Instructional tour of BOCES takes the cake

Renee Crowden, a counselor at Dunkirk City Schools, pipes icing in the Culinary Arts classroom at the Hewes Educational Center.

ASHVILLE — After receiving a quick tutorial from instructors and students in the Culinary Arts program at the Hewes Educational Center, Renee Crowden tried her hand at piping icing onto a piece of parchment paper.

All eyes were on Crowden, a counselor at Dunkirk City Schools, as she picked up the plastic bag filled with green-colored icing and carefully drew a line.

Her effort was met with approval from her peers and students in the Career and Technical Education program through Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.

Crowden was among dozens of school counselors and psychologists who toured CTE classrooms at Hewes. The event, which included E2CCB staff, coincided with a meeting of the Chautauqua County Counselors Association.

Tricia Dallas, president of the Counselors Association, said the meetings allow for counselors to collaborate with one another while also learning more about the CTE programs.

“We’re able to see programs like this and occasionally bring in guest presenters and learn what resources we have to support our kids and their success outside of what we have in our districts,” said Dallas who, in addition to serving as the association’s president, is a middle school counselor in Frewsburg.

The theme to this year’s meeting was, “Unlocking the Pot of Gold: Strategies for Student Success.”

“We’re really doing whatever we can to connect the kids to the resources, promote their success and how to provide more for the kids, especially for those who might not have as much support outside of school,” Dallas said.

Committee on Special Education members from component school districts were also invited to the gathering.

Attendees were broken up into small groups and given a tour of the different CTE programs. Students led the tours, which included looks inside the classrooms and a quick demonstration.

Alycia Lacki, Guidance Counselor for the CTE program at the LoGuidice Educational Center, helped lead the event. She noted the importance of collaboration between E2CCB and local school districts for guiding students to the right CTE program that best fit their needs.

“That’s kind of the premise of the whole meeting today, to talk about improving the communication between BOCES and all of our component school districts so that we can ensure that students are placed appropriately within our programs,” Lacki said.

Alissa Rinaldo, school social worker for the CTE program at Hewes, said the decision was made this year to include Committee on Special Education staff from local schools.

“It’s a collaborative process with the goal of student success in mind,” Rinaldo said. “We can ask, ‘How can we make sure that we’re all on the same page driving that student toward success?'”

Following lunch and a tour of the classrooms, attendees discussed the CTE programs and what they observed.

In addition to E2CCB staff, representatives from Clymer, Chautauqua Lake, Dunkirk, Cassadaga Valley, Brocton, Bemus Point, Westfield, Southwestern, Sherman, Ripley, Pine Valley, Jamestown, Gowanda, Frewsburg, Forestville and Falconer were in attendance.

“I think it’s important to know that even though we’re a Counselors Association, we are definitely more of a school district and community organization trying to really connect school, home and community all together,” Dallas said. “We’re really trying to promote that relationship and connection to make things better for the kids and help them become successful.”

For more information about E2CCB Career and Technical Education programming, please visit www.e2ccb.org.


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