Tappan Hill partners with Scarsdale on inclusive experiences, physical education

students in gym class

Students from Southern Westchester BOCES’ Tappan Hill School in Tarrytown have been participating in collaborative monthly physical education classes at Edgewood Elementary School in Scarsdale. 

The opportunity to engage in P.E. and inclusive classroom activities comes as the result of a partnership between SWBOCES and Scarsdale Schools. The visits began in January with five Tappan Hill Students participating and will continue through June.

While at the Edgewood School, the Tappan Hill students  attend a Physical Education inclusion class along with their own physical education teacher and the inclusion physical education teacher from Scarsdale. Following that, they visit a regular education third-grade classroom. 

In all, each visit is a little over an hour and allows students from both schools to engage and interact with one another, providing a shared, inclusive experience. 

teacher reads to students

The Tappan Hill students include three third-graders and two fourth-graders selected by Tappan Hill Principal Phyllis Rizzi and her team. They are accompanied by SWBOCES Physical Education teacher Diane Storm, a sign language interpreter and a teacher aide. 

Ms. Rizzi expressed her gratitude to her Scarsdale colleagues for inviting her students to join them. Scarsdale has created a positive and enriching experience for the visiting students and welcomed them warmly, she said.  

“The staff not only provided a nurturing environment for our children but also allowed us to connect with many new friends,” Ms. Rizzi said. “We look forward to continuing to be a part of this fantastic school district in this way over the next few months.”

 students in library on mats Eric Rauschenbach, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services at Scarsdale Schools, said the partnership with Tappan Hill School has provided opportunities for students in the special education class to interact and have physical education and mainstreaming opportunities with their general education peers.

The Edgewood School provides a special education class similar to that of Tappan Hill’s, and those students are able to join in as well, Mr. Rauschenbach said. The collaboration has provided a  nice opportunity for these students to get together, he said. The regular education students gain empathy and understanding from the experience, he added.

“Our general education kids get an opportunity to be mentors to and to interact with kids who think differently than they do,”  he said, “and they get an opportunity to get to know them on a level more than they would otherwise.”