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580 Attend BOCES All Staff Day

Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES held its annual All Staff Day at Holiday Valley on Monday, August 25, 2014.  Approximately 580 staff members gathered together in the main chalet in the morning, followed by breakout sessions for specific divisions and departments, and then a carnival of activities in which BOCES’ various divisions and departments showcased what they do for their fellow employees.

Here is a transcript of District Superintendent and BOCES Chief Executive Officer Lynda Quick’s remarks to the BOCES staff as the day kicked off . . .

Good morning and welcome to our 2014 All Staff Day

Thank you to the All Staff Day Committee and Holiday Valley.  And special thank you to our techs who worked yesterday and our very own Michelle Smith and John Tomerlin for sharing their musical talents with us.

As much as we all hate to see summer pass us by, this is an important day for us.  Why is this day so important?  It is the one day each year when we have the opportunity to reconnect . . . re-energize . . . and learn more about each other.  It‘s a time for us to start fresh with a new year, new students, new challenges and new opportunities.

This All Staff Day we are celebrating . . . us . . . and what a great organization this is . . . and the amazing things we do.

Public education is at a crossroads . . . and so we, at BOCES, are at a crossroads.  We need to move forward . . . strategically, purposefully and with renewed commitment to why we are here and what we do.  Our job, our mission, is to provide the very best educational opportunities for our students and the very best support that we can for our customers.  To be the essential partner in meeting the region’s 21st Century education needs.

But that’s not always an easy task . . . and I am sure there are many days when you have been tired and discouraged.

We continue to face unprecedented fiscal and academic challenges.  State financial support for public education in NYS is below what it was six years ago.  And we are in the midst of monumental changes in education.  We have new APPR plans for evaluating teachers and principals, we are teaching new content, we are assessing our students with new tests, and we are collecting data . . . lots and lots of data.

We need to continually challenge ourselves to define and redefine excellence in order to ensure students are empowered to learn in meaningful and authentic ways.

Change really can be overwhelming . . . change generally is . . . and not all change leads to progress.  But progress is impossible without change.  At the end of the day, our biggest challenge is preparing all students for the 21st century and to be college and career ready.  And, each and every day, we face that challenge with caring, determination and professionalism.  And . . . we face it together!

So for this All Staff Day, we are going to take the time to learn more about us . . . what we all do.  We are going to share with each other . . . learn more about each other . . . and how we can support each other in the important work that we do.”

D.S. Quick then introduced a series of videos from BOCES various divisions and departments, along with live interviews with two BOCES student success stories: Sondra LaMacchia, a graduate from the C-A BOCES GED program in 2012 and LPN program in 2014 (SHOWN ABOVE); and A.J. Warner (SHOWN BELOW), a graduate from our Ellicottville CTE Center in 2004 who went on to attend Alfred State College, and who now works for Praxair as a manager for multi-million dollar projects.

 

Ms. Quick concluded by saying, “We can and we do make a difference in the lives of our students every day.  We do make our districts more efficient and able to do the important work they need to do every day . . . thanks to you!”