Student Support

The Windward School understands that achieving academic competence alone is not enough for our students. To help prepare them to return to mainstream education, we also provide them with opportunities for social and emotional growth. Windward offers special programs for lower and middle school students that are specifically designed to help them. They include programs that:

  • Understand and manage their emotions
  • Develop friendships and manage social situations
  • Develop empathy for others
  • Understand how they learn
  • Learn how to advocate for themselves
  • Boost their self-confidence and build self-esteem
  • Succeed socially and academically in a mainstream environment

Student Support Programs By Grade

Manhattan Lower School

Dr. Ania Siwek
Psychologist

Mike Ackerman
Guidance Counselor – Students whose last names begin w/ letters L-Z.

Lauren Fulco
Guidance Counselor – Students whose last names begin w/ letters A-K.

For lower school students, the school psychologist and the guidance counselor work collaboratively with the teachers to promote a positive school climate with an emphasis on prosocial behaviors and character development. This includes, teachers being supported in incorporating components of the Responsive Classroom approach. Additionally, faculty members are trained in the strategies necessary to help students develop social and emotional skills through repeated practice, modeling and reinforcement. When necessary, classroom observations are conducted and teachers are provided with recommendations about how to best support each individual student.

The lower school guidance program also includes the following:

  • New student transition support
  • Coordination with outside providers
  • Introductory unit on learning disabilities and dyslexia for 4th graders
  • Lunch groups for students who would benefit from additional practice of social skills in a small setting
  • Staff development and training based on research and professional practice
  • Short-term solution based counseling when necessary
  • Crisis intervention when necessary

Manhattan Middle School

Dr. Ania Siwek
Psychologist

Mike Ackerman
Guidance Counselor – Students whose last names begin w/ letters L-Z.

Lauren Fulco
Guidance Counselor – Students whose last names begin w/ letters A-K.

Middle school students receive individual, short-term, solution-based counseling on an as-needed basis, in addition to scheduled group guidance lessons. Topics covered are as follows:

  • Grade 5: demystifying learning disabilities; self-esteem building, friendship making skills; bullying and teasing prevention, social media etiquette/cyber safety
  • Grade 6: bullying and teasing prevention; conflict resolution skills; communication and social skills, diversity/tolerance, social media etiquette/cyber safety
  • Grade 7: Bullying and teasing prevention; problem solving; stress management and mindfulness; social media etiquette and cyber safety; diversity and tolerance; healthy decision-making and drug, alcohol, and tobacco education
  • Grade 8: GAINS (Getting Ahead In School) – A full-year course focused on self-advocacy skills as students prepare for outplacement. Includes units on stress reduction and mindfulness; drug & alcohol education; diversity and tolerance and high school transition.

Westchester Lower School

Dr. Jackie Britt-Friedman
Psychologist

Arielle Papadam
Guidance Counselor

At the lower school, the psychologist works collaboratively with and acts as a resource for faculty. In addition, consultation to teachers is provided to give faculty members the strategies necessary to help students develop social and emotional skills through repeated practice, modeling and reinforcement. Also, by engaging in solution-based discussions with teachers and conducting classroom observations when necessary, the team provides recommendations about how to best support individual students in the classroom.

The guidance program also includes the following:

  • New student transition support
  • Coordination with outside providers
  • Introductory unit on learning disabilities and dyslexia for 4th graders
  • Short-format lunch groups for students who would benefit from additional practice of social skills in a small setting
  • Staff development and trainings based on research and professional practice
  • Short-term, solution-based counseling and/or crisis intervention when necessary

Westchester Middle School

Julie Liebman
Dean of Student Support Services, Guidance Counselor for students in grade 5

Nicole Hanby
Guidance Counselor – Students whose last names begin w/ letters L-Z grades 6-9.

Lauren Howard

Guidance Counselor – Students whose last names begin w/ letters A-K grades 6-9.

Middle school guidance includes individual, short-term, solution-based counseling on an as-needed basis in addition to bi-weekly group guidance in grades 5-7 and weekly in grade 8. Topics are as follows:

  • Grade 5: Demystifying learning differences; self-esteem building, friendship making and communication skills; bullying and teasing prevention; social media etiquette and cyber safety
  • Grade 6: Bullying and teasing prevention; conflict resolution skills; communication and social skills; diversity and tolerance; social media etiquette and cyber safety
  • Grade 7: Bullying and teasing prevention; problem solving; stress management and mindfulness; social media etiquette and cyber safety; diversity and tolerance; healthy decision-making and drug, alcohol and tobacco education
  • Grade 8: GAINS (Getting Ahead In School) – A full-year course focused on self-advocacy skills as students prepare for outplacement. Includes units on stress reduction and mindfulness; drug & alcohol education; diversity and tolerance and high school transition.
  • Grade 9: Students participate in a high school advisory period in order to discuss academic and social concerns appropriate to their developmental level. In addition, 9th grade students have an opportunity to participate in grade wide community service projects.

Contact Us

Manhattan Lower & Middle Schools
phone: (212) 222-8628

Dr. Ania Siwek Psychologist
ext. 3366

Mike Ackerman
Guidance Counselor, Students w/ last names L-Z ext. 3337

Lauren Fulco
Guidance Counselor, Students w/ last names A-K
ext. 3336


Westchester Lower School
phone: (914) 949-6968

Dr. Jackie Britt-Friedman
Psychologist
ext. 2242

Arielle Papadam
Guidance Counselor
ext. 2244


Westchester Middle School
phone: (914) 949-6968

Julie Liebman
Dean of Student Support Services Guidance Counselor for Students in Grade 5
ext. 1239

Nicole Hanby
Guidance Counselor Students w/ last names L-Z Grades 6-9
ext. 1127

Lauren Howard
Guidance Counselor
Students w/last names A-K Grades 6-9
ext. 1105