We are extremely pleased to announce that Mt. Pleasant-Blythedale is the third charitable organization that MacroMinds will represent at our 2021 event. Mt. Pleasant-Blythedale, is a Special Act K-12 School that provides educational services to patients of the Blythedale hospital, a specialty children’s hospital that provides care for children with complex medical illnesses and disabling conditions. Mt. Pleasant-Blythedale, is the only public school district in New York created to educate medically fragile children while students receive medically intensive rehabilitation.

COVID-19 Update:

The Mt. Pleasant Blythedale School educates patients of Blythedale Children’s Hospital: both Day Hospital students who attend program on a daily basis, and inpatient students who reside on the unit and are cared for 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. On March 18,2020, our beloved school shut down as a result of the COVID pandemic. Nevertheless, the Mt. Pleasant Blythedale School District, along with the Blythedale team, identified ways to maintain providing medical and educational services; working tirelessly to design a plan that would allow the program to eventually reopen.  As a result of, we reopened our doors on July 6, 2020; defeating all odds.  Our team had proved that we could ensure a high quality safe learning environment for our students and staff; creating programs that fit needs of students, rather than fit the students into the program. We designed a program to provide learning through a hybrid approach that ensured access to our students in person, at home, and on our units.  We transitioned to an alternative way of learning to support and engage our students through meaningful and thoughtful learning experiences. With our investment in technology, professional learning, and curriculum development, we ensured that we were well-positioned to engage in off-site and in person learning experiences with our students.

Teachers and support staff have provided continuity of instruction on a schedule that has promoted social distancing and other mitigating measures during the school day to ensure proper supervision to those students who were in attendance for their outpatient services. For students who have been unable to participate in outpatient services, we have provided Distance Learning with teachers and support staff.  Thankfully, we have been able to continue providing in person services to children under the DIRECT MEDICAL SUPERVISION of onsite doctors and nurses. This supervision and continuity of learning has relied on the most recent guidance from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and advice and expertise from our own medical team.

This year will certainly prove to be challenging.  Currently, schools across our state have faced tremendous challenges as they address the crisis created by COVID-19. These challenges are affecting health, safety, and child care. Nevertheless, as the Blythedale community always seems to do well: we collaborate, communicate, and do what needs to be done to ensure that all community members- students, parents and staff feel supported. Thankfully, what has not changed is that our students continue to be inspirational; showing courage when presented with adversity and requiring that we see possibilities when life presents the impossible.

Education is a vital component of the rehabilitation program. This multidisciplinary approach is used to ensure that students receive coordinated services. Attending a full day of school every day sends a very important message. Even though they are patients in a hospital, our students are encouraged to pursue the primary tasks of childhood and adolescence: having fun and growing emotionally, socially and academically.

— Emily Hersh, Mount Pleasant-Blythedale Superintendent