Masera Learning Center in West Islip, where elementary and middle school students with autism and related developmental disabilities prepare for the future, has seen the recent installation of new cabinetry.
A reconstructed area at Masera Learning Center in West Islip, known as the ADL (Activities of Daily Living) Room, has created excitement within the school and the ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) PTO.Masera, where elementary and middle school students with autism and related developmental disabilities prepare for the future, has seen the recent installation of new cabinetry. Principal Margo Ude says, “The large and beautiful cabinets were generously donated by the ABA PTO, which worked hard at fundraising to get this accomplished.” Additionally, several thousand dollars was donated by the EJ Foundation for Autism, achieved from an 83-mile venture from East Islip to Montauk, called the EJ Foundation’s Real Aid for Autism Walk. New countertops and appliances are being provided for the ADL Room by Eastern Suffolk BOCES.
Pictured is Masera Assistant Principal Tina Hannel with three students who wanted to see some of the new cabinets in their ADL Room.“We’re very fortunate,” the principal explains, that our staff and PTO respect and love each other, in addition to the children. This leads to wonderful accomplishments with and for the students, who then provide us with great pride as we send them out into the world.”
Pictured are PTO President Melinda Alicea, Principal Margo Ude and Assistant Principal Tina Hannel with students in a different section of the ADL Room.Pictured (below) are PTO Executive Board members (left to right) parent and President Melinda Alicea, para and Co-President Gina Agulla, school social worker and Co-Vice President Lisa Mitchell, social worker and Co-Secretary Shauna O'Hanlon, and para and Co-Treasurer Roseann Norkus.
Middle school students in pre-vocational classes, which include office skills and horticulture, benefit from the refurbished room, explains Ms. Ude, “because this is where it all begins. This is where they learn basic, everyday life skills,” which include loading the dishwasher, and doing laundry, folding and packing items for the businesses that support the school. “West Islip restaurants, hair salons, and Applebee’s in East Islip are wonderful supporters of our children,” says Ms. Ude. The business owners and managers even attend the school’s moving-up ceremonies each Spring. The children use a school bus to pick up laundry from the businesses, which provides experiences that include counting, coordinating, packing, and subsequently returning the clean items. In the case of restaurants, students also wash tables, fill the salt and pepper shakers, etc. “The staff and parents are unbelievable in their support and generosity to Masera fundraisers,” says Assistant Principal Hannel. “Everyone here is very quick to reach into their own pockets to help the children.” The PTO Co-Treasurer adds, “And it’s done with love; we don’t think about it being hard work.”