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Local school board members learn about BOCES programs during Remington school building tours

Feb. 10, 2020



Student leading a tour through the hallway at the Remington school building


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta leads a tour group through the Remington school building on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Local Board of Education members were invited to tour the building because of a public vote on March 31 on whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the building from Central Valley. For more information, visit www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.




ILION – Local school board members recently toured the Remington school building in Ilion to find out more about the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES programs located there ahead of an upcoming public vote on whether Herkimer BOCES should purchase the building from Central Valley.

Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta led one of the tour groups through the school-aged and adult education classrooms at the Remington building and spoke about her experiences at the school.

“I just want them to realize I love going here,” Cavaretta said, following the tour. “At first I wasn’t, but now I feel so comfortable here, and I feel like I can be myself.”

Herkimer BOCES hosted the open house tours on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the former Remington Elementary School building at 77 E. North St. in Ilion. Administrators, teachers and staff were on hand, and teachers in each classroom talked about what they teach, projects their students are working on and how they help students.

The vote to approve whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the Remington building from Central Valley is scheduled for noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. Find out more information about the vote at www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.

Qualified voters may vote at any location listed below or at the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex Technical Education Conference Room at 352 Gros Blvd. in Herkimer. Each district will have a voting location for residents’ convenience:

  • Central Valley: Small gym at CVA

  • Dolgeville: High School Lobby

  • Frankfort-Schuyler: Old Gymnasium

  • Herkimer: High School Library

  • Little Falls: Middle School Gymnasium

  • Mount Markham: District Office

  • Owen D Young: Founder’s Study

  • Poland: Lobby

  • Richfield Springs: Entrance adjacent to baseball field

  • West Canada Valley: Front Lobby

Value of Pathways

For the tours on Tuesday, Feb. 4, Pathways Academy Student Council members Cavaretta, Destiny Charles and Johnna Geweye served as the tour guides.

Cavaretta, a Frankfort-Schuyler student who is on a two-year plan at the Pathways Academy at Remington, is taking courses for grades 10-11 this school year and grades 11-12 next year. Pathways Academy has prepared her for her Regents exams and to complete her goals of going to college and becoming a substance abuse counselor.

“I feel like I’m going to be able to,” she said.

Pathways Academy focuses on students who have had a difficult time in a traditional school structure or have to catch up on credits but have the ability to get a high school diploma. Pathways Academy classes are project-driven and infuse career and technical education.

Cavaretta said she hopes the tours helped attendees see that even though Pathways students might be facing issues such as anxiety or a need to work at their own pace doesn’t mean they can’t be successful students.

“I just hope they realize this is an actual school,” she said. “We’re just like any other school. We want to be recognized as a school.”

‘A great place’

The tours included going through the adult education offices and classrooms, viewing adult Licensed Practical Nursing classes in session and visiting the nursing laboratories.

LPN instructor Mary Prokopienko spoke about the full-time LPN class, the part-time day class, the part-time evening class, the Certified Nursing Assistant trainings that are offered and the opportunities the lab rooms in the Remington building provide for students.

“All the skills that we give them, they can do everything in this lab,” Prokopienko said. “If they’re interested in learning, there is a never ending amount of things they can learn in this room.”

On the other side of the building, attendees visited a variety of school-aged academic classrooms.

Anthony Wronka, a business and math teacher for alternative education and 12:1:1 students, spoke about how he teaches students useful skills such as knowing what to look out for on a paycheck.

Wronka also explained a hydroponics project his students are working on involving experimenting with plant growth and developing a business model for a hydroponics testing facility.

“We’ve got quite a garden growing in here,” he said.

In eighth grade general education teacher Nycol Conigliaro’s classroom, she spoke to attendees about how she helps students to use mindfulness and kindness, deal with stress and respond to any issues that come up.

“I enjoy it. I love working here,” she said. “It’s a great place to work.”

‘A learning experience’

The tour also went through various rooms used for specific purposes.

Art teacher Dina DeSarro told guests how students come up with a lot of fun and creative works of art in her class.

“This is where we perform all the artwork you see in the hallways and on the yearbook,” DeSarro said. “This is where it all happens.”

Another stop on the tour was a room with cooking equipment that Pathways Academy teacher Erica Haver uses for family and consumer science and service industry classes and for cooking treats as part of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program at Pathways.

Haver, a PBIS team leader, explained that the program includes award ceremonies, students earning “BOCES bucks” for positive behavior that they can use to buy items from an in-school store and special perks such as fun events or foods including nachos or cookies.

“These are things we do to help students improve behavior,” she said.

Pathways Trade Industries teacher Adam Spatto showed some work his students built in the construction lab there and talked about how students do maintenance, welding and construction work – including work for customers.

“I take on the customer jobs because that’s a learning experience they need,” he said.

Spatto said students take on a lot of hands-on learning in his classes and learn helpful life skills. He also works to prepare students for the option of further Career and Technical Education courses at Herkimer BOCES when they become juniors and seniors.

“Our goal is to get the 10th-grade students prepared to go to CTE,” he said.

‘They’re catching up’

The tours ended in the Learning Center, where Learning Center teaching assistants Jose Lopez and Alisa Hubbell gave a presentation about the Edmentum online credit recovery program. Students have completed 30 courses through the program since it was launched in March 2019, Lopez said.

“This catches kids up,” he said. “It allows them to work at the speed they want.”

Lopez, who is also a music teacher, said Edmentum offers students a chance recover credits in core classes and take electives such as forensic science and mythology and folklore.

The program alleviates pressure for students and allows them to graduate when they might not have otherwise.

“The credit recovery part makes me so happy. We are able to get students caught up,” he said. “They’re catching up with their classmates; they’re catching up with their graduation year.”

More about the vote

Since 2013, Herkimer BOCES has leased the Remington building from Central Valley to provide specialized educational programs for students from its 10 component districts: Central Valley, Dolgeville, Frankfort-Schuyler, Herkimer, Little Falls, Mount Markham, Owen D. Young, Poland, Richfield Springs and West Canada Valley. During the current school year, 212 school-aged children from the 10 component school districts and 250 adults from the community have attended programs housed in the Remington building.

As a more permanent solution to its space needs, Herkimer BOCES proposes to purchase the Remington school building. The Central Valley community voted 256-16 on Nov. 12, 2019, in favor of selling the building to Herkimer BOCES.

The next step is for residents of all 10 component districts to vote to authorize the purchase of the building by Herkimer BOCES. A simple majority vote (or 50 percent plus one yes vote) is required for the proposal to pass.

The proposed purchase price of the Remington building is $1. Because of this price, Central Valley will not be penalized and will continue to receive approximately $777,000 in state aid owed to the district from prior building projects. If the selling price were higher, the amount of state aid received by Central Valley from prior building projects would be reduced.

At the Remington building, Herkimer BOCES provides alternative education, 6:1:1 school-based behavioral health operated in collaboration with ICAN, 8:1:1 special education, 12:1:1 special education, adult literacy, adult programs to earn high school equivalency diplomas, adult licensed practical nursing and adult certified nursing assistant training. Offices are also located there for the prekindergarten and migrant tutors programs.

 

Student and teacher talking to tour guests with a chalkboard behind them with the word Welcome written on it
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES eighth grade general education teacher Nycol Conigliaro (left) and Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta (right) speak to a tour group on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Remington school building. Local Board of Education members were invited to tour the building because of a public vote on March 31 on whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the building from Central Valley. For more information, visit www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.

 

 

LPN instructor and a Pathways student talking to tour guests in nursing lab
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Licensed Practical Nursing instructor Mary Prokopienko (left) and Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta (second from left) speak to a tour group on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Remington school building. Local Board of Education members were invited to tour the building because of a public vote on March 31 on whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the building from Central Valley. For more information, visit www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.

 

Close view of an LPN instructor and Pathways student in nursing lab talking to tour guests
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Licensed Practical Nursing instructor Mary Prokopienko (left) and Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta (right) speak to a tour group on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Remington school building. Local Board of Education members were invited to tour the building because of a public vote on March 31 on whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the building from Central Valley. For more information, visit www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.

 

Art teacher and Pathways student talking with tour guests and the district superintendent
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES art teacher Dina DeSarro (second from left) and Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta (third from left) speak to a tour group on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Remington school building, as Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Sandra Sherwood (right) and other attendees look on. Local Board of Education members were invited to tour the building because of a public vote on March 31 on whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the building from Central Valley. For more information, visit www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.

 

Trade Industries teacher and Pathways student speaks to tour guests and district superintendent in construction lab
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Trade Industries teacher Adam Spatto (middle, left) and Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta (middle, right) speak to a tour group on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Remington school building, as Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Sandra Sherwood and other attendees look on. Local Board of Education members were invited to tour the building because of a public vote on March 31 on whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the building from Central Valley. For more information, visit www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.

 

Pathways Student Council member talking while giving a tour through the hallway at Pathways
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy Student Council member Veronica Cavaretta speaks on Tuesday, Feb. 4, about the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program offered at the Pathways Academy in the Remington school building. Local Board of Education members were invited to tour the building because of a public vote on March 31 on whether Herkimer BOCES can purchase the building from Central Valley. For more information, visit www.herkimer-boces.org/remingtonbuilding.