On a picture perfect day, New York State Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer (90th District – Yonkers) and education advocate, visited the Orchard School, a blue ribbon award-winning special education school for grades K to 9 on the ANDRUS campus. Her April 30th mission was to become better acquainted with ANDRUS’ approaches, including the agency’s innovative sensory therapy programs, learn about the issues it faces and to offer her support.
“It is important for me to have opportunities to see the good work happening in the schools educating our most disabled students,” shared Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer. She continued, “Not only do we see the value of our investments in the schools, but we also see how important it is to support these schools and their students.”
While addressing a class of students preparing for the math Regents about her work, Ms. Mayer was peppered with questions ranging from tax dollars to college education. She answered each question clearly and helpfully.
Shown from left: Teacher Barbara Chisolm, NYS Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer and Teaching Assistant Kaheem Davis
Afterwards the assemblywoman acknowledged to Orchard School Principal Dr. Raymond Effinger (on left) and ANDRUS CEO and President Bryan R. Murphy (on right) how impressed she was at the level of insightful questioning. “It’s the type of exchange and engagement that I’m always seeking.”
As she walked into one of the school’s sensory rooms, Ms. Mayer was met with an environment filled with action –one youth jumping from a trampoline onto a thick floor pad, another rhythmically swinging on cushioned rope and a third gently playing toss with a staff member.
Occupational Therapist Ifeanyi Matthews (holding ball on left) and Siobhan Masterson (shown in group photo), Director of Campus Programs, explained how the sensory rooms support the children’s efforts to gain skills in adapting their behaviors and channeling their emotions and responses in a productive way.
Before Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer departed, she was surprised with an official ANDRUS-logoed fleece jacket presented by Orchard School students 9th grader William Lucien (shown with sunglasses) and 7th grader Keith Sylvan (in orange top). “Now you are one of us,” they proudly proclaimed.
Shown from left: Orchard School Principal Dr. Raymond Effinger, student William Lucien Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, student Keith Sylvan and Campus Director Siobhan Masterson