At the Wallkill Central School District Board of Education meeting on Thursday, representatives from the Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) spoke about their programs.
Ulster BOCES serves the eight public school districts in Ulster County. They operate as extensions of local school districts to help them meet their educational and financial goals by offering shared educational programs and services.
A BOCES program is created when two or more school districts have similar needs that can be met through sharing. This is an economical way for districts to provide opportunities they otherwise might not be able to afford or that would be more expensive to provide independently. Their programs and services eliminate duplication of staff time, space and equipment. BOCES staff members also have particular skills and expertise related to each of the programs and services offered, making participation an effective option for students.
BOCES offers a wide variety of programs for people of all ages, interests and learning styles. They have career and technical classes for students in high school. These courses are taught by experienced instructors with extensive job service in their respective fields.
Advisory committees of professionals from local businesses collaborate with Ulster BOCES Career & Technical staff to ensure that each program’s curriculum meets industry standards and that students are trained using cutting-edge technology and equipment.
“When students graduate from one of our programs they are not only informed, they have actually done the work,” said Amy Storenski, principal of the Career & Technical Center.
Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Course offerings include business management, health sciences as well as education and training.
There are also programs for students ages five through 21 who are identified as needing specialized programs. These special education programs have been developed and offered to meet the specific needs of each student.
Ulster BOCES offers programs not only for school-aged children but also for adults. According to their website more than 500 adults attend their career education classes each year. Some examples of these programs include cosmetology, practical nursing and welding/metal fabrication.
At Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting, two students at Wallkill Senior High School spoke about their experiences in the BOCES Career & Technical Center programs.
Samantha Marino, a senior at Wallkill Senior High School, is currently enrolled in the early childhood/educational studies program at BOCES. While in the program, she has been enrolled in two internships: one at a daycare center and the other at an elementary school. She applauded the program for simulating what it would be like to be a teacher.
“We are given the opportunity to work hands on in real life situations,” she said.
Barrington Lewis, a junior at Wallkill Senior High School, had many positive things to say about his experiences in the BOCES cyber security program. He enjoyed learning from his qualified teacher, who holds a PhD and worked at IBM.
“I can get up in the morning and go to BOCES and just know that I’m going to learn something new that day that is guaranteed to help me later in the future,” he said.