Making the Grade: A Parent’s Educational Resource Guide from A to Z

Who can help your second grader handle homework without hysterics, teach your teen to pass his road test without driving you crazy, instruct your little bambino in Italiano? It’s all here. Everything you need to know about everything educational—but didn’t know whom to ask.

Making the Grade: A Parent’s Educational Resource Guide from A to Z


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Who can help your second grader handle homework without hysterics, teach your teen to pass his road test without driving you crazy, instruct your little bambino in Italiano? It’s all here. Everything you need to know about everything educational—but didn’t know whom to ask.


By Laurie Yarnell

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Illustrations by Christoph Hitz


That little mini-you who shares your address is struggling (yet again) with “8 times 7” and “42 divided by 6.” Or perhaps she’s pirouetting into your glass coffee table or papering your kitchen with an avalanche of permission slips. So you need to find a tutor, or a ballet school, or an organizational wizard—ASAP. Relax. We did our homework and came up with this “Who’s Who” and “What’s What” of educational and enrichment resources in the county. So whip out the PalmPilot, Filofax or some plain old paper and pencil, and get ready to take some notes.


A is for

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Art Classes

A tad perturbed that your petite Picasso or Manet-in-the-making has taken to expressing himself on your brand new silk wall-covering? Of course, his masterpieces are as good as anything you’ve seen lately at the MoMA, but still… Worried that your Oriental rug could be next? Enroll him in one of these visual arts programs designed for the local pint-sized sketchpad set:


›› katonah art center

77 Bedford Road, Katonah

(914) 232-4843


›› The Rye Arts Center

51 Milton Road, Rye

(914) 967-0700;


›› Westchester Art Workshop

Westchester County Center

196 Central Avenue, White Plains

(914) 684-0094

27 North Division Street, Peekskill

(914) 734-4680;


B is for

Ballet Studios

Think your talented little tot-in-a-tutu has future prima ballerina potential? (If not, a little tush in tights is still always an irresistible sight.) These ballet studios provide excellent training, with plenty of photo ops for mom, dad and a gaggle of kvelling grandparents:


›› The Ballet Class

At the Rye Arts Center

51 Milton Road, Rye

(914) 967-0912

Contact: Lynn Steston, director

›› Northern Westchester Center

for the Arts

272 North Bedford Road, Mt. Kisco

(914) 241-6922;


›› Steffi Nossen School of Dance

Main Studio:

216 Central Avenue, White Plains

Satellite Studios in Chappaqua, Mamaroneck, Pleasantville, Scarsdale and White Plains

(914) 238-1900;


C is for

College Prep

If your child has hit high school, you’ve probably started to stress about college apps and those simply sadistic SATs. Don’t. Put these numbers on your speed-dial instead.


›› The Cooper Course

175 Main Street, White Plains

(914) 428-9292

Contact: Joan Cooper

FYI: Students (and parents) rave about these courses; the SAT score of one youngster we know went up 410 points! Costs: PSAT or SAT six-session course: $795; SAT II Writing Test prep also available.


›› Pound Ridge Learning Center

4 Trinity Pass, Pound Ridge

(914) 764-4766

FYI: Recommended by private schools’ counseling departments. SAT I recommendation (not required): six hours each verbal and math, for a total of 12 hours. Cost: $115/hour.


D is for

Driving Instruction

Okay, your teen is driving you crazy about (among other things) getting his license. And yes, while you’d love to give up chauffering him to New Roc, soccer practice and the SAT tutor (see “C” above), you’re a bit leery (okay, terrified) about his getting behind the wheel. Value your life and or your sport utility wagon? Hire an experienced, professional driving instructor. They’ve seen it all—and lived to tell the tales. PS: They pick up and deliver NASCAR-wannabes in specially equipped teaching vehicles.


›› Center for Driving

189 Main Street, 2nd floor, White Plains

(914) 682-0600;

›› Formula One Driving School

584 Mamaroneck Avenue, Mamaroneck

(914) 381-0987;


›› Port Chester Auto School

127 Westchester Avenue, Port Chester

(914) 939-6297


E is for

Educational Evaluation

How to make the best match between your child and a school, independent boarding or public? Engage an expert to help you evaluate the educational alternatives available. These will give you
an inside scoop on what various
schools offer:


›› A.D.D. resource consulting

156 Katonah Avenue, Katonah

(914) 232-4000

Contact: Barbara T. Posner, MA

FYI: Specializes in students with
special needs.


›› DuBois & Associates Educational Placement Services

15 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich

(203) 629-2566;


›› Carol Gill Associates

369 Ashford Avenue, Dobbs Ferry

(914) 693-8200

›› PEARLGlassman Counseling, Inc.

30 White Birch Road, Pound Ridge

(914) 764-5153


F is for

Foreign Languages

Forget the dreary “Here-is-the-pen-of-my-aunt’s-brother” type exercises with which language teachers enjoyed tormenting you. If you’d like your child to parle francaise, habla espanol or sprechen deutsch, these schools make learning a language fun (think Rug Rats in Spanish):


›› The Language Exchange

83 North Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua

(914) 238-2614

203 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob, CT

(203) 422-2024


›› Berlitz Language Center

1 North Broadway, White Plains

(914) 946-8389


G is for

Gifted Programs

The journey to the Ivy League might just begin right here for future Einsteins and/or kids who just love to learn:


›› The Gifted and Talented

enrichment Centers

New Rochelle/Eastchester

27 Siebrecht, New Rochelle

(914) 636-0888 talented.htm

Contact: Dr. Andi Stix

FYI: Small after-school enrichment classes for students in grades 2 through 5.  


›› The Gifted and Talented Center’s  Challenge Camp

Tuckahoe High School,

65 Siwanoy Boulevard, Eastchester

 (914) 779-6024;

Contact: Carole E. Berman, director

FYI: One-of-a-kind summer program for talented students Pre-K through grade 9. Courses include “Wizards of Wall Street,” “Zainy Brainy Math,” “The Art of Architecture,” etc. Cost: 7 weeks; full days: $3,000; half-days: $1,500; 3 and 4 week sessions also offered. Scholarships available.


H is for

Homework Help

Tired of the homework hour hassle or having your child spin ever-creative “the dog ate it” excuses? Suggestion: delegate and relocate the whole shebang to one of these supervised help centers designed to handle homework without hysterics.


›› Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester

351 Main Street, Mt. Kisco

(914) 666-8069

FYI: Open to all, with supervised help offered from 3:30-6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Included at no charge for sixth graders and older with $40 annual membership fee.


›› Homework Helper Program

Yonkers Public Library

Riverfront Branch (1 Larkin Center)

Grinton I. Will Branch (1500 Central Park Avenue)

(914) 337-1500

FYI: Open to all students grades 1 through 6, with teacher-supervised help offered from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday (Riverfront branch). Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (Will branch). No charge.


›› Rye Free Reading Room

1061 Boston Post Road, Rye

(914) 967-0480

FYI: Open to all elementary school students with teacher-supervised help offered from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. No charge.

I is for


Monica may have given the “i” word a bad name but don’t be quick to dismiss interning as a terrific educational opportunity and way for your high school or college student to pick up valuable skills while beefing up a future resume. Some worth investigating:


›› Katonah Museum of Art

Route 22 at Jay Street, Katonah

(914) 232-9555;

FYI: Its Educators-in-Training program offers intern opportunities in the learning center, slide library, on the web site and with traveling exhibits.


›› Muscoot Farm

Route 100, Somers

(914) 864-7283

Contact: Joyce Soltesz, program director

FYI: Students 13 through 17 help with farm chores, weekend programs and special events.


›› Neuberger Museum of Art

Purchase College, State University of New York

735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase

(914) 251-6123

Contact: Beverly Brigandi, coordinator of educational programs

FYI: Opportunities for college students to work with curator or painting crew on research or on projects of own choosing.


J is for

Junior Naturalists

They love bugs, insects, worms and other creatures squiggly and slimy. (You don’t.) Their idea of a fun time is playing in the dirt. (Yours isn’t.) But your little naturalists will love these centers’ programs (so, you will too):


›› Greenburgh Nature Center

99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale

(914) 723-3470

FYI: Preschoolers can choose from such classes as “Nature Bugs” or “Critters, Crafts & Kids”; after-school classes for older kids include “Nature Explorers” and “Junior Naturalists” plus wonderful family events. Class prices vary, with discounts
for members.


›› The New York Botanical Garden

200th Street and Kazimiroff Blvd., Bronx

(718) 817-8181;

FYI: A truly incredible resource for workshops for kids from K to grade 8, including “Life in the Rain Forest,” “Roots, Shoots and Blooming Bulbs,” “Prose, Poetry and Plants” and “Forest Ecosystem Study.” 


›› Teatown Lake Reservation

1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining

(914) 762-2912;

FYI: This nature preserve and education center is a terrific resource for classes (“Divine Decomposers,” Fish Tales,” etc.) plus special family events and workshops.


K is for

Kindergarten-Extension Programs

Share. Play nicely. Don’t eat the Play-Doh. Yep, a lot of what we needed to know we did learn in kindergarten. But what if your child’s first “big kid” school experience wraps up before lunchtime every day? (C’mon, the preschool day lasted longer.) Consider an afternoon extension program designed to take off where half-day kindergarten ends.


›› JCC on the Hudson

371 South Broadway, Tarrytown

(914) 366-7898


›› Richard G. Rosenthal JCC of

Northern Westchester

600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville

(914) 741-0333;


›› YWCA of White Plains and

Central Westchester

(North Street Y)
515 North Street, White Plains

(914) 949-6227;


L is for

The Library

Oh, what a lovely sight: your child not curled up with a good video game. Want to encourage your youngster to choose Tom Sawyer over “South Park” reruns? Make friends with the fabulous—and free!—Westchester County Library System. Cards are available at, and good for, all 38 county branches. In addition to books, many have books-on-tape, magazines, CDs, educational or literature-based videos and computer terminals with educational games as well as special programs for kids and teens, like these:


›› Chess Workshops/Tournaments

Yonkers Public Library – Riverfront Branch

1 Larkin Center, Yonkers

(914) 337-1500

FYI: For teens and pre-teens. Instruction on September 6 and 13 from 2 to 5 p.m.; tournaments on September 20 and 27 at 2 p.m.


›› Open Chess, Checkers & Scrabble Play

Harrison Public Library

1 Bruce Avenue, Harrison

(914) 835-0324

FYI: Open to all ages on most Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.


›› Truck Day

Larchmont Public Library

(parking lot behind St. Augustine’s Church)

121 Larchmont Avenue, Larchmont

(914) 834-2281

FYI: Kids will be able to explore an actual payloader, backhoe, bucket truck, etc., and browse through and borrow books on trucks on Saturday, September 13 from 10 a.m. to noon.


M is for


The academic advantages of music-making are well documented. So if you’d like your child to be moved by Mozart and Itzhak Perlman, rather than the Material Girl and Puff Daddy, take note of these excellent music schools:


›› Amadeus Conservatory

201 King Street, Chappaqua

(914) 238-0388

25 Valley Road, Katonah

(914) 232-8808


›› Hoff-Barthelson Music School

25 School Lane, Scarsdale

(914) 723-1169


›› Music Conservatory of Westchester

216 Central Avenue, White Plains

(914) 761-3900;


N is for

Novice Filmmakers

Visual literacy is the new buzzword for kids of the 21st century. Living with a future Fellini or sprouting Spielberg? If you’d like to be thanked when your grown filmmaker snatches up his Oscar, start here:


›› Filmmaking for Middle School Students

Purchase College

Anderson Hill Road, Purchase

(914) 251-6500;

Contact: Stephanie Nieves

FYI: Young filmmakers spend 12 Saturdays writing, directing, editing and acting in original movies while learning the art of visual storytelling, with finished works screened at a final film festival. Cost: $525/semester.


›› Jacob Burns Film Center

364 Manville Road, Pleasantville

(914) 773-7663;

Contact: educational administrator
Emily Keating

FYI: This county jewel offers an extensive array of family film screenings and educational programs including: the See•Hear•Feel•Film project for third graders (through school districts, $16- $28/student), an animator-in-residence program for 9- to 12-year-olds (no charge for disadvantaged school groups), and Cinemania, an after-school film club for seventh and eighth graders (no charge).


O is for


Is your household drowning in a veritable sea of expired permission slips, AWOL homework sheets and must-save art projects shedding glitter on the rug? Do bake sale notices and book orders just up and disappear in the Bermuda Triangle of your kitchen? September is the perfect time to get your household and your student(s) organized for the new school year. Store these numbers on your cell (if you can find it):


›› Oh, So Organized!


(914) 271-5673;

Contact: Linda Samuels


›› Kathy Marcinko Consulting

1 Stone Place, Bronxville

(914) 771-6000


P is for

Party Planning

All work and no play would make Westchester kids mucho cranky. So fortunately, when they’re not hitting the books, they’re usually hitting the party circuit—from birthdays and communions to Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet Sixteens and graduations, local kids can always be counted on to party hearty. Your turn to host the big event? Program these party planning pros into your PDA:


›› CoOrdinated Celebrations, Inc.

38 South Ridge Street, Rye Brook

(914) 939-4394


›› Designs By Masque

700 Waverly Avenue, Mamaroneck

(914) 777-3817;

Contact: David Tutera


›› Preferred Events

50 Legion Drive, Valhalla

(914) 946-7123

Contact: Virginia Vetrano

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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