Principal's Message

Dear Parents/Guardians/Care Providers:

 

As we are about to conclude the REACH Academy’s sixth school year at our West Harrison location I find myself reflecting on our accomplishments. When I arrived as the new Principal we were still using a small inadequate building on the Residential campus. There was discussion of many options to improve the school building. In the end, moving to a community school became the obvious option. We had always served a small number of Day students in addition to the full complement of students who live residentially. But with the new school building we were able to expand to serve a more balanced population. This change expanded our student body’s diversity and brought in many more involved parents which ultimately leads to a much healthier school community. We are now very proud of the fact that students can move seamlessly from Residential to Day or Day to Residential based on their needs without any academic disruption. Six years ago, it seemed impossible to use all the space in the building; now we are a full capacity and quite honestly we have to turn away appropriate candidates simply because we don’t have the room to serve them.

 

In spite of our growth, REACH remains a place of acceptance, friendliness and safety. The majority of our students feel a great sense of safety which allows them to test their limits, take risks and ultimately develop strong life and academic skills. We have expanded our team of PBIS coaches and they have really infused PBIS into all of our operation. I have vivid memories of the REACH staff back in the little school developing our behavioral matrix. We had tons of poster paper tapes all over the walls. This led to the REACH expectations:

Respect

Effort

Act Safely

Community Membership

Healthy Living

Our walls and school events are packed with affirmations and visual reminders of expectations. Many staff members have championed various school events which have really enhanced our school program. Most recently, a few staff came together and planned a beautiful Women’s History Celebration. This event was both enjoyable and educational. The students were really engaged, I am quite confident that this event will be an ongoing part of our school calendar along with our Holiday Family Dinner, Black History Celebration, Autism Awareness Celebration, Arts Festival and Spring Semi-formal. Although small, the REACH Academy is offering a rich collection of meaningful school activities.

 

Our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) continues to work hard to improve our school community. These dedicated parents and staff are working actively to fund raise. The PTO is beginning to be able to support school events like our Winter Dance and supporting other activities. They are currently helping to supply our under development sensory room! They also sponsor very informative presenters for each of the scheduled PTO meetings. Our annual big fundraiser will be held at the school building, June 2nd, 3rd and 4th. We run a large raffle as a part of the annual Festa run by our landlord. This event draws thousands of people. We will be raffling off a number of items either obtained or donated by our staff and families. There is great potential for us to fundraise a large amount of money all of which will be used to enhance our extra-curricular, therapeutic and life skills programs. Please consider joining our PTO and volunteering at this annual fundraiser. The PTO application is available on the website. They

really are working to improve the school community by enhancing our students’ access to traditional high school experiences. Should you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please contact me at 914-686-8159 ext. 1002 or at ppizzutello@gncufsd.org. Together we will continue to ensure that all of our students have bright futures.

 

Sincerely,

Paul M. Pizzutello