Volume 51, Issue 3                                                                                                                November 2016 

Career & Technical Education Offers Many Paths to Success

Dr. James Ryan, Superintendent and CEO

Arriving at PNW BOCES, I am so proud to see the exciting and relevant programs offered through our Career and Technical Education Division. I was fascinated to see that, in addition to the traditional offerings in the trades, such as  auto body, cosmetology, etc., we provide students with extensive offerings in health careers, sports medicine, pre-engineering and environmental science, to name a few. 

As I look through our PNW BOCES Services Guide, I am struck by the dozens of non-traditional CTE courses we offer. I can just imagine a high school student scanning the guide and envisioning the exciting possibilities in courses such as cybersecurity, environmental studies, veterinary health...the list goes on.

The passion of our staff drives our program offerings forward. Our CTE leadership and instructors make a concerted effort to provide programs for our students that are current and exciting. I am also impressed with our ability to offer CTE experiences in satellite locations. For example, the recently opened Tilly Foster Farm Educational Institute serves as a site for our Culinary Arts program. In some cases, a satellite location can make enrolling easier for students who value the flexibility of a program closer to home.

Another point of pride is that students attending our CTE programs enjoy tremendous post-secondary placements, whether it is a two- or four-year college program or heading directly into the workforce, trained with appropriate and relevant skills. Throughout our region, PNW BOCES' placement efforts are well known and well received.

For students wondering what the future holds for them, PNW BOCES can be a very inviting option. It is truly an exciting time for students in our region to have such a rich and diverse set of career opportunities, and I am extremely proud of the work of our CTE Division to make these options possible.

Assistive Technology Forum
Josh, a Pines Bridge student, works with speech pathologist Kathy Molchan-Hefner using a word prediction app. The technology helps Josh use a keyboard with fewer keystrokes and allows him to participate in writing assignments.

We can do that! That was the response when Education Technology Coordinator Jennifer Wilson was approached by BOCES component districts about creating a resource for education professionals utilizing Assistive Technology in the classroom. 

Assistive Technology encompasses anything that helps individuals with disabilities learn, work or perform activities of daily living. Here at BOCES, students have access to a wide range of assistive technologies, from very simple strategies such as using one's finger to point to text while reading to software that transforms iPads into augmentative communication devices. 

Upon learning that staff who work with students with disabilities were looking for a way to share information and learn more about relevant technologies, Jen spearheaded a brand new program: The Assistive Technology Forum.

The Assistive Technology Forum recently heard from an Apple representative on the topic of accessibility features.
The goal of the Forum is "to explore the definition, development, delivery and challenges of quality assistive technology services to support student learning," said Jen. The first forum drew 20 participants from 10 districts. 

"The new Assistive Technology Forum has already provided me with a great resource I have begun to use," said speech pathologist Kathy Molchan-Hefner.  "I am looking forward to finding out how others are problem solving their technology issues and the resources they are using."

Topics to be covered in this year's forums include integrating technology in the classroom, training staff on the use of technology and keeping oneself updated on available technologies. 

"There is a need in our area to stay current on assistive technology options from low tech to high tech. This is especially important in light of the explosion of apps, websites, and programs available that support those that are differently abled," said Jen. "There is also a changing technology landscape as a result of districts moving to 1:1 initiatives, making it even more important for professionals supporting assistive technology to have the opportunity to learn from each other."

Halloween Heroes!

Students from Melissa Bayeur's Walden class posed with members of the Curriculum department during the School  Services Building's annual Halloween parade.  In what has become a beloved tradition here at PNW BOCES, employees in the School Services Building hosted a festive and fun Halloween parade for Pines Bridge and Walden students. Hallways were festooned with spider webs, bats and pumpkins, and around every turn, students met costumed staff members wishing them a Happy Halloween and handing out treats. 


Hudson River Teacher Center

A recent workshop sponsored by the Hudson River Teacher Center, the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project - Units of Study in Writing Grades K - 2.

The Hudson River Teacher Center arranges high-quality, innovative professional development opportunities for teachers and other district professionals based on needs indicated by their districts, state mandates, or a need for certifications. 

The Teacher Center's policy board is comprised of representatives from its member districts (Briarcliff Manor, Croton-Harmon, Hendrick Hudson, Lakeland, Peekskill and PNW BOCES) along with business, college, and community representatives. These partners guide the Teacher Center in its operation.

Offering a huge selection of programs, both online and face-to-face, the Center gives teachers the tools they need to improve their practice, or to comply with mandates or professional requirements. The Center serves all educational professionals:  regular-, special- and occupational-education professionals; speech pathologists; support staff; teacher assistants and aides.

In addition to a long-standing accredited partnership with Wilson Language Training, the Center currently works with many non-profit and private organizations, including NYSUT, Teachers College, Fountas and Pinnell, Learning Ally, Living History Foundation, and Eduscape.

Working closely with colleges such as Manhattanville College, Pace University, New York Institute of Technology and Long Island University, the Teacher Center looks for ways to offer the professional programs that teachers need, often at a deeply discounted price and held at the convenient location of Yorktown Heights, NY. The Center arranges many courses through area colleges that help make teachers more marketable in their field, such as TESOL and technology programs. 

In 2016-2017, the Hudson River Teacher Center will continue to provide cutting edge programs to the region and onsite.  It will also provide grant-funded services to its member districts, increase teacher capacity for our component districts and support educators in their quest to provide best teaching strategies to our students. 


BOCES' Mission, Vision and Core Values:
A Call for Volunteers

Purchasing Agent Meilisa Arlt created a Dr. Seuss-themed decorative sign that incorporates PNW BOCES' core values into its playful message.
As discussed in the October issue of the Reporter, we are looking forward to spotlighting examples of PNW BOCES' Mission, Vision and Core Values. These principles are exemplified throughout our organization, across every BOCES department by every type of employee, and we would like everyone to know it when we see it.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen
welcomes the submission of examples of these principles "in action."  According to Lynn, this will enable us to "better know and understand our purpose and see how we are contributing to that purpose in meaningful ways." Anyone interested in sharing such examples is encouraged to send them to Lynn at lallen@pnwboces.org.

The goal is to connect what BOCES employees do every day to uphold our Mission, Vision and Core Values:

MISSION: Service and Innovation Through Partnership
VISION: To become a BOCES of the highest quality, providing cutting edge programs and services to our region and beyond
CORE VALUES: Create Pathways to Success for Every Student, Embrace our "We Can Do That" attitude and Promote our Culture of Excellence

As staff members made preparations for the annual Halloween parade in the School Services Building, Purchasing Agent Meilisa Arlt was spotted hanging a Dr. Seuss-themed decorative sign, with arrows pointing in various directions. One of the arrows featured the title, "We Can Do That" ville.  "That's a clear example of someone incorporating one of the Core Values into everything we do," said Lynn.

"In the business office we always try to be very customer-service-oriented," said Meilisa, who added that she was inspired by a "Seussville" sign that she spotted online.  "Here in the Business Office, we ARE in 'We Can Do That' ville!"

Teacher Invites K-9 Unit to Class for a Doggone Good Forensics Lesson

Wiltsy the police dog meets students at Fox Meadow Middle and High School during a visit coordinated by Fox Meadow teacher Patty Lucido.
Fox Meadow Middle/High School students had the chance to meet an 80-pound, long-eared super sleuth when Wiltsy, the K-9 detective, came to the school for a visit. 

Teacher Patty Lucido invited Trooper Fran Torson of the New York State Police K-9 Unit to come to class with her canine partner in response to questions students taking Patty's forensic science course had raised about the animals. 

"We were talking about methods of evidence collection, and one way to gather evidence is to use dogs, whose keen sense of smell can track a person for more than 100 miles," Patty said.  "The New York State Police have been utilizing bloodhounds to detect human scent since 1934, and the students said they would like to see one of those dogs and learn more." 

Torson showed up with Wiltsy, a bloodhound who has been on the job for only eight months, but has already assisted in a number of cases and successfully tracked a man who had run away from a group home. To track the man, Torson explained, Wiltsy relied on the scent from a car key, which was the only item that had not been touched by other people. 

Researchers have estimated that a bloodhound's nose consists of approximately 230 million olfactory cells, or "scent receptors" - 40 times the number in humans. In addition to their highly efficient noses, the dogs' efforts to track scents are assisted by their long ears, which drag on the ground, collect odors and sweep them into the dog's nostrils. 

Torson said bloodhounds are primarily used to track missing elderly people and children who may have wandered off, along with suspected or known criminals fleeing police. The canines are well suited to the task because bloodhounds can differentiate between the scent of the person being chased and those that are pursuing. 

Torson said the dogs' training is based on repetition and reward. "She's a dog, so she wants a reward," Torson said. Wiltsy's preferred treat is a hot dog, and Torson keeps them in the cargo pockets of her uniform when training or working a case with her. 

"We never had a police dog visit our campus before, so it was very exciting for our students and staff," said Patty. "I believe our students were quite surprised to learn that Wiltsy was not only able to track a person up to 100 miles away, but she was also very lovable and friendly."

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! 


Evelyn Case, Senior Office Assistant, Risk and Safety Management. 
Jay Ferris, Maintenance Mechanic, O & M - Garage. 

William Ambos, Teacher Aide, Walden. Suzanne Barnett, Teacher Aide, Walden. Christy Cecera, Teacher Aide, Special Education. Alexandra Coello, Teacher Aide, Walden. Megan King, Office Assistant, RSE-TASC. Megan Lull, Teacher Aide, Walden. Justin Lundstedt, Occupational Therapist, Walden. Valencia Anderson, Adult Education Instructor, Tech Center. Julie Rinaldi, Teacher Aide, Pines Bridge. Kerry Seidel, Teacher Aide, Pines Bridge. Joseph DeCicco, Teacher, Tech Center. Mary Ellen Cassidy, Senior Office Assistant, Tech South. Laura Collins, Teacher Aide, Fox Meadow.

Tammy Adams, Laura Altschuler, Douglas Andreotti, William Brightman, Stephanie Carnes, Susan Chenoweth, Jennifer Del Vecchio, Diane Dursi, Shelley Einbinder Fleischmann, Brina Gartner, Rachel Gibson, Fernando Gomez, Michelle Gonzalez-Delgado, Marissa Gurka, Matthew Harris, Noelle Harrison, Ellen Lane, Debra LaPadula, LaTheresa LaRocco, Rachel Levenkron, Megan Lull, Christina McGuire, Michael Mueller, Joy Myke, Kristen Palmer, Jose Proano, Maria Provenzano, Linda Quicci, Alex Ramon, Stacy Salmeri, Carolyn Schneider, Michael Sellet, Cynthia Sosnowski, Robert Trama, Alison Ventriglia, Jessica Yantos and Jessica Zamlowski.
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: khoffman@pnwboces.org or ext. 232

BOCES Reporter: Karen Hoffman, Editor; Valerie Laudato, Graphic Designer