Special Services and Career and Technical Education crossover creates new form of therapy

Special Services partners with Cosmetology for unique experience

What started out as an idea of a new reinforcer for students in Special Services at the Valhalla Center has quickly become a new form of therapy. Speech-Language Pathologist Julie Crosier and Special Education Teacher Jesse Fierro introduced a way that the students can benefit from all the hard work they do in therapy to the Cosmetology I teachers on Southern Westchester BOCES’ Valhalla campus.

The idea is simple but has brought so much joy and excitement to the students on both campuses. Students in Special Services earn the ability to go on a trip to the Cosmetology class where they get to choose a beauty treatment such as having their hair or nails done. In turn, the Cosmetology students gain real-world experience dealing with clients and hone their skills.

Ms. Crosier chose a student named Jessica as the first candidate to receive such services.

“We started with doing her nails in the therapy room. She learned to clean her nails, brush them, and now she has been clipping them herself,” said Ms. Crosier. 

“She loves showing off her nails to everyone. She keeps them very protective and has shown a great sense of pride,” added Mr. Fierro.

There are a handful of girls who are currently enjoying this new form of therapy. Each Friday they head over to the Cosmetology I class where they are pampered. 

“It’s nice to go over there. All the girls there are sweet,” said student Rita about the salon experience.

Nicolette Campos, a junior at New Rochelle High School, has been enjoying the collaboration as well.

“I did a blow out after another student washed her hair. It was nice to have an actual client,” said Nicolette. “It helped me experience what it’s like to do someone else's hair, and I think she felt appreciative of the services.”

Ms. Crosier and Mr. Fierro both agreed that the trips have made a positive impact on their students and would love to partner with other teachers in different programs. 

“Having a relationship with Career and Technical Education has been positive for everyone. We’re hoping to make connections with other classes on the campus. Maybe have something the boys can enjoy as well.”

It’s helped the students become more comfortable outside their classroom, and they look forward to their weekly excursions.

“They absolutely love it. It’s rewarding for everyone and our students look forward to their weekly trip. The cosmetology students continually ask us to come back because they love working with the girls,” said Ms. Crosier. “It’s opened our opportunities and our minds and connections with one another.”