Southern Westchester BOCES Special Education Leader Joins Action Day Panel On Creating Safe, Supporting Learning Environments


Sleepy Hollow, NY – Dr. Alexandria Connally, Assistant Director of Special Services at Southern
Westchester BOCES took part in a panel discussion on working together to create safe and supportive
learning environments. This event was held at Sleepy Hollow High School in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

The discussion came as part of the Westchester-East Putnam Region PTA’s Advocacy Action Day on Saturday, March 9th, at Sleepy Hollow High School.

Dr. Connally emphasized that creating a welcoming and affirming learning environment begins with
thoughtful communication with faculty members, parents, and students. Additionally, she discussed the
difference between culturally responsive curriculum and culturally responsive pedagogy. She
transitioned into sharing the importance of the NYSED CR-S Framework and its connection to the work
done in schools. She also spoke about the importance of community involvement and advocacy.
She acknowledged the important work that Southern Westchester BOCES is doing through its Special
Education PTA. 

Also present on the panel were: Assistant District Attorney Laura Forbes, Cyber Crimes Bureau
Chief and Internet Safety Coordinator with the Office of the Westchester County District Attorney;
Megan McGuire of the Be Smart for Kids gun safety campaign of Moms Demand Action of Rockland
County; and Pocantico Hills Central School Superintendent Richard Calkins.

The panel discussed several important issues for families and students in creating positive and safe
learning environments for all.

In the audience representing SWBOCES SEPTA were Principal Phyllis Rizzi and parents from various New
York school districts.

The Westchester East Putnam PTA Region Director is Mary McNamara.

Westchester East Putnam Region PTS is a geographical division of the New York State PTA, representing over 32,000 members. It is known as WEPR PTA.

Members include parents, teachers, students, school board members, administrators, and others
interested in working for the well-being of children and youth, through parent education and child

Westchester East Putnam Region PTA services over 181 units and 13 councils and is committed to
uniting the home, school, and community in promoting the education, health, and welfare of children,
youth and families.


* Organizes and provides assistance to councils and units. Plans and conducts conferences,
workshops, and schools of instruction for units and councils.
* Lobbies on PTA issues.
* Interprets PTA policies and programs.

PTA Mission & Purpose

Overview of PTA
“Parent-Teacher Association” and “PTA” are registered service marks of the National Congress of
Parents and Teachers (National PTA). The term “PTA” is only permissible for organizations that have received a charter from the New York State PTA. Any other use constitutes trademark infringement.

A local PTA is a constituted organization organized under the authority of the New York State Congress of
Parents and Teachers, Inc. (the New York State PTA), a branch of the National Congress of Parents and
Teachers, Inc. (the New York State PTA), a branch of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (the
National PTA)

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.


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