BOCES STEM program hosts second annual VEX Robotics Competition
Sixteen student teams from six area school districts competed in the Spring 2014 After-School VEX Robotics competition on May 20 at the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center.
Nearly 80 middle and high school students from six school districts showcased their robotic projects and competed for awards. The GST BOCES STEM Team organized the event, which was made possible by a Perkins Grant that provided funding for this after-school enrichment program.
Students from Arkport, Campbell-Savona, Corning-Painted Post, Elmira, Hornell and Watkins Glen competed with robots that they constructed and programmed to function autonomously and under remote operator control. The event not only promoted science, technology, engineering and math skills, it also encouraged teamwork and creativity. Awards were given out to both individuals and teams at the end of the day-long event. The competition included tasks, such as moving objects from one area to another in a specific parameter, a relay race, a science fair and a robot "dance" to music.
"I learned how to build a robot and how to program it," said one seventh-grader. "I thought it was pretty exciting. It gave me something cool to do after school."
The Perkins Grant, supervised by GST BOCES Executive Director Chris Weinmann, provided funding for STEM learning for the after-school robotics clubs. The grant provided a small stipend for teachers to act as mentors and advisers, and it provided the actual parts and equipment to build the robots. Professional development and training was provided by the GST BOCES STEM Team.
BOCES organizes massive test grading system for 21 school districts
Staff from the GST BOCES Instructional Support Services Department recently helped organize a massive test grading operation for the New York State ELA and Math Assessments.
In this photo, Linda Perry stands by stacks of exams at the Hilton Garden Inn in Horseheads. The manpower involved in this group effort is significant.
According to Linda Perry, ISS supervisor, this effort involved:
• Grading tests for 30,000 students in all
21 component school districts
• Hiring 30 regional retired teachers to serve as leaders,
raters or quality assurance supervisors
• Hiring approximately 400 certified teachers, mostly
retirees and subs, to grade the tests
• Organizing the logistics for an event that lasted six days.
"This is a huge collaboration," said Perry. "Our maintenance team transports the test materials securely between the hubs of our scoring system. Computer Services conducts computerized scanning and data submission to the New York State Education Department. Districts work through our School Improvement Program to ensure quality trainers and raters. So many departments collaborate to make sure we have many hands on deck to process the 30,000 tests securely and get the data back to each district within a narrow timeline."
"The fourth-grade ELA scoring team was eager to make sure their scoring was consistent," said Chris McGinnis, curriculum coordinator. "They took the process seriously, yet still had fun working with their colleagues."
Early Childhood program holds annual Science Fair for preschoolers
Students in Amy Warner's Early Childhood program recently held a Science Fair for preschool children enrolled in the campus Head Start program. The high school students enrolled in the CTE Early Childhood class ran a series of hands-on explorations geared to the preschoolers' level of learning.
In this photo, the preschooler created an orange fizz volcanic eruption by pouring in the catalytic liquid. Other activities included baking soda paintings, making crazy putty, finger painting and fun with funnels.
"Simple science projects are a great way for children to learn about science in a fun, interactive way," said Amy Warner, CTE instructor. "They aren't usually experiments, but hands-on explorations. This allows the preschoolers to ask questions and use all their senses to discover and explore."
The two-year CTE Early Childhood program works in cooperation with the Head Start program located on the Bush campus. Students work with preschoolers, plus visit local day care centers and classrooms, learning about early childhood development, care and activity planning. Upon graduation, students are prepared to seek employment as a nanny, in public and private day care centers and in agencies serving the disabled. Students also are well–prepared to continue in college in elementary education or to establish their own day care program.
CDC Leadership Institute
Selected juniors and seniors from eleven area school districts spent four days of their summer vacation developing effective leadership skills during the Career Development Council's Youth Leadership Institute. The program provides students with the opportunity to learn about and apply successful leadership skills, develop a network of relationships with peers from schools across the region and understand the importance of community service.
Students worked in teams on two presentations. The first project required team members to identify an issue that students face in school, such as bullying and discrimination. Students discussed the importance and impact of the issue, presented research and facts and proposed a possible solution to the issue. Teams shared their presentations with several groups of community representatives for discussion and feedback. For the second presentation, teams researched opportunities for community service, selected an agency for which they had or wished to volunteer and shared information about that agency with their peers.
The institute also featured visitors from local businesses and agencies, who shared their experiences as leaders and covered topics including communications and problem solving, discovering personal strengths, conflict resolution, stress management and community involvement.
"We saw 24 students start out day one as strangers. Through group encouragement, trust building and teamwork, they emerged on day four with more confidence in their own strengths and abilities and respect for each other as well," said Career Education Resource Specialist Lee Saginario. "On the final day, they spoke to the audience about their experiences with each other with sincere admiration and gratitude. I think that was one of the best lessons learned."
The Youth Leadership Institute program is generously sponsored by several local businesses: Cameron Manufacturing & Design, Chemung ARC, Cooper, Pautz & Weiermiller, Corning Federal Credit Union, Corning Incorporated, DeMets Candy Company, Elmira Business Institute, Jubilee Foods, Tops Markets, Wegmans and a generous grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Elmira, Corning & the Finger Lakes.
GST BOCES students place at national competition
Six students from the GST BOCES New Visions Health Careers Exploration program at the Bush Education Center traveled to Orlando, FL in June to compete at the HOSA: Future Health Professionals 37th Annual National Leadership Conference. More than 8,000 students from across the United States and Puerto Rico attended the conference and competed in contests related to healthcare careers.
A GST BOCES student placed third in Extemporaneous Medical Writing and a two-student team placed eighth in the Public Health competition.
"All of our students did an outstanding job at nationals, and to have three students place in the top 10 nationally was exciting," said New Visions Instructor Beth Woodard. "This conference provides amazing opportunities for students to showcase their skills, attend workshops about current healthcare issues and meet other students from across the nation."
Fashion Design students hit the runway
Students in the Fashion Design, Merchandising and Marketing program modeled their designs at a Fashion Show recently at the Arnot Mall. Four seniors and nine juniors, plus other models wearing the students' original designs, walked the catwalk wearing creations ranging from formal to casual.
In this photo, a model wears a fuchsia cocktail dress featuring a stretch bodice and a sequined-fringed skirt.
"In this program, students get to tap into their creativity and reach for the stars in the fashion industry," said Instructor Cynthia Husband-Cohen. "Since we've partnered with the Arnot Mall on this annual show, the students and models get a true, professional runway experience."
This two-year program, offered only at the Bush campus, encourages students' creativity and resourcefulness in the fashion industry. Students learn about textiles, design history and theory, garment construction, 3D design and fashion merchandising and marketing. Upon graduation, students are ready to step right into the world of retail fashion or continue in college with a jump start in the field.
Fashion Design is just one of more than 20 CTE programs offered at GST BOCES to area high school students.
Bush Building 1 gets Solar Panels courtesy of GST BOCES Energy Conservation Project
Work on the GST BOCES energy conservation project continued with the recent installation of three solar panels on the roof of Building 1 on the Bush Campus.
According to Scott Sponholz, a construction manager from Johnson Controls, the solar panels will preheat the water used in the building's domestic hot water system. On sunny days, the panels should supply all of the hot water needs in the building.
The energy conservation project began in June and has impacted all three campuses. Work has included weather stripping windows and doors, upgrading building insulation, lighting retrofits and the installation of solar film on all windows to block out excess heat. In addition, buildings on all three campuses have been converted to an automatic temperature control system and exterior lighting on the Coopers Campus has been replaced with LED lighting. At the Bush Campus, outdated heat pumps in buildings 1, 4 and 12 have been replaced with more efficient units.
Construction and installation will be complete by the end of October, Sponholz said. Johnson Controls will then monitor the efficiency of the new system and make necessary adjustments through December.
Wildwood students build a Big Chicken Cooker
Students in Tim Cheresnowsky's Welding class at the Wildwood campus assisted a local business and the entire campus had the opportunity to enjoy the products of their labor at the year-end celebration in June.
Triple J's BBQ of Canisteo asked the class to build a chicken cooker. The students designed and estimated costs for a 16 x 4 feet trailer cooker. They worked together to determine the best design for the trailer and estimated the weight, as well as the axle and spring size needed to carry it. Once the design was set, students estimated the cost of the entire cooker and priced out the steel, which was purchased by Triple J's for the project.
Over the course of three weeks, the Welding class constructed the cooker and the Auto Body class coated it with paint that can withstand 1,200 degree heat. In return for the work, Triple J donated their time and more than 200 chicken halves for the Wildwood year-end picnic.
"Students were shown the educational value of working for a customer and reaped the benefits for their hard work," said Cheresnowsky. "This showed the camaraderie between programs and demonstrated what a great educational facility we have. This was a win-win for Triple J's and our students."
GST BOCES Adult Education and Career Services is one of only 13 sites in New York State that now offers the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam in a computer-based format. Adult Ed. was selected by the NYS Department of Education to pilot the computer-based version of the test. "We are recognized as a strong adult education program and the state often relies on us to pilot new initiatives," said Adult Literacy Coordinator Nicole Elston.
In January 2014, New York began using the Test Assessing Secondary Completion™, or TASC exam, in place of the GED® test as the path to a HSE diploma. The TASC exam can be taken in either a pencil-paper or computer-based format. GST BOCES Adult Ed. offers participants the option to take the pencil-paper or computerized version on the Bush Campus in Elmira. The paper-pencil version is also administered at Haverling High School in Bath. Tests are scheduled quarterly, based on need, and prep courses are provided by Adult Ed.
The transition to the computer-based TASC exam at GST BOCES required collaboration between the Adult Education program and GST BOCES Computer Services, along with the NYS Department of Education and vendor CTB/McGraw-Hill. GST BOCES Computer Services set up the system on campus and provides on-going support of the program.
According to Elston, 26 students have taken the computer-based test since March. "All who have taken the test on a computer have noted the ease of the process, that it is a more relaxed atmosphere and they are finished in less time," said Elston. The paper-pencil version of the test takes approximately nine to ten hours during two days, while the average time to complete the computer-based version is around six to seven hours, she said.
Although the new format is still in the pilot stage, GST BOCES Administrator of Adult Education Tim Driscoll believes that the demand for it will increase in the future. "During the next three years, our plan is to gear up to offer more computer-based and fewer pencil-paper tests," he said. "We want to make this option readily accessible to our students."
For more information on the TASC exam and prep courses, call GST BOCES Adult Education and Career Services at 607-739-7684 or 1-877-ADULTED.
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