Industry Day: Education

Submitted by KVanEtten on Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:19

On October 16th I had the pleasure of attending Leadership Allegany's Education Industry Day at the Cuba-Rushford school. Several individuals involved in the local educational process provided the Leadership Allegany members with a variety of information relating to educating our children. My youngest child graduated from high school in 2012 so even though I may not be personally affected by changes in public education, the speakers provided interpretation and explanations of these changes. Tim Cox (Instructional Support Services, BOCES) spoke about BOCES roll in the implementation of the Common Core. It was very informative to learn about all of the changes that the government has mandated over the past few years and to find out that what we think of as Common Core is actually a culmination of several regulations being implemented at the same time. Having very little personal knowledge of the Common Core and most of this knowledge coming via the rumor mill, Mr. Cox provided an understanding of the reason for the Common Core process and how it should actually benefit the students. The goal of the Common Core is to ensure that students from all parts of the United States are being educated uniformly and on par with students around the world. Connie Finney (Professor of Education @ Houghton College) and Jeff Weisman (Associate Professor of Education @ Houghton College) provided an overview of the Education curriculum at Houghton College and how Houghton College works with area schools. Years ago, individuals believed that if they did not succeed in their area of education they could fall back on teaching. Today you need to be educated in the field of education. We listened to stories of success as well as stories of activities that individuals enrolled in the Education curriculum at Houghton College have participated in. Both speakers were very passionate about education and seem to pass this passion on to students. Our next speaker, Josh Hazelton (Science Teacher, Belfast Central School), provided our Leadership Allegany class with an overview of how he has used aquaponics, a greenhouse, and solar energy as tools to educate students. His demonstration of the aquaponic system in his classroom was awesome. I had never heard of aquaponics and was excited to learn how living things can provide sustenance for other living things. I also learned that Belfast Central School has a greenhouse which students helped to build and whose students are responsible for plant care. This greenhouse also provides a significant amount of vegetation for the school cafeteria. Mr. Hazelton was also able to obtain funding for solar panels to be installed at the Belfast Central School, reducing power consumption and therefore lowering costs. His students were also instrumental in assisting Alfred State College students in installing the solar panels. Kim Strauser (Director, Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.) and Ann Weaver (Community Educator, Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.) provided valuable information regarding drug and alcohol prevention education in Allegany area schools. Teaching children of all ages about the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse is very important and the examples they gave regarding how they educate children were fascinating. As an adult, learning of the vast array of services they provide was very enlightening. We were next presented with information provided by several Cuba-Rushford educators. Carlos Gildemeister (District Superintendent), Andrew Rantz (Middle School Principal), Jay Morris (CIO/Technology Director), Chris Cappelletti (Social Studies teacher), and Scott Jordan (Science teacher) spoke about their areas of expertise as it relates to the Cuba-Rushford school district. We learned about the technology used at their school and how it benefits the students. Further information on Common Core was also presented. Last, but certainly not least, Leadership Allegany was given a tour of Cuba-Rushford High School's Fisheries, Wildlife Technology Center, and Wildlife Preserve. To find out lessons that our youth are learning through each of these facilities was fascinating. Opportunities available to children in their school district are beyond belief. I think we were all amazed as we learned about deer that are kept in the preserve, animals tracked in the wild, hatching fish, international hunts including students and a television show. That, along with the school bus ride, was by far my best field trip in years. I would like to thank the Leadership Allegany Group of Kristen, Sarah, Donna, and Leah for arranging this exciting industry day and the Leadership Allegany Committee for allowing me the honor and privilege to participate in this experience.