What's New

For more information, contact:
Susan E. Smith
(631)549-4900, ext. 224.

Administrative Offices/Schools Closed March 5

Due to the poor weather conditions, all schools will be closed on Thursday, March 5. All special education programs, all campuses of Wilson Tech and all full-time adult programs will be closed.  Administrative offices will also be closed. Only those employees specifically called will report to work.

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"Frozen" Inspires Art of JEA Elementary Students

After a month of acclaim while on display at the Long Island Childrens’ Museum, the artwork of students at the James E. Allen Elementary School was carefully arranged for the school’s first Art Show. On a frigid morning, parents and friends crowded into the school’s gym to admire the images that the students created based on their inspirations from the movie Frozen. Michael Flynn, Chief Operating Officer, congratulates Keira Hayden and Andrew Torrey O’Neal along with their art teacher Melissa Maiello. Take a look at other students with their artwork.

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Mildred Browne Recognized by NYS School Boards

Mildred Browne, a Board member of Western Suffolk BOCES, was recently recognized by the New York State School Boards Association for her many years of participation in leadership development activities. On behalf of NYSSBA, Michael Flynn, Chief Operating Officer, presented her with a “Learning for Leaders” certificate at the Board’s February meeting. Mrs. Browne has been a member of the BOCES Board since 1994. She served on the Board of Education in the Copiague School District from 1981 to 2002.

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Reading with a Partner. . . a Pug!

Imagine learning to read with a partner that’s always attentive and never criticizes when you’ve stumbled over a difficult word. Students in the ALC program at DeLuca Elementary School have just the partner…Gigi the Pug! Yes, each week Little Shelter brings a pug dog into the classroom for reading aloud and individual reading time.
Gigi joins the group at the reading table where each student reads a passage to Gigi. Later the students have individual time with the dog as each sits on a blanket and reads Gigi his/her favorite story. The students say Gigi is an active listener who quite obviously enjoys this individual attention.
The DeLuca ALC students always invite the mainstream kindergarten class and the special needs students in the building to join them in their reading activities. This innovative reading program has significantly improved the reading fluency of ALC students just as it has increased their confidence and their public speaking ability.
To celebrate the “Gigi Program,” the entire school is invited to an end-of-the-year assembly when Little Shelter brings some of their resident pets and teaches the students about pet safety and pet care. Kudos to the ALC staff for starting this trailblazing program nine years ago—it not only has proven to have great academic value, but it has helped integrate ALC students into the fabric of the school.

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Goodbye Mike and Diane!

Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer, and Diane Lamantia, Personnel Assistant, wave goodbye as they end their careers at BOCES. The entire staff at Western Suffolk BOCES sends them best wishes in retirement!


Photo credit: Denise Doherty

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Adult Cosmetology Student Wins Scholarship

Melissa Ortiz (c.) of Pt. Jefferson Station has won a $1,200 scholarship toward tuition costs for studying cosmetology at the Western Suffolk BOCES School of Cosmetology in Northport.
She was one of 24 students across the U.S. who received the award from the Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation based on her strong commitment to complete her cosmetology education and her financial need. The foundation memorializes the life and achievements of Joe Francis, the founder of The Barbers Corporation and the franchise systems: Cost Cutters, City Looks Salons, and We Care Hair, now Regis Corporation subsidiaries.
She is congratulated by (l. to r.) Kathleeen Burke, adult instructor in cosmetology; Debra Montaruli, principal of adult career & technical education; Karen Bowden, principal of Wilson Tech's Northport campus; and Ila Gaffney, adult instructor in career services.
For more information about the School of Cosmetology for adult students at Western Suffolk BOCES, call 631-261-3600 x204 or go to www.wsboces.org/cos . BOCES also offers a program for juniors and seniors in high school to work toward their NYS license in cosmetology at Wilson Tech. For high school students, contact the guidance counselor in the home school or call Tech’s admission office at (631) 425-9050.

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Board Appoints Flynn as Chief Operating Officer

Maryann Zumpano, President of the Board of Western Suffolk BOCES, congratulates Michael Flynn after the Board appointed him as Deputy Superintendent and Chief Operating Officer effective Jan. 5, 2015. He will replace Dr. Michael Mensch who is retiring.

Flynn began his education career in 1975 at Western Suffolk BOCES as a teacher of learning disabilities in the Division of Special Education. In 1981 he became Principal--first of the Alternate Learning Center, then the J. E. Allen Learning Center, the South Oaks Program, the J. E. Allen Alternative Program, and the J. E. Allen Elementary School. In 2003 he was tapped to work in the BOCES central administration office, first as Assistant Director of Special Education and then as Executive Director. Most recently he has served as the Senior Executive Director for both Special Education and Career & Technical Education.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Dowling College and both a master's degree in special education and a professional diploma in educational administration from LIU--C.W. Post Center. In recent years he has served as an adjunct professor in the education departments at both LIU and SUNY--Old Westbury where he prepared hundreds of college students to become teachers.

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Grant to Review Testing in Districts

Western Suffolk BOCES was recently awarded a $300,000 “Teaching is the Core” grant to work with nine participating districts and the BOCES Special Education division to review assessments that students take and to develop an action plan related to future testing. The project is expected to reduce the number of assessments that students must take while increasing each assessment’s value to teachers and administrators as a tool to guide instruction.
Each district will create an Assessment Review Team that will be trained as they review their district’s assessments. Then, the teams will compare their assessments with criteria for effective assessments that are developed as part of the professional development process. The teams will collaborate with each other to develop and implement an action plan for modifying the tests that students take.
BOCES staff and expert consultants will facilitate regional and in-district professional development. The training will address key issues related to the development of formative assessments, and support district teams as they continue their work and build a databank of instructionally useful assessments that align with the requirements of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for teachers and principals. The result will be an assessment inventory that more effectively supports student achievement and improvement.

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Local Board Members Tour BOCES

Board members and Superintendents from the 18 districts in Western Suffolk BOCES toured Wilson Tech and visited with students in a variety of programs before sitting down to a dinner prepared and served by students in the Culinary Arts program. C. Martin (l.), a Culinary Arts student from North Babylon, offers hors d'oeuvres to her Superintendent Patricia Godek (c), and Board President Janet Meyerson (r.). See more photos of the festivities!

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Dr. Mensch Honored by AHRC and BOCES

AHRC Suffolk recently honored Dr. Michael Mensch (c.) for his many years of volunteer service to children and families in need of asistance and Western Suffolk BOCES honored him for more than 43 years of exceptional educational service to students on Long Island and in Florida. Celebrating with him are (l. ro r.) employees Joanne Klein, Laura Mercorelli, Jeff Forst, Denise Doherty, Betty Gaskin, Diane Lamantia and retiree Rudy Arabia.

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Fall Artwork Graces LI Children's Museum

The colorful fall leaves inspired students at the J. E. Allen Jr./Sr. High School to create art projects using mixed media that are on display at the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City.

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Mariculture Program Adds 200,000 Clams to Local Bays

Connetquot High School students scatter immature clams into Stony Brook Harbor. The students built rafts where the clams grew free from predators over the summer. Once in the local estuaries, the clams will continue to grow so residents and fishermen can enjoy them next summer and they can help filter the bay waters.
Two groups of high school students pulled on waders and life jackets and scattered 200,000 immature clams into Mt. Sinai Harbor and Stony Brook Harbor this fall in hopes of restoring local estuaries with hard shell clams.
            Students from North Babylon and Connetquot High Schools have spent the past year studying the coastal waters of Long Island and the important role that clams play in keeping the ecosystem healthy. The Hard Shell Clam Mariculture Project is run in cooperation with Western Suffolk BOCES, New York New York Institute and Technology, the Division of Environmental Protection in the Brookhaven Department of Planning and Environment, and Smithtown’s Department of Environment and Waterways.
            Starting in January, Outdoor Education Specialists from BOCES taught clam dissection, the history of clamming and the shellfish industry on Long Island, current shellfish management practices, raft building, and growing seed clams while a culinary instructor from Wilson Technological Center demonstrated proper techniques for preparing and serving clams.
            In the late spring, students built rafts, filled them with sand, and then scattered seed clams on the sand where they hoped the clams would burrow down and grow. The rafts were pushed into the two harbors where over the summer students monitored their growth by carefully measuring the tiny clams as well as removed predators such as crabs from the rafts.
            In October, the bay constable brought the rafts to docks where students shoveled off the sand being careful to leave the small clams that were put in bins to be hauled onto a waiting boat. The students then boarded the bay constable’s boat and scattered the immature clams into the bays where they can grow and begin their job filtering bay waters and serving as a resource for families and commercial fishermen.
            “It has been an exciting year,” said Malynda Nichol, BOCES Outdoor Education Specialist. “Students gained an understanding of marine ecology, anatomy and physiology of hard shell clams, scientific procedures used in mariculture research, data collection and evaluation, and the socio-political issues involved in the shellfish industry.”
            For more information about the BOCES Mariculture program or the clam seeding project in October, call 631-360-3652.

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W. Babylon Teacher Innovates with Technology

Alison Chiquitucto, a kindergarten teacher at South Bay School in the West Babylon School District, receives her award for the Most Innovative Use of Technology from Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, at the annual L.I. Technology and Education Summit.

Alison Chiquitucto has used technology in her kindergarten classroom from day one. In October she was recognized for the Most Innovative Use of Technology at the annual L.I. Technology and Education Summit in front of more than 600 educators. She is known as a pioneer and proponent of innovative instructional technology at South Bay School in the West Babylon School District.

Being a member of the district's Technology Committee allows her to bring her research-based expertise, excitement and creativity to the district. She uses tablets to help her students learn vocabulary, Xbox as a fitness break and Chromebooks to help increase reading and math skills through educational websites. Learn more about this creative teacher.

The Tech Summit featured workshops, speakers and technology vendors for teachers and administrators to learn best practices in technology and education. Teachers and educators were able to showcase their successful efforts integrating technology into the classroom and answered questions from colleagues across Long Island.

Speakers included Dr. Chris Dede, the Timothy E. Wirth professor in learning technologies at Harvard's Graduate School of Education who described how classrooms can be transformed to prepare students with the skills they need for a global, knowledge-based, innovation-centered economy. Dr. Bill Daggett, founder and chairman of the International Center for Leadership in Education, described how he has helped move preK-12 education systems towards more rigorous and relevant skills and knowledge for all students. Greg Green, principal of Clintondale High School in Detroit, described his school’s experience at the center of the flipped classroom movement.

The summit was sponsored by the three BOCES on Long Island.

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BOCES Adult Programs Expect Reaccreditation in Spring

BOCES administrators met with evaluators from the Council of Occupational Education as they reviewed BOCES' full-time programs for adults.
The review team from the Council of Occupational Education congratulated Western Suffolk BOCES on a perfect score during its recent evaluation of BOCES full-time adult programs in Medical Assisting, Practical Nursing, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Surgical Technology, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Auto Technology, and Aviation Maintenance Technology. The official granting of COE reaccredition for another six years will be made by the full Council when it meets next spring.
At the conclusion of their three-day site evaluation, reviewers gave the highest marks to the instructors and graduates of these eight programs. This nationally recognized accreditation enables BOCES to continue to offer federal financial aid to those who qualify.
The Council on Occupational Education accredits postsecondary institutions that offer career and technical education. The Council is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting non-degree-granting and applied associate degree-granting postsecondary occupational education institutions.
“We are extremely proud to have this national accrediting agency review our programs. In their preliminary report they noted the high quality of instruction in BOCES programs for adults. COE accreditation assures the public that BOCES classes provide an education that is continually improved and that meets the needs of the labor market,” noted Nancy Kelsey, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education at Western Suffolk BOCES.
For information about any of the full-time programs for adults at Western Suffolk BOCES, go to www.wsboces.org/fulltime, or call 631-667-6000 ext. 320.

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JEA Elementary Raises the Most for Autism Research

On a crisp October morning, a team of 85 dedicated staff, students and family members led by the J.E. Allen Elementary School gathered together at Jones Beach State Park where they raised more money for autism research than any other school on Long Island. The group raised more than $9,200 by participating in the walk-a-thon for the annual "Walk Now for Autism Speaks." Thanks to Kevin Kennedy, Bonnie Wojcik, Christine Walsh, Meghan Sherer, Christina Camilleri, Andrew Blee, Sarah Springer, Lauren Lagarde, Annette Concannon and Courtney Clasper for all their help with this project!

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Surgical Technology Grads Post Top Scores

Health Careers received a merit award from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting because 94% of the adult students in the two most recent Surgical Technology classes passed the Certified Surgical Technologist exam.

The CST is widely recognized in the health care community as the foremost credential for surgical technologists in the nation and is required for employment in many health care organizations. Graduates, including those shown at left, with this national certification have demonstrated an understanding of the basic competencies for safe patient care in the operating room.

For more information about the BOCES School of Surgical Technology or to learn how you can prepare to enter the class beginning in April 2015, call 631-261-3721 x219 or go to www.wsboces.org/surgtech.

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Welcome to New School Year!

Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer, visited BOCES schools to welcome all staff to the 2014-15 school year. With him are (front, l. to r.) Mildred Browne, Board member, and Maryann Zumpano, Board President; (back, l. to r.) Nancy Kelsey, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education; Maureen Donohue-Whitley, District Superintendent; Dr. Mensch; Michael Flynn, Senior Executive Director of Special Education and CTE; Paula Klingelhoefer, Senior Executive Director of Personnel and Instructional Support Services; and Teresa Strum, Executive Director of Special Education.

Dr. Mensch ushers in staff at the JEA Elementary School on Opening Day 2014.

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Surg Tech Student Wins National Award

Steven Feretti was one of only 10 students in the U.S. awarded a scholarship this spring from the Accrediting Review Committee for Surgical Technology. He completed the one-year BOCES program in Surgical Technology in April as the valedictorian, then passed his national certification exam, and is now employed at St. Charles Hospital.

For more information about becoming a surgical technologist, go to www.wsboces.org/surgtech or call 631-261-3721 x219. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

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NYSUT Recognizes Barbara Keneally

Barbara Keneally, a nurse at the JEA Jr./Sr. High School, was honored at the NYSUT Long Island Director's dinner this spring. She had been nominated by the Faculty Association at Western Suffolk BOCES as NYSUT's 2014 Friend of Education. Sandy Strum, WSBFA secretary-treasurer was recognized for his 20 years of service as a member of the Representative Assembly and Elizabeth Haisman, health alliance member, was recognized for her 10 years of service as a building representative.

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USDA to Provide Summer Meals

This release is intended for parents on Long Island to learn about summer programs that provide free meals to eligible families.

Dear Parent or Guardian:
Summer is coming soon, and just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does a child’s need for good nutrition. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again.
The good news is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is partnering with organizations in our area to provide free meals through the Summer Food Service Program (SFEP). This program provides free, nutritious meals and snacks to eligible families, to help children get the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow, throughout the summer months when they are out of school.
For site contact information and times of service, please call 1- 800-522-5006 or the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3HUNGRY. We wish you and your family a safe and happy summer, and look forward to seeing you in September.
Child Nutrition

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Electronics Expert Nick Conzo Recognized

In recognition of his long association with Wilson Tech and Western Suffolk BOCES, the Board of Western Suffolk BOCES recognized Nick Conzo, chair of the Advisory Council, at the June Board meeting for his wise counsel and advocacy for career and technical education. The Board presented him with a Golden Apple for Outstanding Achievement.
Nick first came to Wilson Tech in 1967 as a Technical Electronics & Radio/TV instructor for secondary students and then as an evening instructor and supervisor in the adult program. In the early 1980’s Nick decided to enter private business. He subsequently worked in the field of electronics for others and then started his own business, Test Systems Commercial Services, and now works as the Senior Program Manager for CDI - M&T Company.
Nick is a long-time member of Tech’s Electronics Advisory Committee and of the overall Advisory Council for Western Suffolk BOCES where he has volunteered as chairperson for the past 14 years. To strengthen Tech programs, he presents the annual Advisory Council’s recommendations to the Board related to both curriculum and equipment.
“Nick is a true professional whose wise counsel we value greatly. He is extremely knowledgeable about the business climate on Long Island and a true believer in the role career and technical education can play in the future of our students. Wilson Tech is proud to have him as an advocate and resource,” said Nancy Kelsey, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education.

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Mensch Honored for Courageous Plea for Common Sense

Dr. Michael Mensch is congratulated by Mary Zumpano, president of the Board of Western Suffolk BOCES, while his wife Carol Queirolo (l.) and Board member Jeannette Santos (r.) applaud.

Lorraine Deller, Executive Director N-SSBA, presents the David & Goliath Award to Dr. Mensch.

In recognition of his “courageous efforts to inject common sense into the implementation of New York’s ‘Common Core,’” the Nassau/Suffolk School Board’s Association presented Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, with its prestigious David vs. Goliath Award in May. The award is only presented under unique circumstances to recognize a leader who faced an entrenched and powerful adversary with resolve and persistence.
In November 2013, Dr. Mensch organized the 18 superintendents in Western Suffolk BOCES to sign a four-page letter to the New York State Commissioner of Education. The letter, published in Newsday, offered many practical measures that could have been taken to slow down the implementation of the Common Core, student testing and related teacher evaluations in order to be confident that the curriculum shifts and rigorous learning standards were implemented in a manner that helped, rather than hurt, children.
When neither the Commissioner nor the Board of Regents acted upon these suggestions to modify the reforms, more educators, parents and legislators throughout the state joined together to ask for a moratorium on the Common Core exams and to seek additional time to correct parts of the initiative that parents and educators saw were not working. As Mary Jo O’Hagan said in her announcement of the award, “New York’s roll-out was and remains woefully inadequate.”
She continued, “It was only when the extent of the disaster became apparent, with significant courage and a dignified stance, that he (Dr. Mensch) led his colleagues to publicize their offer of “concrete ideas and informed recommendations for making the implementation of initiatives surrounding Common Core better for children, better for teachers and better for our communities.”

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BOCES Bids Farewell to Retirees

BOCES recognized the many years of service of employees who retired in 2013-14. Best wishes to all! See the celebration.

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Board Recognizes Outstanding BOCES Employees

At the June Board meeting, 16 employees listed below were presented with 2014 Outstanding Achievement Awards for their exemplary work. Many attended the ceremony with friends and family members. See who attended!

Kerryanne Augello
Related English
Wilson Tech, Republic
Mark Brunza
Teacher Coordinator
Special Ed
Brennan MS
Miguel Colon
Special Ed
JEA Elementary
Pamela Costanzo
Special Ed
JEA Jr/Sr High School
Michael DeGeronimo
Teacher Coordinator
Special Ed
JEA Alternative School
Denise Doherty
Switchboard Operator
Central Admin
Central Administration
Barbara Geller
Wilson Tech, Dix Hills
Lorraine Lagarde
Special Ed
JEA Elementary School
Roseann Merlino
Wilson Tech, Huntington
Ruby Monsalve
Hourly Aide
Special Ed
Wilson Tech, Dix Hills
Garry Mowbray
Head Custodian
Brennan MS/HS
Kathy Mulvey
Adult Instructor
Wilson Tech Dix Hills
Malynda Nichol
Outdoor Environmental Ed Specialist
Instructional Support
Outdoor Learning Lab
Gloria Rosenberg
Special Ed
Caren Sande
Speech Pathologist
Special Ed
JEA Jr/Sr High School
Kim Wilson
Job Placement Counselor
CTE Divisionwide

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JEA Jr./Sr. Graduates Celebrate Diplomas

Graduation ceremonies were held June 11 at the James E. Allen Jr./Sr. High School in Melville. Representatives from the local school districts conferred diplomas on the graduates as family and friends cheered. See our proud graduates!

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Retired Teachers Donate Scholarships

The retired teachers of Western Suffolk BOCES donated four scholarships to outstanding students at Wilson Tech. Pictured above (l. to r.) Barbara Dickerson; Matthew Kollmeier, Culinary Arts student from Northport; Rennay Burke, Criminal Justice student from Wyandanch; and Sal Guadagnino. Scholarship winners not pictured: Fabian Powell-Harris, Food Services student from North Babylon, and Paulina Rodriguez, Medical Assisting student from Harborfields.

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Relay Raises Money to Fight Cancer

Students and staff, including many cancer survivors, participated in a Relay for Life at the James E. Allen Jr./Sr. High School in May. While parents made cotton candy for the walkers, students sold raffle tickets for baskets that were raffled off at the end of the day. All proceeds were then donated to the American Cancer Society. Take a look at all fun!

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BOCES Honors Acura for Tech Internships

Western Suffolk BOCES honored Steve Hurd (c.), service and parts director at Acura of Huntington, for guiding and mentoring Joseph Zambrotta (l) and Grant Howard (r.), North Babylon students in Tech’s automotive technology program.
At Wilson Tech’s annual Auto Job Fair, Joseph Zambrotta (l) and Grant Howard (r.) so impressed Steve Hurd (c.), service and parts director at Acura of Huntington, that he hired them as interns last summer and then the dealership offered them two days of paid work-study this school year. For his ongoing support and guidance of these automotive technology students from North Babylon, Western Suffolk BOCES honored Hurd at its May board meeting.
            Wilson Tech offers the AYES program to encourage automotive students to apply the skills they have learned in their Tech classroom in the workplace. According to Hurd, the Acura dealership was eager to sponsor a Tech student in hopes of finding responsible and knowledgeable new technicians that they could then hire. 
            Both students will graduate in June with a Technical Endorsement on their Regent’s diplomas indicating they have passed the requisite Regents exams, earned a 2-year Tech Certificate of Completion, and successfully passed a nationally recognized automotive exam.
            Wilson Tech is currently developing programs with other Long Island Acura dealerships for future internship and work-study opportunities for Tech students. Registration is underway for fall 2014 classes at Wilson Tech. For more information about the 30 programs Tech offers for juniors and seniors, call 425-9050.

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Board Recognizes Outstanding Students

With parents, staff and board members applauding vigorously, Western Suffolk BOCES honored outstanding students at the May board meeting including Akira Anderson (c.), Chief Operating Officer Dr. Michael Mensch (l.) and Principal Thomas Logatto (r.).

1st Place—Opening & Closing Team, NYS SkillsUSA
Amanda Godsil, Commack
Alissa Salomon, Commack
John Dwyer, Harborfields
Stephanny Trujillo, So. Huntington
Alexis DiMartino, Smithtown
Stephanie DiMartino, Smithtown
Jenna DeFranco, Smithtown
Vanguard Award
Marquis Hall, Babylon
Automotive Youth Educational Systems Internship
Joe Zambrotta, North Babylon
Automotive Youth Educational Systems Internship and
Ford AAA Student Auto Skills NYS Competition
Grant Howard, North Babylon
Association of LI Vocational Educators’ Student Achievement
John Carman, Half Hollow Hills
Presidential Award for Educational Excellence
Dillon Montefusco, North Babylon
David Kidane Jr. Memorial Award
Thomas Gerstein, Smithtown
Paul Loiacono Memorial Award
Matthew Pride, Copiague
SEPTA Council Executive Director Award
Talia Levine, Smithtown
Outstanding Student Achievement Award
Akira Anderson, Wyandanch

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Welcome to New District Clerk!

Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer, welcomes Joanne Klein who began her official duties as District Clerk of Western Suffolk BOCES on April 28 upon the retirement of Joan Johnson.

Joanne has worked for BOCES for 8 years, most recently as Account Clerk Typist in the Benefits Office.

Upon her retirement in April after more than 24 years with the organization, Joan Johnson (c.) is bid farewell by the Board of Western Suffolk BOCES (l. to r.) Sydney Finkelstein, Jeannette Santos, Ilene Herz, Maryann Zumpano, Mildred Browne, Sal Marinello, and Peter Wunsch.

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Administrative Budget Passes; Wunsch and Santos Re-elected

The 2014-15 administrative budget for Western Suffolk BOCES was approved by 16 of the 18 participating districts on April 24. One district voted “no,” while one district did not meet. Peter Wunsch of Commack and Jeannette Santos of Amityville were also re-elected to serve three-year terms on the BOCES Board.
The board members of the school districts in the townships of Huntington, Smithtown, and Babylon approved the proposed budget which is down 2.66% from the 2013-14 budget. The continued decline in offsetting revenue led to a 2.2% increase in the administrative charge that local districts will pay. Over the past five years, the average increase of the BOCES administrative charge has been 1.73%.
BOCES has taken steps to hold down administrative costs by eliminating an additional central office position and having new employees in six BOCES unions pay up to 30% towards health insurance. BOCES has also negotiated lower salary schedules for new employees in three bargaining units.
Charge is Analogous to Tax Rate
The administrative charge, which is analogous to the tax rate in local districts, is set by subtracting revenues from the administrative budget. Revenues have declined due to the low interest rates on deposits and the change in how NYSHIP credits refunds for Medicare Part D. The Part D reimbursement is now merged into the Empire Plan’s annual rate; previously BOCES had posted the reimbursement as revenue in the administrative budget.
The capital charge will remain frozen for the fourth year in a row. The capital budget is based on the cost of renting facilities plus the cost of maintaining and repairing BOCES facilities. Owning rather than renting most buildings for BOCES programs has helped control costs in the capital budget.
One district in Western Suffolk BOCES will see a decline in its combined administrative and capital charge. Seventeen will see increases ranging from the lowest of $149 in Elwood to the largest of $11,076 in South Huntington. This charge is distributed to the districts based on a 3-year weighted average of their daily student attendance. Details by district are in the newsletter Budget News.
90.9% of Budget Goes to Programs
The total proposed Tentative BOCES budget for 2014–15 is $159,691,546. Of this, 90.9% is driven by the programs and services that local school districts request. Of the remainder, 2.7% are costs of administration; 4.4% for post-retirement benefits; and 2% for the capital budget. To help control costs in the program budgets for 2014-15, BOCES reorganized the supervision of the divisions of Career and Technical Education and Special Education resulting in the reduction of directors from four to three.
For copies of the proposed BOCES 2014-2015 Tentative Budget, call 549-4900 x224. Or, go to www.wsboces.org/budget.

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Enrollment Decline to Continue in Nassau & Suffolk

Public school enrollment on Long Island has declined by 4% since 2007; 3% in Nassau County and 4.7% in Suffolk County. Projections suggest an additional 3.9% decline in the region over the next three years according to the annual Bi-County Nassau/Suffolk Public School Enrollment Report that has been compiled by the Office of School Planning and Research at Western Suffolk BOCES.
Since 2007, the elementary enrollment declined 4.6%, with an even greater decrease (5.8%) in the middle grades (6 - 8). The high school grades (9 - 12) saw a decrease of 2.8%. An additional 4.2% loss at the elementary grades is expected by 2016; an additional 3.4% loss is expected at the middle grades. Losses at the high school level (9 - 12) are expected to continue in the coming years as the smaller elementary and middle level cohorts reach the secondary schools. Since 2006, smaller incoming kindergarten classes have replaced larger exiting twelfth grade classes. This trend is expected to continue; however, at least through 2016, displacement will be more significant than what was seen from 2007 - 2013.
The BOCES study reviewed historical enrollment data from 2007-2013 and projected enrollments through 2016 as it looked at demographic factors that affect enrollment in public schools. These factors include the number of children being born in the area, economic and housing trends, non-public school enrollments and immigration/migration patterns.
Population Changes
Long Island experienced significant population increases in the 1990’s. Since then, the population has continued to grow but, the study noted, at a significantly slower pace. While the population in the United States increased 12.3% between 2000 and 2013, it is estimated that Long Island’s population grew by 3.6%; Nassau grew by only 1.3%, while Suffolk grew by 5.7%. However, between 2010 and 2013, Nassau County’s population grew by 0.9% while Suffolk County’s population increased only 0.4%. Domestic out-migration (people leaving New York State for other states) was offset by foreign immigration and natural increases (births minus deaths). In contrast to this population growth, overall public school enrollment on Long Island has been decreasing each year since the peak K-12 enrollment of 471,402 students in 2004. This trend is expected to continue.
Long Island’s population has experienced demographic changes. Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties saw a decline in the number of children under the age of five between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, 6.5% of Nassau’s population was under five years of age; in 2010, 5.5% were in this age group. In Suffolk County, 7.1% of the population was reported as under five years of age in 2000; in 2010 this group shrunk to 5.8% of the population. The study also found significant increases in the%age of the population over age 55. Since the 2000 Census, the median age of Long Islanders has increased. Nassau County’s median age in 2000 was 38.5 years but rose to 41.1 years in 2010; Suffolk County noted an increase from 36.5 years in 2000 to 39.8 years in 2010. The 2010 median age in both counties is higher than New York State’s median age (38 years) and the nation’s (37.2 years).
The number of babies born yearly in the United States appears to be leveling off, after declining since 2007. Births have been decreasing on Long Island since the 1990’s and are expected to plateau at a lower level. The economy has been cited as a partial reason for the continuing decreases in births as couples may have postponed having children until the economy improves. This has contributed to the declines in the number of pre-school and early school-age children.
Immigration is a large contributor to population growth. According to the 2012 American Community Survey, the foreign-born in the United States accounts for 13% of the total population. More than half of these immigrants were born in Latin America. Those that are foreign born represent approximately 22.6% of the population in New York State, while residents who were born outside the country made up 21.9% of the population in Nassau County and 15.1% in Suffolk County.
Of the foreign-born residents, 51% in Nassau County and 58.5% in Suffolk County were born in Latin America; 29.9% of the foreign-born in Nassau County and 19.9% of the foreign born in Suffolk County were born in Asia. On Long Island, an increasing percentage of foreign-born residents reported that a language other than English is spoken at home when compared to information reported in the 2000 Census. Districts may need to make programmatic adjustments, the study noted, to meet the needs of the growing population of bilingual and English as a Second Language students.
Housing Market
Economic conditions continue to impact Long Island’s housing market. Over the past seven years, financial turmoil, high taxes and sluggish home sales have been evident in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Homes on Long Island sold at record levels until 2006. Since then, the housing market has fallen off significantly, causing property values to decline. In April 2007, the median home price in Nassau County was $487,000; in February 2014, it had fallen to $397,500. In Suffolk County the median home price fell from $431,000 in 2007 to $303,500 in February 2014.
“Housing prices are not expected to significantly increase and may stagnate well into the middle of this decade. We have seen that changes in the housing market have had a significant impact on school enrollment,” reported the BOCES study.
By studying historical, as well as recent enrollment and demographic trends, districts can best prepare for the future. Western Suffolk BOCES offers experienced, objective assistance in long-range planning that addresses demographics, enrollment, facilities, and district organization.
For more information, contact:
Western Suffolk BOCES, Division of Instructional Support Services
Paula Klingelhoefer, Executive Director
Office of School Planning & Research, Joan Townley, Coordinator
Voice: 631-595-6802. Email: jtownley@wsboces.org

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Decline in Lower Grades Brings 6% Enrollment Drop

While enrollment in the secondary grades configuration grew from 2007 to 2013, the decline in the number of elementary and middle school students during those years resulted in an overall 6% decline in enrollment in the Western Suffolk BOCES region—from a period high of 89,995 students in 2007 to 84,609 students in 2013. In 2013, Smithtown remains the largest district, with 10,038 students, while Babylon is the smallest district, with 1,650 students.
To illustrate the highly variable enrollment data within the region, the recently released Demographic Study of the 18 School Districts in Western Suffolk BOCES cited figures from just one year (between 2012 and 2013) when there were enrollment increases in three districts – Amityville (3.4%), Copiague (1.0%) and Wyandanch (4.5%), while the enrollment in Huntington and South Huntington remained stable. Enrollment declined approximately 1.2% - 3.4% in the remaining 13 districts. For the six years between 2007 and 2013 the greatest gain was seen in Amityville (12.0%); while the greatest losses were seen in Babylon (12.3%), West Babylon (11.9%) and Kings Park (11.8%).
The BOCES study projected that overall regional enrollment will decline by 5,448 students (6.4%) over the next three years as lower enrollments in elementary and middle grades progress through the system. The number of births in Suffolk County declined from 21,252 in 1990 to 16,027 in 2011. Smaller kindergarten classes have replaced larger exiting twelfth grade classes each year since 2007. As these smaller cohorts continue to move through the system, the study reported, losses are projected in elementary, middle and secondary grade enrollment from 2013 to 2016. These trends are consistent with those noted in previous studies.
Gains or losses in enrollment are largely reflective of housing activity; new housing construction or re-sale of existing homes are important factors when analyzing potential school enrollment. Records between 2007 and 2012 showed a decline in housing sales in the three towns – Babylon (38%), Smithtown (26%) and Huntington (14%). The weakened economy continues to impact the region’s housing market, although there are indications that the market is stabilizing, but at a lower level than seen in the early 2000’s. Babylon showed a small decrease in the number of units sold when comparing 2012 to 2011; the decrease may be attributable to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Huntington and Smithtown saw increases in the number of units sold between 2011 and 2012. The median sales price in the three towns continued to decline when comparing sales in 2012 to 2011. The sluggish housing market is represented by declines in school enrollment.
Among the major findings, the study reported:
· The elementary, K - 5, enrollment fell by 11.2 percent between 2007 and 2013. The enrollment is projected to decline by 7.5 percent over the next three years, with a decrease of 2,695 students between 2013 and 2016.
· The middle, 6 - 8, enrollment fell by 6.5 percent between 2007 and 2013. The enrollment is projected to decline by 6.6 percent over the next three years, with a decrease of 1,330 students between 2013 and 2016.
· The secondary, 9 - 12, enrollment grew by 1.0 percent between 2007 and 2013. The enrollment is projected to decline by 4.7 percent, or 1,322 students between 2013 and 2016.
The Western Suffolk BOCES Office of School Planning & Research has conducted Comprehensive Long Range Planning Studies for over 125 school districts during the past five years. Comprehensive Long Range Planning Studies include analysis of demographic factors that have influenced historical enrollment or can impact future enrollment. These factors include population, housing, economy, and non-public school attendance.
For more information, contact:
Western Suffolk BOCES, Division of Instructional Support Services
Paula Klingelhoefer, Executive Director
Office of School Planning & Research, Joan Townley, Coordinator
Voice: 631-595-6802. Email: jtownley@wsboces.org

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Walking for Autism Raises $6,600

After the team of 60 dedicated and compassionate staff, students and families (above) from JEA Elementary School raised $6,600 for Autism Research, (from l. to r.) Kevin Kennedy, psychologist; Annette Concannon, paraprofessional; Carol Astarita, paraprofessional; and Bonnie Wojcik, teacher, proudly displayed the plaque the team received as “Gold Supporters.”

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Dr. Seuss Comes Alive at JEA Elementary

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”
The 600 wing at JEA Elementary was exciting this March as the classes decorated the hallway with pages from the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. The work was part of the Parents As Reading Partners (PARP) project which asked each wing in the school to bring a Dr. Seuss book “to life.” The colorful displays were multi-dimensional and interactive with text for students to read. Students from the other wings were invited to walk around and “read” the story. Students also had options to watch the Dr. Seuss movie on the SmartBoard or decorate a fish. As they left the wing, each student received a bag of goldfish, a very fun end to a lively lesson.

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BOCES Prepares for Regional Summer School

Western Suffolk BOCES will run a Regional Summer School on behalf of six school districts. Students in grades 6–12 in those districts will be offered remedial courses to make up deficiencies in academic work at J. Taylor Finley Middle School in the Huntington School District. This wide variety of remedial courses can benefit students with low or failing grades.
Classes will begin Thursday, July 10 and conclude with Regents/RCT exams on Aug. 13-14.
Residents within the six participating districts (listed below) whose children are registered in public, private or parochial schools, grades 6-12, are eligible to attend, with permission of their home school principal or designee, at no charge. Registration begins for participating districts only on Monday, July 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Non-resident students (in districts not listed below) are permitted to register after all residents are accommodated. Non-residents are required to show proof of immunization and authorization from their home school allowing them to register for specific courses and/or Regents/RCT examinations. Fees for non-resident students are $264 per course; $88/Regents exam; and $112/Regents review class. All students from non-participating districts are required to make payment at the time of registration during registration on Tuesday, July 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Participating Districts for 2014
Babylon UFSD
Commack UFSD
Huntington UFSD
North Babylon UFSD*
Northport-East Northport UFSD
South Huntington UFSD
* limited participation, please check with your school
Registration is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, parents should call the guidance counselor in the student’s home school. Additional details are available at www.wsboces.org/rss.

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Graduate Recalls Tech Training for PTA Night


Dr. Virginia Beaton (c.), a Wilson Tech graduate and board-certified, family nurse practitioner and adult psychiatric clinical nurse specialist with a doctorate in primary care, was the guest speaker at the annual PTA Night. Dr. Beaton congratulated Jessica Wojslaw (r.) of West Babylon, the recipient of a $500 PTA scholarship, and Kathy Guarino (l.), the current instructor of Wilson Tech's professional health program.

In her remarks, Dr. Beaton recalled the training she received in Wilson Tech's Practical Nursing program as a high school student. She told PTA members from local districts that when she saw students leaving Deer Park High School wearing their uniforms and learned that they were going to finish high school with a license that would help them secure jobs and build careers, she immediately decided  to register for Wilson Tech. She wanted to get a job!

At the time, Dr. Beaton said she had no idea that this foundation as a nurse would give her job satisfaction, independence, and a thirst for learning. Today, she has her RN, two master's degrees in family nursing practice from New York University and Long Island University as well as a PhD in primary care and advanced training in esthetic medical procedures. She has combined her passions and now has a small boutique medical practice in Smithtown. She prides herself on personal and private service performing cosmetic procedures.

High school students who attend Wilson Tech today can pursue certification as a nurse assistant in their first year and then continue in the Professional Health program as a senior to earn transferable credits toward a license as a practical nurse. For more information, students should contact the guidance counselor in the home high school or call Wilson Tech's admission office at 425-9050.

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How to Give Children a Voice

Mindy Podesta, speech therapist in the division of special education at Western Suffolk BOCES, demonstrated several devices that the BOCES speech staff use to help children develop their abilities to communicate. Drawing from her more than 30 years experience working with children with disabilities, Ms. Podesta explained that  once a child is motivated to speak, there is a wide range of tools that they can use from the long successful picture books to the newest apps for the ipad. 

Her presentation, "Augmentative and Alternate Communication," to the BOCES Board at its February meeting described the methods the speech therapists use to test devices as they attempt to match the most effective tool to the individual needs of each child.

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Legislators Respond to Educational Issues

Dr. Michael Mensch
Chief Operating Officer
Western Suffolk BOCES

NYS Senator John J. Flanagan (R) (center) speaks at BOCES annual Legislative Brunch with Senator Philip Boyle (R) (left) and Senator Carl Marcellino (R) (right).

More than 75 education leaders, school board officers and parent representatives attended the annual Legislative Brunch that Western Suffolk BOCES held in late January. School officials quizzed NYS Senators John Flannigan, Carl Marcellino, and Philip Boyle along with NYS Assemblymen Joseph Saladino and Michael Fitzpatrick about a range of issues from the Governor's proposed budget to the Gap Elimination to the Common Core rollout.

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Challenging Schools to Improve Student Health

Joining together for healthy schools included (l. to r.) Kim McLaughlin (Action for Healthy Kids), Zahrine Bajwa (Cornell Cooperative Extension Suffolk), Florence Selin (American Dairy Council), Mary Jo McLarney (USDA), Karyn Kirschbaum (HSNY Suffolk), Kathryn Hoy (Cornell University), Patricia Gremillion-Burdge (HSNY Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess), and Jessica Pino (Hunger Solutions NY). Jacqueline S. Harris (l.), Deputy Superintendent of South Huntington, welcomes Sunny Suchdeva (r.), aide to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand during the Healthier Long Island Challenge in December.

Healthy Schools NY, a project funded by the NYS Department of Health, challenged LI school districts to improve student health. The BOCES-administered program recently joined with Action for Healthy Kids, the American Dairy Council, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Hunger Solutions, Fuel Up to Play 60, and DASH to present the second annual Healthier Long Island Challenge.

More than 100 school administrators, food service directors, PE and health administrators, teachers, board members, parents, public health agencies and elected officials accepted the challenge and shared best practices for comprehensive wellness policies and related initiatives.

Experts in the field addressed the role of wellness in student success, the USDA’s new competitive school regulations, and behavior economics behind smarter lunchrooms. Next, a panel from Wyandanch, Center Moriches, Roosevelt and Westbury school districts presented best practices that exemplified HSNY successes.

Western Suffolk BOCES administers HSNY to help school districts develop sustainable policies and practices, improve healthful eating and increase opportunities for physical activity and quality physical education. This is the program’s fourth year serving districts across Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.

For more information about Healthy Schools NY:
Visit the website: http://lirsssc.wsboces.org
“Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HSNYWSBOCES
Suffolk: call 631/595-6816 or email kkirschb@wsboces.org
Nassau: call 631/595-6814 or email skessler@wsboces.org
Westchester/Putnam or Dutchess: call 631/595-6847 or email pgremill@wsboces.org

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Architectural Design/CAD Student Earns Paid Internship

Senior Sarah Chiriboga (l.) and instructor Isabella Mancini (r.), explained  Wilson Tech's Architectural Design/CAD program to the BOCES Board at its January meeting.


As the Architectural Design/CAD program progressed from residential to commercial structures, Wilson Tech student Sarah Chiriboga learned both the technical skills and the confidence to win a paid internship with William F. Collins Architects in Setauket. For the senior's final year at Tech, she will be gaining more skills to pursue her dream in college to become an architect.

Sarah explained her work-study program to the BOCES Board at its January meeting following the presentation her Tech instructor, Isabella Mancini, made. Mancini narrated a slide presentation which showed samples of students' work from sketches to intricate computer 3D models of buildings that students had created in CAD and SketchUp.

Sarah’s internship is possible through Wilson Tech’s work-study program and partnerships with local industry professionals.  All of Wilson Tech’s Career and Technical Education programs provide students with work-based learning experiences that connect directly to classroom and laboratory learning. Sophomores and juniors can enroll in any of Tech's 28 programs for high school students for fall 2014 by calling the guidance counselor in the home high school or Tech's Admission Office at 425-9050.

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Momentum Grows for Common Core Slowdown

60 Districts and 2 BOCES Urge Slowdown in Common Core;
In Letters to Commissioner, Governor and NYS Legislators
Packets one-inch thick with letters urging a slowdown in the implementation of the Common Core and the associated testing that is seen as poorly planned, unnecessarily lengthy and developmentally inappropriate were delivered this week to the NYS Commissioner of Education John B. King, the NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Board of Regents and 24 NYS legislators from Suffolk County.
A wide-ranging group from superintendents, presidents of boards of education, parent teacher organizations as well as teacher and principal associations from 60 school districts in Suffolk County as well as Eastern Suffolk BOCES and Western Suffolk BOCES signed the letters. The effort, spearheaded by an ad hoc committee of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, was signed by Dr. Roberta Gerold, SCSSA president and Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES and committee chair.
            At the same time, Newsday reports that the Speaker of the NYS Assembly,Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), thinks that it is appropriate to delay and re-evaluate the implementation of the Common Core. According to Newsday, Silver cited the need for additional teacher training and the widespread lack of support as reasons to delay aspects of the NYS Department of Education’s plans.
            The letters followed ones sent in November to the Commissioner from the SCSSA and the 18 school districts in Western Suffolk BOCES. Both campaigns have stressed their support for higher academic standards and holding professional educators accountable while they urge the Commissioner to take a step back and correct what has been problematic from insufficient teacher training to over testing.
            “Critical and time sensitive decisions need to be made,” the latest letter said, “to avoid yet another round of flawed student assessments as well as teacher and principal evaluations.”
“It should not go unnoticed that the 62 letters of support for our recommendations come from Suffolk County school districts and BOCES that historically meet and exceed state and national results in student achievement,” the letter noted.
Dr. Mensch urged his colleagues to “support the continuation of teacher training, changes in the curriculum that align with the Common Core, and any action that will make grades 3 – 8 test appropriate for the age of the student who is taking them.”
The letter concluded with a hope that a representative team from the Suffolk region be given the opportunity to be included in making the needed changes. “Thoughtful correctives have to be put into place,” the letter concludes, because “we want to be partners in progress not obstructionists.”

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Local BOEs Tour Tech

Members of the Copiague Board of Education and Superintendent Charles Leunig (back, r.) met several Copiague students who attend Wilson Tech. Cosmetology students from Wilson Tech's Northport campus explain their creative makeup to Dr. Michael Mensch (c.), Chief Operating Officer at Western Suffolk BOCES.

Members of 16 of the local Boards of Education attended a festive evening at Wilson Tech in early December. Tech students from 18 of the 40 programs prepared displays to show what they were learning in their Tech programs from "flying" a flight simulator to taking blood pressure to installing toilet. Afterward, board members were served a dinner prepared by students in Tech's Culinary Arts program. Take a look at the festivities.

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Districts Rally to Eliminate GEA

Dr. Roberta Gerold, president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and Superintendent of Middle Country School District, urged lawmakers to eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) which has reduced state aid to school districts statewide by $6.35 billion in the past three years.

School district representatives rallied together to urge NYS lawmakers to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), a formula in the state budget that reduces the amount of aid to school districts. Over the past three years, GEA has been used to reduce state aid to Long Island school districts by nearly $1 billion.

Under the banner "One Island--One Voice," Gary Bixhorn, Chief Operating Officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, explained that Long Island schools will receive less state aid in 2013-14 ($2.54 billion) than they received in 2008-09 ($2.62 billion) due to GEA. Long Island school districts receive 12% of school aid, he noted, but they had to absorb 18% of the GEA's statewide cuts to education.

The presidents of both the Nassau County of School Superintendents and the Suffolk County School Superintendents urged local lawmakers to change this formula. They noted that if GEA had been eliminated when the state budget was established this year, Long Island's current school tax levy would be nearly $300 million, or 4%, lower than it now is. Nearly half of the reduction this year cam from the 28 low-wealth school districts. They stressed that the GEA increases dependence on local property taxes to fund LI schools.

They lobbied legislators to do two things:

1. Eliminate the GEA in 2014-15 and provide school districts with the full amount of aid generated by all of the existing funding formulas without the GEA deduction.

2. Replace the Foundation Formula in 2015-16. Establish a new formula that recognizes the needs of our region and generates a fair share of aid for LI schools.

Learn more about GEA and send a letter (personalize this sample letter, if you want) to your local NYS Senator or Assemblyman.

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Surg Tech Graduates Earn 90%+ Pass Rate

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting presented an award of merit to the Surgical Technology program at Western Suffolk BOCES because the most recent graduates earned at least a 90% pass rate on their nationally recognized Certified Surgical Technologist exam. Current students pictured standing above say they intend to best that rate! Their teachers (front) say it is "likely!" Learn more information about BOCES full-time programs. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

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175,000 Clams Added to Stony Brook Harbor

Instead of wearing costumes on Halloween, 60 students from Connetquot and North Babylon Highs Schools removed more than 175,000 clams and 100,000 oysters from the rafts where the mollusks had been growing throughout the summer and early fall and placed them on the bay bottom in Stony Brook Harbor. The students hope these young mollusks will seed and survive into adulthood in these waters.
            The project is part of the BOCES Outdoor Environmental Education Program which runs this Mariculture program in these schools. Through a series of lessons, students learned about clam anatomy and the history of the fishery on LI. They then constructed nursery rafts and maintained them and monitored clam growth over the summer.
Students will now compile, summarize and evaluate all data. Over the years millions of clams, oysters and mussels have been reared and seeded into the coastal waters of Long Island by this BOCES program. This project supports the local shellfish industry and allows these filter feeding animals to increase water quality.
            News 12 aired this video on at least three occasions! FIOS 1 is expected to air a similar feature soon.

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Superintendents Urge "Slow Down Changes"

Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, has sent a letter to Dr. John King, NYS Commissioner of Education, on behalf of the 18 Superintendents of Schools in Western Suffolk BOCES to offer 24 concrete recommendations for making the implementation of initiatives surrounding Common Core, APPR and new assessments better for children, better for teachers, and better for our communities.

      "The rush to implement the Common Core and the new assessments has placed unnecessary burdens on both our students and teachers.  We believe our children can perform at higher levels, and that our teachers can provide the instruction that will propel their classes forward,” wrote the Superintendents.

      Rather than dwell on the many stumbling blocks to higher learning standards and greater accountability, the letter explained, “We believe there are things that can be done to slow the implementation and permit all of the stakeholders the necessary time to re-group and really prepare to make the changes necessary to implement the Common Core effectively.”

      “We welcome the opportunity to follow up on our ideas with the Commissioner’s staff in an environment conducive to matters of this importance and complexity,” added Dr. Mensch. “We hope our suggestions will become part of the larger conversation on how to best respond to the issues and challenges surrounding the implementation of the Common Core, APPR and testing initiatives.”

      The letter supported the Commissioner “for the valuable steps just taken to delay computerized testing; request a waiver for grade 8 math assessments for Algebra students; and request a waiver for certain ELL and special education students.”

      The superintendents concluded that they hoped “the additional modifications we have proposed will help salvage the positive intent of the initiatives on APPR, Common Core and new assessments while modifying those things that are causing significant angst in our schools and communities. Let’s focus our time and attention on what matters – teaching and learning.”

      Read the complete letter approved by the 18 Superintendents in Western Suffolk BOCES and the Newsday article.


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14 Companies Interview at Aviation Career Fair

One of the highlights of the AMT Career Fair was the arrival of the AS355 Twinstar helicopter used by Hover-Views, a company that does aerial filming for the movie industry.
Both adult and high school AMT students and a dozen alumni attended the BOCES Aviation Maintenance Career Fair on Oct. 18. Most of the 14 exhibitors, including airlines, aviation service companies and military recruiters, were seeking FAA licensed technicians. Most made appointments for further contact with BOCES AMT students. AMT students had worked with the BOCES Job Placement Office to prepare well-written resumes and the work paid off! Dowling College scheduled seven interviews for students considering continuing their education and the 106th Rescue Wing of the NY Air National Guard scheduled six interviews.

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Board Appoints BOCES Principal as District Superintendent

The Board of Western Suffolk BOCES is pleased to announce the appointment of a long-time BOCES teacher and experienced BOCES Principal, Maureen Donohue-Whitley, to the position of District Superintendent effective October 16, 2013.

      Following the retirement of District Superintendent Dr. David Gee, the Western Suffolk BOCES Board conducted two unsuccessful searches for a replacement. During this period, the Board appointed Dr. Michael Mensch to serve as the Deputy Superintendent and to assume the duties of the District Superintendent. This past spring, the State Education Department requested that the Board conduct another search to fill the official District Superintendent vacancy, and the Board agreed to do so.

      Mrs. Donohue-Whitley’s duties will include training, scoring and support of the initiatives relative to NYS Alternate Assessments including organizing, budgeting and administering the NYSAA Regional Training Institutes and the NYSAA Regional Scoring Institutes for the Western Suffolk BOCES regions as well as assisting component school districts with the interpretation and implementation of NYS education laws, regulations, and policies.  She will also supervise the IEP Direct system including creating IEP guidance documents

and IEP staff training as well as to provide instructional leadership for the Special Education Division in curriculum development, professional development and the alignment of the curriculum to the NYS Common Core Standards. In addition, she will attend the monthly District Superintendent meetings in Albany and work in cooperation with Dr. Mensch as he continues his service as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Superintendent with the daily responsibilities for planning, administering, supervising and evaluating the education programs and support services of this BOCES.  As the Chief Operating Officer, he will prepare the agendas and organize the meetings of the Board of Western Suffolk BOCES and direct the BOCES Administrative Council.

      Mrs. Donohue-Whitley began her BOCES career in 1979 as a special education teacher at the James E. Allen Elementary School and was subsequently promoted to Curriculum/Alternate Assessment Coordinator, Summer School Coordinator, and Assistant Principal before assuming the Principal’s position in 2010.

      She holds a BA in Elementary Education from St. John’s University, an MS in Special Education and a Professional Diploma-Advanced Certificate in Educational Administration and Leadership from Long Island University.  She has been an adjunct professor in LIU’s Department of Special Education and Literacy since 2008. Given the NYS legislature’s cap on the salary of District Superintendents, Mrs. Donohue-Whitley’s salary will be $166,700 of which $43,000 will be paid by the NYS Education Department as part of its obligation to the BOCES.

      In other administrative realignments, Western Suffolk BOCES has eliminated one central office administrator. Nancy Kelsey has been promoted to Executive Director of Career and Technical Education; Teresa Strum has been promoted to Executive Director of Special Education; and Mike Flynn has been promoted to Sr. Executive Director.

      “Rather than the former model of two directors and two assistant directors, I have asked Mr. Flynn, Mrs. Kelsey and Mrs. Strum to work as a three-person team to supervise and manage the Special Education and CTE Divisions as part of an on-going effort to reduce agency costs and, thereby, help contain future tuition rates for BOCES programs,” announced Dr. Mensch.

      The Administrative Council, consisting of the Chief Financial Officer, Executive Director of Personnel, Senior Executive Director, Executive Director of Special Education, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education, Executive Director of Instructional Support Services and Administrative Assistant (Public Information), will continue to report directly to Dr. Mensch.

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Sinatra's Jet Lands at BOCES


     Both high school and adult students in BOCES' Aviation Maintenance Technology program will now be able to practice making repairs on a 1968 Gulfstream business jet that once belonged to singing icon Frank Sinatra and subsequently to actor Harrison Ford. In above photo, the jet is donated to Western Suffolk BOCES by JFI JETs owner and Long Island resident Arik Kislin (l.) who owned the aircraft for seven years and operated it all over the world. Mr. Kislin hands over the jet to Ken Burr, outgoing Executive Director of Career and Technical Education, while Dr. Michael Mensch, BOCES Chief Operating Officer, and Nancy Kelsey, incoming Executive Director of CTE, look on.

      "I love this airplane and truly hate to see her grounded, but after 44 years of service her time has come. I am pleased to know she will continue to be of service to Wilson Tech and the people of Long Island as an educational tool and a proud reminder of the aviation heritage of this region," Kislin commented.

      The jet accommodated 12 passengers and had a range of over 3,000. Its two Rolls Royce engines powered the aircraft to a cruise altitude of 45,000 feet and a speed of 520 miles per hour. The aircraft was designed and engineered by Grumman Aircraft in Bethpage.

      Diana Santiago, Tech’s AMT instructor, was enthusiastic because this donation will help students prepare for Federal Aviation Administration exams to earn FAA licenses in Airframe and Powerplant for greater job opportunities. For more information about preparing for FAA licenses to become a licensed aircraft technician at Western Suffolk BOCES at Tech's Republic Airport campus, call 631-752-1957. Financial aid is available to adults who qualify. Interested high school students should contact the guidance counselor in the home high school. 

      JFI Jets is a worldwide provider of Aircraft Management and Charter services with Fixed Base Operations and a PART 145 Certified Repair Center. The company's main facilities are in California and on LI.

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Zumpano and Herz to Lead BOCES Board

At the July meeting of the Board of Western Suffollk BOCES, Maryann Zumpano (l.) of Smithtown was elected president and Ilene Herz (r.), Esq, of Half Hollow Hills, was elected vice president for the 2013-14 school year.


Other BOCES Board members include Mildred Browne of Copiague, Sydney Finkelstein of Elwood, Salvatore Marinello of West Babylon, Jeannette Santos of Amityville, and Peter Wunsch of Commack.

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Jeannette Santos Earns Distinguished Service Award

Long before multi-culturism became an “ism,” Jeannette Santos of Amityville was spending countless hours working for community and charitable organizations to guarantee the best possible future for her fellow Long Islanders. The Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association recognized Mrs. Santos, the current president of the Board of Western Suffolk BOCES and trustee on the Amityville Board of Education, with the Distinguished Service Award on May 29 for her 40 years of dedicated service to education. She is shown at left recognizing Luis Sanchez of Amityville, a Wilson Tech student in Aircraft Technology, for being awarded a scholarship, valued at up to $5,000 per year for up ttwo years of college tuition, from the Long Island Forum for Technology.
From her children’s earliest years, Mrs. Santos has been an ardent supporter of public education—in her district's PTA followed by 21 years on the Amityville Board of Education and 19 years on the BOCES Board. Always respectful, but never shy, Mrs. Santos sought to create atmospheres that were not just inclusive, but also welcoming, for minorities in our schools. She is respected for asking polite but tough questions that paved the way to redress inequality. At every stage of her career, she questioned the status quo with the grace and polish that won admiration from her colleagues and community.
As demographic changes have swept Long Island and altered the makeup of our schools, Mrs. Santos has repeatedly used her considerable influence and reputation to help her school district and the greater LI community meet the needs of these changing times. Throughout her years of public service, she has focused her tremendous energies on insuring that all children are provided with the opportunities to learn to the best of their abilities.

She has been recognized with civic awards including the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Award, the NYS Golden Apple Award for Volunteers, the Governor Voluntary Service Award, the Suffolk County Citizen of the Year Award, the Suffolk County Human Rights Award, the Suffolk County Hispanic Leadership Award, the Town of Babylon Women’s History Month community Service Award and the NYSUFT Friends of Education Award.
"You don’t receive this kind of recognition by sitting at home!" observed Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, as he introduced Mrs. Santos to the N-SSBA annual spring recognition dinner.
Mrs. Santos has used her own life experiences as an immigrant child and as the wife of an entrepreneur to diffuse tensions, form alliances and forge agreements to carry projects and programs forward with broad consensus. A decade ago, when many would have been seeking ways to downsize their civic involvement, she instead took on additional responsibilities as the Outreach Coordinator of the Town of Babylon Youth Institute and became a candidate for the NYS Senate. Her long-standing anti-bias commitment, her ongoing dedication to finding ways to involve all community members and her focus on creating environments that create true opportunity for all children made her most deserved of this recognition.

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LIFT Awards $5,000 Scholarships to Tech Students

Three students from Wilson Tech have been selected for the prestigious LIFT (Long Island Forum for Technology) scholarships. The awards, valued at up to $5,000 per year (for up to two years) for tuition to further their education and training on Long Island, were presented to (l. to r.) Yander Reyes of Wyandanch in Aircraft Technology, Jose Yanez of Copiague in Automotive Technology and Luis Sanchez of Amityville in Aircraft Technology by Joesph Garone, the chairman of the LIFT Board. 
            LIFT hosted a luncheon to recognize the three recipients and their families for the students’ outstanding achievements in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field. Yander and Luis plans to use their scholarships to earn their second FAA licenses in the BOCES Aviation Maintenance Technology program for adults at Republic Airport. Jose plans to use his scholarship to continue his automotive studies at Suffolk County Community College.
            The LIFT competition was open to high school students pursuing a career and technical education at any of the three BOCES on Long Island. For this initial year, the LIFT scholarships were aimed at graduating seniors who were planning on continuing their education in a manufacturing-related program local to Long Island. Tech students were among more than 30 applicants for the awards.
            For more information about the LIFT scholarship competition, go to www.lift.org/scholarship.

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JEA Jr./Sr. Students Compete in Special Olympics

Taylor Ramirez from North Babylon participated in the spring Special Olympics at Commack and was interviewed on Channel 12 News. She is a student at the James E. Allen Jr./Sr. High School. Congratulations, Taylor and staff who made the day such a success!

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Study Projects Continuing Decline in Bi-County Enrollment

Public school enrollment on Long Island has declined by 4 percent since 2006; 3 percent in Nassau County and 4.9 percent in Suffolk County according to the annual Bi-County Nassau/Suffolk Public School Enrollment Report that has been compiled by the Office of School Planning and Research at Western Suffolk BOCES.
      This document provides information about historical enrollments (2006 – 2012) in the Long Island counties as well as projected enrollments through 2015. These projections suggest an additional 3.7 percent decline in the region over the next three years.
Elementary grades (K - 5) declined the most (5.4 percent) since 2006; an additional 4.3 percent loss is expected by 2015. Declines have also been seen at the middle level (6 - 8) and are anticipated to continue. Losses at the high school level (9 - 12) are expected in the coming years as the smaller elementary and middle level cohorts reach the secondary schools. Since 2006, smaller incoming kindergarten classes replaced larger exiting twelfth grade classes.
      According to the study, this trend is expected to continue in the projection years; however, the displacement will be more significant in the projected years, through 2015. Enrollment in public schools is affected by demographic factors. These factors include the number of children being born in the area, economic and housing trends, non-public school enrollments and immigration/migration patterns. The downturn in the economy, the study reports, exacerbated already declining enrollments.
Population Changes
Long Island experienced significant population increases in the 1990’s. Since then, the population has continued to grow, although at a slower pace. While the population in the United States increased 10.7 percent over the last 10 years, the study cites Long Island’s population growth by 3.2 percent; Nassau grew by only 0.7 percent while Suffolk grew by 5.6 percent. Factors contributing to recent increases include foreign immigration, decreased out-migration and natural increases (births minus deaths).
      In contrast to this population growth, the study found that K-12 enrollment peaked in 2004 with 471,402 students. Since then, overall enrollment has been decreasing each year. The study expects this trend to continue because Long Island’s population has experienced demographic changes.
Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties saw a decline in the number of children under the age of five between 2000 and 2010, while both counties also showed a 2.5 percent decline in people between the ages of 20 – 54 from 2000 to 2010. The study found that significant increases in the percentage of the population over age 55. Since the 2000 Census, the median age of Long Islanders has increased. Nassau County’s median age in 2000 was 38.5 years but rose to 41.1 in 2010 while Suffolk County noted an increase from 36.5 years in 2000 to 39.8 years in 2010. The 2010 median age in both counties is higher than New York State’s median age (38 years) and the nation’s (36.9 years).
      The study found that births have been declining on Long Island since the 1990’s and are expected to plateau at a lower level in the future. The economy has been cited, the study says, as a partial reason for the continuing decreases in births as couples may have postponed having children until the economy improves. This has led to the declines in the number of pre-school children. Smaller numbers of births are expected to continue, the study noted, and will impact school enrollments in many districts in future years.
Recent population data indicates that the foreign-born in the United States accounts for 12.8 percent of the total population. More than half of these immigrants were born in Latin America. This represents an increase of approximately 12.6 million people since 2000. Those that are foreign born represent approximately 21.8 percent of the population in New York State, while residents who were born outside the country made up 20.9 percent of the population in Nassau County in 2010 and 14.2 percent in Suffolk County.
      Immigration is a large contributor, the study noted, to population growth. Of the foreign-born residents, 48.6 percent in Nassau County and 56.8 percent in Suffolk County were born in Latin America, causing a continuing but growing concern for how school districts will service the growing population of bilingual and English as a Second Language students.
Housing Market
Economic conditions continue to impact Long Island’s housing market. The study found that over the past six years, financial turmoil, high taxes and sluggish home sales have been evident in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Homes on Long Island sold at record levels until 2006. Since then, the housing market has fallen off significantly, causing property values to decline. In April 2007, the median home price in Nassau County was $487,000; in January 2013, it had fallen to $400,000. In Suffolk County the median home price fell from $431,000 in 2007 to $310,000 in January 2013.
      Housing prices are not expected to significantly increase in value and may stagnate well into the middle of this decade. The study found that changes in the housing market have had a significant impact on school enrollment. Together, these factors will impact school districts.
      “The best way to address these changes is to be aware of the trends that are developing in your immediate locale. By studying historical, as well as recent enrollment and demographic trends, you can best prepare your school district for the future,” noted Paula Klingelhoefer, Executive Director of Instructional Support Services at BOCES.
      Western Suffolk BOCESis available to support school districts in long-range planning by offering experienced, objective assistance in Demographics(an analysis of population, births, housing, resident characteristics and non-public school enrollment), Enrollment(an analysis of historical enrollment trends and future enrollment projections for the district as a whole, for specific grade sub-sets, and for individual schools, Facilities(an analysis of each facility’s capacity with an assessment of the impact of projected enrollment on future facility utilization and program delivery, Future Organization (a presentation of options, suited  to district policy, allowing for equity in districts’ schools, continued program excellence and implementation of educational goals).
      To discuss BOCES services and how they may promote your districts’ goals, call (631-595-6802.

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Taking a Plunge for SEPTA

Left: Before Dr. Michael Mensch (r.), Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, plunged into the chilly waters of the Great South Bay, he gathered with the loyal BOCES supporters. Right: Larry Cimino (l.), BOCES physical education teacher, joined Dr. Mensch and the team from the James E. Allen Jr./Sr. High School to raise $725 at the AHRC’s second annual Polar Bear Splash. Proceeds were split between AHRC Suffolk and our SEPTA at JEA Jr./Sr.

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Literacy Zone Opens in Huntington

Left photo: Monsignor Joseph Granata, pastor of St. Hughes Church, Huntington Station, cuts the ribbon to officially open the Welcome Center at the Literacy Zone in Huntington Station.
Right photo: BOCES employees Valerie Cowen-Gouskos (l.), an adult instructor/school counseling, and Mona DeSesa (c.), program manager for the Literacy Zone, worked with Sister Lenore Toscano (r.), director of the Opening Word, to officially promote the Literacy Zone as a neighborhood location for adults to take classes to help them prepare for the workforce

BOCES joined forces with The Opening Word to open the Huntington Station Literacy Zone where adults in Huntington can study English, prepare for citizenship, prepare for GED test, and learn workplace skills such as computer software programs. The Welcome Center, dedicated in fall 2012, is located at 1450 New York Avenue, Huntington Station.

BOCES will provide the assessments and adult instructors for classes at the center. For more information about registering for a class, call the Career Center at Western Suffolk BOCES at 631-667-6000, ext. 327.

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BOCES APPR Plan Approved

            The NYS Commissioner of Education has certified that the Annual Professional Performance Review Plan (APPR) submitted by Western Suffolk BOCES has met the criteria outlined in Education Law 3012-c and Subpart 30-2 of the Commissioner’s Regulations and has been approved for the 2012-13 school year.

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Maintaining a Safe Environment for Learning

Expressing his commitment to maintaining a safe environment for learning in BOCES schools, Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, sent this letter to parents on Dec. 17, 2012.

Dear Parents,
We were deeply saddened to hear the news of the school tragedy that occurred last Friday at a Connecticut elementary school. Our thoughts are with the members of that community. The safety of our students is always the top priority in Western Suffolk BOCES. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety of your child every day.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of our families that we have a plan in place at each of our schools to handle emergency situations. We work with the local police and fire departments to prepare for these types of emergencies and regularly practice our safety procedures with students and staff through discussions and emergency exercises.
This tragedy is a stark reminder of the importance of our safety procedures and our check-in and screening processes for all visitors to our campuses. While there is no indication that this is anything but an isolated incident, we do want to take this opportunity to remind all of our BOCES families that we conduct regular drills, including those for a building lockdown, and that we have a screening check-in process for all visitors to our schools.
In response, and in anticipation of the needs of our students:
·        All BOCES staff are available to provide extra measures of support and counseling to our students.
·        All safety procedures were reviewed with a goal to maintain the highest level of safety within our schools.
·        We will redouble our efforts to collaborate with local police agencies and the entire school community in an effort to help us maintain the health and safety of our students.
As a parent and grandparent, I am deeply saddened by the story unfolding. Please keep the families of those involved in this terrible situation in your prayers. We will learn more details in the days ahead, and I assure we will discuss the ramifications of these details to further maintain the safe learning environment here at Western Suffolk BOCES for all children.

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A View for a Cause

With 360 degree views of Manhattan from an event space in Tribeca, families and friends of children with Lowes syndrome gathered in November to raise funds for medical and scientific research for this rare genetic disorder. JEA Jr./Sr. High School was proud that the Lowes Syndrome Association featured one of its students, James Jerman from Half Hollow Hills, and his family in the gala’s program. For more information about the fundraiser, go to www.lowesyndrome.org

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Local Board Members Meet with Tech Students

Let the holidays begin! Western Suffolk BOCES hosted the annual dinner meeting for members of the boards of education in Huntington, Smithtown and Babylon. Before Culinary Arts students served dinner, board members visited program displays and discussed the Tech curriculum with Wilson Tech students. Pictured above is a group of Tech students from Walter G. O'Connell High School along with Charles Leunig (c, left), Superintendent, and Michael Greb, president of the Copiage Board of Education. See what Tech students showed board members.

Now, see the photographs taken by Tech students in a special photo studio.

Meet the Photographers!

Photography instructor Phyllis Montouri (l.) directs (l. to r.) Chris Ketter of Deer Park, Kristin Gates of Smithtown West, and Casey Fernandez of Copiague.

Smithtown photographers Kristin Gates and David Emiliani.


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Board Honors Trustee Mildred Browne

The Board of Western Suffolk BOCES honored one of its own at the November meeting. Mildred Browne, long active in educational and civic organizations, was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by NYS Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr.

Ms. Browne began volunteering as a teenager with the American Women's Volunteer Service and the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. She served on the Copiague Board of Education for 22 years and has served on the BOCES Board since 1993, including terms as vice president and then president on both boards. She has been a staunch advocate for public education and has used her great energy and powers of persuasion to help direct financial resources to Long Island schools and to expand learning opportunities for all children.

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Summit Maximizes Technology for Learning

The Headliners at the 2012 Technology Summit . . .


Top: The leaders of the three BOCES on Long Island (l. to r.) Dean Lucera, Dr. Michael Mensch, and Dr. Thomas Rogers (far r.) congratulated Maddalena Buffalino, social studies teacher in Carle Place, and Gene Tranchino, Executive Director of Instructional and Administrative Computing in Elwood, who received the Fred Podolski Leadership and Innovation in Technology Awards.

Right: Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, opens the 2012 Technology Summit.

The Attendees . . .  

Top: Al Pisano and Roberta MacGray, Teacher Integration Specialists with ESBOCES, discuss the use of Google Apps and digital portfolios in Sachem.

Right: Keynote speaker Adam Bellow (l.) reminisces about his first career as an English teacher in Walter G. O'Connell High School with current educators from Copiague school district.

Those who made it all happen . . .  

(l. to r.) Jane Babino, Joann Zerbo, Janice Schwartz, Debbilynne Maxwell, and Arlene Riordan were the backbone of the summit!


Left: Paula Klingelhoefer, Executive Director, Instructional Support Services

Right: Division Administrator, Curriculum/




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Board Adopts Revised Code of Conduct

The Board adopted a revised Code of Conduct (policy #6211) for Western Suffolk BOCES at the July meeting to comply with the recently passed Dignity Act. The approved revision added “weight” and “sexual orientation” as a protected class, included the appointment of a Dignity Act Coordinator in each school and defined the role of the Dignity Act Coordinator.


At the July meeting, board members re-elected Jeannette Santos of Amityville as president and Marynn Zumpano of Smithtown as vice president for the 2012-13 school year. Sydney Finkelstein of Elwood and Sal Marinello of West Babylon were sworn in to three-year terms as trustees. Both were re-elected in local elections in May.

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Adult Students Give Back to Community

Learning by doing is the essence of the Esthetics and Cosmetology programs at Western Suffolk BOCES. Adult students took it a step further recently as they joined with their instructors (above) to provide free facials or hair treatments to parents or guardian working with a Parent Advocate through Family Service League’s Parent to Parent program.
            Registration for these two BOCES adult programs is ongoing. Adults can enter either the Esthetics or Cosmetology programs at the beginning of each module. For more information go to www.wsboces.org/fulltime or call a counselor at 631-261-3863. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

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BOCES Posts Bids and Results Online

Western Suffolk BOCES has joined the Long Island Bid System for soliciting bids from suppliers. This system will provide companies with convenient online access to all bid information for Western Suffolk BOCES and seven other agencies. If vendors are currently registered as a supplier on this system with another entity, there is no need to register again.
To participate in future bid opportunities from BOCES and these agencies, vendors have two options: Option A is free; Option B is $99.95/year because it includes automatic email notification of bid announcements, addendums and results for registered commodity/service codes.
Register now at www.LongIslandBidSystem.com. Use the “Supplier Registration” link and follow the step-by-step instructions. For help registering, call the technical support department at IPT by BidNet toll free 1-800-835-4603.
Beginning April 2012, Western Suffolk BOCES will post the bid results at www.LongIslandBidSystem.com where vendors can search by key word.

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He’s Got a Way With Letters

Francisco Bautista, a fifth grader in the BOCES Alternate Learning Center classroom at N. Babylon’s DeLuca Elementary School, competed in the LI Regional Spelling Bee on March 18 at Hofstra. With excitement in the air, Francisco made it through round one by correctly spelled the word 'humdinger'!  His family and the DeLuca ALC staff cheered him on as he competed against 103 other middle school students from Nassau and Suffolk County.
Francisco continued to meet with success until only 35 spellers remained.  The eventual winner, a 5th grade student from Oceanside, correctly spelled the word 'mordacious' to win the competition.  We are extremely proud that Fransisco represented DeLuca Elementary after winning first place in his school’s contest. Francisco worked hard to prepare for the competition and gave an outstanding performance! 

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National Group Honors Surgical Tech Grad

The Association of Surgical Technology recently announced in the quarterly publication of ASTSA News that 16 students from across the United States had been chosen as National Honor Society Inductees. One of the 16 was Tracy Hagen, a recent graduate of the Western Suffolk BOCES' Surgical Technology program! She is currently employed at St. Catherine's Medical Center in Smithtown.
Classes in surgical technology are now forming for Sept. 2012 and March 2013. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education programs. Financial aid is available to students who qualify. For more information about prerequisites and the program, click here.

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Adult Aviation Student Earns Scholarship

Bob Gainer, an adult student in BOCES’ Aviation Maintenance Technician program, received a $1,000 scholarship from the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association based on his academic performance. A former marine, Bob was a carpenter before he decided to make a career change and enrolled in the program at Republic two years ago.

       Bob has excellent attendance despite the fact that he takes public transportation from New Hyde Park to the BOCES program at Wilson Technological Center's Farmingdale campus next to Republic Airport. He has already earned his FAA Airframe license and is currently working on his FAA Powerplant license. Bob currently has an average above 90 and will be recommended for the National Technical Honor Society. 

       The BOCES AMT program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and approved for ACCES-VR and VA. Instructors are FAA certified. Financial aid is available to students who qualify. Registration is now open for summer classes. Call 631-752-1957 for a tour. For more information about the AMT program, click here.

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A Passion for Music Drives Students

Mildred Browne (r.) visits with Evan Collelo, a Tech graduate who is in the certificate program at Nassau Community college to become a sound recording technician.

Jonathan Mackey describes his internship as an assistant engineer at a local recording studio to Ilene Herz (r.), board member from Half Hollow Hills.

Jeannette Santos (r.) visits with Luis Mamba of Amityville, a Tech graduate who studies music business with an audio concentration at Five Towns College.

Board member Peter Wunsch takes a turn reading a script in Tech's sound booth.

Board members toured the Audio Production classroom at Wilson Tech with alumni of the Graphic & Media cluster during the February Board meeting. Juniors and seniors in high school can explore their interests in music as they record their own voices in a sound booth or learn to spin tunes on a DJ board. Students can also record their music using a variety of electronic instruments and Apple MacIntosh computers.

Tech's rigorous program has agreements with several colleges so students can earn up to 9 credits toward college while they are still in high school. For more information about registering for any of the 28 programs for high school students, call 631-667-6000 x300 or visit your guidance counselor in your home high school.

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Board Member Always Learning

As the longest serving member of the BOCES Board, Sydney Finkelstein (r.) of Elwood, does not rest on his laurels. Recently the  NYS School Boards Association gave him  a Learning for Leaders Board Achievement Award for his ongoing participation in leadership development training.
“Syd takes advantage of every opportunity to enhance his knowledge of financing and guiding this BOCES," said Dr. Michael Mensch (l.), Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, as he presented him with the award.

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PN Grads Score at Top on NYS Board Exams

The statistics for BOCES grads in the Practical Nursing program speak for themselves! Those adults who took the Practical Nursing exam for NYS board licensure in the third quarter of 2011 had a 97% pass rate compared to 85% in NYS and 87% for the U.S. We are proud of students AND staff!
   The Practical Nursing program at Western Suffolk is approved by the NYS Education Department. Adults can complete the full-time day program in 13 months; the part-time day program in 24 months and the evening program in 18 months.
   Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Prerequisites include a high school diploma or equivalent plus a satisfactory score on the Pre-Entrance Exam.
   For more information about how you can enroll in the BOCES Practical Nursing program for adults at Wilson Tech's Northport campus, click here or call 631-261-3721 x219.

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Vets Take Away Skills and Computers

Veterans can gain computer skills through the “No Man Is An Island” program taught by Western Suffolk BOCES in partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs, NY Regional Office.
This program is an adjunct to the VA medical treatment program to help increase veterans’ awareness, mental alertness, socialization and interaction in the world. The program teaches computer applications to help build the veterans’ basic computer knowledge and enable the veterans to augment their interests and global access.
The six-month computer training program enables veterans to reconnect with family and friends. Upon successful completion of the program, these veterans are eligible to receive a computer and printer for their home.
Veterans describe being overwhelmed at first, but they appreciate the many ways that technology can positively impact their lives. One veteran described how he reached out to a war buddy after 40 years. Now they email to stay in touch.
The “No Man Is An Island” program serves disabled veterans at the VA’s Northport, Brooklyn and Manhattan medical centers. Veterans generally range in age from 25 to 95 and represent all eras of conflicts. For further information contact 631-667-6000 x320.

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Long Commute Leads to Diploma and 2 Licenses

For more than two years Raul Rivera has commuted from Brooklyn to Western Suffolk BOCES programs. His perseverance has helped him earn his long-awaited high school diploma and prepare for two nationally recognized exams in Wilson Tech’s Aviation Technology program. In recognition of his hard work, the Faculty Association of Western Suffolk BOCES recently presented him with a $50 award.
After earning his high school diploma from Kings Park High School through the External Diploma Program at BOCES, Raul continued to commute from Brooklyn in pursuit of two licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration. Upon Raul’s graduation from the BOCES aviation program in May, he will be qualified to take the national exams for FAA Powerplant and Airframe licenses. To present Raul’s award were (l. to r.) Henry Delarosa, his Airframe instructor; Nadine Singer, his counselor in the External Diploma Program; Debra Montaruli, principal of BOCES adult education programs; Ila Gaffney, adult counselor; and John Colandrea, assistant principal of Tech’s Aviation Facility in Farmingdale.
EDP is a study-at-home program where adults receive credit for skills they have acquired and for demonstrating mastery of specific academic requirements in weekly sessions with a counselor/teacher. EDP is offered at no charge through Western Suffolk BOCES and New York State. For more information about the EDP program, call Wilson Tech's Career Center at 631-667-6000, ext. 327.
For a tour of the BOCES aviation program, call 752-1957.

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Nursing Student Wins $3,000 Scholarship


Angela Hendrikson of Huntington won the Huntington Junior Welfare League Healthcare Scholarship to continue her studies in Practical Nursing at Western Suffolk BOCES. Angela received the $3,000 scholarship, which the League awards annually, at a special luncheon honoring her.

Learn more about how you can earn a valuable license in the BOCES School of Practical Nursing! The accelerated day program takes just 13 months!

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Adult Education at Wilson Tech Re-approved to Offer CEUs

Western Suffolk BOCES has been re-approved by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) to offer IACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for all classes in its adult education programs at Wilson Technological Center. Adults can learn new skills for entering the workforce, changing careers, advancing on the job, or developing a hobby in more than 300 classes that Wilson Tech offers.
To achieve this prestigious status as an Authorized Provider, BOCES completed a rigorous application process, including a review by an IACET site visitor, and successfully demonstrated adherence to the ANSI/IACET 1-2007 Standard addressing the design, development, administration, and evaluation of its programs.
“Wilson Tech is proud of our adult education programs which train more than 8,000 each year in skills ranging from automotive and cosmetology to computer networking and videography so that Long Islanders stay on the cutting edge,” said Dr. Michael Mensch, Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES. “Our ongoing partnership with IACET is a demonstration of our commitment to lifelong learning and high standards for all of our programs, and we are very pleased to join an elite group of organizations that offer excellent continuing education and training programs.”
Western Suffolk BOCES joins nearly 650 organizations around the globe that have had their programs vetted by third-party experts in continuing education to ensure the highest possible standards are met. IACET, a non-profit association dedicated to quality continuing education and training programs, is the only standard-setting organization approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for continuing education and training.
Wilson Tech is the career and technical education division of Western Suffolk BOCES. It offers both part-time evening courses and full-time day programs including 43 that help adults earn certificates or licenses. Juniors and seniors in high school can also attend Wilson Tech for half-day programs. For more information about both, go to www.wilsontech.org .

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External Diploma Graduates Earn WBHS Diplomas

Damian Branch of West Babylon receives his high school diploma from Anthony Cacciola (c.), Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Ellice Vassallo (r.), principal.

Click here to see the new high school graduates.

In this study-at-home program, these adults received credit for skills they had acquired and demonstrated mastery of specific academic requirements in weekly sessions with a counselor/teacher. For more information about the EDP program, call Wilson Tech's Career Center at 631-667-6000, ext. 327.

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Surgical Technology Program Re-accredited

BOCES faculty who participated in the re-accreditation process included (l. to r.) Andrea Frasca, RN, BSN, CNOR; Kristie Cusimano, AAS, CST; Kathi Baker, RN, BSN, MS, Administrator of Health Careers; Rosemary Nagler, RN, BS, CNOR, Supervisor of Health Careers; and Janet Hotis, AAS, CST.

 The Surgical Technology program at Western Suffolk BOCES has just been re-accredited for 10 years from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Adults can begin the year-long program at Wilson Tech’s Northport campus in September or March each year.
The approval came after a lengthy review process that evaluated all aspects of the ST program—didactic, laboratory and clinical curriculum, policies and procedures, student resources, faculty credentials and accomplishments, program outcomes, placement, student and employer satisfaction and BOCES’ ability to respond to the needs of the community. The Commission commended the BOCES staff for their “commitment to continuous quality improvement in education.”
            The ST program prepares adults for employment in operating rooms, surgical offices, delivery rooms, emergency departments, physician and dentist offices, central supply services, cardiac catheterization clinics, tissue banks and ambulatory surgical care sites. After training in the BOCES operating room, students must complete a clinical placement in a local health care facility where they work under an experienced health care professional.
To apply to the ST program, adults must have a high school diploma or equivalent and achieve a satisfactory score on a pre-entrance exam. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. For details on application procedures and the program requirements, go to www.wsboces.org/fulltime or call 631-261-3721.

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Connetquot Students in Outdoor Ed Reseed LI Harbors

Connetquot High School students in the BOCES Hard Shell Clam Mariculture Program recently put 150,000 clams in Stony Brook Harbor. Students had built rafts for the seed clams last winter, monitored their growth throughout the school year and summer, and finally placed the adolescent clams into the harbor where they should safely develop into adult clams.

The Outdoor Environmental Education Program through Western Suffolk BOCES funded the program through the Nature Conservancy, the Town of Smithtown and the National Grid Foundation. Connetquot's science teacher Lori Forgione had written the winning proposal to have students in an after school program help restore Long Island's dwindling shellfish population. Other clams that the students had raised were placed in the Great South Bay.

For more information about mariculture programs in Long Island schools, call 360-3652.

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Sonography Student Wins National Award

Lori Battell of West Islip, an adult student in Western Suffolk BOCES’ School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, was one of eight in the U.S. to be awarded a scholarship from the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. Lori will use her $500 award for her tuition in the program. She hopes to complete the BOCES program in June 2010and then work in a hospital.
Among the five specialty areas available in Tech's 24-month program, Tech students can pursue echocardiography (the sonography of structures of the heart), general, breast, obstetrics and vascular sonography. Each specialty area requires graduates to pass a different registry exam.
Lori selected the BOCES program at Wilson Tech’s Northport campus because of its affordable tuition and the emphasis on supervised clinical experience in hospitals and doctor's offices from Manhattan to Southampton. Students gain valuable hands-on experience in several three-month clinical rotations.
Interested adults should begin preparations now for the next class which begins July 2010. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. For more details about the program, admission requirements and tuition, go to www.wsboces.org/fulltime, or call 631-261-3721 ext. 219.

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BOCES Awarded National Accreditation

After an extensive review, Western Suffolk BOCES was recently awarded national accreditation from the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education for its full-time adult education programs. Dr. Michael J. Mensch (l.), Chief Operating Officer of BOCES, presents the certificate to Kathi Baker (c.), administrator of health programs; and Deborah Montaruli (r.), principal of adult services. With this accreditation, BOCES can continue offering financial aid to adults studying cosmetology, aesthetics, practical nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, surgical technology, aircraft maintenance technology and automotive technology. For more information about these seven programs, go to www.wsboces.org/fulltime, or call 667-6000 ext. 320. Registration is now underway for spring semester.
To earn this prestigious recognition, BOCES had to demonstrate that it met not only the standards of quality of the Commission but also the needs of students, the community, and employers. The Council, whose mission is to assure quality and integrity in career and technical education at postsecondary institutions across the nation, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Auto Body Earns National AutoYES Certification

Wilson Tech’s Auto Body program has earned a national endorsement from AutoYES after a successful site visit in June. A program evaluator from Okalahoma City inspected Tech facilities and interviewed Tech instructors. The endorsement is effective immediately.
Tech's program prepares high school students pursuing Auto Body Repair to earn the Regent's diploma, including the prestigious seal of Technical Endorsement, and this nationally recognized certificate. For details about the program, visit http://www.wilsontech.org/HSPrograms/auto_body_repair/

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The next Regular meeting of the Board of Western Suffolk BOCES will be held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at the Western Suffolk BOCES Administrative Offices, 507 Deer Park Road, Dix Hills, NY 11746.  The Regular meeting convenes at 6:30 pm in the Small Conference Room  immediately followed by an Executive Session.  The public portion resumes, beginning with Item Number 1 on the Agenda, at 7:30 pm in the Large Conference Room. 

For Board agendas, Board minutes and dates of upcoming Board meetings, click here.

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