Special Education

The Walden School

The Walden Learning Center is a therapeutic support program for students with social, emotional, behavioral, communication and/or other learning difficulties.  Our school is located on the beautiful wooded campus of Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in Yorktown Heights, NY.  At Walden, students who have not been successful in more traditional educational settings are provided with a high level of individual attention and support to create unique pathways to success.  The Walden Learning Center has a proud tradition of helping young students develop self-esteem, confidence, self-reliance, and resiliency.     
As part of the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES, the Walden Learning Center embraces the primary mission of providing service and innovation through partnership.   When a student is referred to us by their local school district's Committee on Special Education, we make every effort to engage the student, the student’s family, the district staff and any other professionals who might be working with the student in developing a true partnership to help the student attain his or her pathway to success.  As our students frequently have substantial needs, this partnership is critical to our ultimate goal of building a pathway to success for each student.
The Walden Learning Center is designed so that each student has a high level of therapeutic support.  Each classroom has no more than eight (8) students.  Each classroom has an experienced special education teacher and at least one experienced teacher aide, with many of our classrooms having the support of additional adult staff.   To help each student toward his or her pathway to success, Walden also has a dedicated professional staff of psychologists, social workers, board certified behavior analysts (BCBA’s), occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists and crisis intervention specialists.  Professional support is provided to each student depending upon his or her assessed needs and in accordance with his or her Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).
The Walden Learning Center affords each student opportunities to participate and achieve success at his or her unique level in the visual and dramatic arts as well as in physical education.  Our experienced art and physical education teachers work diligently to engage student in their programs, being very sensitive to each student’s individual levels, abilities and needs. 
Walden students attend one of four designated programs: The Collaborative Language, Academic and Social Skills Program (CLASS); The Learning Center Program; The Intensive Therapeutic Support Program (ITSP); and the Transitions at Walden Program. 
The Collaborative Language, Academic and Social Skills Program (CLASS)
CLASS is a program for students with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. CLASS (Collaborative Language Academic and Social Skills) offers intensive and individualized instruction and related services to students ages five through 21. Each class has a certified special education teacher and a teaching assistant or teacher’s aide with a speech language therapist providing services in the classroom for half of each school day. Where appropriate, students follow the same Common Core aligned curriculum as students in local school districts and, in some instances, return to their home district.
The Learning Center Program
This program offers instruction in academics and positive behaviors as well as related services for students with social, emotional and behavioral disabilities. The Learning Center program is available to elementary, middle school and high school students in an 8:1:1 (student: teacher: teaching assistant or aide) educational model with clinical support provided for all students. Social skills development, including skills specific to emotional and behavioral regulation, are integral and woven into the daily program.  If indicated, more traditional “pull-out” Individual and group counseling are provided and are included as part of the program. Where appropriate, Learning Center students follow the same Common Core-aligned curriculum as students in local school districts and, in some instances, return to their home district.
The Transitions at Walden Program
Transitions is designed for secondary students ages 16 to 21 with multiple disabilities and/or developmental delays to provide experiences that will best prepare them for the transition from school into the adult world. The program emphasizes skills in the following strands: community, job training/volunteer work, life skills and activities of daily living, incorporating the Apartment for Life Skills.
The Intensive Therapeutic Support Program (ITSP)
ITSP provides temporary, intensive therapeutic support for students in grades K-6 who are not able to attend their own school or who are transitioning in or out of a psychiatric setting.  ITSP staff develop very close partnerships with the referring districts and their students’ families in addressing each student’s immediate needs.  The goal for this program is to rapidly stabilize students in crisis, assess each student’s levels, abilities and needs, and to help students successfully return to their district or to a more appropriate educational setting.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
                                Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau
“We are only just beginning to understand the power of love because we are just beginning to understand the weakness of force and aggression.”
                                Walden Two by B.F. Skinner

For more information, please contact:

Michael Sowul
The Walden School, Principal
tel: 914.248.2270