THE LEARNING CENTER at WALDEN & in Local School Buildings (LSB)
Welcome to the Learning Center Programs web site. This program is part of the Special Education Department of the Putnam/Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in Yorktown Heights, NY which serves the eighteen school districts in the region.
WHICH DISTRICTS SEND STUDENTS TO THE LEARNING CENTER AT WALDEN?
Our districts are: Bedford, Brewster, Briarcliff, Carmel, Chappaqua, Croton-Harmon, Garrison, Haldane, Hendrick Hudson, Katonah-Lewisboro, Lakeland, Mahopac, North Salem, Ossining, Peekskill, Putnam Valley, Somers and Yorktown. We also have many students from districts outside of our area. Information on whom to contact in your district for referral, transportation or any other service can be requested from the Learning Center. Students from other districts may also be enrolled.
WHAT IS THE LEARNING CENTER?
The Learning Center was opened in 1979 as the French Hill Learning Center at the request of our component districts to meet the needs of emotionally handicapped (ED or EH) students who needed a significant amount of counseling in a therapeutic environment to achieve academic success. Originally conducted in the Yorktown district's French Hill Elementary School, the program has moved into the Walden School on the main BOCES campus. Classes are also conducted in local school buildings when their environments are appropriate to the needs of the students. A central philosophy of the program is that all students can learn given the right type of support. The goal of the Learning Center is to return each student to a less restrictive educational environment whenever appropriate.
The Learning Center works with students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Students in the elementary school are presented with specially prepared and individualized curricula. Middle and high school students are presented curricula similar to the ones used by the local districts. The high school students are given courses which lead to their earning a diploma from their home district.
All students of The Learning Center receive individual counseling as part of the program. Many students also participate in group sessions with support staff.
WHAT SPECIAL PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE?
At the core of The Learning Center is the formal academic program. At all grade levels, courses and activities are aimed at improving students' functioning levels. The Learning Center does also provide many enrichment activities for its children. These activities have included: art; physical education; swimming; music; Boy Scouts; attendance at local theater presentations; Thanksgiving, holiday season and Memorial Day ceremonies; Reading Readiness; and many others.
In addition, the High School provides a series of elective classes which ave included: skills training in softball, basketball, badminton, golf, and swimming; crafts; model-building; professional instruction in magic; extra academics; cooking; classic film; and health. The Elementary and Middle Schools also provide elective programs.
The Learning Center also provides a series of activities called the Principal's Club. Students are invited to have a breakfast with staff and interact with people from the community and beyond. THE KIEV CHILDREN'S THEATER performed Ukrainian folk dances in full costume and staged a musical play they wrote themselves about the experience of animals growing up in the shadow of Chernobyl. Young people who participate in THE MIDNIGHT RUN, a volunteer program to clothe, feed and provide comfort for the homeless, visited our high school. Recently, a choir from KUMASI, GHANA, visited our school.
As a result of the PRINCIPAL'S CLUB, we believe our students have learned about their communities and beyond, social responsibilities, and possible vocational choices.
Students of The Learning Center also have available to them the wide variety of services provided by BOCES on the main campus. The Walden Library offers the campus resource and reading materials, in addition to expert assistance. The Technical Center provides courses in many vocational areas. The Walden Dining Room staff prepares lunches for students and staff. Learning Center students use these resources daily.
There are also special programs for parents. Our Learning Center Parent Support Group meets throughout the year. Topics are chosen by the parents and staff. The principal, clinical coordinator and school psychologist attend most meetings. Recent topics have been: rights of the disabled; depression; the grieving process; the IEP process; HIV/AIDS information; how to talk to your child; the Committee on Special Education; attention deficit disorder; and Social Security rights of the disabled. In addition, specialized courses in parenting skills have been offered in both daytime and evening sessions.
HOW DO YOU APPLY TO THE LEARNING CENTER?
Students must be referred to The Learning Center by the Committee on Special Education of the local districts. Only these Committees are authorized to place students in the program. If you would like to visit the program before agreeing to referral, the visit must be authorized by the Committee.
When the Committee decides to refer a student, a complete packet of information is sent to: Ms. Helen Rollins, School Services Building, 200 BOCES Drive, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. This packet must include the following: a recent psychological; a recent social history; a recent psychiatric; a medical, including immunizations; a current IEP; a report card; a transcript (high school); a teacher/clinician anecdotal record; and any other previous evaluations. A packet is not considered complete until all of these are received.
Once this complete packet is received our staff will contact the parents/guardians and arrange an interview for the student, parents/guardians, and any other significant individuals. More than one interview may be necessary. Once these interviews are finished, the student might attend classes for one or more days in order to understand the environment of The Learning Center. If everyone agrees that the placement is appropriate, the student will usually begin regular attendance within two days. This entire process usually can be accomplished within two weeks of receiving the complete packet, depending on the availability of the family for the interviews. If, at any time during this process, it is determined by the program or family that this placement would be inappropriate, the district is contacted by the program and advised that the student will not be enrolled.
HOW DO STUDENTS GET TO THE WALDEN SCHOOL?
Each district is responsible for transporting students to and from BOCES.
WHAT ARE THE SCHOOL HOURS?
The students arrive between 8:10 and 8:30. Dismissal is between 2:20 and 2:30.
HOW LONG DO STUDENTS STAY?
It is rare that a student remains with us less than a full academic year. The Learning Center's goal is to return students to a regular school environment as soon as appropriate.
WHAT CALENDAR IS FOLLOWED?
BOCES publishes a calendar every year. We follow this. Districts are expected to transport when home districts are closed and BOCES is open. This calendar is available from our school secretary. Learning Center students in local school buildings follow that district's calendar.
DO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS GET A BOCES DIPLOMA?
No. Graduating students receive the same diplomas that everyone else gets in their home districts. The students may attend all home district graduation functions. The Learning Center has its own formal graduation to distribute awards and honor students.
ARE THERE AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES?
No. It would be impossible for districts to transport twice all the way from the BOCES main campus. But all students are entitled to participate in after-school activities of their home district, if appropriate.
ARE PARENTS AND GUARDIANS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE AND CONTACT STAFF?
WHAT ADDITIONAL SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE?
Any additional related services a student may receive are determined by the home school district's Committee on Special Education. These services may include: speech and language; occupational therapy; physical therapy: and adaptive physical education, among others.
WHOM CAN I CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION?
Call (914) 248-2270
Robert Kelderhouse, Principal
Joann Wirth, Program Coordinator
Rosemarie Miraglia, Secretary
Gay OBrien, School Nurse
Sandy Rosenblatt, Clerk and Attendance
200 BOCES Drive
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598