The New York Institute For Special Education

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Development: Student Activities » Student Wellness Works Program

Student Wellness Works Program

Student Wellness Works is a natural expansion of our Expanded Core Curriculum and serves middle and high school students in our Schermerhorn Program.
Current program activities include a residency program with the Greenburgh Nature Center, interactive workshops, assemblies, field trips, and social-emotional learning opportunities. These efforts aim to support students understanding of how to relate to others socially and emotionally, build their self-esteem and independence, and engage their capacity for learning outside of the classroom. 

Greenburgh Nature Center (March - June 2023) 

Building on our longstanding partnership with the Greenburgh Nature Center, onsite programming expanded during the spring of 2023 to include gardening classes for our middle and high school students. These 45-minute sessions focused on native plants and exploring the life sciences. Program highlights included purchasing and installing a hydroponic system for students to grow and harvest strawberries. Additional activities included planting seeds, seedlings, and native plants in our greenhouse, vegetable and sensory gardens and meeting the occasional animal or two.

Learn more here:


Entropy Dance Company (February - April 2023)

Helping our students learn about dance as an art form, Artistic Director and dancer/choreographer Valerie Green taught creative movement classes to some of our middle and high school students. These classes spanned eight weeks exploring different dance styles and techniques. Students practiced and strengthened their locomotor and motor skills through these classes while having fun and building their self-esteem.

Learn more by following this link:


Mindfulness in Motion: Celebrating World Cultures (February - March 2023)
Owners Beth and Scott met with students to provide them with movement-based classes featuring improvised and choreographed dances, games and simple yoga poses. Focused on helping students develop a mind-body connection, reduce stress and make safer, healthier decisions, a key take-away from each class was how to use the STOP technique: Stop, Take three breaths, Observe, Proceed/Pick. 

Learn more by following this link:

Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation (February 2023) 
Artists from the Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation led four classes for our middle and high school students focusing on proper technique and posture for playing the Djembe. Through this process students gained an understanding of the culture, purpose, and principles of the Djembe, and were able to identify rhythms, rudiments, and three basic sounds of the Djembe. They also learned about the importance of empathy towards other cultures and how to use drumming to promote their self-esteem, cope with anxiety, and have fun.

Harlem MagicMasters 

Athletes from the Harlem MagicMasters presented an assembly for students designed to educate, stimulate, and motivate them and provide opportunities for them to practice strong interpersonal communication skills. Using a combination of dazzling basketball techniques, this assembly was delightful and fun for all involved. 

Learn more by following this link:

NYISE Alumni returned to speak about their path following graduation and professional career(s) thus far. These presentations take place over Zoom and continue to be insightful to our high schoolers in helping them prepare for the tradition to college. Topics covered included picking a college, asking for accommodations, how to choose a major, and the importance of creating a supportive community to help throughout the process.
This year's speakers included: 

Rosalind Wright 
Graduating class of 1983 
Vocational Assistant, NYISE
Venessa Luna 
Graduating class of 2015
Catholic Charities
Pursuing her graduate degree in Social Work.
Charlene Wright 
Graduating class of 1983 
Owner Nell's Kitchen (food truck/catering) &  Exotic Eatz (Catering)
Christine Bharosi
Graduating class of 2015 
Currently exploring career opportunities. 
Fordham University, Master's Degree, Cyber Security.
Sarai Ramirez
Graduating class of 2017
Intern, Tomkins Square Middle School.
Fordham University School of School Counseling 
Michael Dinoski
Graduating class of  2012. 
Administrative Coordinator, New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Alvin Suarez
Daniel Ramirez
Allison Hannigan
Thank you to our presenters, who provided students with helpful and insightful information on transitioning to college and the professional world.
We asked speakers to share one thing that they hoped students took away from their presentations. Their answers are below:
"I hope that the students realize there are so many more opportunities beyond the world they currently know and that they will have plenty of support from their community to take advantage of those new opportunities."

"What you do today will impact you tomorrow. Do your best to make good choices, and don't give up when things get hard."

"That they'll get where they're going, even if they don't know where that is yet.
The importance of self-advocating and how you need to ask for the things you need to help you be successful."

"I hope the students learn to keep an open mind and don't give up. Life will through curve balls at you, and you'll fall down sometimes, but the most important thing is that you get back up."
To learn more about how we help students explore possible careers, visit our Students: Personal & Professional Development webpage.
New York Botanic Garden
The New York Botanic Garden is less than 1 mile from our campus, and easily accessible for students and teachers to visit. While on field trips to explore the garden, students can participate in a variety of activities, including learning about different biomes as part of the high school science curriculum. Additionally, the Garden's orchid show is a favorite featuring bright, bold and often high contrasting colors and patterns.
In addition to activities on-campus, we encourage students to explore virtual and in-person activities during afterschool hours, including those at the museums and cultural institutions listed below:
American Museum of Natural History
Bronx Museum of Arts
Liberty Science Center
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of the Moving Image
New Victory Theater
Student Wellness Works is made possible through a generous grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
Named after a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation funds programs and initiatives across New York State that either provide direct healthcare services or address the social determinants of health.
For more information, visit
Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Logo