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BOCES Holds All Staff Day

A beautiful sunny day served as the backdrop as Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES held its annual All Staff Day at the Holiday Valley Resort on Monday, August 26, 2013.  At the event’s opening, District Superintendent Lynda Quick welcomed more than 500 staff inside the main lodge.  She introduced and thanked the C-A BOCES Board of Education members in attendance.  She also thanked the planning committee, Holiday Valley and their staff, and the C-A BOCES technicians for all of their help in staging the event.

Ms Quick said she looks forward to All Staff Day every year as an opportunity for everyone to reconnect, re-energize, and be reminded of what a special organization our BOCES is. 

She then stated that public education is at a crossroads and that it is important for all BOCES staff to focus on our purpose and our biggest challenges.  She said, “Our mission is to provide the best education for our students and to provide the best services for our schools.  At the same time, state financial support is below levels of five years ago.”

She also noted our BOCES is in the middle of implementing the new APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) and the common core at a time when only a third of students in New York State are proficient in the core subjects. 

But she stressed, “We at BOCES will continue to face these challenges with caring, determination, and professionalism.”

Ms. Quick then introduced Franklinville Central School Superintendent Michelle Spasiano.  According to Ms. Spasiano, BOCES has served as her assistant superintendent and ‘friend’ in assisting her in many ways.   She said, “I am encouraged by your ‘can do’ attitude as we (FCS) struggle with the many challenges we face.  I thank you for always having the best interests of my (FCS) students at heart.  I couldn’t do what I do without you!”

A debut video produced by BOCES CTE Teacher John Tomerlin was then shown featuring staff from component school staff, parents, and some former students relating their positive personal experiences with BOCES programs and staff. 

One parent of an autistic child related, “It (the child’s educational experience) has been a phenomenal success.  We’ve exceeded what our hopes were.”

A former natural resources student, who now has his own start-up business taking down trees, repeated several times, “Thank you, BOCES, so much for letting me play in my big giant sandbox every day!”

Another CTE grad, Mike Weber, who took building technology at the BOCES Center at Belmont, went on to study air conditioning at Alfred State College and got a job right out of college as an air conditioning technician.  He said, “BOCES brought out the inner me.”  He credited the program and teachers at BOCES for giving him a chance to learn about the various building trades and allowing him to gain confidence in his abilities.  He summed up his experience at BOCES by stating, “BOCES was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Following the video, Building Technology Teacher at Ellicottville Terry Fuller and one of his prize pupils, Jake Wozniak of Springville Griffith Institute took the stage and related Jake’s experiences (some very funny) leading up to and following winning the 2012 National Skills USA Competition in cabinetmaking in Kansas City, Missouri.  Through various competitions, he has won thousands of dollars worth of prizes including tools.  He is also scheduled to compete at the International Cabinetmaking Competition in San Paulo, Brazil in 2015.

Mr. Fuller talked about Jake coming into his classroom with a high degree of potential.  Mr. Fuller noted, “He was extremely well prepared.  He knew what he wanted to do.  And he was ready to go after it.”  So Mr. Fuller was able to use differentiated instruction to direct Jake into an area of intense interest – cabinetmaking.

Young Wozniak stated, “I would not be sitting here (talking about his successes with cabinetmaking) without this man (Mr. Fuller) and BOCES.  Through them I was able to discover that I’m pretty damn good at this.”

Following the opening, staff attended morning and afternoon breakout sessions related to their specific jobs.  Most of the teachers (ISS, CTE, and Special Education) focused on the APPR.  Some of the other breakout sessions included training on such things as The Dignity for All Students Act, sexual harassment, hazard communications, and bloodborn pathogens and precautions.

BOCES Board of Education Members who attended the event included: Gilbert Green, Susan Potter, Maxine Dowler, Louis Nicol, and Dr. Heinke Lillenstein.

BOCES Safety Technician Holly Baker is shown leading a training session on sexual harassment.

Professional Development Staff Specialist Mark Carls talked about the Dignity for All Students Act and its implications for all BOCES employees.

More from All Staff Day . . .