Special Education

Pines Bridge School


There’s perhaps no better testament to the philosophy of The Pines Bridge School for students, ages 5 to 21, with multiple disabilities than its track. Here, each day, weather permitting, students using walkers, tricycles, chariots, crutches and other adaptive devices to complete laps with no less dedication than the brightest track stars. The only facility of its kind in the tri-state region, the Pines Bridge Track is in keeping with the school’s overall approach, which stresses mobility as a means of gaining independence and dignity.

With a staff-to-student ratio of typically one teacher, a teaching assistant and three aides for a class of 12 students, Pines Bridge provides a variety of learning environments to meet the cognitive, physical, social, emotional, sensory and vocational needs of our students. Based on the belief that all children can learn, our innovative, research-based curricula include:

MOVE (Mobility Opportunities Via Education)

Rather than limiting the practice of motor skills to two or three therapy sessions a week, MOVE incorporates motor skills training into everyday activities throughout the school day. As a result, students are constantly practicing how to sit, stand or walk. The program also differs from the traditional approach in that it asks caregivers what skills would improve a student’s life. For example, a student who can stand with support while being changed can go out to shopping malls and other places in the community that otherwise would be off limits. With input from the family, the Committee on Special Education will develop meaningful goals for your child. Our success in this area is so great that Pines Bridge has been named a model site for MOVE and is visited by educators from across the nation.

Aqua Therapy

Pines Bridge is the only public school in New York State to offer many of its students aqua therapy in two, state-of-the-art HydroWorx therapy pools. These are the same pools used by professional sports teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Mets to keep elite athletes in top condition. The pools, which are also used by leading children’s hospitals and rehabilitation centers, have built-in, underwater treadmills, hydro massage and underwater video monitoring. The entire floor of the pool can be raised to the height of the surrounding floor, enabling easy access for children with disabilities. The child is simply moved onto the floor of the pool and gently lowered into the water. With video monitoring, physical and occupational therapists can record a student’s therapy session and keep a detailed record of the student’s progress.

Extra-curricular Activities

In addition to state-of-the art therapy and Common Core-aligned curriculum at Pines Bridge, our school offers many extra-curricular activities and experiences for students including pet therapy with heeling autism dogs, visiting bands and musicians, visiting artists, a spring prom and an annual talent show. Many of these extras came about because of the dedication of staff members who are always looking for ways to bring joy to our students. Students also participate in physical education, art, library and music.

In addition to the services previously mentioned, Pines Bridge School offers two other programs -- Transitions and Pines Bridge School at Sunshine.


As a parent, you may be concerned about your child’s future beyond school. That’s where BOCES’ Transitions Program, and the Life Skills Apartment that is its centerpiece, come into play. Transitions helps students between the ages of 16 and 21 who are developmentally delayed, multiply disabled or have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, prepare for the future. Based on a student’s individual abilities, the Transitions Program instructs students in daily living skills, provides vocational opportunities and teaches appropriate social skills. Teachers work alongside speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists and social workers to develop and implement a plan for each student. The school psychologist and/or social worker assist the family in developing a plan for life after graduation.

In the Life Skills Apartment, a free-standing, fully functioning one bedroom house on the BOCES campus, students learn to vacuum, fold and put away laundry, make a bed and prepare food. Appropriate leisure time activities and social interactions are also practiced – all with a goal of helping the student to achieve the greatest degree of independence prior to graduation.

Pines Bridge at Sunshine

The Pines Bridge School at Sunshine is a satellite school on the property of the Sunshine Children’s Home & Rehab Center in Ossining. It enables children with unique care needs to attend a full-day school program under the medical supervision of Sunshine’s clinical team of physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists. The population of the Sunshine Home includes children who are too medically fragile to travel to Pines Bridge School on BOCES’ Yorktown campus.

In response to an unmet need for educational services for these students, a unique partnership was formed between Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES and the Pines Bridge School. This program is designed for children who are ventilator dependent, receiving IV infusions and/or have other high-tech care needs.

With a student to staff ratio of typically one teacher, one teaching assistant and up to three teaching aides per 12 students, the program integrates cognitive, sensory, physical, emotional and social learning for students.

Individualized programs focus on achieving IEP goals compatible with the New York State Common Core Standards as measured by the state’s Alternate Assessment. Art and physical education are integrated as appropriate and related services including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, vision and hearing therapy are provided by skilled specialists.

For more information, contact:
Csilla Mate
Pines Bridge School, Principal
Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES
200 BOCES Drive
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
(914) 248-2250
(914) 248-3801 fax
e-mail: cmate@pnwboces.org