Phone: 914-348-1739.


Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Ballester

I will be available to assist you between the hours of 9:00 AM until 12:30 PM Monday through Friday from March 20 until further notice.  You can reach me via email if you have any questions or problems.

Helpful Resources

    Click Here to take part in a Special Sesame Street Town Hall:


    Parent Resources from MindBeat:

    Resources parents may find helpful during this crisis.

    How You and Your Kids Can Destress During Coronavirus

    How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus

    Working at Home with Kids during COVID-19

    10 Tips for talking about COVID-19 with your kids

    Manage Anxiety & Stress

    Wellness Resources from Breathe for Change

    WHO Mental Health Considerations (updated)


    Virtual Activities for Kids from MindBeat:

    Here are some tools to help keep students engaged during school closures.

    Bringing Hogwarts to You!

    Time for Kids Launches Free Digital Library for the Rest of the School Year

    20 Online Learning Resources to Get You Through School Closures

    Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

    Virtual Field Trips for the Whole Family

    Josh Gad Reads Bedtime Stories for Kids

    Time to Come in, Bear: A Children's Story About Social Distancing


    Mental Health Monents from MindBeat:


    Mental Health Moment #5: Virtual Zoo
    submitted by Lauren Ciccone, ESS Coordinator


    Many agencies and organizations are offering virtual tours of locations during this time of social distancing. This week we would like to highlight Cape May Zoo.

    From CMC Zoo:

    Join us Monday through Friday at 11:30 AM as we take you on a virtual tour of the zoo! Each day we will feature a short clip of a different animal and teach you all about it. At the end of every clip we have a challenge for YOU to do right at home. You can show us how you completed your challenges by sharing photos or videos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by using #cmczooschool.


    Mental Health Moment #6: HALT Technique
    submitted by Kelly Deegan, ESS Coordinator




    This acronym reminds us to take a moment, or halt, and ask ourselves how we are feeling. HALT can serve as a reminder to us all that we need to take care of our basic needs every day. Take a moment each day to check in with yourself and your family.

    Hunger- Whenwe HALT and assess our situation, we can describe a hunger for less tangible things such as affection, accomplishment, and understanding. This is why having a support system is so important. Those who care for and love you will give you food for your heart and ease the emotional hunger that you’re feeling.

    Anger-A normal, healthy emotion to experience. The important thing is to HALT and take time to understand what is causing your anger and know how to properly express it. No matter what is bothering you, assess whether you can confront what is angering you. Regardless of how you expel your anger, make sure you acknowledge it and reflect upon its causes so you can then release it in constructive, not destructive, ways.

    Loneliness-Can occur when we are by ourselves or when surrounded by many people. We isolate ourselves when we don’t feel like others can understand us, withdrawing into ourselves out of fear or doubt. If you’re feeling lonely, HALT and ask yourself if you have reached out to anyone lately. Your support system is there for you when you feel depressed, overwhelmed, or anxious, or if you just need someone to talk to.

    Tiredness- Takes a toll on our bodies, mind, and spirit. When our days are filled with e-learning, meetings, and activities it is easy to ignore how tired we become. However, running on low energy compromises our ability to think and our capacity to cope. Satisfying the physical need to sleep, rest, and rejuvenate is critical to keeping yourself healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Recharging your body, mind, and spirit will help you get through tough moments.


    Mental Health Moment #7: Recess
    submitted by Tara Gamble, ESS Clinician


    Recess: It’s not just for little children. Most of our students' favorite part of the school day is when they can get up and move. When clear weather hits, schedule daily “recess” for your family. Take 15-20 minutes of time to go outside to stretch their legs, enjoy the sunshine, and socialize. Sunshine provides us with our daily intake of vitamin D aka the happy vitamin. Exercise assists in the release of endorphins aka the happy hormone. A change of scenery is refreshing. Spontaneous family connection is priceless!


    Key Numbers from MindBeat:
    SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990
    SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline text TalkWithUs to 66746
    The Crisis Text Line text TALK to 741741
    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
    Autism Response Team 1-800-AUTISM2 (English) 1-888-772-9050 (Spanish) 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM all time zones