The Thomas Reynolds Center for Special Education and After-School Programs Awarded Grant of $49,802 from The Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

November 13, 2013

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Bobby Mills
Special Assistant to the President
Daemen College
(716) 566-7881

The Reynolds Center has been awarded a grant of $49,802 from The Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation for a project called, “'Bridges to Success': Teaching students with learning disabilities necessary organizational skills to successfully transition from elementary to middle school.” Lisa Waterrose, Director of the Thomas Reynolds Center for Special Education and After-School Programs, authored the proposal and is the Project Director.

Earlier this year, Daemen College was among seven organizations in Western New York to be selected--by invitation only--to apply for a Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation Planning Study grant.

"This invitation signals Daemen College's reputation as a leader in our region in effectively working with children and individuals who have learning disabilities," stated Michael Brogan, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. "I commend the faculty, administrators, and graduate assistants of the Reynolds Center who have dedicated countless hours to supporting children with learning disabilities and their families."

With these funds, The Reynolds Center, in collaboration with Amherst School teachers, will develop and offer transition pilot program for all students with learning disabilities attending the Amherst Central School District who will transition from elementary to middle school summer 2014. Approximately 25 children will be served by the transition program, which will include a two-day workshop, parent orientation, and education in the use of iPads to assist with personal organization, note-taking, studying, and managing their time. To assess the effectiveness of the program, The Reynolds Center will develop a research study to compare academic outcomes for students in the pilot, as compared to students who transitioned to middle school summer 2013.

Members of Daemen’s Education Department will assist with the project. Mindy Scirri, Assistant Professor, Education, will serve as the project’s Organizational Expert. Scirri will work with the Amherst teachers, students and parents by teaching them specific organizational strategies that will address the students’ organizational needs. Cathy Zawodzinski, Data Manager, Education, will serve at the project’s Technology Expert and Stress Management Consultant. Within both roles, Cathy will be providing technology instruction and support to all parties involved, as well as teaching breathing and stress management techniques to students in order to address the emotional needs students have during the transition.

Lisa Waterrose said, “This project will allow both the Thomas Reynolds Center and the Amherst Middle School teachers to work collaboratively to customize a comprehensive workshop based on the specific organizational needs of the students transitioning to middle school in September. Students with learning disabilities participating in this project will gain confidence in themselves knowing that their organizational needs have been met and know their experience transitioning to middle school will be a positive and successful one.”

The Thomas Reynolds Center for Special Education and After-School Programs is currently in its eleventh year of providing academic services to students with learning disabilities in grades 3 and 4. Currently, the Center's partnerships include Amherst Central School District and The Aloma D. Johnson Charter School. Since 2005, the Center has participated in scholarly research each year. Research has been presented at regional and national conferences including The Council for Exceptional Children Conference (CEC), The New York State Council for Exceptional Children Conference (NYSCEC), The Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children (TED), The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and the International Organization of Social Sciences and Behavioral Research (IOSSBR). In addition, articles have been published in The Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties and The International Research forum Monograph.

For more information on activities of The Reynolds Center, contact Lisa Waterrose at

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