Bronxville News

Bronxville School Earns Prestigious DBT Award
Bronxville, NY

The Bronxville School has been awarded the Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Schools Team Award by the Cognitive Behavioral Consultants of Westchester and Manhattan for successfully implementing a K-12 social-emotional curriculum. 

“I couldn’t be prouder of our incredible psychologists who have spent an enormous amount of time ensuring that our students learn the skills needed to be successful and healthy people,” Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rachel Kelly said. “It is so validating to be recognized by experts in the field for our tremendous efforts in ensuring our students are well-prepared to handle the curve balls life can throw us. What is also so impressive is that our leadership team, in addition to our faculty, have embraced these skills and incorporate them into their lessons with our children.” 

Spearheaded by Dr. Kelly and thanks to the generous support of the Bronxville School Foundation, counselors and psychologists received initial training on the program three years ago. Since then, 36 teachers districtwide have completed a Dialectical Behavior Therapy course, which was created and led by school psychologist Dr. Minu Thomas.

“DBT is the framework used to teach social-emotional skills and coping strategies for students who receive individual and group counseling at the elementary, middle and high schools,” Dr. Thomas said. “Our teachers, support staff, teacher aides and administrators have had the opportunity to attend multiple DBT workshops, led by the exceptional CBC staff, in an effort to help teachers generalize these very important life skills. In addition, school psychologists at every level have led parent workshops, focusing on the important role parents play in helping their children manage their emotions and develop positive relationships with others.”  

Through the program, teachers have incorporated into their lessons different ways to teach students to be mindful, regulate their emotions, use coping skills when they feel distressed, have a positive attitude and navigate relationships with friends. In addition, at the elementary school, school psychologist Dr. Joyce Vastola has implemented a schoolwide social-emotional curriculum – C.A.R.E., which stands for Community, Awareness, Relationships, Empathy. 

“We are honored to earn the DBT in Schools Award,” Dr. Vastola said. “CBC consults with 35 school districts and 73 individual school teams. CBC is a group of internationally recognized mental health professionals who have pioneered and are experienced in delivering cutting-edge treatments to provide clinical and wellness services to the public, custom designed programs for organizations and continuing education for professionals.” 

In addition to Dr. Vastola and Dr. Thomas, school psychologists Dr. Samantha Lewis, Ms. Jillian Tomlin and Dr. Tom Viviano have been instrumental in the program’s success. At the middle and high schools, psychologists have conducted DBT-focused counseling groups while Dr. Viviano has also led DBT Skills sessions for the Freshman Transition program and the senior class. The award recognizes the Bronxville School’s work in training staff and implementing the Dialectical Behavior Therapy framework districtwide, as well as its efforts in hosting workshops and presentations for parents to provide them with training.