Tappan Hill welcomed dozens of parents and guardians at its Open House Oct. 3 to visit classrooms, meet with teachers and other staff, and learn about innovative programs at the Southern Westchester BOCES school.
“We’re looking forward to a wonderful year. We’re very excited,” Principal Phyllis Rizzi said. “Don’t forget to look out the windows to see our new playground.”
Ms. Rizzi explained Tappan Hill’s new vocational program, called Essentials for Work. Middle and high school students can participate in several activities, including creating and delivering bouquets for the Silk Flower Program; learning to do laundry independently in the Laundry Program; and perfecting skills like shredding paper and stuffing envelopes in the Office Program.
Tappan Hill also collaborates with the RISE Program – Readiness thru Integrated Service Engagement – of Volunteer New York! Supervised adults visit each week to mentor students and help them learn work skills.
Ms. Rizzi and SEPTA President Anne Marie Cellante encouraged parents and guardians to join the group. People who attended the recent Welcome Back Coffee “got a chance to connect, see that they weren’t alone, learn from each other and see what resources are out there,” Ms. Cellante said.
SEPTA will host a holiday party in December, as well as workshops this spring on life transitions for students with special needs and mental health.
Joining SEPTA gives families an opportunity to have a voice in their district, Principal Rizzi said. “Whether you’re here short-term or long-term, it does give you access to other families, and parent-to-parent support is important,” she said.
Some of the activities parents saw in their children’s classes were students signing in on SMART Board; holding small American flags as they recited the Pledge of Allegiance; and choosing between two foam numbers, depending on what number the teacher recited.
In one classroom, a student proudly showed his mother his schedule and his token board. He earns tokens for academic and behavioral achievements and likes to cash them in for extra time on an iPad.
After the classroom visits, families gathered in the gym to enjoy refreshments and see a demonstration of the school’s new Lü - Interactive Playground, a system that projects activities and lessons onto the wall in the gym. A 3-D camera that is part of the technology turns the projection into a touchscreen. The games children play help with their physical fitness, academic success and social interaction.