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New York State School Boards Association Champions of Change Award

New York State School Boards Association Award Honors Eastern Suffolk BOCES and Town of Islip Partnership 

The New York State School Boards Association honored Eastern Suffolk BOCES with a Champions of Change Award on August 31, 2022. The award recognizes ESBOCES Early Childhood Education Program’s partnership with the Town of Islip.

Champions of Change Award Ceremony

Back row left to right: ESBOCES Work Based Learning Coordinator Carol Donohue; ESBOCES Early Childhood Education Teacher Gini Wagner; Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Tom Owens; Deputy Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Deirdre Wahlberg; and ESBOCES Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education Leah Arnold. Front row left to right: Labor Relations Technician Stefanie Ohayon; Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter; ESBOCES Early Childhood Education Program Alumni Troy Jones; Milliken Technical Center Principal Jennifer Martino; ESBOCES Chief Operating Officer Ryan Ruf; and NYSSBA Representative and ESBOCES Board Member Cathy Romano.

The partnership between ESBOCES and the Town of Islip gives students in the Early Childhood Education Program (at ESBOCES Milliken Technical Center in Oakdale) hands-on experience working with young children in Islip Town's recreation centers, putting the students on track to earn a teaching certification while still in high school. The partnership completed its first academic year in 2021/2022 and is the first collaboration of its kind with a town.

The Champions of Change initiative celebrates innovative school programs around New York State that succeed in addressing equity issues, promoting academic success, and create cutting-edge and future-oriented learning environments for students.

ESBOCES Early Childhood course is designed to prepare students for careers as teachers or child care providers in early childhood education. The study of child development is included by direct hands-on work experience with children. Students in their second year of the program work toward their Child Development Associate (CDA), a nationally recognized credential that will qualify candidates to meet all state licensing requirements to work as a child care professional in any early childhood program in the United States.