BOCES Employee Newsletter
From Rebecca's Desk
Spring is just around the corner and before we know it, we’ll be making plans for graduations and end-of-the-year celebrations. I am excited to be writing this message for the very first BOCES employee newsletter. It is an organizational priority to strengthen communication, and one of the ways we are going to do that is with this monthly newsletter. The newsletter will highlight employee achievements, BOCES-wide projects, important information, training opportunities, and more. If there is something you would like to include in the newsletter, please submit it to your supervisor or send an email to email@example.com.
I have been busy at work on several projects this month. One of the projects I am working on is conducting superintendent searches for three school districts, Harpursville, Newark Valley, and Chenango Valley. Each district is unique and I really enjoy learning about their school communities as part of this process.
I have also been visiting each district and showcasing all that our BOCES has to offer. I have been able to highlight a student from each of the districts whose life has been touched by BOCES and it is a great way to showcase what our students experience. It has also been insightful to see what each district subscribes to and find ways we can grow and expand our services. If you’d like to see what each district is currently subscribing to, you can visit our website and check out our district snapshots.
In late February, I met with legislators and school administrators as part of the annual Legislative Breakfast. This breakfast is an important opportunity to advocate on behalf of our component districts so that our elected officials can learn what our schools are facing. I’d like to thank all of our BOCES students and staff members who helped with that event. Our culinary students provided breakfast, our criminal justice students helped with parking and the SkillsUSA leaders acted as guides for our guests.
I also want to thank everyone who helped with our multiple BOCES events earlier this month. These events are a wonderful way to showcase everything we offer to students and I’m excited to see how many students take advantage of our programs next year.
I am truly awed at all of the great things happening in our buildings. Even though I may not be able to be at all of the events, I have been watching our social media accounts and keeping up-to-date through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It’s been a great way for me to stay connected when I am performing my other duties, and I highly recommend taking a moment to like and/or follow our social media pages. You can find the link to our official social media pages below.
I know I say this a lot, but thank you for your hard work and dedication to BOCES. We really are Enriching Lives Through Education and I am so proud of our work.
Results of Employee Sentiment Survey
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Employee Sentiment Survey! We had a 56% participation rate.
Your honest feedback is incredibly valuable to us as we work to create a positive work environment for everyone and improve the employee experience. Our next steps we will be looking at the data by department to identify areas we can improve and build upon our strengths. These insights will also provide us a baseline to gauge how we are improving the employee experience as we move forward. The BOCES board will be presented this data at the board retreat where we will discuss the results.
Once again, thank you for your valuable input and for being an essential part of our team.
From Human Resources
We are working on:
- Going Digital with SchoolFront
- Be on the lookout for an email this week from SchoolFront requesting that you update your emergency contact information in an easy-to-fill form. This process will give you entry to your HR Portal where we will begin sharing documents that you have completed in your own employee profile.
- Creating a HR Dashboard
- Developing an Onboarding process to welcome new hires more inclusively.
Rapid Hiring Event leads to 44 new hires
Our Human Resources staff participated in a Rapid Hiring Event in January with our Instructional Program staff focused on hiring new Teacher Aides to support students and teachers throughout our Instructional Programs areas. As of Jan. 31 we have been able to process and prepare 44 new hires to begin helping support our classrooms. The event was a HUGE success! If you see any of our new aides below please welcome them to BOCES.
Join our Team!
We are always looking for individuals who are committed to creating a positive impact on our organization and on the educational experience for our students.
We will be hosting personal information sessions for special education teachers starting in late March. If you know someone who might be interested in being a special education teacher please share this link https://forms.gle/5otXwhiFCLs75JSR9
Welcome to BOCES
From The Employee Recognition Committee
The staff at the Central Business Office have been working on finalizing IRS compliance filings, W-2s for employees, and Form 1099 for independent contractors. We are also analyzing the state aid information included in Governor Hochul's executive budget proposal to include in the component school districts preliminary budget information.
Congratulations to Lesa Hawk-Shuler who was promoted to the District Business Coordinator!
Welcome to the CBO
Unplugged expands to include more departments this year
From Instructional Programs
PTECH Health Students Warmth for Winter
To date, the students have collected more than 1,000 items, from numerous classrooms, teachers and departments throughout Broome-Tioga BOCES. Kelly Vavalle, advisor for the group, said “We couldn’t be more happy to report that we have currently handed out more than 200 bags to places like the YMCA, YWCA, the Salvation Army Morning Breakfast, Lourdes Emergency Department, UHS Wilson and General Emergency Departments, the Binghamton Library, and more.”
WLC Reclaim MP2 Awards
West Learning Center recently held its Reclaim MP2 awards celebration, and many students at our Broome-Tioga BOCES school in Apalachin were recognized for student achievement, both in the areas of academics as well as for social, emotional growth.
Evertech celebrates Valentine's Day
Leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, Katie Maerkl got the enthusiastic assistance from several students in her Evertech Academy study hall as they worked together on a Tree of Loved Ones. On the lighted board near the tree, it reads: This tree represents, that even when we feel as if we are alone, we always have at least one person or pet we can count on. “They really loved the project,” Maerkl said. “It was really great to see them all work together on something so heart-felt. They did a great job.”
Students making progress on Habitat for Humanity house
We paid a visit on our Carpentry students (with teacher Tim Matthews) here at Broome-Tioga BOCES, as they are making progress on the third Habitat for Humanity house on the Broome-Tioga BOCES main campus. Walls about to go up already. Moving right along!
BC Sheriff visits criminal justice classes
Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar visited Don Entwistle’s Criminal Justice classes recent, as he and Under Sheriff Sammy Davis, along with Charles Woody, recruitment coordinator, discussed various aspects of the BC Sheriff's Department and even more facets of law enforcement careers, in general. They gave an overview, then spent a good amount of time responding to questions from our students. Enlightening lesson and a clear community connection.
ELC students celebrate Chinese New Year
At East Learning Center, students in the high school Crossroads program recently studied ancient China in Global Studies. They learned about the Chinese New Year and constructed Chinese New Year’s masks. In early February, in a collaborative effort, students in Megan Balcom’s Global Studies class, alongside students in Lorraine Blakeslee’s Foundations of Algebra class, made a delicious meal of chicken lo mein. Prior to cooking, Blakeslee’s students learned about fraction conversions and revising a recipe.
BOCES teachers named Master Teachers
By now you’ve probably ready or heard that Broome-Tioga BOCES teachers Annie Cartie, Maureen Malloy and Brian Tolan have been named New York State Master Teachers in an announcement from Governor Hochul. We couldn’t be more proud of our colleagues, so we wanted to celebrate this monumental achievement once again here in this forum.
Cosmetology students learn chemistry of hair
Students in our Cosmetology classes here recently welcomed Erik Thompson, integrated science teacher, to their studios and classroom settings. Thompson can be found just about everywhere at Broome-Tioga BOCES, bringing a technical and/or scientific edge to, well, just about any of our courses. In this particular lesson, he taught the students “the chemistry of hair.”
Oak Tree Teacher Shannon LaBarre wins Golden Apple
Golden Apple Award: Shannon LaBarre
BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) - February's Golden Apple Award is going to a local teacher who answered the call when she was needed most. Shannon LaBarre works at Broome-Tioga BOCES with students who struggle to communicate. The kids started the day by playing a word association game. Matching the word with the correct picture.
Highlighting our work through video
One of the goals in Instructional Programs this school year has been to produce three comprehensive videos that shine a bright light on our special education service here at Broome-Tioga BOCES. Allen Lown from our Communications & Public Relations team has produced two so far, with one in the pipeline.
If you have not had the opportunity to view the two that have been completed, please take a moment and watch them.
From Food Services
Welcome Tim O'Hare- School Lunch Supervisor at CF
Tim O’Hare recently started a new role with the Food Services team. O'Hare has worked for Food Services and the Duplication Center as a driver since July of this year. He was instrumental in expanding the farm-to-school program by ensuring that local products were delivered to every school building. When an opportunity to take a different role with the team presented itself, O'Hare rose to the challenge and became a school lunch supervisor for the Chenango Fork Central School District. He has worked in the food industry in different capacities for the last 30 years.
From Health and Safety
A few of the projects our department is currently working on are, reviewing Emergency Plan drills for non-instructional BOCES buildings that we will be practicing in the upcoming months, making sure our AED equipment is functioning properly. We have also begun the process of retesting all of our potable water sources because New York State has passed a new regulation from 15ppb to 5 ppb. All buildings will need to be retested within the next three years.
This month our department was proud to have accomplished helping our Districts submit their annual Utica Nationals Safety Excellence Awards Survey. These are extensive reports submitted by each district to ensure our schools are the safest they can be for staff and students. We are proud to say all of our districts accomplished a Titanium with high honor status, the highest status they can receive. We have also held District wide safety team meetings for Vestal and BOCES where the use of tabletop exercises was discussed to help the districts be better prepared in case of a natural disaster or any emergency event that may occur. Last week we attended an AESHP conference to gain information on how to create Threat Assessment Teams within our districts to help identify our at-risk student population and possibly prevent tragic events before they occur.
Welcome Marissa Pavlovich who is our new Health and Safety Compliance Specialist Intern!
From the RIC
Did you know that each day you use technology at BT BOCES there is a division that is dedicated to providing support for that technology? You may be familiar with your IT team - Tim Fazio, Kevin Knox, Rick Preston, Dan Rought, Jim Traffas and Scott Vosbury....but did you know they are part of a division at BT BOCES called the South Central Regional Information Center (SCRIC)? The SCRIC has about 200 employees that provides BT BOCES access to state-of-the-art technology services, training, and support for teachers, students, and administrators! We are a unique division as we are fortunate to also support DCMO BOCES and ONC BOCES and the school districts in those regions.
Check out the school districts we provide support for: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1j5xkKSfIi_p3cWCbv4kdiGUgfSlG7m-v&usp=sharing
RIC hosts AWS DeepRacer event
In early February, members of the South Central Regional Information Center Engineering Team (SCRIC) hosted an AWS DeepRacer event in conjunction with the P-Tech Computer Science program. Students used machine learning and artificial intelligence to program cars to race around a track, making adjustments to try to get a better time. See the event in action by viewing the following video
Two-Factor Logins protecting our data
Promotion and new employees within the RIC
Congratulations to the following employee who was promoted in the RIC:
Jonathan Devita was promoted to Associate Coordinator of Managed Services
Also welcome to Christina Ormsby, who is a new Software Support Specialist
Welcome to the RIC
From Communications & Public Relations
The Office of Communications & Public Relations is comprised of award-winning communications professionals, writers, videographers, and graphic designers who provide a wide range of services to school districts throughout the Broome-Tioga BOCES region and neighboring counties. Our team helps school leaders build trust and credibility with their stakeholders through a planned and strategic program of two-way communication aligned with district goals and priorities.
We have just completed the 23-24 Services Guide for BOCES and have also compiled District Snapshots to showcase what services our districts subscribe to. Click here to check out some of our district snapshots.
BOCES Branding Resources Now Available
Much like one’s reputation, a positive brand identity is not something that can be taken for granted; it must be continually monitored and maintained. To that end, we have developed this branding guide to ensure our organization’s “best foot” is always put forward.
You can also find templates, logos, PowerPoint slides, letterhead, email signatures and more on our shared One Drive
Our department has also been working on some exciting videos for BOCES and our component school districts. You can check out our work on the BOCES YouTube channel!
From Operations and Maintenance
We are currently building new offices and renovating the RIC space at the ISC building. If you haven't already seen the new conference room in the ISC it's pretty impressive.
We are also looking into our mail hub internal methodology for how we charge divisions for handling internal and external mail. So we will be collecting additional information about how internal mail is handled so we have better insight ahead of the 24-25 budget development cycle.
From Facilities and Planning
For the past few months, we have been actively working on a multi-year facilities plan. We are looking at the needs/utilization of all instructional and non-instructional spaces. It’s a big undertaking and we hope to have a draft plan by May. Thank you for providing your input. We will keep you in the loop as we progress.
From Document Services
It's been a banner year
We are upgrading our equipment and technology to produce better quality products. The department is continuously seeking to offer additional services beyond our current offerings. Future possibilities include apparel and printing on 3-D items.
With thanks and gratitude to our component districts and BOCES, Document Services is having a banner year in spite of supply chain issues. This past month has produced one of our highest volumes for this particular time of year surpassing many years past prior to the recent COVID years. This is a testament to the good will of our customers and a super staff.
Welcome to Document Services
We offer WebCRD training to anyone upon request- Your Place or Ours!
From the PLIC
The Professional Learning & Innovation Center, also known as the PLIC, provides instructional support services to the 15 component school districts of BT BOCES, instructional programs, and beyond. Support services include professional learning for teachers and administrators, educational resources for use inside and out of the classroom, instructional technology coaching and support, and regional coordination of community schools, grants, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The department also includes BT BOCES Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) that provides a fully remote educational experience for students in Grades 3-12. The Teacher Center of Broome County also collaborates with our department to provide teacher-led professional learning for participating districts. Our work is guided by our mission: building expertise together to advance learning for all. To achieve our vision of being the educational partner of choice for school districts, we partner with many community and statewide organizations, including Binghamton University, Broome County Mental Health, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NYS Education Department, and more.
Upcoming PLIC projects
- We are currently planning with districts for the upcoming year
- Surveying district professional learning needs to plan for summer and 23-24 learning opportunities