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Career & Technical School News

Students put their government skills to the test with state lawmakers

New Visions students join BOCES leaders to advocate for changes

Assemblyman John McDonald talks with New Visions students.For the majority of the school year, students in the Capital Region BOCES New Visions: Law and Government program have been learning about the inner workings of the government and judicial systems.

On Wednesday, March 1, they took an active role in the government, joining forces with BOCES leadership from around the state to push state lawmakers to enable legislation that would improve the education system and BOCES.

Armed with smiles, stiff handshakes and folders filled with information, two delegations of Capital Region BOCES students, faculty, board members and staff took to the hallowed halls of the state Capitol and Legislative Office Building as their peers from other BOCES around the state did the same.

The students were able to personally advocate for state resources with state Sen. Neil Breslin and Sen. John McDonald, as well as many other lawmakers, aides and interns. The goal of the meetings was to educate lawmakers on the value of BOCES, as well as stress the need for reforms that allow BOCES to continue to provide key services to schools.

The students personalized the message, talking about how they have directly
benefitted from BOCES and how they know others who have likewise had their
lives impacted through BOCES programming and services. Students meet with Neil Breslin

"Without this program, we would never have the experiences and interactions we have had," said Matt McHugh, a New Visions senior from the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District (RCS) who detailed the internships in court offices, legislative offices and other organizations he and classmates have had.

Rensselaer City School District senior Madison Tyndell said that she spent the last three years focused solely on her grade point average and not really challenging herself.

"New Visions has forced me to step up, to meet a challenge. New Visions really change from a student who just gets good grades to a student who is ready for college," she told Sen. John McDonald.

Her classmate agreed.

"Across the board, I feel I am more prepared for college," said Carson Rowe, a New Visions student from Scotia-Glenville Central School District.

Having students deliver the message was powerful, as well as an educational for the students, said Dr. Valerie Kelsey, deputy director of Career and Technical Education for Capital Region BOCES. It also allowed the participants to learn how they had to be direct with their message because of the limited time lawmakers have.

Many of the changes advocated for by the delegation would not cost state taxpayers any more money and yet would allow BOCES to provide better, more cost-effective services — such as allowing BOCES to make capital improvements to its facilities or educational equipment without those costs impacting component school districts' tax levy caps.Students lobby Sen. Marcellino

Many of the lawmakers and their aides said they already understood the value of BOCES.

"BOCES fills a gap by providing visual and hands-on learning opportunities," Breslin said, adding, "Employers want students who are shovel-ready; they don't want to spend months and months training new hires. Looking at you, I know you are ready to go in and take charge," he told the New Visions students.



Top picture: Assemblyman John McDonald talks with New Visions students Matt McHugh from RCS, Kelsey Delaney from Schalmont and Carson Rowe of Scotia-Glenville.

Second picture: Matt McHugh of RCS, Carson Rowe of Scotia-Glenville, Kelsey Delaney of Schalmont, Madison Tyndell of Rensselaer and Emma Trendell of Schoharie meet with Sen. Neil Breslin as BOCES faculty, staff and board members look on.

Third picture: Emma Trendell of Schoharie talks with Senator Carl Marcellino as classmates Matt McHugh, RCS, and Kelsey Delaney from Schalmont look on

Below: One of the two BOCES lobby groups meet with a lawmaker.




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