CAZENOVIA — During the June 13 Cazenovia Central School District (CCSD) Board of Education meeting, Cazenovia senior Luka Galle presented on her experience as a student at the Onondaga Cortland Madison BOCES Innovation Tech high school.
Opened in 2014 and located at the Lee G. Peters Career Training Center in Liverpool, Innovation Tech is one of the newest programs delivered by OCM BOCES to Central New York. It is also CNY’s first high school to be part of New Tech Network, a non-profit school design organization that works closely with districts and schools to create innovative learning environments. There are nearly 200 schools in 28 states and Australia in the New Tech Network.
Innovation Tech is designed to empower students to take control of their education and future.
Instead of taking traditional classes, students actively participate in classes that combine disciplines, like global history and art.
The school employs modern technology and focuses on project-based learning, an approach that allows students to master the material in their classes in real-world settings.
Students collaborate on interdisciplinary projects that require problem solving and critical thinking skills. They present their work and proposed solutions not only to their teachers and classmates, but also to community and business leaders.
Through the program, students can earn college credits, real world experience in a field of their choice, connections to local business and community leaders, internship and community service experience, the ability to problem-solve and present solutions to an audience, and technology skills that promote success in college and careers.
In a CCSD video highlighting Innovation Tech, Galle, who enrolled during her sophomore year, describes the education she has received as “one-of-a-kind learning.”
“We just really do individualized learning,” she said. “If I have something out of the box that I want to do, my teachers are always for it. It’s really helped me to get up and get out and be more social and, you know, learn talking skills or just how to write a resume — stuff that I actually will need.”
In the past two years, Galle has won over 24 scholastic, economic, and artistic awards.
In addition to her accolades, Galle has also earned a considerable amount of college scholarship money as a result of her hard work.
After being accepted to eight different colleges, the senior decided on St. Bonaventure.
“I had over $200,000 in scholarship offered,” she said.
Galle plans to go into media marketing and aspires to someday author a book.
In the video, Galle attributes her high school success in part to a strong support system, which includes her mom, her friends at Innovation Tech and at Cazenovia, and her teacher Ms. Alexander, whom she credits with pushing her and recognizing her potential to be a good student.
“The board was thrilled to have Luka present about her experience in the Innovation Tech program,” said BOE President Dave Mehlbaum. “It was exciting to hear about her many accomplishments and we couldn’t be prouder of Luka. We all wish her well as she graduates and heads to college next year.”
According to Superintendent Chris DiFulvio, Galle is the first Cazenovia student to participate in Innovation Tech.
“Innovation Tech is valuable to our district because it allows our students to participate in a project-based learning environment with students from all over the Syracuse area while remaining involved in activities at our school like athletics,” said DiFulvio. “Luka was captain of the softball team at Cazenovia this year. Her diploma will ultimately still be issued by Cazenovia schools as all BOCES programs are an extension of the district.”
Students at Innovation Tech typically start the program in grade 9.
“We do not currently have any other students enrolled at Innovation Tech for 2022-23, but we do plan to tour the site for several potential students,” said Cazenovia High School Principal Molly Hagan.
For more information on Innovation Tech, visit ocmboces.org/innovationtech.
Learn more about New Tech Network at newtechnetwork.org.
Seal of Biliteracy
During the board meeting, a group of 24 senior French and Spanish students were awarded the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB), which recognizes high school seniors who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English and one or more world languages.
The intent of the NYSSB is to encourage the study of languages, to identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers, to provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission and placement, to prepare students with twenty-first century skills, to recognize the value of language instruction, and to affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.
The distinction of attaining biliteracy is noted on their high school transcript, a NYS seal is affixed to their diploma, and the students receive a certificate and a medal to wear with their graduation robes.
This is CCSD’s fourth year participating in the NYSSB program.
To earn the seal, students must meet the initial ELA and World Language requirements and then declare their intent to participate in the process. To demonstrate an Intermediate-High level of proficiency in the second language, students must choose a research topic and prepare an extensive portfolio featuring aspects of the target culture throughout, and then present and defend their portfolio in the target language (either French or Spanish) in front of a panel of evaluators.
The topics the Cazenovia students chose to research include terrorism, health care, political systems, natural disasters, impacts of technology, French book culture, art, education, mental health, LGBTQ rights, Olympic games, and gang violence
The 2022 NYSSB recipients are Maysun Barilla, Savannah Barilla, Margaux Blin (Triliteracy), Claire Braaten, Sophie Clancy, Jake DeCew, Brooke Devendorf, Clare Douglas, Anna Edwards, Shaelan Finnerty, Kennedy Fountain, Caryn Gagnon, Mackenzie Halliday, Julia Knutsen, Willem Light-Olson, Melanie Michael, Benjamin Orbach, Maggie Rowles, Carter Ruddy, Nadia Segall, Michael Senehi, Aleya St.Louis, Emma Steinberg, and Isabella Uzcategui.
In a June 15 announcement posted on the district website, the World Language Department thanked the students for taking on the challenge and the CCSD administration and board of education for supporting the program and students.
“[We extend] a special thank you to Ben New for heading up our committee and being our administrative liaison with OCM BOCES and the State Office of Bilingual Education, as well as faculty members Christie Brenneck, Wendy Everard and Melissa Forrett who helped support us with the ELA and Guidance elements of this process,” the announcement states.
CCSD Board of Education meetings are usually held at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. Meeting dates are listed on the district website and the school calendar. For more information, visit cazenoviacsd.com/board-of-education.