Welcome to the Center for Special Services!

Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Special Services programs support the needs of students with disabilities by offering specialized instruction tailored to the learning needs, individualized educational plans and life goals of each student. Our six school programs offer environments in which social emotional and academic learning are integrated so that students develop confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, and resiliency. We believe a growth mindset is the key to progress.

Our classrooms feature small staff-to-student ratios that provide for individualized support and attention. Staff and students develop positive learning communities where students can connect with peers and form friendships.

Our curriculum is aligned with New York State and Next Generation standards which aids in a smooth transition when students may be ready to return to their home districts.  Our instructional professionals implement a comprehensive program that accounts for unique student learning styles and needs. Programs are therapeutic in nature and build in positive behavior supports and reinforcement.

Our clinicians and related service providers include psychologists, social workers, school counselors, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, teachers of reading and the deaf and visually impaired and crisis intervention specialists. Transition is a primary focus so school counselors and social workers support students and families in planning and readiness for returning to district or post-secondary experiences, including adult programming, vocational placements and college or career training. Our  work with families is paramount to our students’ success. We partner with them in navigating community supports and services.

The Center is comprised of six schools on five campuses. Each program serves a diverse group of students ages 5-21 and offers opportunities in the visual arts, music instruction, technology, and physical education. Students also participate in health and wellness learning, community trips, and activities that build social skills.

 

News from our schools

  • Rye Lake Lower Campus celebrates Mothers Day with a garden party

    Moms in Teacher Janeelia Henry's class at Rye Lake Lower Campus were invited to a 'Mothers are like Flowers' Garden Party. In recognition of Mother's Day, each was invited to bring a small plant to plant with their child in the flower garden in front of the classroom. The students showcased their homemade video on what plants need to grow. They also reinforced their knowledge about plants to their mothers by reading, coloring and labeling their mother's picture. A continental breakfast was served, and everyone wore t-shirts custom made by a parent honoring the theme for the day. 
    News Feed - Rye Lake Lower Campus
  • Notes of appreciation, hand-delivered treats all ways of saying thanks

    Rye Lake Lower Campus celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week

    The Rye Lake Lower Campus honored their incredible teachers, teacher assistants, teacher aides, and related service providers throughout Teacher Appreciation Week.

    Staff, student, and family involvement are a huge part of the success of RLLC's Teacher Appreciation Week and the school community. As a result, the campus continued its tradition by creating an Appreciation Station in the foyer of the Decagon Building.

    News Feed - Rye Lake Lower Campus
  • Tappan Hill School celebrates Earth Week with lessons on recycling

    In the spirit of Earth Week, Teacher Linda Christiansen's class at Tappan Hill School spent last week learning about ways we can all care for our world. Recycling is so important, and cleaning up our classroom became a top priority!
     
    News Feed - Tappan Hill
  • Teacher Appreciation Day: SEPTA shows gratitude with sweet treats for all

    In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day, members of the Southern Westchester BOCES Special Education Parent Teacher Association came up with a way to show their gratitude for all our Special Services staff – with a personal touch!

    Special thanks to SEPTA President Carolyn Laskaj and the SEPTA team who thoughtfully delivered platters of delicious cookies to our program locations.

    “It’s truly heartwarming to know that we have such caring and supportive parents who go above and beyond to spread gratitude and kindness within our schools,” Principal Phyllis Rizzi said.

    Special thanks as well to Joe Cecere from SWBOCES Facilities Department for ensuring each site receives their delicious treats. THANK YOU to our staff for the work you do each and every day to support our students!

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Luau dance party, sing along and read aloud top a full slate of activities

    Tappan Hill School Wellness Day offers a fun break from the routine

    Wellness was the goal, and a luau dance party was a key part of the plan at Tappan Hill School, where a full slate of fun activities marked a break from the usual educational routine.

    “Our staff really thought about creating opportunities for having fun and making memories,” Assistant Principal Francesca Fernandez said.

    News Feed - Tappan Hill
  • A variety of cuisines puts a celebratory stamp on cultural lessons

    International Day luncheon provides a melting pot of learning opportunities

    Students filed into the conference room at the Valhalla Center eager to share what they’d learned about the culture and cuisine of the various heritages their classes represent. 

    The International Day luncheon they staged with support and direction from educators in the program turned the space into a colorfully decorated dining hall.

    “This was an opportunity to teach our students about the different cultures and backgrounds each of us has and how we come together as one class,” Teacher Allison Waskiewicz said. 

    News Feed - Valhalla Center
  • Each class tailored environmental lessons to their students

    Tappan Hill School plants seeds of knowledge through Earth Day celebrations

    The classrooms at Tappan Hill School were abuzz with excitement as students celebrated Earth Day by participating in various activities that emphasized the importance of taking care of the environment.

    News Feed - Tappan Hill
  • Tappan Hill School, students among Volunteer NY! honorees

    On an early April morning, Volunteer NY! held its annual ceremony of appreciation for all the volunteers who made a difference during the 2023-24 school year.

    Together this year, the organization's RISE program volunteers put in 3,000 hours of service. Tappan Hill was represented by three volunteers who dedicated time to work at the main office of Volunteer NY. They met with other RISE volunteers and together they collaborated and organized themselves taking on specific roles to meet project objectives.

    RISE stands for readiness through integrated service engagement. The program connects adults with disabilities to nonprofits in the community where they can build skills while volunteering.

    Tappan Hill students Ralph Cellante, Fraley Gomez and Serena Jones were recognized at the ceremony, making this event extra rewarding. Tappan Hill School was also recognized as a site that provided opportunities for other RISE volunteers from YAI, WIHD and ARC. Southern Westchester BOCES looks forward to continued collaboration with these impactful organizations.

    News Feed - Tappan Hill
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  • Memorial Day recess 5/24 - 5/27

    Memorial Day recess 5/24 - 5/27 - school resumes on 5/28.

    Irvington HS
  • ST. MATTHEWS

    MEMORIAL DAY

    NO SCHOOL

    St. Matthews
  • School Closed / Memorial Day

    St. Matthews
  • VALHALLA CENTER

    MEMORIAL DAY

    NO SCHOOL

    The Valhalla Center
  • VALHALLA CENTER

    FLAG DAY

    The Valhalla Center
  • ST. MATTHEWS

    FLAG DAY

    St. Matthews
  • VALHALLA CENTER

    FATHER'S DAY

    The Valhalla Center
  • ST. MATTHEWS

    FATHER'S DAY

    St. Matthews
  • VALHALLA CENTER

    JUNETEENTH

    NO SCHOOL

    The Valhalla Center
  • School Closed / Juneteenth

    St. Matthews
  • Juneteenth (Schools Closed)

    St. Matthews
  • Juneteenth - 6/19/24

    Juneteenth - No school

    Irvington HS
  • st. matthews

    Early Dismissal 11:15am

    St. Matthews
  • Valhalla center

    Early Dismissal 11:15am

    The Valhalla Center
  • Half Day for Students / Early Dismissal at 11:10am

    St. Matthews
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