress her son, Nicolas Renzo, made after transferring to the Farragut program. He will be attending Irvington High School next year.

    “He’s very excited. He made some nice friends here,” she said. “I’m proud of him. He has done very well.”

    In addition to Jaden, Nathaniel and Nicolas, the other students who were recognized were Brandon Christiano, Kyle Courounis, Eliot Davis, Sean Eybers, Joshua Lucio, Justin Najarro, Gabriel Polanco, Aiden Rafique, Rezaria Rasul, Daniel Rogers, Bryson Ruiz, David Schiller, Thomas Smith, Ethan Thomas and Derek Varon.

     

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • SWBOCES Students at Tappan Hill Win Medals in “Victory Games”

    On June 2 and 3, students from the SWBOCES Multiply Disabled program at Tappan Hill School competed in the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, also called the "Victory Games.”

    The team of eight athletes won gold, silver and bronze medals at the event, which was held at Nassau Community College. The events they won medals in included wheelchair, walking and running races; club throw; precision throw; distance kick; soft discus; wheelchair and ambulatory obstacle course; and swimming.

    The members of the team were Steven, Derek, Serena, Gerald, Ralph, Mia and two students who don’t attend Tappan Hill. Their coach was SWBOCES Tappan Hill teacher Penny Dickenson. This is the eighth year students from the multiply disabled program participated in the games. Their parents transported them to the competition.

    This year was the 33rd annual Victory Games. The event primarily is run by volunteers and is organized by Nassau County. It is supported by fundraising in Nassau County and contributions from other donors. State funding for the games was eliminated several years ago.

    “We hope the SWBOCES students will be able to continue their participation for future games, and we hope to increase the number of team members,” Ms. Dickenson said.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • To All Directors of Special Education and Counselors: Southern Westchester IDT Therapeutic Summer Program with Credit Recovery for MS/HS

    We would like to remind you that Southern Westchester IDT will be running the Therapeutic Summer Program. The summer program starts on July 10th up until August 18th. Classes begin at 8:30am and end at 2pm – Monday through Friday. All middle and high school students are welcome. 

    If you have any questions, please call us at our main office number 914-328-0793.

    Sincerely,

    SW-IDT Team

     

    Center for Special Services
  • Tappan Hill Students Have Lots of Fun Finishing Achilles Virtual Marathon

    There was lots of excitement on the Tappan Hill School campus last Friday morning as children from every class at the school completed the Achilles Kids Virtual Marathon.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Children Ride Ponies, Color, Play with Parachute during Annual Field Day

    Polka Dot and Applejack were the stars of the Center for Special Services’ Field Day at the Career Services Campus in Valhalla in early June. The ponies were a new addition to the annual event, which is in its third year.

    The dozens of students who attended enjoyed pony rides, arts and crafts, a bean bag toss, inflatable bouncers and other games. On one part of the field, children used plastic rods to pick up magnetized plastic fish from a shallow pool of water. Another game was a race to transfer water from one bucket to another using a large sponge. In the craft area, children colored in paper butterfly mobiles and crafted colorful masks.

    “I think they’re loving it,” Tappan Hill teacher Kathleen Knudsen said as her group took a break for lunch. “I think the pony rides were a phenomenal addition.”

    When 12-year-old Keino, one of her students, went for his first ride on Applejack, “I was a little nervous,” he said.

    But he was fine the second time around. “I loved Applejack,” he said.

    The activities at the event, which is organized by Coach Joe Racioppo, are designed to help develop balance, body awareness and hand-eye coordination, as well as alleviate sensory sensitivity.

    Students in each class wore matching T-shirts. One class called itself the “Snack Shackers,” which was printed on their shirts, along with a black and white photo of the students. Another group put multi-colored handprints on orange shirts, and the children signed one another’s shirts. Other students tie-dyed their shirts.

    Students who attend the CTE campus helped at Field Day in a number of ways. Those in the Cosmetology Program gave the younger children hand massages; students in the Culinary Arts Program prepared grilled cheese sandwiches and cookies for lunch; those in the TV/Video Production shot footage of the event; and other students assisted teachers with the Special Services children, said Audrey Mangan, a principal at the Valhalla Campus.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Students and Staff Enjoy Rye Lake Legends Field Day

    Dancing, tug of war, jewelry making and treats like chocolate fondue and cotton candy were some of the highlights of the Rye Lake Legends Field Day June 1.

    Rye Lake Middle School and High School students, faculty and staff members took a break from regular classes for a few hours to enjoy the nice weather and one another’s company. They ate hot dogs, wings and side salads, along with and burgers made from ground short rib purchased at Biancardi Meats on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. But the most excitement about food was at the popcorn and candy table. Teachers manned a popcorn-popping machine, a cotton candy machine and a chocolate fondue fountain. Jars of candy included Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish.

    Students and staff members faced off in a few rounds of tug of war. In the first round, the students were victorious, but faculty and staff won easily in the next game.

    “All year, these people get to tell you what to do, all year. I say that today is our day and we are going to tell them what’s up,” Rye Lake Principal Scott Kaufman said into his megaphone before joining the team of middle and high school students.

    Mr. Kaufman said there have been a lot of changes at the campus this year, and it was important for students to take a break from the routine and enjoy being with one another and faculty and staff.

    “We have our different roles and our different hats, but I think it’s just important that at the end of the day they see us as being other people who want to help them and want to be part of something bigger,” he said.

    Graduating senior Mee’ah Muhammed said tug of war was her favorite part of field day. “We liked competing against the staff to take all that anger out from the school year,” she said. “It was actually kind of fun. I fell, but it wasn’t that bad.”

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From around our schools

DASA Coordinators

Rye Lake Campus:    Cristina Tompkins  ctompkins@swboces.org  914-948-7271 x1226

Farragut Middle School & Irvington High School:    Monica Johnson  mjohnson@swboces.org  914-591-8963

Valhalla Campus:    Eileen Yip eyip@swboces.org  914-761-3400

Pocantico Elementary School & Tappan Hill School:    Rachelle Kritzer  rkritzer@swboces.org  914-948-7271 x1206

St. Matthews:    Kathryn Lockwood  klockwood@swboces.org  914-761-7516