Volume 51, Issue 8                                                                                                               April 2017 

James M. Ryan, Ed. D.
A Day in the Life
In addition to overseeing PNW BOCES, my role as District Superintendent includes working to ensure educational leadership in the region. To that end, on March 23, our BOCES hosted an Aspiring Superintendents Workshop, providing approximately 30 school administrators a glimpse of life as a superintendent and a chance to hear firsthand from people currently holding the position.

The full-day session featured sitting superintendents from across our region sharing their unique perspective on a variety of topics, such as the interview process, building relationships with school boards, and financial leadership.  The workshop also included a panel discussion consisting of five local superintendents in their first few years in the position. These panelists highlighted specific challenges and rewards they have experienced in the job, providing workshop participants with a unique view of the superintendency. 

The workshop was designed to convey the comprehensiveness of the superintendent's role, which covers everything from curriculum and instruction, business and personnel to technology, athletics, public relations and community expectations.

The event was sponsored by BOCES' Center for Educational Leadership and the Leadership for Educational Achievement Foundation, the professional development arm of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. 

During the month of March, numerous PNW BOCES administrators participated in the "Walk in My Shoes" initiative (look for a story in next month's Reporter). The Aspiring Superintendents Workshop was undertaken in the same spirit, allowing a group of area school administrators to essentially "walk in the shoes" of current superintendents.

At PNW BOCES, our responsibility is to sustain quality educational leadership in our region, and it's exciting to see how we continue to engage our local districts through these types of unique experiences.

BOCES Core Values:
We Can Do That
New Indoor Activity Center Gets Students Moving

Director of Special Education Shelley Fleischmann; physical education instructors Mike Watson and Bob Taps; teacher aide Liane Delgado and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen in the new Indoor Activity Center at Walden.

Last year, physical education instructor Bob Taps came up with the idea of an indoor space where Walden students could get in some extra physical activity  during the day. He could see firsthand how physical exertion helped Walden students feel calmer and more focused in the classroom. 

Bob presented his idea to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen, and now, after months of planning, the idea has become a reality, in the form of the school's new Indoor Activity Center. Located on one side of the Walden gym, the bright, inviting space features bicycles, mini trampolines, sensory tables, tunnels and, at its center, a giant, inflatable "bouncy house."

"We schedule all Walden classes for 20 minutes in here every single day," said Bob.  "Additionally, any student can come here at any time of the day if they need a physical release, even if another class is here. This facility provides a perfect outlet for our students."

Physical education instructor Mike Watson trained Walden staff in supervising students on the equipment and said that "everybody has been very excited about the new facility and the opportunities it provides."

Bob agreed, noting that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. "Teachers are finding it beneficial in their classrooms, both before and after their students' activity sessions. They are seeing their students more focused and ready to learn after they've spent time in the facility. The space also serves as a wonderful motivator, because the students really look forward to coming here."

Walden teacher aide Liane Delgado provided valuable input during the center's conception and implementation and is very pleased with the result.  "It's been incredibly reinforcing and calming for our students," said Liane. "It's truly a positive addition to the day here at Walden."

Watching a group of students jumping around together in the bouncy house, Director of Special Education Shelley Fleischmann said, "When you walk into the center and see the incredible equipment and the obvious excitement among the students and staff,  it's easy to see that this facility has a 'wow factor.' This is yet another feature that sets our BOCES apart."
Think Spring!
"Welcome Spring" decorations in front of the Walden main office, created by staff and students in Justin Delgado's class.
BOCES Assistant Superintendent Honored
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen was recently recognized by the New York State Council of School Superintendents with an Appreciation Award.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen received the New York State Council of School Superintendents Appreciation Award on March 5th, at the Council's Winter Institute.

A tireless supporter of the Council's efforts to promote effective school leadership, Lynn was cited for her work in organizing two daylong retreats on "Supporting Women in Educational Leadership." 

Holding a master's degree in social work and a doctorate in educational leadership from Fordham University, Lynn came to PNW BOCES in 2002 from the Blind Brook Union Free School District. During her time here she has served as special education program coordinator, director of the Guidance and Child Study Center and assistant superintendent. 

The New York State Council of School Superintendents is a professional and advocacy organization with more than a century of service to school superintendents, and recently assistant superintendents, in New York State.  The Council provides its more than 800 members with numerous professional development opportunities, publications and personal services, while advocating for public education and the superintendency.
Class Project Brings Messages from Across the Globe into Pines Bridge

Pines Bridge teacher Carolyn Schneider with some of her students by the postcards they have received from around the world.

Postcards line the walls with messages from places as far flung as Singapore and as near as White Plains.  The pictures depict small towns in states like South Dakota, tourist capitals like London, England and resort spots like Hawaii. All of the cards are addressed to students at the Pines Bridge School.

Carolyn Schneider, the teacher who launched the postcard project, said the students received 639 cards including 430 from all 50 states and 209 from around the world. Forty-one students participated in the project, which began as an offshoot of an English Language Arts lesson that features a story about a boy who receives postcards from around the world.

"I was amazed at how many parents took it upon themselves to promote this," said Carolyn. "It was something that parents and children could do together and involve family and friends. It was fun and the end result is pretty."

One mom put an ad in a newspaper in Liverpool, England, asking for postcards, and another wrote to chambers of commerce around the country seeking cards. When the school year ends, each student who participated will get to take home the postcards that were addressed to him or her. One parent plans to decorate a wall of her daughter's room with the cards she received.

As the postcards came pouring in, Carolyn said, she used the activity across the curriculum. Students located places on the map, counted and categorized cards, calculated how many cards were needed to reach representation from all 50 states and more. For their part, the students enjoyed seeing their names displayed on the cards and taking in the sights from so many diverse places.

PNW BOCES employees attending a recent training for the new Ambassador initiative.

BOCES' New Ambassador Program
The BOCES Ambassador Program was introduced in an earlier issue of the Reporter. Here, we present a video featuring Jackie Levine, Director of the Hudson River Teacher Center, who originally brought the idea of identifying BOCES Ambassadors to Assistant Superintendent Lynn Allen.
The goal of the Ambassador Program is to help employees better communicate their roles, as well as BOCES' mission and core values. A BOCES Ambassador is someone who is knowledgeable about the agency, stays current on BOCES news and programming, and can articulate what they do and what BOCES does, overall.
Ambassador training prepares BOCES employees to speak about what they know best: the things they do on a daily basis, how they impact students and how they provide services to our districts.
Jackie recently worked with Lynn to design an "elevator statement" type of training. The elevator statement is what you would say "if you had 30 seconds in an elevator with a stranger and you had to convey what you do," said Jackie.
"Being able to say what you do is so important," she added, emphasizing that every member of our BOCES family is, in fact, a BOCES ambassador.

Virtual Suggestion Box
Please be reminded that you are welcome to share your ideas and suggestions  to boost morale and improve our collective work by using our virtual suggestion box. To access the box, go to the BOCES website at  http://www.pnwboces.org/
(click the employees tab and then suggestion box) or go directly to:

The virtual suggestion box is checked on a daily basis and all suggestions are carefully reviewed and considered. Suggestions of merit that are acted upon are highlighted in the BOCES Reporter.    
Thanks again to all those who have used the virtual suggestion box, and keep the new ideas coming! 
Staff  Stuff
Mary Lamanna, Teacher, Pines Bridge School.

Alba Florez-Reason, Special Education Business Analyst, School Services Building. 
Lisa Fuentes, Teacher, Walden School. 
Stuart Binder, Occupational Therapist, Pines Bridge School. 
Taheera Mushatt, Teacher Aide, Walden School. 
Patricia Pfister, Support Services Coordinator, School Services Building.

Antonia Adams, Amabilia Aguilar, Melissa Bayeur, Megan Bromfield, Suzanne Bruce, Kristie Campbell, Rosamaria Carroll, Alfonse Cotoia, Isabel da Silva, Lindita Dedvukaj, Steven DeFino, Laura Dineen, Carly Dreher, Karen Edmond, Patricia Foster-Tomaskovic, Michael Fraioli, Amelia Francese, Matthew Garrity, Joanne Gonnella, Hallie Hirsch, Don Hoppermann, Amy Jencik, Nancy Lorenz, Cristina Lucci, Joseph Mannozzi III, Marissa Marr, Amy Michaud-Wells, Iris Niwinsky, Janet Patalano, Diane Pecorelli, Lorraine Petriello, Louisa Pulice, Jennifer Reid, Colin Remick, Amanda Rizzo, Susan Rosenstrach, Kristen Rovello, Cynthia Scinto, Jessica Scully, Jill Sheer, Robert Stanford, Esther Teligades, Joan Thompson, Roberta Tuttle, Kim Weisgerber and Jennifer Wynne.

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