We are pleased to welcome the new principal of the Harmony Heights Day School. Dr. John Castronova comes to us from the Jericho School District, where he served as Director of Pupil Personnel Services, responsible for Special Education programs and services for students in pre-K to 12th grade. Prior to that, he served Locust Valley Central School District as department head in charge of Special Education programs for students in grades 6-12. Dr. Castronova holds a doctoral degree in School/Clinical Child Psychology from Yeshiva University, and a B.A. and M.S. from CUNY’s Brooklyn College. He holds State Certification as a School Administrator/Supervisor, School Psychologist and Special Education Teacher.
Dr. Castronova is a NYS Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist. He has more than 30 years of experience in education, encompassing public and private schools (K-12), higher education, and private practice.
Please join us in welcoming him to the Harmony Heights family!
On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, students and staff at the Harmony Heights residence dedicated a new bench to the memory of our beloved friend, house mother Mable Stevenson. Mable was with us for more than 30 years watching over the students at night and getting them off to school in the morning, until she passed away on January 28, 2018. We think of her often, and the lessons she taught us about kindness and faith; this bench creates a lasting memorial to her on our grounds.
At Harmony Heights, we participated in National Walkout Day with a beautiful tribute to staff and students killed in Florida 1 month ago. With students, teachers and staff together “walking out of our classrooms, united against gun violence!” we met in our gym and from 10 a.m. until 10:17 a.m. Staff and students read poetry, students sang Imagine and Blackbird, staff and students sang We Are The World. A student solo of Ordinary People was shared, Kindness Quotes were read by a student, a letter was shared by the principal and a moment of silence was shared by all. We returned to class….staff and students united.
In Memoriam: Mable Stevenson
On Sunday January 28, 2018 our dearest staff member and friend, Mable Stevenson, passed away. Mable worked at Harmony Heights over 30 years as an Overnight House Mother. Mable provided support, reassurance and guidance to staff and students. Through her experience she helped to provide a therapeutic community and helped our students to feel truly cared for and accepted. In the morning Mable made breakfast for our students before sending them off to school with kind and encouraging words. Mable would work all night and then serve up a breakfast of eggs, chocolate chip pancakes and blueberry muffins with a side of bacon. Every year she would set up, prepare and cook breakfast for our graduating seniors. She always looked on this day an opportunity to do something special for our senior class. She starched and ironed one by one the graduation gowns our seniors would wear for graduation. On our annual Field Day, she could be seen cooking over the hot grills and making sure we all had plenty to eat. She never missed a Harmony event, and if she was asked to participate she gladly volunteered. She was the main attraction in our Spring Fashion Show, modeling dresses and outfits and of course receiving the most applause for the evening. Mable taught us about remembering the good things that were happening in our lives. She always spoke lovingly of her family, trips to Disney World and her faith commitment to her church. She could often be heard sharing “God is good.” Mable rarely missed a day of work. She was a dedicated, nurturing and dynamic colleague and friend, who we will all miss dearly. We know throughout her journey with us, she taught us to celebrate life. We celebrate your life Mable, “ Mabs”, as many of us called you, and we thank you for the gift you have given us over and over for more than 30 years.
Kathryn Nastri, LCSW
Harmony's Summer Horse Care Program
by Edilaine Fernandez
Horses are very interesting and fascinating creatures and are some of my favorite animals. During the summer Horse Care class at Harmony, I was given the amazing opportunity to work with horses and learn about them. To own a horse is a big responsibility. I can't help but smile at the thought of them and Wood beautiful creatures they truly are.
One thing I learned during my class was what a mud not is the mud not is a specific not you do on the horse's tail when it's raining so the horses tail won't get dirty and tangled up with the mud. Also I found it interesting that it can take up to 30 minutes to groom a horse correctly. Making sure that you use the right brush is also very important. Some horses have greater skin sensitivity than others. A body brush can be used in almost all the parts of the horse's body. How much they are able to eat in a day fascinates me as well. Something that I found very interesting was how a horse shivers want to fly lands on them. That demonstrates how sensitive they are skin is. Flies mostly gather around the horse's eyes, mouth, nose, and other sensitive parts of the body. That's the reason they wear the fly masks so the flies won't irritate them.
You have to be careful when riding a horse in the hot sun because the hotter the horse gets the more it's with which attracts flies. Horses can't breathe or vomit through their mouth's or even burp. Their digestive system doesn't work the way the human digestive system works. To express how they feel, they use their ears, eyes and nostrils. When a horse has flared nostrils and their ears back, it most likely means that they will attack. Horses have two blind spots where they can't see. Directly in front of them and behind them. They can drink up to 10 gallons of water in a day. Horses are amazing creatures.
I specifically worked with one horse named Boo Boo; he was a very silly horse who would always try eating the fence when he was bored. He sadly passed away on October 12, 2017. We miss him dearly. I loved grooming him and grazing him even if all his brown hair got on my clothes. Out of the three horses at Harmony, Boo Boo was my favorite, because of how goofy and silly he was. He somehow always managed to make me feel better. He was a loving horse who I'm sure will be missed by everyone.
Meet Rue, our therapy dog!