Our Mission, Vision, Values and Goals

It's our goal to make finding the services and supports you're seeking as easy as possible. Use the BOCES Centers menu above to connect with any of our seven major centers. The About menu contains our Services Guide, Directory and other useful items. Below you'll find links to Central Office departments, useful links for employees and news from across our campuses. Click the calendar icon for a full-screen view and to subscribe to specific centers' calendars.  If you need more assistance, reach us at 914-937-3820. We welcome your feedback!

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  • Executive Committee - 10:00 AM

    Center for Interscholastic Athletics
  • Engaging Students Through Writing

    Providing students with choice as to how they wish to share their knowledge is one way to prompt motivation. While the research report is an effective way to determine if students understood and attained curriculum concepts, it is not the only way to assess student comprehension. Participants will explore a variety of writing genres that allow students to share knowledge, while using critical thinking skills to synthesize information into innovative formats. In this workshop, we will highlight newspaper writing, scriptwriting and digital storytelling.

    For more information and to register on MLP, please click here:


    Center for Professional Development and Curriculum Support
  • Why Question?: Constructing Questions That Engage Students and Inspire Learning

    Literacy & Data: What's in a question? This workshop will help participants to refresh their practice in constructing questions for unit and lesson objectives, classroom discussions, and student assessments. Using the Question Formulation Technique™, participants will construct original, standards-based inquiry questions (and teach their students how to construct questions to guide their own learning, as well). Questions will be aligned to Bloom's Taxonomy and Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) to distinguish between higher-order and lower-order thinking skills.

    Please register in MLP:  https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/ActivityProfile.asp?D=12439&H=1&I=2105998

    Center for Professional Development and Curriculum Support
  • [HVRBERN-CTLE ID #3120] SIFE Workshop Series Part 5: Classroom Engagement

    Engaging Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE) in All Classrooms.
    In this session, participants will learn and apply strategies to support SIFE engagement in all classrooms, including such classes as art, music, and physical education. The session will identify specific challenges or needs that SIFE may have in participating in these classes. Participants will apply the concepts they have learned in setting goals for engaging SIFE in their context.

    Please register in MyLearningPlan:  https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/ActivityProfile.asp?I=2399576&D=12439

    Center for Professional Development and Curriculum Support
  • Designing Engaging Grammar Instruction that Sticks Grades 3 and Up

    It is pretty rare to hear the word "engaging" and "grammar" in the same sentence, yet for grammar to really stick, it MUST be engaging. Grammar and writing go hand in hand. In fact, grammar is style. Come explore the many experiences that students can have with grammar that goes above and beyond workbook based methods into playful, meaningful standards-based experiences.

    Please register in MLP:  https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/ActivityProfile.asp?I=2402682&D=12439

    Center for Professional Development and Curriculum Support
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District News

  • Center for Special Services Thanks Community Partners for Enriching Students’ Lives

    At its 25th Annual American Dreamer Achievement Awards Luncheon, the Center for Special Services thanked nine allies and partners for going “above and beyond” to help SWBOCES and its students.

    “Without our partners, we couldn’t be as strong as we are,” said Lisa Schuchman, director of the Center for Special Services. “This luncheon is to thank you for everything that you do for all of our students and our organization.”

    Susan Luria, who teaches SWBOCES students at Farragut Middle School in Hastings-on-Hudson, nominated school nurses Joanne Cipollina and Sally Ann Cullen for an award.

    “They really get what it means to provide therapeutic care and support for our kids, whether they’re coming in with an imaginary illness, they just don’t feel well or they need a soft place to land,” Ms. Luria said. “They’re always so welcoming and kind to our students.”

    The nurses said they were thrilled to receive the award. “It makes us feel so good that what we do is being honored,” Ms. Cipollina said.

    Ms. Cullen said it’s a pleasure serving SWBOCES students. “They really do bring a smile to our faces. They’re very honest,” she said. “It’s just touching to get this award.”

    Culinary students at the Center for Career Services Campus in Valhalla cooked and served the luncheon at the event. It consisted of caprese salad, chicken Milanese, haricots verts and rosemary roasted potatoes. Dessert was a duo of banana Nutella and lemon blueberry crepes.

    One of the awards Tappan Hill Principal Phyllis Rizzi presented was to Bob Pirillo, a bus driver with the Scarsdale Bus Co. who drives one of the students to and from the Tarrytown school.

    “He’s always very interested in the children. He’s very patient and kind,” Ms. Rizzi said. “Recently when one of the students experienced a seizure, he went above and beyond, making sure the student immediately got nursing care.”

    The student’s teacher, Rachael Lynch, said in nominating Mr. Pirillo that he notified the student’s mother of the situation and waited at the school until the nurse cleared the boy.  

    Mr. Pirillo said he was happy to receive the award. He spoke highly of Tappan Hill teachers and staff members and said he has never seen anyone get flustered. “People over there deserve so much credit. It’s a wonderful place over there,” he said.

    Ms. Rizzi and Tappan Hill teacher Errol Rivera presented an award to Matthew Faulkner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health. He has been a friend to SWBOCES for many years and has helped families navigate a difficult bureaucracy.

    “With his kindness, his warmth and professionalism, we’re really lucky that he has helped so many,” Ms. Rizzi said.

    Mr. Faulkner said it was an honor to receive the award and to help families. “It’s a privilege, and so many of them are so thankful,” he said.

    Tappan Hill School also nominated Maureen Barnett, principal, and Ryan O’Rourke, physical education teacher, at John Paulding Elementary School in Tarrytown. Ms. Barnett agreed to let Tappan Hill School gym teacher Joe Racioppo co-teach a gym class with Mr. O’Rourke once a week.

    Coach Racioppo said the teacher is very warm and has created unique opportunities for students to succeed with each activity and foster new friendships. 

    “It did take off quickly, and his lesson plans were precise for our kids,” the coach said. “He treated them as equals, and that, to me, is the most important thing.”

    Abe Cohen and Jake Hartstein, supervisors at the Grove at Valhalla assisted-living facility, were nominated by Audrey Mangan, a principal/supervisor for Special Services students at the Center for Career Services Campus, and work-based learning coordinator Evangelo Michas.

    The Grove is “a fantastic facility with a wide array of work-based learning experiences for our students,” Ms. Mangan said. The students work the kitchen and perform maintenance and administrative tasks. The alliance began in February and has been a success, said Mr. Cohen, who has since been promoted to administrator of another CareRite Centers facility.

    “Both supervisors have been kind, generous and accepting, especially to our students with disabilities, creating an environment of respect and acceptance and enabling our students to excel,” Mr. Michas and Ms. Mangan wrote in nominating the supervisors.

    Felix Castillo, owner of the Mamaroneck Food Market in White Plains, was honored for hosting students from SWBOCES’ vocational training program. Mr. Castillo and his employees have been friendly, helpful and accepting, Dennis Hawkins, teacher assistant at St. Matthew’s, wrote in his nomination of Mr. Castillo.

    “It is thanks to Mr. Castillo and other business owners like him in our community that our students gain a richer education, which leads to feelings of happiness and contentment in their lives.”

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Students at Rye Lake Campus Decagon Learn Skills for Future Employment

    Liam Cadigan consults a yellow piece of paper with laminated pictures of a napkin, a fork and a spoon attached to it with Velcro, along with a plastic knife in one of the spots. The 21-year-old periodically taps the paper with a finger as he adds all three pieces of cutlery and a napkin to each baggie and places it in a bin. Then he reaches for the next baggie, smiling all the while.

    Nearby, 21-year-old Tyler Johnson sprays cleaning fluid onto a laminated placemat and wipes it with a rag as the teacher who is training him counts out five seconds. He puts the placemat in a clear bin and reaches for the next one to repeat the task.

    The two young men are learning skills for future employment as they prepare the table settings for their classroom’s lunch period at Southern Westchester BOCES’ Rye Lake Campus. They are in the AIIM program (Applied Intensive Intervention Model) at the Decagon for students with autism spectrum disorders.

    “We have them do a lot of jobs here so that they can gain experience to do a job in the community,” said Allison Emig, Decagon principal at Rye Lake. The work-based learning activities are tailored to each student’s abilities.

    Lucas Socoto, 14, of Peekskill is in charge of paper shredding. Each day, he collects yellow bins that administrators and teachers fill up with sensitive documents that need to be shredded. He walks to the copy room on the second floor of the main building, escorted by teacher aides, and feeds it piece by piece into the shredder.

    “Good job, Lucas. Good job,” teacher assistant Kevin Cooper tells him as the student patiently makes his way through the pile of paper. “One sheet at a time,” he advises Lucas.

    When Lucas is finished, he takes a plastic bag full of shredded paper to the dumpster. Before he walks outside to discard it, he makes a pit stop in the office of Lisa Schuchman, director of special services. He picks out a small can of soda from the refrigerator, a reward for a job well done.

    “He likes to work for soda,” Ms. Schuchman said. “That’s his payment and reinforcement.”

    Lucas has made vast improvements since joining the program at Rye Lake in the fall. He had some behavioral issues that were getting in the way of his progress, Ms. Schuchman said. “He is very bright and is exceeding the expectations of teachers and administrators.”

    The goal is for Lucas eventually to transfer to the Therapeutic Support Program for Developmentally Delayed students at St. Matthew’s in White Plains. Students at St. Matt’s work off campus to gain vocational training.

    What Lucas and his peers have learned at Rye Lake will help them when they enter the adult world, Ms. Schuchman said. “They will be able to take these skills and transfer them into whatever the future holds for them.”

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Must-see video: Nursing students hold fundraiser for Special Services kids

    At Southern Westchester BOCES, we are many centers, but one family with a shared mission.

    [Watch the video here.]

    That unity was on display recently when students in our Practical Nursing Program, part of our Center for Adult and Community Services, held a bake sale fundraiser at our Harrison training center.  They raised several hundred dollars that they will donate to students at Tappan Hill School, home to many of our Special Services programs, in Tarrytown.

    The students, led by Keisha Shaw of the Bronx,  also solicited businesses to make toy donations. They plan to hold a party for students at Tappan Hill next month and present the donations and toys.

    We thank these future nurses for their service! 

    Southern Westchester BOCES
  • Lots of Cool Cars on Display at Annual Car Show

    There were cars, cars and more cars at the annual car show May 21. Read more about the fun event here

    News Feed - Center for Career Services
  • Special Services Students Participate in Pocantico Hills School Food Drive

    Students in the Southern Westchester BOCES Program at Pocantico Hills enthusiastically participated in the Student Council Government’s Spring Food Drive.

    The children collected many different kinds of food and toiletry items over several weeks and donated them to local families in need. The school as a whole collected more than 1,500 items.

    “It was amazing to see the generosity of the students and parents and the pride students took in being able to help others,” said Jessica Walker, principal of the SWBOCES program at Pocantico Hills School.

    As a surprise, the Pocantico Hills PTA rewarded students for their efforts with a special ice cream party in the cafeteria. Children said this made the experience even sweeter.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Tappan Hill Students Learn About Colors, Patterns, Numbers through Floral Arranging

    Tappan Hill teacher Erroll Rivera was in the Christmas Tree Shops one day when he noticed the artificial flowers and had an idea. He would buy some and create the Tappan Hill Flower Shop in his classroom.

    One afternoon in May, students spent a few minutes at their Flower Shop, choosing from forsythia, morning glory, daffodils, tulips and other artificial flowers to make their arrangements. They had a Flowergram order for teacher Adriane Lomupo, who was celebrating a birthday. Jesus, a student, gathered some pink and purple lilies, daffodils and pink wildflowers, and arranged them in a miniature watering can vase with a frog painted on it. He and classmate Steven delivered it to Ms. Lomupo’s class.

    “Are you guys kidding me? Aww!” she said when they presented her with flowers. “You guys are great.”

    Everybody sang happy birthday to Ms. Lomupo and ate cookie cake and ice cream in celebration.

    “So everybody has heard of Instagram?” Mr. Rivera said. “This is Flowergram.”

    In class, Mr. Rivera has been teaching students the anatomy of a flower and does research on every flower that they use.

    In addition to the Flowergrams, Mr. Rivera’s students design arrangements that are featured on a small table in the lobby for a week at a time. Some students are able to do the work on their own, while others need assistance.

    Christopher, another student in the class, chose White Lion daffodils, white lilacs, red tulips and pink roses to display in the school lobby for the week. He sat it on the table in the lobby, and Mr. Rivera put out a sign that credited Christopher with the floral design.

    “We get lots of compliments on our arrangements in the lobby,” Mr. Rivera said.

    Tappan Hill Principal Phyllis Rizzi gave the students some bud vases so she and others could keep flowers in their offices. “We’re very proud of all our students’ flower projects,” she said.

    The class will be working with some real flowers too. Students are growing sunflowers in a tank by the window, which they will plant outside when they are bigger.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • BOCES Teachers Assoc. donation will help send careers students to SkillsUSA

    The BOCES Teachers Association raised $800 to benefit Career & Technical Education students attending the SkillsUSA competition. A ceremonial check was presented Wednesday night by BTA President Melissa Barreto to Board of Education President Catherine Draper.

    "Most important, we wanted to demonstrate our dedication to our students by giving back," Barreto said of the fundraising effort.

    Teacher Ray Sulla said the money was needed to help buy equipment and to pay to send kids to SkillsUSA who otherwise could not afford to attend. "This money really came in handy for us," Sulla said.

    Pictured, from left, are CTE students Robert DiFeo, Gabriel Hernandez, Draper, Barreto, Sulla and Social Worker Eileen Yip.

    Southern Westchester BOCES
  • SWBOCES Student at Pocantico Recognized for Perfect Behavior

    Joshua Munoz, a second-grader in Erin Despoelberch's class in the BOCES Therapeutic program at Pocantico Hills, has been recognized 13 times for 100 percent perfect behavior in accordance with the school's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program.  May 12 marked the 14th consecutive week that he earned all of his stars! His perfect streak began on Jan. 23. 

    Josh has consistently followed all the rules in his classroom and school community. He has shown a huge improvement in his ability to manage his emotions and to effectively use coping skills when needed to deal with stressors.

    As a result of earning all of his stars each week, he has earned a certificate from the Principal Jessica Walker and tangible weekly rewards such as homework passes, extra free time, special lunches, prizes and even participation in a special field trip to the planetarium at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers.

    Josh's teacher, Ms. Despoelberch, said she is amazed at his progress. "Joshua Munoz is one of our great success stories here at SWBOCES.  Throughout his journey at Pocantico Hills, he has achieved great success, both academically and behaviorally,” she said. “Josh is an exemplary student who leads by our school mission:  be respectable, be responsible, be safe. 

    “As his teacher, I am so proud to be a part of Joshua's amazing accomplishment. Keep It up Josh!” she added.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • SWBOCES Student at Pocantico Takes the Lead in Planning Education

    Michael Espinoza, a fifth-grader in the SWBOCES program at Pocantico Hills, took part in the Student Directed IEP (Individualized Education Program) process coordinated by Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.

    Karen Walker, Michael’s teacher, and Yolette Levy, his counselor, attended training to help guide him through the process. Michael developed a PowerPoint presentation to describe the progress he has made and express his goals for next year. He was able to share his presentation at his recent annual review meeting and take an active part in planning his educational program for next year.

    Ms. Levy said it was wonderful to see Michael empowered to express his needs and to have his voice be heard as part of the decision-making process.

    Michael shared his project at the Student Directed IEP celebration at PNW BOCES on May 12. “I felt nervous about speaking in front of people, but I was proud to show that I am capable of planning for myself,” he said.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Representatives of the State's Regional Information Centers Gather in Harrison

    Several representatives from regional information centers across the state came together May 4th at the LHRIC's offices in Harrison to discuss project results and plan for the upcoming school year. 

    News Feed - Lower Hudson Regional Information Center
  • Farragut Student Gets Special Delivery after Asking for Supplies to Make Model Cars

    Stephen Tibbetts, Southern Westchester BOCES’ assistant superintendent for business and administrative services, loves to see BOCES programs in action.

    He recently visited Nathaniel Ayewah’s Bridge class at Farragut Middle School in Hastings after the student emailed Mr. Tibbetts to advocate for supplies he needed.

    You see, Nathaniel has a passion for constructing 3D models of classic automobiles. He uses a host of materials, including cardboard, tape and photocopies of images. He regularly asks his teachers at Farragut Middle School for these supplies.

    One of his teachers suggested that Nathaniel reach out to Mr. Tibbetts to ask for help. To his delight, not only did he get a response, but Mr. Tibbetts visited the school in person to find out from Nathaniel exactly what supplies he needed.

    A few weeks later, Mr. Tibbetts hand-delivered photocopies Nathaniel uses for his projects. The photocopies are printouts from a website he told the assistant superintendent about. It has car exteriors that he cuts out and tapes to the models.

    In return, Nathaniel presented Mr. Tibbetts with a one-of-a-kind model car as a thank you. The assistant superintendent has the car on display in his SWBOCES office.

    “I like the detail of the car, especially the seats,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “It is similar to a prototype that car manufacturers might use.”

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • St. Matthew’s Students Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Nachos

    St. Matthew’s was a hive of activity in the lead-up to Cinco de Mayo as students planned how they would celebrate the holiday and shopped for a feast.

    All of the classes were involved in planning activities to commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over France in 1862. The students decided that they wanted to eat nachos. As a group, they made a list of the ingredients they needed. In one class, they reviewed a supermarket circular to see if any of the ingredients were on sale.

    The students went shopping to purchase their items. All the students in the four morning classes prepared the food for Cinco de Mayo. They cut the lettuce and tomatoes and grated the cheese. They cooked the meat and seasoned it with taco spices.

    During lunch periods on Cinco de Mayo, students chose from chips, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, meat, cheese and prepared their own plates.

    Each student emptied the meal and declared that the home-made nachos were the best they had ever eaten.

    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Rye Lake, Irvington Students Learn about Co-Occurring Disorders

    Stephanie Marquesano’s son, Harris, was a good kid with “a twinkle in his eye and a smile that would light up the room.” But he struggled with anxiety from a very young age and was diagnosed with ADHD in eighth grade.

    He smoked marijuana for the first time that year and his behavior became out of control, but everything improved when he switched mental-health providers the following year and went on medication for ADHD. However, the stress and pressure that 11th grade brought with it, including SATs and college planning, increased his anxiety.

    “He went to a party and took pills for the first time. That is pretty much where we can say ‘Game over,’” his mother recently told students at Southern Westchester BOCES’ Rye Lake Campus.

    Harris went to multiple inpatient and outpatient drug rehabilitation programs, but they didn’t treat his underlying mental-health issues. He was 19 when he died of a drug overdose in 2013.

    Since then, the Ardsley mom has campaigned to raise awareness of co-occurring disorders – substance-use and mental-health disorders. She tells her family’s story not to scare people or make them feel sorry for her, but to effect change in how CODs are treated. Most of all, she seeks to educate young people about what has become a pervasive problem in their generation, and to inspire them to take action.

    “I could spend my time talking to parents and community leaders, and that’s all well and good,” said Ms. Marquesano, who created the Harris Project in her son’s name. “But my mission is to talk to young people about this so that this can be your movement and you can keep yourselves, your friends, your family members from dying.”

    The nonprofit partnered with Student Assistance Services in Westchester to pilot a school campaign called CODA, which stands for Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness. About 15 schools in the region have started CODA clubs, including chapters in New Rochelle, Hendrick Hudson, John Jay High School and Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Fox Meadow High School. The Harris Project has worked with Southern Westchester BOCES and Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in introducing CODA to schools.

    Ms. Marquesano, who also gave the presentation to SWBOCES students at Irvington High School, said it is important that students know how to get involved. “Young people are making a commitment because they want to understand this better and they want it to not just be a club of kids who are at risk who cling together. They want everybody to get the message,” she said.

    CODs are “shrouded in shame and secrecy,” Ms. Marquesano said. If children are using substances, families more than likely will tell people that they are good kids who just started hanging out with the wrong people. If you start talking about mental health, parents may think the community is judging them and wondering who in the family is crazy.

    “It won’t be until we start changing that conversation that change is going to happen and it’s going to start with you,” she said. “Talking about this ends the cycle of being ashamed and denying the problem. Everybody’s got something.”

    Leslie, a Rye Lake Middle School eighth-grader, said she thinks organizing a CODA club at Rye Lake would be helpful for students. “A lot of kids here are going through their own stuff,” she said.

    Angelina, a sophomore at Rye Lake High School, said she can relate to what Ms. Marquesano talked about. “I went down the same kind of down-the-hill thing as her son,” she said.

    More than nine million Americans meet the clinical diagnosis for co-occurring disorders, and 70 percent of people who misuse substances have a co-occurring mental-health challenge or disorder, according to Ms. Marquesano. Twenty-two percent of youth between 13 and 18 have a diagnosable mental addictive disorder with severe impact in any given year.

    Few drug-rehabilitation programs in the country also treat CODs, she said. Those that do provide this kind of care develop a treatment plan depending on what their patients’ struggles are. “Kids are going to rehab four, five, six times and they’re like, ‘Why aren’t they getting it right?’ Because this isn’t happening,” she said of the programs that treat both drug-abuse and mental-health disorders.

    Responding to a question during her presentation, Ms. Marquesano said she finds that some students don’t want to take medication they are prescribed, but they “have no problem dabbling in substances.

    “It’s kind of hypocritical to play around with stuff where you don’t know what’s going to happen versus doing something that may give you a better quality of life,” she said, adding that it’s important to build a relationship with professionals and trust that the people around you have your best interests at heart.


    CODA – Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness – Campaign Goals:

    • Talk about the relationship between mental health/wellness and substance misuse
    • Educate school communities about co-occurring disorders through presentations, guest speakers and panels
    • Offer youth mental health first-aid training
    • Partner with other organizations and clubs
    • Advocate for change through meetings with legislators
    • Participate in CODA leadership summits.
    News Feed - Center for Special Services
  • Region's Outstanding Educators Honored with TELL Awards

    The LHRIC held its annual awards ceremony May 12 at the Edith Macy Conference Center to recognize the region's most outstanding educators/administrators. Read more here

    News Feed - LHRIC Instructional Technology
  • Careers Central is out! Read it now, and subscribe!

    The May edition of the monthly Careers Central e-newsletter details amazing student programs, events and achievements from our Valhalla CTE campus. Subscribe now at http://bit.ly/CareersCentral!

    News Feed - Center for Career Services

Dignity Act Coordinators for Southern Westchester BOCES