YMA Pool Open for Instruction
After 12 years of being unavailable to Yonkers Montessori Academy (YMA) students, the school’s indoor swimming pool is, once again, open for instruction. At the Mark Twain Pool ribbon cutting ceremony on February 1, 2022, Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez stated, “The Trustees and I are thrilled to reopen the pool for our students during the school day. Significant funding, $1.3 million, came from the American Rescue Plan Act for the instructional programs and the physical education teacher, lifeguards and pool maintenance staff. Our goal is to provide sustainable funding for these programs.”
“The happy faces of our students in the pool, that’s what our work is about,” noted Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools. “Restoring these aquatic opportunities expands our work to provide Yonkers students equity and access to enriched instruction. This beautiful Olympic size pool will once again be in use throughout the day by students and the community. During school hours there are YMA physical education classes and Aquatic Therapy for students with Autism districtwide. After school City of Yonkers Parks and Recreation supervises community swim programs.”
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano added, “At last, the Yonkers Montessori Academy pool is once again open for students and residents of our city to enjoy. Thanks to federal support, the pool is restored to its former glory. It’s an inspiring sight to see the great things that can happen when real partnerships are formed and investments are made in providing critical afterschool and community programs.”
“It brings me such joy to see school day programs back in our pool, said Dr. Eileen E. Rivera-Principal of Yonkers Montessori Academy. “The inclusion of an Aquatic Therapy program for our students with Autism is not only a necessity, but an incredible complement to our instructional swim program. This year, middle school students are scheduled for the instructional swim program as part of their physical education class. We look forward to expanding the program to include other grade levels.”
“The dream of an Aqua Therapy Program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders came to life for students at Westchester Hills Schools 29 and YMA,” shared Special Education and Pupil Support Services Assistant Superintendent Dr. Luis Rodriguez. The next phase will include students with Autism from Eugenio Maria de Hostos MicroSociety School, PEARLS Hawthorne School, Cesar E. Chavez School, School 17 and School 13. The final phase will integrate secondary students from Roosevelt High School-Early College Studies, Saunders Trades & Technical High School and Gorton High School.”
The Aquatic Therapy Program improves strength, coordination, gross motor development and reflex repatterning for students with certain limitations. The District’s program, developed in consultation with Swim Angelfish, an adaptive swimming program that uses a multi-sensory approach to help students with autism, anxiety, trauma, or a discomfort in water become safe and independent swimmers. St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers provides the therapists.