MASSENA — A Massena Central School Board member says students might be inclined to attend school if they’re able to secure a spot in a program of their choice with the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
Kevin F. Perretta made the suggestion during a board presentation by Superintendent Patrick H. Brady on attendance initiatives that were being used in the Massena Central School District.
“Is there any way to be thinking about some of the things that make the students maybe not want to go to school? Are we getting all the kids that do want to get into BOCES into BOCES, or do we have to turn them away?” Mr. Perretta said.
BOCES programs are open to students in grades 11 and 12. They include Agricultural Studies Academy (ASA), Automotive Technology, Building Trades, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Education and Human Services, Graphic Communications, Health Careers/Certified Nurse Assistant, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning, Heavy Equipment, Metalworking Technology, Natural Resource Management, New Visions-Medical Careers, and Software Development and Business Design.
Mr. Brady said they’re not turning any students away.
“We’re not turning any students away who want to go to BOCES. There may be programs that are full at the BOCES that they may not get the program they want to be into, which impacts their decision whether they go to BOCES. But, we have not put a cap on,” he said.
Mr. Perretta wondered if they could advocate to get the necessary capacity for programs that students were looking to enroll in.
“Can we do that to get them into something where they want to be, where they will likely be successful? If they can’t get to where they want, I would think that they may not perform as well,” he said. “That’s what I’m curious about is how many are in that position that actually want to go there and then can we advocate for change?”
Mr. Brady said he would need to check with administrators and counselors to see how many students were not getting enrolled in their program of choice.
“If there’s a way we could figure that out, that might tell us something,” Mr. Perretta said.
Board member Susan B. Lambert said there had been a “major switch many years ago,” and counselors tried to get students into their desired program. But, attendance was an issue there. Mrs. Lambert had served as the district’s director of special education until her retirement.
“It really affects their program at BOCES” she said. “That was my experience, that we really tried hard to get any student any chance to make sure that they could stay in school and get a diploma.”
“We look at that when we’re going to superintendent’s hearings because the student has significantly violated the code of conduct and they’re in a BOCES program,” Mr. Brady said. “We know that there are seat time issues there and it does impact our decision-making. We’re often having the counselors contact Seaway Tech and say, ‘OK, the student may be out for a little while. What can we do? We don’t want them to be out of the program. What can we do to keep them in the program, but still hold them accountable?’ So, there’s a lot of that going on as well.”
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