ANDRUS, The Orchard School

Basic Information

Address: 1156 North Broadway Yonkers, NY 10701
County: Westchester
School District: New York State Approved, Non Public School
Phone Number: 914 965 3700
Fax Number: 914 965 3883

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Additional Information

President: Principal, Dr. Raymond Effinger
School Type: New York State Approved, Non Public School- Day and Residential Programs
Founded: 1970s
Ages/Grades: Kindergarten - Ninth Grade
School Setting:

The Orchard School

Located on the sloping hill of a former apple orchard, the nationally acclaimed Orchard School embodies both the comfort of nurturing care and the promise of new opportunities. Approximately one hundred fifty-five students in grades K to 9 attend the Orchard School year-round; 73 students are referred to our Residential Treatment Program by their local school districts or departments of social services and 79 are referred to be Day Students by their local school districts. Residential and Day students are educated together in the school program. All of us at ANDRUS are proud that the Orchard School has been designated a Blue Ribbon School three times by the U.S. Department of Education, and accreditation and affiliations have earned the Orchard School numerous credentials and awards.

School Size: 152 Students
Classroom Size: 8
Student/Teacher Ratio: 8:1:1

Generally, tuition is paid by the school district at a rate set by new York State. We do have the ability to accept and admit children by means of private contract.


Our school program is comprised of five departmental "clusters." Early Elementary, Elementary, Middle, Departmental and STARS Programs offer the structure and support necessary for children to thrive.



Students at our school receive highly specialized instructional services in classrooms with an average of eight students and at least two staff, assuring each child the tailored attention needed to reduce frustration and foster success. We emphasize hands-on projects that encourage children to see themselves as capable and creative, while individualized reading, writing and math instruction permit students to forge ahead or catch up at their own pace, without feelings of stigma or difference.

The Orchard School is achieving the Common Core Standards through:
Smart Boards and Technology in each classroom
Direct Instruction Reading Program
Scripted Math Program
FOSS Science – Inquiry Bases Science Program
Library Media Center
After school tutoring
NYS Testing

To respond to the growing need for appropriate educational planning and placement for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), we have established the “STARS Building” for grades 6-9– our school wing catering to students on the Autism Spectrum. The STARS Building has evolved into a specialized program designed to meet the needs of children who may have primary or co-occurring diagnoses of Asperger’s Disorder, Autism, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder- NOS.

Percentage of Graduating Class: N/A. We educate children through the ninth grade.
Support Services:

Behavioral Approach

Orchard School teachers utilize a classroom management plan that is proactive, positive, and instructional, and that aids in the student’s behavioral management. The goal of our approach is to develop a classroom of students who are responsible, motivated and highly engaged in meaningful tasks. An underlying theme of our work is teaching behavioral expectations in the same manner as any core curriculum subject. Rather than telling a student what not to do, our staff sets clear and positive behaviors as goals for our students. Some of the models and techniques we use include:
PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports)
CHAMPS program (Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation and Success)
Sensory Rooms

Related Services

Individual therapy and group therapy services are provided to all children. Speech and language therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy services are available as well.

After School Programs: Yes
Computer Capabilities:

Computers and laptops are located in each classroom. All classrooms are equipped with SMART Boards. The computer lab/media space is located in the library and accessible to all children.

Parking Spaces/Availability:

Parking available.

Uniform Guidelines:

Uniforms are required at The Orchard School September - June. Uniforms are not required for our summer program. Uniforms include kahaki pants and polo shirts.

Mission Statement:

ANDRUS nurtures social and emotional well-being in children and their families by delivering a broad range of vital services and by providing research, training and innovative program models that promote standards of excellence for professional performance in and beyond our service community.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

ANDRUS nurtures hope in children by providing care that empowers them to succeed and by promoting innovation and standards of excellence in the care of children in our community and beyond.

School History:

Our History

ANDRUS has nurtured hope in children since 1928. We were founded as an orphanage by John Emory Andrus in memory of his wife, Julia Bourne Dyckman, who was orphaned and then adopted by the Dyckman family in Yonkers, New York. Over our 85 years of service, ANDRUS has refined our expanded mission to promote bright futures for children from birth throughout childhood by strengthening their families, offering enriching early childhood and after-school programs, intervening with community-based mental health services, providing special education for emotionally fragile children and protecting children who need residential care. From a small campus-based center on the grounds of Julia Dyckman Andrus’ childhood home, we have established multiple sites around Westchester County to reach annually 2500 children and families from the New York Metropolitan region who need our help. We are proud to be known as a premier nationally-recognized treatment, training and research center, but we remain, at heart, a family-centered organization.

All of our programs respect the strengths and acknowledge the struggles that are a part of life for every family. A single theme runs through all our diverse efforts: to reinforce the health and resilience of children and families by expanding the skills and resources on which they can draw. Nurture Hope in a Child and the World Thrives.

Since the days of the orphanage, our Campus-Based programs on the former Dyckman Farm have offered children who have known loss, stress and serious emotional disturbance a safe environment where they can learn to manage their emotions while building a strong foundation of academic and life skills. Our Community-Based initiatives and highly regarded Mental Health Services enhance families’ capacities and child-raising strategies within the context of their own cultures, neighborhoods and homes, and provide children and families with the necessary support and education to prevent emotional distress, address mental health issues, and promote well-being. We have been providing services in the community for 17 years and continue to expand to new communities every year.

ANDRUS is committed to promoting knowledge and fostering change to improve the lives of children and families beyond the borders of our campus and community. Through dedicated research and evaluation, we have developed and refined new models of care, and we seek to share these advances with other professionals in our field through teaching, training, and collaboration at the Andrus Center for Learning and Innovation (ACLI).

Since the 1990’s, we have been shaping the trauma-focused foundation of the current foundation of our treatment philosophy, the Sanctuary Model®, a trauma-informed method for strengthening organizational culture which has proven effective across a broad range of organizations serving children and adults with a wide spectrum of diagnoses. Sanctuary is full system approach to creating an empathetic culture of non-violence and open communication to help children and families recover from interpersonal trauma and chronic stress.

Effective implementation of the Sanctuary Model requires extensive involvement from leadership, staff, and clients at every level of the process. In 2005 we launched the Sanctuary Institute to present the model to the leadership of other service agencies. To date, the Sanctuary Institute has engaged over 200 organizations across the world in practicing Sanctuary and leveraging the strengths of their organization to foster change and reclaim a culture of hopefulness and innovation.

From the original founding of John Andrus’ orphanage, all of us at ANDRUS have been dedicated to creating a vibrant, innovative, widespread community of safety, support and hope for the future.

Notes/School Information:

Beyond our Campus Programs’ excellent core services – ANDRUS provides an extensive array of Campus Therapies that enable the vulnerable children in our care to find safety and emotional stability, manage their loss, and find a path to brighter and better futures. The therapies listed below are highlights of the ANDRUS experience, unique to our agency and proven in their effectiveness to build confidence, hope and stronger emotional lives.

  • Ropes Challenge Course: A series of 20 stations around our 107-acre campus involve rope ladders, swings, and other gymnastic equipment to help children learn to work in a team, solve problems, and build confidence and trust. This process is invaluable in helping hurting children learn that they can depend on other people, something often sorely lacking in their young lives.
  • PAWS – Pets at Work for Sanctuary: This pet-assisted therapy program helps a child build a relationship with dogs trained to work with vulnerable children. The children learn to accept unconditional attention and affection from the pets. They make great improvements with social skills and emotional management. PAWS helps children reach out beyond themselves to accept responsibility for another living thing and build relationships of affection and trust.
  • NYPUM – National Youth Program Using Mini-bikes: Emotionally challenged children usually fear risks and physical challenges. The “Bikes” program offers them the excitement of racing with significant safety measures (helmets, elbow guards, mouthpieces, etc.) in place. The children maintain their bikes, thus building their sense of responsibility and pride of ownership. Accepting the challenge of the bike course engenders a sense of accomplishment, overcoming of fear, and the joy of childhood invincibility.
  • Drama Therapy Partnership: ANDRUS partners with Creative Alternatives of New York (CANY) to employ theater arts in a group therapy setting. By acting out their personal histories, children are able to verbalize the traumas they’ve faced in the third person. Group work sparks the children’s creativity and imagination, helps them to write alternative narratives for their traumatic events (the future need NOT echo the past), practice new roles and behaviors, and increases their capacity for resilience and growth.
  • Therapeutic Gardening: To reinforce the lessons of the Earth Science curriculum at the Orchard School, students “get their hands dirty” as they learn to grow vegetables, flowers and herbs in ANDRUS’ two recently renovated greenhouses. Beyond the academic learning that takes place, the children gain pride in their accomplishments, patience in nurturing plants (and often themselves) and a tangible lesson that real growth and change takes time.
  • Labyrinth: The labyrinth is a contemplative walking path that promotes resolution of loss and helps our children to literally take steps toward their future. When a child cannot manage his/her emotions, staff directs him/her to ‘walk it out’ in the concentric circles of the labyrinth. Our experience has been that quite often by the time the child has completed walking the maze, emotions have settled down and he/she can see the situation more clearly and calmly. The children also study its historical use and significance, tend to the medicinal and therapeutic plantings at the site, and observe the birds and wildlife that come to the labyrinth.