BOCES 2 Connections

Stories of connection and resilience

Challenges don't get us down, they encourage us to form deeper bonds and accomplish greater things. On this page, you’ll find a regularly updated collection of inspiring stories from around our BOCES. If you are a BOCES 2 employee and have a story to share, please send the information to your supervisor for potential inclusion here.

BOCES 2 Together in Spirit

We miss you all! Even though we can't be together, we can still connect.

Ridgecrest Academy Phoenix rises!

Ready for some crazy school pride? Get down with Ridgecrest Academy teacher Erin Mitchell who created this awesome music video “We are the Ridgecrest Phoenix” as part of the school’s final PBIS celebration. Mitchell’s talented daughters, Bella (11) and Maddy (13) handled the important lighting, sound and video technical jobs. 

In normal times, the end of year at Ridgecrest Academy is observed with an incredible talent show and a printed yearbook. In this year of nothing normal, students and staff got together virtually to celebrate memories with Mitchell’s performance, student awards and a first-of-its-kind video yearbook that included photos from field trips, classroom experiences, special occasions, Zoom meetings and friendships, along with music, thoughts and messages from teachers and staff members. The year of 2019-20 is definitely one to remember.

Sleeping with the baby sharks…

Greece Craig Hill Elementary preschoolers got a special treat recently. Their BOCES 2 8:1:3 teacher, Jessica Weese, and speech teacher Molly Penrose got together virtually to read “Bedtime for Baby Shark,” complete with core language board, humor and the required baby shark “doo, doo, doo, doo, doo singing.” “The kiddos seem to love the videos,” said Weese. “Parents will play them and the kids will stop in their tracks to watch. It’s nice to know we can still get their attention!” Check out their YouTube channel: Craig Hill B-10 Monroe2BOCES.

Even coronavirus can't stop us from dancing - The 2020 Annual Dinner Dance goes virtual!

Zoom image of students dancing

What? No Dinner Dance this year? Our students don't give up their annual tradition so easily. Click on the photo above to check out this virtual dance floor video. Our kids still have the right moves!

Does Darth Vader mow his lawn?

Darth Vader mowing the lawn
You wouldn’t think so, but he does. We have the proof, thanks to Ridgecrest Academy PE teacher Michael Bray. Bray actually seems to know alot of celebrities like Darth – from the Tiger King to Where’s Waldo – all of whom have been appearing in his class Zoom meetings over the past few months. They’ve even starred in videos, suggesting how to stay active and have fun with family during lockdown. Bray said that it’s all part of finding ways to be creative during this “unique situation.”
Check out one of the Ridgecrest Academy Lockdown Hint Videos below: 
After a hard day of Zoom lessons, relax with family. But don’t talk during the movies unless you want to wear the popcorn! (Special appearance by Bray’s daughter, Claire) 

A safe haven for preschool learning

The recent school closure has been strange and difficult, especially for our youngest students. “My students are confused,” said Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Integrated Preschool teacher Anne Schwartz. “They are confused as to why they can’t go to school anymore and they don’t understand why public playgrounds are closed. I am most interested in having my students stay connected with familiar things. I am trying to create some continuity for them.”
Schwartz and her classroom team of autism specialist, nurse and multiple related-service therapists, have found creative ways to do just that. Her two preschool classes (a dozen students in each) continue to follow the standard UPK curriculum with weekly interactive Zoom lessons focused on integrating letters, numbers, shapes and colors. Virtual class activities range from yoga and music to planting seeds. The educators share new versions of many of the favorite songs, books and videos students got to know earlier in the year. Recently, weekly story time sessions were added to the mix.

The team create a weekly newsletter for parents that details the educational goals of the week’s classes, suggests fun things to do, and includes tips and links to valuable resources. Schwartz has also launched her own YouTube channel, Classroom Fun, which features theme-based videos that follow each week’s learning explorations.

Both the students and their parents have responded enthusiastically to the preschool outreach program. “I have a parent who sends me pictures of their child watching my videos,” said Schwartz. “One parent told me that the Zoom classes help break up their day, and several have sent me pictures of their children engaged in the educational activities suggested in the newsletter.”

Home is the first classroom

Check out this new video for families from our Mid-West Regional Bilingual Resource Network (RBERN). Here are links to English support materials and support materials in other languages.

Welcome to Village Plaza Classrooms

Video conferencing is a great educational tool, but it’s not the answer for all students. For young people in the Transition program at Village Plaza, a more flexible and supportive approach to distance learning is needed. Special education teacher Danielle Hickin and her classroom support staff members have been listening to students and their families, trying different things and finding better ways to connect.

“Teaching with Zoom was not proving to be super effective,” said Hickin. “My students are non-verbal and many need hand-over-hand support to learn. Since most of my families are working parents, our typical 7 a.m. – to 3 p.m. schedule was not working either, so we created a YouTube channel (Village Plaza Classrooms) where students and families can learn on their own schedules. They can pause and replay our videos as needed!” 

Project SEARCH salutes URMC heroes

Project SEARCH salutes URMC heroes

No one knows better how important the work is that colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) are doing than our Project SEARCH interns and staff members. With the help of Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Transition Specialist Katy Connolly, they created a video message of support. For the doctors, nurses, technicians, child care workers, transportation and parking workers, nutrition department, pharmacy and NICU specialists, environmental services staff, equipment managers, patient transporters and emergency personnel – Thank you! “You are and always will be our heroes!”

A Thank You to WEMOCO O&M Staff!

Scott Barnard's class at CTE created this video to say “thank you” to the Operations and Maintenance team at WEMOCO. "We made this video to express our thanks during these last few weeks, and always! You are in our thoughts and we appreciate everything you all are doing!" 

Let's Go Now!

Check out this awesome video channel from the Department for Exceptional Children:
New videos every week! 

BOCES 2 Music Therapy

Check out this great channel from BOCES 2 Music Therapy! Tons of fun videos from our art and music therapists:

Greetings from Village Plaza Transition!

You matter and we miss you! A message to our students and families from everyone at Village Plaza Transition.
March - Setting Up Students Screenshot

#BOCESConnects during and beyond pandemic

This video highlights the work of the BOCES during the school closure in the spring.
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Four graduates sitting outside during ceremony

Westside Academy Graduation

The venue was unusual, but the joy, tears and pride were the same as every year. Congratulations, Westside Academy Class of 2020! More +
David Moy

Student Spotlight

Graduating senior David Moy and his mom got a pleasant surprise when they stopped in to his 6:1:1 Gates Chili classroom recently. More +
Student message

Messages from the heart

When words alone can't express all you are feeling, pictures can fill the gaps. Teacher Darlene Mikulski and her team members found a very personal way to share thanks and love with their students and parents. More +
Senah in the kitchen

Student Spotlight - Senah

Senah is in our Transition class at Village Plaza. He's been busy helping out at home, vacuuming and putting away groceries. Way to go, Senah! We miss you and all of our student friends.
Student using magnifier

New Visions students earn certificates

The Justice Professions program has been using multiple digital platforms during the remote learning period and meets daily through the Remind app, email, Schoology and Zoom. Criminal Justice teacher Timothy Steves says his students have been great with engagement during remote learning.  More +
Commissioner holding book

A note and storytime from NYSED

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you for all of the tremendously hard work you are doing every day to help your students through this challenging time... (Then join the Interim Commissioner for story time!) More +
#ThinkCheckCorrect pledge graphic

Nothing but the truth at NYSCSH

During this time, we are all facing many challenges. The New York State Center for School Health (NYSCSH) team has stepped up to meet these challenges and support schools by gathering and verifying important health information. More +
Flour, baking soda and other supplies in the kit

CTE Bakes At-Home!

To ensure WEMOCO students were able to continue baking at home, teacher Tom Noto assembled kits to offer his students. More +
Ridgecrest Zoom screen

Ridgecrest stays in touch

Every weekday morning finds the Ridgecrest Academy “family” gathering around a Zoom meeting for a virtual check-in. “It’s important to connect with students on both a social and emotional level to help them find healthy ways to cope.” More +
Teacher making a sock bunny

Connecting in Kendall

BOCES 2 Special Education teachers and staff in Kendall are giving students, and their families, lots of cool ideas for fun things to do and learn at home.
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Zoom meeting

Virtual welding class? Yes!

CTE welding teacher Josh Padlick has had some fun creating new lesson plans for his students during remote learning. More +
Cool creature drawing

Featured student artwork

Paul Road Transition student Shai'mare is making the best of things and developing his artistic talent at home. Thanks for sharing!
Handmade cards

Far apart, yet close together

The relationships between Westside Jr./Sr. High Academy staff and students are stronger than distance. They’ve all been finding many ways, both large and small, to stay connected. More +
For placement only

New ways to learn in preschool

BOCES 2 preschool teams have connected families with food pantries, mental health supports and community agencies, in addition to instructional supports and resources. More +
Screenshot from video

The gentle power of music

Even before the COVID 19 school shutdown was actually put into place, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Department for Exceptional Children’s creative arts therapists were exploring ways to continue to connect with their students. More +
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