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Parents receive first-hand look into
Herkimer BOCES classrooms during Curriculum Night

Oct. 18, 2016

CTE staff speak to parents during Curriculum Night
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES career and technical education administrators, teachers and counselors speak to parents during Herkimer BOCES Curriculum Night on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Educational Complex.

HERKIMER – Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School ninth-grader Jared Lamanna enthusiastically showed his mother and grandparents around the VP-TECH classroom near the end of Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Curriculum Night – pointing out the 3D printers and other technology he uses during class.

His mother, Michelle Lamanna, and grandparents, Mike and Jean Johnson, said attending Curriculum Night was a valuable experience because they were able to hear and see more about what Jared does during school at VP-TECH.

“He’s been very excited about it; it’s all I hear about,” Michelle Lamanna said. “It’s nice to see it in person.”

Herkimer BOCES hosted Curriculum Night for parents on Sept. 28. Parents of students in career and technical education programs, VP-TECH, special programs and HeadStart attended at the William E. Busacker Complex in East Herkimer, and parents of students in the Pathways Academy at Remington attended at the Remington Educational Complex in Ilion. Special programs also hosted Curriculum Nights at Herkimer and Poland elementary schools.

This was the first Herkimer BOCES Curriculum Night. It was designed to help parents better understand what their students are being asked to do throughout the school year and allow parents to be partners in the education process.

Parents heard from administrators, teachers and counselors about content expectations, grading, unique features of the programs and how to support their students at home.

“I’m glad I came to find out what is involved,” Jean Johnson said.

Mike Johnson also was impressed.

“I’m amazed at all the stuff that goes on here,” he said.

VP-TECH parents visited the various classrooms, heard about the technology students use and about the topics they’re learning. The VP-TECH teachers all talked with the parents during the night, and parents were able to ask questions.

Meanwhile, parents of CTE students spent half of the event in their students’ classrooms and half hearing from CTE Principal Kathy Fox, CTE Administrative Intern Sally McCann-Kramas, English teacher Suellen Nightingale, math teacher Amy Konz, Learning Center teacher Lee Mitchell and guidance counselor Lauryn Abdo.

Mitchell explained that the Learning Center provides students with any extra help they might need.

“We support them,” he said. “We encourage them.”

Konz explained how integrated academics work and described how she teaches math to students through their junior and senior years.

“In math, we’re very project- and problem-based,” she said.

McCann-Kramas praised the students and said the CTE programs are trying to help students acquire skills that will allow them to graduate and obtain good jobs.

“We enjoy them,” she said.

In special programs, Herkimer BOCES hosted Curriculum Night at not only the William E. Busacker Complex, but also at the Herkimer and Poland school districts, where BOCES has special programs elementary classrooms.

At the WEB, there was a great turnout, said Sarah Trunfio, Herkimer BOCES special programs administrative intern. Teachers displayed student work for parents to see, and many classrooms showcased curriculum for the year, she said.

“In stopping to talk with parents, it was wonderful to hear how happy they are with the education and experience that their child is receiving,” Trunfio said. “This is truly a testament to the dedication and communication that our teachers and therapists have with families.”

Students who attended were excited to show their families where their room was and special things about their classroom, Trunfio said.

At Herkimer, teachers had engaging things for families to view such as a display of student drawings of their ideal school day and a mock Facebook style profile to link to the online instruction that two of the teachers are collaborating on this year. One of the teachers displayed a new behavior model so that she could discuss it with the parents.

At Poland, families traveled the halls viewing artwork on the walls – making for a “truly fun atmosphere,” Trunfio said.

“One teacher offered juice and donuts for her families to welcome them, and another made an amazing little care package for the families to take home,” she said. “All of our teachers had their curriculum visually displayed on their Smart Board for families to view.”

At Pathways Academy, students and their parents were able to connect with teachers and tour the school, said Jon Bryant, Pathways Academy general education principal.

English, science, mathematics and social studies teachers were in the cafeteria for guests to visit, and special education teachers, teaching assistants and others were in the classrooms. The Learning Center at Pathways also was open to guests.

“We had a great turnout,” Bryant said. “It was a good night.”

VP-TECH teachers speak to parents and students during Curriculum Night
Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School teachers speak to parents during Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Curriculum Night on Wednesday, Sept. 28, in one of the VP-TECH classrooms at the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Educational Complex.

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