TD Charitable Foundation – TD Charitable Foundation has awarded WEC a $1000 grant to send its two Crisis Intervention Team co-leaders to a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention System Update - Designer Refresher Training. After completing the 5-day training, they will then train the rest of WEC's staff in crisis intervention techniques, which will help all staff better prevent or de-escalate potential student crisis situations and better handle the volatile situations in a therapeutic manner, and if necessary, intervene physically in a manner that reduces the risk of harm to children and staff.
Thomas & Agnes Carvel Foundation (Carvel), Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) and Officee Depot – This past year, Carvel awarded $15,000, RMHC awarded $5,000, UWWP awarded $1,200 and Office Depot awarded $2,000 in support of WECS’ Life Skills Program. The program, which takes place in the school’s mock apartment, teaches students home skills (e.g. cooking, baking, cleaning, making beds, doing laundry, shopping, grooming) necessary for everyday functioning and/or successful placement in an integrated community living environment. Successful community living experiences often influence the success an individual with learning disabilities has with other facets of their lives including interpersonal relationships, employability, etc. In the past, Carvel has awarded $10,000 and RMHC has awarded $5,000 in support of this program.
Hope for Youth Foundation – A long-time supporter of WECS, this year Hope for Youth Foundation has provided us with a $4000 grant that will enable us to purchase 8 laptop computers that will be used by teachers to track student progress. With behavioral charts that can be downloaded to laptops and can travel with the instructor as they observe a student, the instructor can note immediately when negative behaviors occur, record as much information about the behavior of concern during his/her observations, and can note the consequences of these behaviors (e.g., loss of self-control, extreme quietness). By acquiring this information through direct observation and making immediate notations, staff can be more effective in creating programs that shape positive behaviors in students with special needs. With their $3000 gift last year, now every classroom has a laptop.
People’s United Community Foundation (People’s) and Allison Keller Foundation (Keller) – This past year, People’s awarded $2,500 and Keller awarded $9,000 in support of WECS’ iPad initiative. The grants, in addition to previous grants from People’s ($3,000), Keller ($6,000), Carvel ($10,000) and RMHC ($5,000) enabled WEC to purchase 80 iPads (one for every student in the school) and software especially designed for children with learning disabilities. With the iPad’s easy-to-use design, it has become a desired tool for the special needs community, providing opportunities to improve student engagement and facilitate the learning process so they can achieve their academic potential. This new technology, that offers a variety of multisensory features and customized apps, can have a unique benefit for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, communication disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, and medically fragile children. In addition to a core set of academic applications related to early reading, writing, mathematics, social language, articulation and fine motor skills, there are also some newly designed augmentative communications applications that were developed especially for non-verbal students. Since the ipad has a touch screen, children with autism who tend to have coordination issues using a computer mouse, respond much quicker to the touch screen, and therefore, become more motivated to learn and less inclined to episodes of frustration.
Explore Award – WECS was awarded $860 by the Teaching the Hudson Valley organization to take the children on a field trip to Teatown Lake Reservation to learn about nature.
– Arts Westchester awarded WECS a $2000 artist-in-residency who taught a number of children drumming, which was very therapeutic.