As the school year drew to a close, most teachers across NYS would welcome the end of June in a fashion indicative of rest and relaxation, particularly after the tumultuous 2020-2021 academic year. However, the end of June for many teachers in the Salamanca School District was one focused on professional development and personal growth. Various teachers from the Salamanca School District spent the end of June discovering the aspects of personalized and blended learning, delving into their current instruction practices to reflect on their forms of instruction, and designing personalized learning experiences for their grade level and content areas that can be used with their students next school year. This was certainly a contrast to many other educators across the state and a way for them to take a personal approach towards student achievement.
Participating teachers were first led in examining the aspects of personalized, student-centered learning and were introduced to ways in which student choice and personalized learning can be tailored to student interests and needs. They explored ways to create a classroom environment and structure that gives students ownership over their learning, and how to leverage technology in a blended environment to promote student achievement through interests, choice, and adaptation of tasks. They spent time reflecting on current instructional practices, looking for ways to incorporate a blended and personalized approach into their current instructional model, and worked to construct resources aligned to those principles.
Through exploration of the various methods and materials used for instruction and assessment, teachers worked to create resources that would assist their students as they travel down their individualized learning path during the upcoming school year. Depending on grade level, content area, and achievement objectives, teachers would work with various models and methods they had learned about to create a personal learning experience for their students.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Student Programs inspires creative problem-solving, teamwork, deep thinking, and resilience. This year, more than ever, students, coaches, and the Student Programs team were challenged to apply these traits to achieve the impossible, virtually.
While some regions chose to cancel student competitions this year, CABOCES reimagined them all as virtual events. Despite countless obstacles, innovative teams found ways to participate and excel, thanks to supportive administration and dedicated coaches who were willing to take a risk. Coaches, students, and judges faced a steep learning curve of mastering the complicated new format of virtual competitions. The Student Programs team would like to recognize some highlights of the 2020-2021 CABOCES Regional Student Competitions.
Scholastic Challenge (November 2020)
At the uncertain start of the school year, nine districts came together, virtually, and formed a total of 21 teams. Ellicottville Central School, coached by Ann Chamberlain and Chris Edwards, won 1st place honors in both the Junior and Senior divisions.
Odyssey of the Mind Multi-Regional Tournament (March 2021)
Allegany-Limestone Elementary School took a risk by joining Odyssey of the Mind for the first time. Starting a new membership is impressive in a year that caused many established memberships to drop due to the obvious obstacles. Kimberly Voegelin’s Problem 5 Division 1 team received Region 19’s OMER Award and ended up in 5th place in the New York State Tournament. Congratulations on establishing a new membership and Division 1 team.
Bolivar-Richburg Central School’s Problem 5 Division 1 team, coached by Carol McClellan, earned a 4th place finish in New York State. Also, Margaret Werner’s Problem 5 Division 2 team earned an impressive 1st place in the Spontaneous portion of the state competition.
Seneca Intermediate (Salamanca) School’s Problem 4 Division 2, coached by Janette McClure and Brenda Windus, earned a 3rd place finish in New York State. Despite the pandemic, they remarkably built a balsa wood structure that held a weight of 202 pounds. They are currently competing in the 2021 Odyssey of the Mind Virtual World Finals along with 873 teams from all over the world.
NASEF (eSports) NYS Tournament: Rocket League (6-week season and playoffs; March-April 2021)
A pandemic school year might be the best AND worst time to launch a new Student Programs event. Congratulations to two school districts that led the way and were successful in their first eSports season.
Cuba-Rushford Central School’s eSports team competed in the NASEF Rocket League tournament and finished as NYS Finalists and 12th place nationally. The team consisted of all Seniors who played on school computers located in the library. Thank you and congratulations to Cuba-Rushford’s Jay Morris who served as General Manager.
Salamanca City School fielded two Warrior eSports teams and they ended the regular season ranked in 4th and 15th place. Salamanca eSports is fully funded and recognized by the Salamanca Board of Education as a Varsity Sport, with all the benefits and academic responsibilities that come with that designation. Congratulations to the Warrior’s General Managers Justin Schapp, Aaron Straus, and Kim Dry.
VEX Robotics Skills Challenge (February 2021) and FIRST Lego League Championship Event (April 2021)
Building a robot in a normal year is difficult. Building a robot during a pandemic, with school closures and quarantines, sounds impossible. Yet, one school district found a way to field four VEX teams, coached by Dave Taylor, and four Lego League teams, coached by Dawn Wardner.
Franklinville Central School’s teams worked hard and engineered an impressive season. Collectively, the VEX teams earned the Design Award, the Robot Skills 2nd Place Award, and the Robot Skills Champion Award at the CABOCES Skills Challenge in February and, all four teams advanced to the Northern NYS Finals in April.
Additionally, one of Dawn Wardner’s Lego League teams scored in 5th place in the robot matches at the New York State Championship Event.
Now is the time to plan to join the fun in the 2021-2022 school year!
Follow this link https://caboces.org/services/student-programs/extra-curricular-activities/ as next year’s events will be published here as soon as they are confirmed. Contact email@example.com for more information.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
What do you see in this picture?
A leaf? What happens when we get closer?
3rd Grade students at Salamanca Prospect were able to get a closer look to a assortment of natural items. Acting like scientists, the students given a tool (Jewelers Loupe) and were presented with the task of trying to discover the different and natural ways things form. Students generated conversations as to how this could hurt or benefit that natural item. In the process of investigating and exploring, students uncovered that this work is being done in the real world by scientists and researchers and it’s called Biomimicry.
In the process, students were able to appreciate how nature has an extraordinarily effective way of surviving and functioning. Scientist are trying to harness that understanding to put it to use on our design and production of materials, structures, and systems.
Looking at our leaf, scientists have uncovered in their research that the way a leaf is constructed, can make fluid or electricity may flow much more effectively through a system. Can you think about how this can be used in a manmade system?
This is just one of the many Environmental Science programs that CA BOCES has to offer! For more information on this program or others available to you through Environmental Science please feel free to contact Lance Feuchter at (716) 376-8379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Lance Feuchter, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Cuba, New York – Wednesday, January 15, 2020 – Twenty-seven VEX Robotics teams from across Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties attended the 2nd annual VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament at Cuba-Rushford Middle/High School on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Students competed with and against teams from Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Franklinville, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Pioneer, Portville, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and Whitesville. The middle and high school students executed the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover, which is played by placing different colored cubes in towers and goal zones during a 2-minute match.
Congratulations go out to 4 teams from Cuba-Rushford and Franklinville. Specifically, 2 Cuba-Rushford teams (Rebel Robotics and Yellow Team), who formed an alliance and went on to become Tournament Champions. The Franklinville (Wasted Potential) team earned the Excellence Award and the Franklinville (The Ratz) team earned the Design Award. These four teams qualify to attend the Northern New York State Championship to be held in Syracuse on February 29.
Additionally, the Judges Award was presented to the Wellsville team (Big Cat Robotics) to acknowledge their outstanding Engineering Notebook.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Alex Palowitch from iDesign Solutions.
To prepare for the tournament, students worked together to design, build and program a semiautonomous robot that could quickly and efficiently solve the specific challenges of the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover. Teams studied electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3D CAD, computer aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication. An equally important set of skills is learned through competition: communication, negotiation, project management, time management and teamwork.
The tournament was possible because of a tremendous collaborative effort between Cuba-Rushford school and CABOCES. The CABOCES Tech Support team, along with ISS (Professional Development, Learning Resources, and Student Programs) worked together to make the tournament a success. Additional support and guidance, which was invaluable, came from Alex Palowitch from iDESIGN Solutions.
The Cuba-Rushford Qualifying Tournament is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Competitions are the largest and fastest growing competitive robotics programs for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and college aged students around the world. VEX Competitions represent over 24,000 teams from 61 countries that participate in more than 1,650 VEX Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with VEX Robotics World Championship, a highly anticipated event that unites top qualifying teams from local, state, regional and international VEX Robotics Competitions to crown World Champions. More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at RoboticsEducation.org, RobotEvents.com and VEXRobotics.com. To find out how to become involved in VEX Robotics in the CABOCES region, email email@example.com or call 716-376-8323.
About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which thousands of schools participate in around the world each year. REC states that one million students are reached worldwide through all the VEX robotics programs, classrooms, and competitions.
The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. Its goal is to provide these programs with services, solutions, and a community that allows them to flourish in a way that fosters the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for students to succeed in the 21st Century. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this work so that one day these programs will become accessible to all students and all schools in all communities. For more information on REC Foundation, visit www.RoboticsEducation.org.
Jean Oliverio, Student Programs, ISS, CABOCES
Districts are gearing up for the holiday season by traveling to the North Pole. You heard that right. Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Pioneer, West Valley, Fillmore, and Salamanca will be traveling Around the World with Santa and spending time with Mrs. Claus this season, right in their classrooms! These are just some of the types of trips available from the Distance Learning Department.
Christmas trips not really your thing? Randolph is participating in the classic Gingerbread Boy Virtual Experience from the Center of Puppetry Arts. We also have classroom collaborations like “Brown Bear” for elementary, or Career Connection Conversations for high school students that are all free to attend. December’s Career Conversation is with Meme Yanetsko of the Olean Area Chamber of Commerce. These free collaborations are brought to you by the New York State Distance Learning Consortium. The NYSDLC offers out a classroom collaboration for elementary and a Career Conversation session monthly for free for being a part of Distance Learning. Is there a topic you want to see in the offering? Let us know! We are always looking for new ideas to benefit our teachers.
We can find a virtual field trip experience for just about any topic that you come up with. We try our best to provide free/low cost opportunities that work with your curriculum. For more information or to schedule a Virtual Field Trip contact Carrie Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see upcoming events check out the flyer here: https://www.smore.com/40vj6-upcoming-virtual-field-trips
By: Carrie Oliver, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Teams have been hard at work since the school year began to prepare for the Southern Tier’s largest Lego League tournament ever. The program, sponsored by BOCES, continues to grow by leaps and bounds in the Cattaraugus-Allegany region. On Saturday, November 16th, 27 teams from 14 school districts are participating in this year’s FIRST Lego League robotics tournament series held at Houghton College. Congratulations to Archbishop Walsh, Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Catt-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Ellicottville, Fillmore, Franklinville, Friendship, Genesee Valley, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and Whitesville for accepting the challenge to explore the fields of architecture and urban engineering.
First Lego League, a world-wide robotics program, was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in Science and Technology. Each year a new challenge is designed to motivate kids to get excited about research, engineering, math and problem solving, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. Learn about this year’s challenge, City Shaper, here: https://firstinspiresst01.blob.core.windows.net/fll/2020/city-shaper-challenge.pdf
The Campus Center at Houghton College is the place to be on Saturday, November 16th to see more than two hundred 9-14 year old students, plus their coaches and families, and over 3 dozen volunteers discover innovative ways to explore robotics while having fun! Spectators are invited to attend to cheer on all the teams who tackled the City Shaper challenge. At the Closing Ceremony, the seven teams who will advance to the Championship Tournament at the University of Rochester on December 8 will be announced.
Southern Tier Lego League Tournament details:
Call or email BOCES Student Programs at 716-376-8323 for more information. We're looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, November 16! Thanks for supporting the Southern Tier Lego League teams!
Student Programs CABOCES
Pixar in a Box Meets Khan Academy
We are storytellers. Notice that I used “we.” Some people prefer sharing stories through writing, others through video, and others through song. Regardless of the medium, we are all storytellers--every one of us.
The question then becomes, “How do we go about telling our stories?” To find the answer, look no further than Pixar’s collaboration with Khan Academy, Pixar in a Box. While the curriculum contains 15 units, The Art of Storytelling is central to story creation and development and is bolstered with six modules to help anyone guide their storytelling much like Pixar has done for over three decades.
The Art of Storytelling
Model Schools Coordinator, Rob Miller, and I first explored The Art of Storytelling curriculum this past March at the South by Southwest EDU (SXSW EDU) conference with Elyse Klaidman, co-leader of the team at Pixar that created, developed, and promoted Pixar in a Box. In her two-hour, hands-on session, Elyse shared her recommendations for utilizing the curriculum on Khan Academy in the middle-high school classroom (disclaimer - I must have been so engrossed in learning that I excluded a piece of the puzzle and numbered incorrectly):
English Language Arts Collaborative Learning Community
After returning from SXSW EDU, Rob and I shared our learning with the Professional Development team at CA BOCES. Seeing our enthusiasm and a clear connection to the NYSED ELA learning standards, Sarah Wittmeyer and Brendan Keiser collaborated with us to include The Art of Storytelling in the next Middle School/High School English Language Arts Collaborative Learning Community (MS/HS ELA CLC).
Educators from Allegany-Limestone, Bolivar-Richburg, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Friendship, Portville, Salamanca, Scio, West Valley, and Whitesville school districts followed a process similar to the one I experienced with Elyse by working through the Getting Started with Pixar in a Box: The Art of Storytelling document in conjunction with the available video lessons over the course of approximately two hours. However, The Art of Storytelling could be easily extended to one week, one month, or one marking period (or longer) if desired. This process could even be developed into a course to include not only storytelling, but also design, effects, simulation, animation, character modeling, and more.
Maybe you aren’t convinced that you are a storyteller; perhaps you feel like you don’t have what it takes to write, produce, or create something valuable. If that really is you, I think the Introduction to Storytelling with Pixar in a Box can help. If that isn’t you and you are interested learning more about Pixar, or if you are looking to expand your storytelling strategies, you can start there, too.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Young students from nineteen area schools experienced live theatre this month. Almost 2500 preK through first graders from Cattaraugus and Allegany counties attended the TheatreWorks USA performances of Pete the Cat. A cool cat named Pete, along with Jimmy and the Biddle family, went on a lively and colorful adventure filled with songs, dance and an insightful message about friendship.
The show at Olean High School on May 10 held added excitement for two local classes, who, thanks to their teachers, learned first-hand about forming new friendships. First grade teachers, Stacey Clayson of Prospect Elementary and Kristin Yehl of Portville Central, and their students were both traveling to Olean High School to watch the TheatreWorks performance. Their students had been communicating as pen-pals, but hadn’t actually met in person. The 35 eager students were able to meet their long-distance friends before the show started. Front row seating was reserved for the special guests. It was exciting to witness the kids’ enthusiasm as they met face-to-face for the first time. Both teachers were equally as enthusiastic and allowed the pen-pals to sit together to watch the show.
Kristin Yehl, from Portville, explained, “It was such a special treat meeting our pen-pals at the play. My kids were over-the-moon excited to meet up, and extremely happy to have seats reserved up front. We really enjoyed the play. They always do a great job keeping the audience entertained and engaged. We’re busy now writing back to our pen-pals because they delivered letters to us at the play.”
TheatreWorks USA is a professional acting company based out of New York City. It is America’s largest and most prolific professional theatre for young audiences.
BOCES Arts In Education, CoSer 403, helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. Fillmore Central, Olean High and Arcade Elementary opened their auditoriums to host these performances. For more information about bringing TheatreWorks shows to your area, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284.
By: Jean Oliverio, CABOCES Student Programming
Congratulations to all teams that participated in this year's Odyssey of the Mind Region 19 Tournament!
BOCES and eleven regional school districts have been awarded the USDA RUS Distance Learning Grant, totaling $466,686.
Last week District Superintendent Lynda Quick, Esq. learned that Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES has been awarded a grant for $466,686 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant, known as the Rural Utility Service (RUS) Distance Learning grant, will be implemented by Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES and eleven area school districts to upgrade video conferencing equipment and other technologies.
The equipment upgrades will provide all three Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers, as well as Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Cuba-Rushford, Franklinville, Friendship, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Olean, Salamanca, Scio, and Wellsville Central School Districts, with new portable, high definition video conference capabilities that schools will use to provide students and teachers with a variety of distance learning opportunities including videoconference courses, virtual field trip experiences, and expanded access to nanotechnology capabilities.
This is not the first USDA RUS Distance Learning grant received by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and component school districts. The Distance Learning Team at CA BOCES has been applying for and receiving RUS grants since 1997, resulting in eight previous awards and millions of dollars in equipment for our schools.
“Over the years, USDA funding has built a virtual school in our region," stated Lynda Quick. Over forty virtual classes connect via video conference every single day, allowing schools to share the instructional expertise of their outstanding faculty members. Additionally, hundreds of students to take other online courses because of this funding. These virtual courses are critical in expanding offerings in small rural schools that, over time, have been stripped of the ability to offer many (or any) AP, college credit, or elective courses to their students.
Lynda Quick also shared, "This award helps put a dent in leveling the playing field. It helps our students build a transcript that can be competitive in the post-secondary arena." Grant implementation will begin immediately.
The ROBOTC for VEX training at Pioneer High School was led by Jesse Flot, a Research Programmer & Senior Software Engineer for the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and Josh Jarvis, the lead developer for CMUs CS-STEM Network. In attendance were nearly thirty participants from various districts across the region (Allegany-Limestone CSC, Andover CSD, Belfast CSD, Bolivar-Richburg CSD, CA-BOCES Belmont CTE, CA-BOCES ISS, CA-BOCES ISS, Cattaraugus-Little Valley CSD, Cuba-Rushford CSD, Ellicottville CSD, Franklinville CSD, Fillmore CSD, Genesee Valley CSD, Hinsdale CSD, Pioneer CSD, Salamanca City SD, Scio CSD, and Whitesville CSD).
What is a robot, and what can we can we teach with it? These were the first two questions that Jesse Flot used to open the ROBOTC for VEX training. The first question is fairly direct: what is a robot? Perhaps you define a robot as something like Wall-E, or maybe to you a robot is Arnold Schwarzenegger from the Terminator. The definition is as simple as SPA: a robot is a device that has the ability to sense, plan, and act. What can we teach with a robot? This second question is more difficult to answer unless we first reflect on how we teach rather than the content of our teaching.
When teaching Algebra 1, my students would struggle with the concept of completing the square to rewrite quadratic expressions. Rather than using the skill of completing the square as a tool to accomplish a goal, I made the skill the learning goal; ultimately, it was not until I provided students with the necessary tools and shift my focus (using GeoGebra) that they were able to better understand the process of completing the square, how to use it, and when to use it. Similarly, “project-based learning (PBL) involves learning through projects rather than just doing projects,” says John Spencer. In other words, the goal of PBL is to focus on the learning process rather than a culminating project. Jesse explained what can be taught with robotics in the same way; he said, “the Robotics Academy at CMU uses robotics as a tool to teach programming; however, you can use robots to teach many other subjects and skills such as mathematics, physics, communication, teamwork, and time management.”
With these questions answered and an understanding that the VEX robots were a tool used to help teach programming, Jesse and Josh led participants through two days of hands-on training with the programming of ROBOTC as well as the hardware of VEX robots. Participants explored intuitive and basic commands using the block coding features of ROBOTC in conjunction with the physical features of the VEX robot the first day, and on day two, participants made the progression to virtual reality with Robot Virtual World software (RVW) and explored how the text commands of ROBOTC differ from its block coding commands.
In addition to Jesse’s 16 years of experience at CMU (12 of which being in professional development), the Robotics Academy’s research-based practices helped guide the hybrid training model. From anticipating participant questions to providing examples of student questions that participants should anticipate, Jesse and Josh led participants through a highly productive two days of learning. Jesse and Josh will continue this hybrid training online from mid-February through March in which participants will gain additional knowledge of the ROBOTC language, continue to track their progress with CMUs learning management system, and explore additional features of VEX robotics.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
What is blended learning? Are we truly blending learning in our region? Yes we are! Below are examples of Michael B. Horn - The Christensen Institute’s blended learning models that are taking place across our region, and quite successfully!
While blended learning began in simple applications to serve students in situations where there was no other alternative, it has grown exponentially over the past ten years in the Cattaraugus Allegany region, where our region is recognized as the leader in online learning in New York State BOCES regions!
Michael B Horn’s and Heather Staker’s book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, lays out the process in a useful level of detail making it a must read for educators that want to take full advantage of tech-enabled learning. Staker shared, "I feel deeply sad when I see how many children do not have equal opportunities to high-quality schools. It's wrong that in a rich country with universal public education, zip code determines quality." But she feels fortunate to be living through the learning revolution where internet connectivity and personalized learning is “decimating old constructs about who gets what and introducing a new paradigm of shared access to the best learning experiences, regardless of geography.” (Education Week article - http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2014/09/blended_a_conversation_with_michael _horn_heather_staker.html)
What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning? Michael B. Horn adds, “Online learning, particularly in blended learning schools, gives students more and more ownership of their learning, this is a big deal as it can allow schools to individualize for each student’s unique learning needs.” (http://dailyedventures.com/index.php/2012/11/08/michael-horn/)
How do these online learning opportunities benefit students? Danielle, from Allegany- Limestone, replied, “I wish that I could have studied this way from the beginning of the year. When I’m in a classroom with people, I get distracted, but using APEX is great. The program is really straightforward. It tells me exactly what I need to know. Some days I let it read to me and sometimes I read myself. I came from Pennsylvania and the work was harder and my Biology class was in a different place and the online class is helping me.”
To learn more about successful blended learning models in schools, join CA BOCES in an Online/Digital Learning Showcase, where you can ask questions and view demos of 7 different online solutions for:
For more information about Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at CABOCES Olean Center Conference Rooms, go to: http://dev.caboces.org/iss/calendar/2017-04.
By: Betsy Hardy, CA BOCES Distance Learning
Students and teachers (of COSER 501 member districts) can access hundreds of thousands of digital resources using CABOCES Digital Kids.
Users may login to CABOCES DIGITAL KIDS to search clips and images or pass through to:
Brain Pop (Jr., ESL, Espanol),Discovery, Learn 360, Sylvan Dell eBooks, Teaching Books, Tumblebooks, Soundszabound, Gale Cengage, Regents Review
Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES has been awarded a grant for $218,787 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant, called the Rural Utility Service (RUS) grant will be used by Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES and six area school districts to upgrade video conferencing equipment. The upgrades to video conferencing equipment will provide Allegany Limestone, Bolivar Richburg, Hinsdale, Randolph, Salamanca and West Valley with new high definition video conference capabilities that the schools will use to have students and teachers take part in distance learning opportunities.
Fifth grade students from Salamanca learn that all life is connected to the Great Earth Cycles of water, air and soil. The cycles are powered by the energy from the sun. In order to demonstrate their knowledge they become an animal or plant and use colored rope to show their connections to each cycle especially through the food chain.