The 2021-2021 school year presented school districts across New York the opportunity to participate in a pilot program that gave students the chance to earn a Seal of Civic Readiness with their school diploma.
Multiple schools from across the state applied to participate in the pilot, including one from our CABOCES region, Salamanca High School. This program was created to offer students a wide variety of choices and opportunities to acquire and use their skills, mindsets and experiences to attain civic readiness. New York State defines civic readiness as the ability to make a positive difference in the public life of our communities through the combination of civic knowledge, civic skill, and civic action. To obtain and receive the Seal students need to earn multiple points based in demonstrating their Civic Knowledge and their Civic Participation. Schools have the flexibility to adjust projects and experiences to student interest and outcomes.
The Salamanca pilot was led by Global teacher Justin Hubbard who led his department in creating and adopting the criteria necessary to meet the requirements of the seal and his students in working to demonstrate participation to earn the seal. Students worked in various capacities of research, analysis, and presentation to demonstrate their knowledge and share information pertaining to the topics and projects they worked on. Several students were also able to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in lobbying sessions with members of Congress.
Congratulations and thank you to the Salamanca SCR Committee and the students for all the work they completed and gaining valuable learning experience participating in this unique opportunity.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
In recent years, educators have been working carefully to meet the ever-growing social and emotional needs of the students they serve. This includes attending professional learning opportunities, exploring new resources and connecting with educators in other districts to hear about how they are approaching SEL within their learning environments. One of the ways that Community Schools has been able to support SEL at the classroom level is by modeling the use of some of the new SEL resources developed by our Learning Resources team, commonly known as ‘SEL Kits’.
As educators within the region started to learn about the new SEL Kits, some had asked for support in how and where to use them within daily instruction. The ‘Be Brave Kit,’ is a great place to start when integrating SEL Kits into the classroom, as the contents of the kit are simple and versatile, yet facilitate some critical learning around neuroscience and emotion, particularly anxiety. The ‘Be Brave Kit,’ contains three books by the author Karen Young, “Hey, Warrior,” “Hey Awesome,” and “But We’re Not Lions.”
Recently, I had the pleasure of joining Kristin Rocco’s life skills classroom at Ellicottville Central School and Danielle Norton’s second grade classroom to model the use of “Hey, Warrior,” and help students understand why anxiety feels the way it does and where the physical symptoms come from. In collaborating with both teachers, we decided best to utilize the circle format to illicit maximum engagement in the lesson, as students are familiar with the process. Each class separately engaged in conversation around “scary” feelings, being worried and what happens in our bodies when we are anxious. We were able to use the book to add to our conversation and share some new learning about what happens in the brain and body when our amygdala switches on and fear and worry drive our actions. Students were able to practice some familiar skills of belly breathing and positive affirmations and make connections into how such skills can empower them in uncertain situations that may provoke feelings of anxiety.
It was an honor to witness such profound learning taking place in each classroom at ECS and we thank both teachers for partnering with Community Schools to explore one of our new SEL Kits. If you are interested in exploring any of the SEL Kits that are available, please visit resources.caboces.org or reach out to Alex_Freer@caboces.org. If your classroom or district is interested in collaborating with Community Schools to facilitate a lesson in SEL, please reach out to Kathryn_mendell@caboces.org.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
Teachers in all CA BOCES districts have access to many ebooks and audiobooks for personal use. Whether commuting to work or committed to yard work, audiobooks are engaging when multi-tasking. Some titles I have read in OverDrive are: Memoirs of a Geisha (fascinating), Devil in the White City (historical, feats of engineering, and a heavy dose of macabre), The Exiles (soon to be on Netflix) and Think Again (choosing courage over comfort). Content includes historical, biographical, Pulitzer Prize winners, self-help, New York Times Best Sellers, fantasy, horror, and there’s titles to support professional development, too.
Currently, I’m listening to the memoir Finding Me by Viola Davis. Ms. Davis is an accomplished actress having received an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards. She is the only African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting! The audiobook is narrated by the author and as such, delivers raw insight into poverty and being black Her story is one of hardship, resilience, and amazing achievement.
Audiobooks and ebooks help develop and strengthen comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. This year, over 2000 ebooks have been checked out by students in the region. Cattaraugus-Little Valley takes the lead with the most student check-outs and Franklinville’s Ten Broeck Academy ties with Allegany-Limestone with the most teacher assigned titles.
If you are wondering what the top 10 titles are for students this school year, here they are:
Brian's Hunt: Hatchet Series, Book 5
A Tale of Two Kitties: Dog Man Series, Book 3
We All Fall Down
Wrecking Ball (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 14)
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Grime and Punishment: Dog Man Series, Book 9
Naruto, Volume 1: Uzumaki Naruto
The River: Hatchet Series, Book 2
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, Book 1
One of Us Is Lying: Series, Book 1
If you want to know more about using Sora personally or with students, reach out to your school librarian or contact me at Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
When Amy Peterson, a Special Education teacher at Friendship Central School, had her room at the front of the school she would always look at the beautiful opportunities in the front of the school. One year it hit her to pull some of the students she works with and some National Honor Society students to get some hands-on work during the school day. In time it’s turned into a May tradition to have Middle School students along with some help from other adults and Friendship staff to work on the landscaping in the front of the school.
The Middle School students also go out to Maple Grove Cemetery to help get ready for Memorial Day by placing flags and talking with area veterans. The Friendship 7th and 8th grade students build up these community service hours to help them go on the Washington DC trip in August.
By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES Professional Development
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