Fatu’s Story

At 19, Fatu’s future looks bright. She plans to go to Monroe College in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. She’s currently going to school and working full-time as a paralegal at Queens Defenders, which provides free services to low-income people. Not long ago, she was a recipient of those services.

You see, the future did not always look so bright for Fatu. When she came to live in one of SCO’s residences for youth in foster care in 2018, she had had a difficult childhood, and she’d been in trouble with the law.

When Fatu was 12, her mother returned to their native Liberia with her younger brother, leaving Fatu with an abusive family friend in Queens. She eventually ran away, joined a gang and got into trouble.

When she first came to SCO, Fatu was confrontational with staff and other residents. But despite her rocky start at her new home, SCO staff has been behind her since day one. They encouraged her to further her education and pursue her GED. They showed her the right way to do things, and most of all, they showed her they cared.

Fatu’s former Queens Defenders lawyer, Anthony Martone, played a pivotal role in her turnaround. He saw her potential and went the extra mile to help her by initiating an internship program at the firm for past clients who’ve been through the juvenile justice system. Fatu was the first intern and became the first full-time hire from the program.

Fatu is positive, respectful, and focused. She loves her job and it has inspired her to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice.

Her turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous, and it serves as an inspiration to other youth. Fatu is living proof of what is possible with a positive attitude, hard work, perseverance, and the help of caring adults who never stop believing in you.

See Fatu’s story in THE CITY.

(Photo: Ben Fractenberg-THE CITY)

Alayah’s Story

Alayah was always curious. When she saw something, she wouldn’t just take it at face value. She wanted to learn more. “How does that work?” “Why did that happen?” “What makes it do that?”

Her inquisitive nature was one of the traits that made her such a good student. She loves to learn and always has.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Alayah was at the top of her class. When she moved to New York, however, she risked having to repeat her junior year because some of her credits did not transfer.

Determined to graduate on time with her class, Alayah transferred to SCO’s East Brooklyn Community High School (EBCHS.) East Brooklyn is a transfer high school in partnership with SCO Family of Services and the New York City Department of Education. Students there can earn credits at an accelerated rate, so Alayah was able to earn her remaining junior credits and all of her senior credits in the same academic year.

Upon her arrival at EBCHS, Alayah had one goal: Go to college. She wanted to be the first in her family to go to college and she was determined to make it happen.

In the Spring of her senior year, Alayah’s EBCHS Advocate Counselor told her about a college scholarship available through Garden of Dreams, the Inspire Scholarship, and it’s substantial – $40,000 ($10,000 per year for four years) and a brand-new MacBook.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with MSG Entertainment and MSG Sports to bring life-changing opportunities to young people in need. SCO Family of Services is one of their partner organizations.

When Alayah learned about the Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship, she jumped at the opportunity to apply. With a little help from her English teacher and a letter of recommendation from the EBCHS School Director, Alayah submitted her application.

Immersed in finishing out her senior year and applying to a myriad of colleges, Alayah received an email that she received a Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship! It was, in her words, an “Oh, my God! What a relief!” moment.

It really should come as no surprise. Her insatiable desire for knowledge made her the perfect candidate.

Alayah’s drive to go to college paid off. She was accepted into 16 colleges. Sixteen! In the end, Alayah chose North Carolina A&T University. It’s an excellent school and the people she talked to had great things to say about it.

Alayah plans to Major in Biology on the Pre-Med track, with a Minor in Psychology. She’d love to get into a top medical school and become a surgeon one day. She grew up helping to take care of people. It’s in her blood.

Alayah has set her goals high, but with her talent, drive and determination, she’s destined to achieve them all.

Congratulations, Alayah!

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Academic Program

Westbrook Preparatory School offers a robust academic program designed to provide rigor within a therapeutic learning environment for both day and residential students.

The curriculum is aligned with the New York State Common Core Learning Standards and students are provided with coursework required to meet New York State graduation requirements for a Regents diploma.

All Westbrook students receive daily instruction within a low ratio (6:1:1) setting to ensure appropriate attention to their individual needs as well as the provision of differentiated instruction by our outstanding faculty. Our innovative curriculum content and design reflects the integration of best pedagogical practices and is geared to foster the self-actualization process for all our students. We emphasize constructivist learning approaches, inquiry-based learning strategies, student autonomy, and access to multiple learning modalities. Our classroom environment is structured, nurturing, and filled with multiple opportunities for students to express their creativity and draw upon their unique strengths, preferences and interests.

Academic Program Highlights

  • Access to learning technology via the use of laptops, audiobooks and iPads
  • Annual parent-teacher conferences
  • Array of related services embedded within the school day
  • Availability of school-wide Positive Behavior Supports (PBS)
  • Collaboration with Nassau BOCES in the provision of online coursework
  • Curriculum-based field trips and site visits
  • Daily academic support periods for all students
  • Innovative art and music curricula including  courses in digital music theory and notation
  • Innovative technology curriculum including courses in MS Office suite and Blockly coding
  • Innovative health and wellness curriculum including topics such as self-advocacy, healthy body image and safe dating
  • Local member of National Honor Society
  • Unique 6-week Summer Academy that supplements academics with recreational activities (i.e. hiking) and clubs (i.e. Rocketry Club)
  • Valuable community internships and work-based learning
  • Vibrant school community filled with fun activities and team building opportunities

Summer Academy

In order to support our students’ positive growth throughout the traditional school year, Westbrook Preparatory School offers a unique 6-week Summer Academy program during the months of July and August. The program is designed to augment our academic program by providing a blended program of academics, athletics and recreational activities that target holistic growth and development during the summer months. Course offerings are diverse throughout the summer and may range from Regents examination preparation to popular electives such as Forensics and Pocket Theatre. During our Summer Academy, students are strategically programmed for courses based on academic requirements and they are also provided their typical array of related services. Academic coursework is supplemented by a range of daily activities that are congruent with student interests and preferences, and provide meaningful opportunities for engagement in community based activities such as internships, athletics, clubs, field trips and summer employment.

Summer Coursework and Activities:

  • Aquatics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Crochet Club
  • Field Trips
  • Forensics
  • Gaming Club
  • Hiking Club
  • Internships
  • Pocket Theatre
  • Regents Examination Preparation
  • Rocketry Club
  • School Newspaper Club
  • Soccer
  • Summer Employment
  • Travel Training
  • Westbrook Talent Show

Back to Westbrook»

This program is associated with...

Westbrook Preparatory School

Westbrook Preparatory School is the first residential New York State Regents junior/senior high school for students with a classification of Autism, Other Health Impairment, or Emotional Disability and related conditions. Read More

Success Stories

Fatu’s Story

Changing her trajectory - anything is possible when others believe in you

Her turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous, and it serves as an inspiration to other youth. Learn More

Alayah’s Story

Next Stop, College! Alayah O’Sullivan - East Brooklyn Community High School Class of 2022

She wanted to be the first in her family to go to college and she was determined to make it happen. Learn More


of residents in our NYC shelters were successfully discharged to stable housing


of babies in our Nurse Family Partnership were current with immunizations at 24 months

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