2013 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Nassau BOCES Rosemary Kennedy School PTA

Nassau BOCES Rosemary Kennedy School PTA

Laura A. Triandafilos, President

The Nassau BOCES Rosemary Kennedy School (RKS) is a special education center that serves students ages nine through 21 with moderate to profound developmental disabilities. A key resource to educating this unique population is the school's committed and industrious Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The RKS PTA has a long history of outstanding support for the center's programs and initiatives. It is a model for collaboration between home and school, in which parents and teachers work closely with one another to enhance the RKS educational experience.

The PTA's largest and most tangible contribution is through the myriad of fundraisers they run year round. While some have high-profile results, such as the annual Chinese Auction that has netted as much as $20,000, there are countless others. Among the regular PTA fundraisers are raffles, book fairs, and a variety of sales, from gift-wrap and candles to baked goods and handicrafts.

The monies raised by the PTA have a significant impact on RKS programs. The PTA not only helps to fund extracurriculars like Glee Club, field trips and shows, they also enhance the curriculum with unique educational opportunities like cultural arts programming and the JASON Project. PTA funds help purchase playground equipment and contribute to covering expenses for students in fiscal need.

"We need to be involved with our children's education, especially parents of special needs students, because we need to be their advocates," said RKS PTA President, Laura A. Triandafilos. "The PTA allows us to do just that."

The PTA also helps to bring in outside enrichment and entertainment and runs its own student events, such as the annual prom (which has earned countywide recognition) and the Family Dance, bringing in parents and siblings for a night of fun and celebration.

"The Rosemary Kennedy School PTA consists of outstanding parent leaders who have helped us to better recognize the value of students with disabilities," wrote the Education Partner Award nominator. "Improvements in the education of students with disabilities are in great part the result of the active and selfless service of the many parents and teachers who have served."