Volume 51, Issue 5                                                                                                               January 2017 

James M. Ryan, Ed. D.
Spotlight on Curriculum and Instruction
I am continually amazed at the way our BOCES keeps pace with the needs of our component districts while providing true leadership. One of the very best examples of this is our Curriculum and Instruction department, the third major division I would like to highlight in this column.
We are extremely fortunate to have what I believe is the premier Curriculum and Instruction team in New York State, providing an extraordinary range of relevant instructional offerings. Districts look to us as leaders in identifying curriculum, providing instructional strategies and preparing staff and students for quality results on assessments.
Dr. Marla Gardner, Director of Curriculum and Instructional Services, leads this vitally important department, and I believe our success can be attributed in large part to the continuity of leadership she has provided. Dr. Gardner has built an incredible team, respected throughout the state and with a proven track record of accomplishments.
A cornerstone of our Curriculum and Instructional Services is the Curriculum Council. The Council provides districts with the opportunity to meet on a monthly basis to focus on curriculum and instruction. Not only do these gatherings foster professional collegiality and rich, topical conversations around curriculum, they give us the opportunity to take the lead in creating programs that clearly meet our districts' needs.
A few examples of this outstanding program development include our SS/ELA program and Science 21. The SS/ELA program has come to meet the instructional interests of our districts through interdisciplinary connection and a unique instructional approach. Through Science 21, we work with districts on current, relevant science curriculum and engage teachers on all levels in meaningful science instruction. Providing instructional strategies in the area of science for younger (K-6) students has proven to be very successful.
Even when curriculum is provided for teachers (by NY State, for example), the Curriculum and Instruction department works tirelessly to help teachers throughout our region develop their own best instructional practices.
As we turn the page on another productive year at PNW BOCES, I look forward to seeing all the critical and relevant ways we can continue to meet the needs of our component districts and beyond.

BOCES' Mission, Vision and Core Values:
Delivering Holiday Joy to Blythedale Children's Hospital
Fox Meadow teacher Brian Bucchignano, students and staff preparing to deliver bags of gifts to Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla.

Recovering from illness or injury in a hospital is a tough way to spend the holidays, but thanks to a very special BOCES tradition, those holidays were a bit brighter for the young patients at Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla. 

An annual toy drive coordinated by Fox Meadow Middle School teacher Brian Bucchignano has become a much-anticipated holiday event and is a wonderful example of BOCES' Mission of Service and Innovation Through Partnership.

As the winter break approached, Brian embarked on a massive effort to ensure that  each child at Blythedale would receive a special holiday gift. The task began with a list from the hospital, indicating how many boys and girls were currently at the facility, along with their ages. At the same time, Brian sent out a plea to employees for unwrapped toy donations. This year, that request that was met with an incredible outpouring of generosity, in the amount of 160 donated gifts. In addition to toys, BOCES staff donated wrapping paper, bows and tape.

Once the toys were collected, a day was designated for wrapping and organizing. Each year, Brian and his student and staff helpers take great care to make sure that each patient is matched with an appropriate holiday gift. Brian's middle school students were organized into groups of three, with each group responsible for wrapping and organizing presents by grade level. 

On December 21, Brian and his students loaded bags of wrapped gifts onto a school bus and headed down to Blythedale, ready to spread some holiday happiness. The students brought the presents into classrooms (Blythedale operates a full-day school program for its patients) and, according to Brian, "headed back to BOCES filled with pride and excitement about what they had accomplished."

Brian credits all who were involved in this effort with making the holidays special for the children at Blythedale, from those who donated and collected gifts to those who assisted with the organizing, wrapping and delivery effort. 

"This toy drive means so much to all involved," said Brian. "Every year, the BOCES family comes through and goes above and beyond to make sure we have enough gifts to donate."

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen agreed, adding, "Thanks to Brian and our BOCES family members for bringing our mission to life in a very special way during the holiday season." 
EMT Instructor Gets Students 
Ready for Action

Tech Center teacher Bob Cuomo with students enrolled in BOCES' new Emergency Medical Technician course.

They may be young, but they are ready to roll in a crisis. High school students in the new Emergency Medical Technician class at The Tech Center are learning every aspect of emergency service and will be eligible for jobs as EMTs once they complete the yearlong class.

Part of a collaboration among PNW BOCES' Tech Center, the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, and Phelps Hospital, the class provides students with all they need to know to respond to emergency calls, including medical knowledge, legal information and case documentation.

Bob Cuomo, director of EMS at the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, teaches the new class at The Tech Center, and is a veteran in the field. "I became an EMT in 1977, a paramedic in 1979, and I started teaching in 1982," Bob said. He is preparing students for every patient eventuality, from bumps and bruises to  injuries from acts of terror and violence. 

"You always need to be prepared for whatever situation you are called for," he said. "And you need to have all the necessary equipment ready and easily accessible."

Bob also explains legal information students need to know, such as patient informed consent, implied consent and what to do if a patient denies consent.

"You can't take someone to the hospital without their consent unless he is a minor or mentally unable to make the decision, but it is your responsibility to try to convince them if they are in need of hospitalization," Bob said. If patients do refuse consent, Cuomo told students, they need to sign a waiver, preferably one that is witnessed.

Some of Bob's students are planning to pursue careers in law enforcement or firefighting, and feel that the EMT training will be especially useful. Nick, a student from Walter Panas High School, said he is finding the class useful for his work as a volunteer firefighter in Lake Mohegan. "It will help me to be more involved and more a part of the work we do," he said. 

Bob is delighted that these students want to be involved in emergency services. "It's wonderful to be teaching at The Tech Center because we have a shortage of people in the EMT field, and these students are really an asset in an important occupation."

Culinary Arts teacher Christina Holic discusses BOCES' new culinary program at Tilly Foster Farm during a recent open house.

Culinary Arts Program at Tilly Foster Educational Institute
BOCES' new Tilly Foster Educational Institute, located on the Tilly Foster Farm property in Brewster, welcomed its first students this fall. The culinary arts program, previously housed on BOCES' Yorktown campus, is growing and thriving in its new location. 

Culinary Arts teacher Christina Holic shared details about the new program and how curriculum is tailored for the students who attend. "The program mimics the Pro Start curriculum, modified for our students," said Christina. Pro Start is a nationally recognized culinary arts curriculum.

"This is a two-year program," continued Christina. "We have instruction in the classroom, covering topics such as safety, sanitation, knife skills and the preparation of soups, stocks and sauces. Additionally, we work on practical, hands-on skills in our kitchen." Christina noted that the goal is for the students to be able to transition to the job market after completing the BOCES program.

BOCES is leasing the Tilly Foster Farm property from Putnam County, in a win-win situation for both parties. The historic Tilly Foster Farm has been renovated to house a fully equipped culinary school for BOCES students, and the county will take in revenue for the use of the facility via the lease agreement. 

The programs at Tilly Foster include culinary arts education for high school students with a farm-to-table concept as well as placement in local internships. The institute also offers evening adult culinary programs as part of its Continuing Education program. 

"We just started the program in September," said Christina.  "We are now in our fourth month and growing. We have held open houses for visitors and potential students, and our numbers have been increasing every month."

Christina has seen BOCES' Culinary Arts program have a huge impact on students. "Students can utilize this as a therapeutic setting as well as an educational setting," she said. "In the short period of time the students have been here, they have worked on professionalism and interpersonal skills, and they are taking pride in their accomplishments."


BOCES Wins State 
Communications Awards

Members of BOCES' School Communications Service were recognized at a recent Board meeting after earning a number of awards from the New York School Public Relations Association.

The School Communications Service at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES won five awards in the 37th annual New York School Public Relations Association communications contest. The awards were presented this fall at the New York State School Boards Association conference in Buffalo.

The School Communications Service, which provides services to 10 school districts in the region and more than a dozen districts in other parts of New York, offers expertise in publicity, newsletters, social media, mobile apps, videos, crisis communications, grant writing and market research. It has a staff of experienced professionals from the worlds of journalism, public relations and publishing.

PNW BOCES was recognized for:

Byram Hills School District, Budget Brochure. Marie Cortissoz, editor; Valerie Laudato, graphic designer. Award of Merit.

Elmsford Union Free School District, Elmsford Budget Video. Fiona Mitchell, producer; Ed Catapano, videographer. Award of Honor.

Hendrick Hudson, The Lanyard, Community Edition. Karen Hoffman and Ellen Lane, editors; Valerie Laudato, graphic designer. Award of Merit.

Mahopac Central School District, Thank You, Mahopac video. Ellen Lane, producer; Ed Catapano, videographer. Award of Honor.

Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, Falls Academy: Middle School Done Differently video. Fiona Mitchell & Ellen Lane, producers; Tishin Padilla, videographer. Award of Excellence.

Virtual Suggestion Box
As part of the  Future of BOCES Taskforce initiative, 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
Jarret Babcock, Teacher, The Tech Center. 
Regina Connolley, Teacher Aide, Walden. 
Kathleen Dannenhoffer, Teacher Aide, Walden. 
Mona Kelly, Treasurer, School Services Building. 
Catherine Leist, Naturalist, Madden Outdoor Education Center. 
Amy Michaud-Wells, Job Development Specialist, The Tech Center. Bridget Onorino, Teacher Aide, Somers Intermediate School. 
Pataricia Rappa, Occupational Therapist, Walden.

Marie Ackerman, Jason Adams, Lynn Allen, Magaly Almonte, Adrienne Almstead, Robert Angiello, Jarret Babcock, Catherine Balestrieri, Laura Belfiore, Jane Bernz, Daniela Campbell, Meaghan Capellini, Evelyn Case, Katharina Cerreta, John Chiara, Llanira DelaCruz, Lorraine DiBiase, Victoria Fanning, Pamela Farrell, Dawn Galvin, Patricia Gilman, Antonia Griggs, Rose Guthman, Kim Johnson, Mona Kelly, Nicole Laino, Jacqueline Levine, Erin Martins, Ekaterina McGaffey, Fiona Mitchell, Bernadine Ordonez, Vanessa Orellana, Ana Pascarelli, Catherine Pascarelli, Marianne Ragusa, Virginia Recine, Julie Rinaldi, Michelle Rose, Maria Scala, Gail Stelluti, Andrea Vezos, Barbara Waldron and Susan Zakrzewski.

     Visit our website at 

We hope you've enjoyed receiving the  BOCES Reporter  as an email newsletter. 
Our goal is to make the news and views of BOCES staff easily accessible to you.
Let us know what you think.  Suggestions and  comments are always welcome. 
Karen Hoffman, editor: 
BOCES Reporter: Karen Hoffman, Editor; Valerie Laudato, Graphic Designer