Staying Connected: Your Stories - November 6, 2020
Connections in Education During COVID-19

Throughout New York State, administrators, teachers, and school personnel continue to demonstrate their extraordinary dedication, support, and commitment to their students and our children. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) wishes to highlight the exceptional efforts of our educators to stay connected with students during the coronavirus pandemic.

This edition of Staying Connected highlights:

  • students gaining professional trail-clearing experience while opening up interactive trails for use by other students, and
  • counselors collaborating to provide college planning resources for students.

NYSED is grateful to the dedicated educators and school personnel who are working so diligently to ensure that students are safe and well. We encourage you to Submit Your Story detailing how you continue to stay connected throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
Urban Forestry Students Prepare Interactive Trail
Yorktown Heights — Now more than ever, it is important for students to get outside whenever they can. Urban Forestry students at the Tech Center at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES are busy working on trails on the 250-acre BOCES campus that can be used by the Center for Environmental Education as well as students in special education.

“After the hurricane, there was a lot of damage to trees and the trails,” said Career and Technical Education teacher John Madden. “My Urban Forestry students are out there climbing trees to get rid of dead branches, removing branches that have fallen onto other trees and are teetering, and clearing the debris.”

Somers High School student Eamon Hayashi said that working on the project has benefited his class as well as the students who will use the trails. “It is really cool to be able to do tree climbing and work with all different types of equipment to help clear the trails and make them safe,” he said. “Plus we are helping people at the same time, which makes it even better.”

The Urban Forestry program at BOCES offers students the opportunity to explore arboriculture, landscape design, construction and construction management. Students learn to safely operate heavy machinery, and proper tree climbing techniques. They also learn business management.
Counselors Collaborate to Support Students in the College Planning Process
Wayne, Monroe, Orleans and Ontario counties — When schools closed for an indefinite period of time last March, a group of counselors from Wayne, Monroe, Orleans and Ontario counties, who have been meeting once a month for years, began to meet weekly to share ideas, best practices, and challenges during the pandemic. This support and collaboration was priceless.

Last spring, students lost out on a variety of post-secondary planning events: college fairs, visits with college admission counselors, and traditional college planning events held by districts. In response to this, the aforementioned group of counselors collaborated with the Rochester Area Colleges (RAC) college admission counselors and produced three videos for students. The videos were shared with school counselors from surrounding counties to kick off the college planning process.

This fall, the group of counselors has come together again to coordinate a financial aid night for families. In collaboration with Monroe Community College, a video presentation was produced and shared with school districts. Districts are using the video for hosting virtual financial aid nights for their students and families. In Wayne County, the school districts have partnered together and are sharing the pre-recorded financial aid presentation to all families and offering a “live” Q and A session.  

The work of this group has been priceless to its members. The collaboration and sharing of resources has been an extraordinary asset throughout a time where so many may feel isolated and alone. Collaboration is key to providing the best support and resources to our students, families, and school communities.