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Archived News from Westside Academy

Here's what's happening around our school.

2014 - 2015

Congratulations to the Class of 2015!


A last look at our awesome graduating class and their proud families, friends and teachers and supporters from Westside. You all have bright futures awaiting you, and we will always be here for you with smiles, hugs and love. We are so very proud of each and every one of you!


Hot sauce and ice cream

Something for everyone as we celebrate our last week of classes.


Countdown to Graduation!

Subtle signs that the end of the year is just around the corner.


Planting seeds

The hardest job is choosing. Eggplant? Sunflowers? Basil?


Students of the Week

A Westside tradition: every Friday students who have gone above and beyond that week get some well-deserved recognition for their efforts. 


Mr. Carrigan scores a BOCES Undercover Boss video

Check it out at 


We share: our traditions, our talents, our time and ourselves

Westside holiday lunch was a blast! We learned how to play dreidel, decorated cookies, and made classic comfort food grilled cheese sandwiches.


Westside elves invade Greece Ridge Mall!

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." Or maybe it's ringing those red kettle bells for the Salvation Army. 


How Westside Academy works with our District partners

Here's how our partnerships work (from an article in Monroe County School Boards Association's (MCSBA) News Scope):

Taking action to help others by learning Action Words

Comprar, cerrar, construir, aprender, preguntar. Congrats to all our students who learned over 72% of the up-to-100 new Spanish verbs they were challenged with in only four days. Amazing! They raised $144.80 for class-sponsored children Cesia and Dani from Nicaragua, and Noé from Guatemala.


We've got the moves!

Westside skaters get good air at our skateboarding outing.



"Drawing on Walls" at The College at Brockport

Mr. Carpenter and Westside students photographed Brockport college students and staff using the historic Xerox flat plate process. They transferred the photographs onto the gallery walls to create an amazing piece that blended old technologies with fresh perspectives.



Distracted Driving Campaign

Our students spent time this week learning about the dangers of distracted driving--eight were actually successful in completing a distracted driver simulation course (much harder than it looks! :-)) given by instructor Chris Barrow.



Westside Red Ribbon Week

"Love yourself. Be drug free." National Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23-31) kicked off at Westside with the reminder that loving others begins with loving and respecting yourself.


Westside Open House

It was great to have a chance to meet and hang out with some of our kids and their families informally at our Open House. Thank you to everyone who joined us!


Checking out creative career options

Mr. Carpenter's class visits the graphic design and print pros at BOCES2 CaTS, and at an independent graphic design studio.


Westside gives back

Our animal-loving volunteers visited Scottsville Veterinary Hospital to help socialize adoptable pets. There were clearly many connections made, although Delilah the escape artist gave everyone a run for their money.


Faces from our first week

Already hard at work, having fun, making friends and just being Westside. (And Don Marcos is back to just being himself :-)


A big WELCOME to new students and WELCOME BACK to all our returning students

We just want to take a minute to revisit some of our favorite faces from last year.
We're looking forward to an exciting new year - can't wait to see everyone.



2013 - 2014

Westside Academy program opens doors for at-risk students

For students who don’t believe they can succeed in school, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Westside Academy changes minds and opens doors. It’s a general education alternative junior/senior high school for young people in grades 7-12 who have experienced academic, behavioral or emotional challenges in their home districts – students who are at risk of losing faith in their ability to learn.

In the 2013-2014 school year, Westside Academy has served 63 students from nine school districts. It challenges students with the highest academic expectations and Regents-degree programming, but gives them the extra support they need to ensure success.
• Individual attention and small class size (I teacher:15 students).
• School Social Workers, aides and behavioral assistants.
• Attention outside formal classroom instruction for extra help and social support.
• TEAM (Teen Education and Parenting Program).
TEAM is for pregnant and parenting teens who need assistance and support in completing the requirements for graduation. This includes mentoring with a teacher, social worker and student behavioral assistant who gently monitor and support all aspects of each student’s life. Students also receive parenting education as part of the curriculum.

Individual attention is at the heart of the Westside Academy program. With graduation rates at 99%, student success stories abound. With the support of family, teachers and counselors, students discover their many talents, strengths and abilities. “These kids have had some tough breaks,” says Principal Martha Willis. “But here at Westside they are able to connect, to grow and to find their own paths.”
Developing connections is vital to changing students’ beliefs about learning and about themselves. Westside Academy staff works closely with each student and family, dealing with self-esteem issues, depression, anger, parenting education, family difficulties or drug/alcohol problems. Westside Academy’s goal is for its graduates to leave with the belief that learning is not beyond them and that life holds infinite opportunities. For more information, contact Principal Martha Willis or referral expert Lynette Maheu at 585-784-8428.


Westside Academy Class of 2014 graduates celebrate success

The Westside Academy graduation ceremony on June 16 was a triumphant, sometimes emotional evening for its 17 new graduates and their friends, family, teachers and support staff.  The close-knit senior class, some of whom have been attending the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Westside Academy since eighth grade, come from the Brockport, Churchville-Chili, Gates Chili and Hilton school districts. Attendees were welcomed by Westside Academy Principal Martha Willis.

Personal relationships are paramount at Westside, and those strong teacher-student bonds were evident all evening. Teachers shared short anecdotes illustrating the extraordinary people their students have become, highlighting their individual personalities and talents. Student Kayla Pack wowed the audience with a soaring voice and her musical presentation of a song she wrote herself in honor of her classmates. Teacher Mark Donnelly shared an inspiring and visually stunning video tribute to the Class of 2014.

BOCES 2 District Superintendent JoAnne Antonacci presented this year’s Educational Foundation Make-a-Difference Scholarships to Cassandrianna Ferraro (Gates Chili) and Kayla Pack (Brockport). Other guests in attendance included Assistant Superintendent Joseph Kelly, BOCES Board Vice President and Gates Chili representative Dennis Laba, BOCES Board Trustee and Churchville-Chili representative Linda Burlingame, and BOCES Board Trustee and Spencerport representative, Michael May.

See a slideshow of pictures from the ceremony.


Staff vs. Students on the courts

The seventh annual Westside Academy Staff vs. Students Basketball Game combined fun with bonding and team building. See the slideshow. 







Spanish Literature class opens eyes and minds

There is something magical happening at BOCES 2 Westside Academy.

Young people are becoming philosophers, readers, debaters, thinkers: right under our very noses. They are exploring universal questions on human rights, morality, gender differences – the very stuff of civilization. And they are loving it.

This idea fest is happening in an unexpected place – Spanish Literature. Like in any traditional beginning college-level class, students are introduced to Spanish and Hispanic literature and cultures. They read classic fiction and non-fiction works, by authors like Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz. They cover the Golden Age, the Romantics, contemporary literature. The works are all in English and there is no prerequisite other than curiosity. But that is where ordinary ends. 

“We read and analyze the literature,” says student Drake Franciosa.  “But the discussions and debates are what expand the ways we think.  The discussions turn philosophical, and give us all a deeper understanding of different beliefs and cultures.”

Teacher Mark Donnelly explains that that’s the whole point of the class. “I like to create an environment where students can question accepted ideas. We explore all sides of controversial topics.  I like to remind students that I don’t care what they think, I care that they think.” Introducing a new piece of literature often begins with several days of discussion, argument, and challenging ideas and beliefs.

“Nothing is more culturally immersive than learning about the world through the eyes, and in the style, of your target culture,” says Donnelly. “We forget that our students are philosophers. They are, every one of them.”



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