First Day of School
Mt. Pleasant Blythedale UFSD Welcomes Back Students
The pencils were sharpened, the backpacks were filled and the classrooms were spotless. It was the first day of school for students at Mt. Pleasant Blythedale Union Free School District (UFSD) on Tuesday, September 5th. These students, in pre-K through 12th grade, are not only coming to learn but to also receive intensive therapies and comprehensive medical services as inpatients or Day Hospital patients at Blythedale Children’s Hospital.
Initially created in 1971 by the New York State Legislature as a Special Act School District to educate a hospital population, the district has evolved dramatically over the past 46 years, particularly the partnership between the school and the Hospital. “Together we are able to provide typical education experiences for students, provide them with meaningful learning opportunities and then help students, who are ready to no longer be patients of the Hospital, transition back to their community and schools," said Dr. Emily Hersh, Superintendent of the Mt. Pleasant Blythedale Union Free School District. “In partnership with the Hospital, we provide an integrated approach to rehabilitation. We provide the educational component and they provide the medical component.”
As more than 140 students were dropped off by parents, bus and ambulette or escorted from Blythedale---each child was welcomed by staff, faculty and administrators with a smile and enthusiasm for the new school year.
Gaby Mileti dropped off her son, Joe, for the tenth-straight year at the Mount Pleasant Blythedale School. "Meeting new friends, getting back into the routine and learning new subjects... it’s all good," she said. “He loves it here. This is his second home.”
One new student was getting acquainted with her third-grade classroom. Emily Klein was recently discharged from the Traumatic Brain Injury Unit at Blythedale Children’s Hospital after making a remarkable recovery following a serious accident. She sat beside her new classmates and listened attentively to the teacher. “This is really fun," she said. "I like the people here and I’m making new friends. I’m looking forward to my favorite subject, reading.”
Amid the first day excitement, Mt. Pleasant Blythedale School had some additional guests. Reporters and cameramen from News 12 Westchester and Fios1 NEWS were on site, interviewing students, parents and Dr. Hersh. Both outlets plan to air to multiple broadcasts throughout the day.
As New York’s only freestanding, specialty children’s hospital, Blythedale is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of children with medical complexity, through superb multi-disciplinary patient care, teaching, research, and advocacy programs. Blythedale’s board-certified physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff (social workers, respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists, Child Life specialists, etc.) and New York State’s largest hospital-based pediatric therapy department work together to provide intensive and innovative multi-disciplinary clinical and therapeutic care to help children achieve their medical and rehabilitative goals for independent living, and return to their communities. Blythedale is also the only Hospital in New York State with its own, on-site public school district.
For more information about Blythedale Children’s Hospital, visit www.blythedale.org.