Valhalla Center Home Page

The Principal's Desk

Principal Leslie Handler

Welcome Back Letter

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,  

As principal of the Valhalla Center, I promise that this is going to be a great year!
I am extremely excited to be working with a highly experienced and dedicated group of staff members. This year many of our staff are returning here with a few new additions that we are happy to have join us. We will work with each student to increase their abilities and teach them skills to be as independent as possible in an individualized, engaging, and supportive manner. This includes their academic, behavioral, and social emotional skills.

As I reflect on the last year, your children, our students have been amazingly resilient, flexible, and cooperative in adjusting to all the many changes that we have implemented. This includes all their newly acquired abilities with technology and the different safety protocols. We will continue to build on all these strengths that they have displayed.

This year the program at the Valhalla Center will consist of 5 classes. We have two AIIM classes, one for our middle school students and the other for our high schoolers. There is a TSP-DD class for middle school and high school students and the two CAD classes with one for the middle school students and one for the high school students.

All of the Southern Westchester Reopening plan guidelines will be followed to ensure the safety of all of the students and the staff. This includes all the procedures we put in place last year such as social distancing, face coverings, enhanced cleaning, and a change in our arrival and dismissal procedures.

The students have been as successful at the Valhalla Center because of our collaborative relationship working with parents, guardians, and our school districts. This partnership ensures that the students receive the best education that we can provide. I look forward to continuing this with all of you.

Please remember that the staff and I am here to assist you in any way possible.

My door is always open, and you can reach me at or at 914 784-2727.

Take care and be safe,

Leslie Handler


  • SWBOCES Student Shares Experiences as He Finishes Last Year of Special Education

    As 22-year-old Christopher Thompson finishes the last year of special education, he shared some of his experiences and wisdom in a recent panel discussion during the Community Support Network’s 2022 ‘Virtual’ Transition Institute.

    He was one of four self-advocates from New York in a Jan. 20 panel discussion led by Samuel Habib, a 22-year-old New Hampshire college student who is filming a documentary tentatively called the “Disability Road Map.” Samuel, who has cerebral palsy and a rare GNA01 neurodevelopmental disorder, showed a preview of the movie, in which he and his father document his life and advocacy journey. It includes interviews with disability advocates in which he asks important and probing questions about living independently, intimate relationships, finding support staff, and self-advocacy for inclusion and full adult lives. 

    After the film, Samuel posed similar questions to Chris, a student at SWBOCES’ Tappan Hill School; Claire Polin, a member of the Westchester Institute for Human Development’s Hear our Voices Team; Hannah Badain, who works for an advocacy organization in New York City; and Brendan Klein, who runs the self-advocacy organization at WIHD, which includes the Community Support Network. Samuel is a multi-media assistant and presenter at WIHD.  

    Center for Special Services
  • Weather Closings

    Pocantico Hills ES is closed for a Snow Day today.  Irvington MS/HS are Remote for today.  

    Center for Special Services
  • Welcome to The Valhalla Center!

    The Valhalla Center
  • Special Services remote learning document updated

    The Remote Learning General Information document, attached here, has been updated at

    Center for Special Services
  • Virtual Art Class "at" Valhalla Center

    See the photo linked here for a glimpse of what virtual art class looks like for students, teachers and aides in our Center for Special Services program from our Valhalla campus, where Leslie Handler is principal. So proud of our students and our instructional team!

    Center for Special Services
  • Holiday fun

    The Irvington High School student government organized a winter party just prior to the holiday break in December and enjoyed some festive fun.

    Center for Special Services
  • Relaxing with crafts

    Students in Stacey DiPaola’s and Arlene Mangialardi’s craft class have found a fun way to relax and foster their creativity.

    Center for Special Services
  • Students collect goods for homeless

    A number of homeless men were made more comfortable this winter in part due to the generosity of Susan Luria’s Home and Careers class at Irvington Middle School.

    Center for Special Services
  • Tappan Hill visits neighboring school

    See what fun Tappan Hill students had on their visit to Alice E. Grady Elementary School in Elmsford

    Center for Special Services
  • Tappan School Holiday Sing Along

    Students and staff laughed and sang there way through the annual holiday sing along at Tappan Hill School.

    Center for Special Services
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Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Special Services
Valhalla Center
65 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, NY 10595