The holidays remind us this is the season of giving. All members of SUNY make a concerted effort to volunteer and contribute to their respective campuses and local communities. The 30 Days of Giving campaign highlights students and faculty across all of our 64 campuses who participate in volunteerism and give back to those in need. With over 467,000 students and three million alumni, we want to celebrate the impact the SUNY community has made in all of their unique community service projects. As we learned last year, the byproduct of taking volunteerism to scale is not only building character in our students themselves as they join our over three million alumni, but also to set an example of impact as the nation’s largest university system.
The SUNY commitment to strengthen the education pipeline has led to a new partnership that hopes to end chronic absenteeism. Through the Every Student Present campaign, launched this fall, SUNY is joining forces with a statewide collaborative to address chronic absenteeism in our State’s schools and help to improve student attendance.
The best teachers and the most supportive schools cannot do anything for a student that is not in class. When a student misses 10 percent of the school year, this is considered chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is related to lower test scores and higher dropout rates for students at all income levels and is one of the largest red flags when it comes to student achievement. According to Attendance Works, an initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success, approximately one in ten U.S. students miss ten percent or more school days each year.
New York’s Master Teacher Program seeks to identify, reward, and support outstanding public school teachers throughout New York State. It is inspired by and modeled after Math for America, which is a supplementary education program for teachers that has flourished in New York City and since expanded nationwide. Master Teachers are chosen because they have proven content expertise, effective pedagogical skill and a deep understanding of their students and their communities. Once selected, Master Teachers will engage in activities to even further develop their talents in those three areas.
This fall, Governor Cuomo announced the first cohort of over 100 Master Teachers from the Central New York, Western New York, North Country and Mid-Hudson regions. The group has just completed their first regional cohort meetings and is poised to mentor peer and pre-service teachers, further develop their own expertise, and enhance the overall learning experience of our students for years to come.
President Obama speaks at Pathways in Technology Early College High School
SUNY’s Smart Scholar Early College High School program, in partnership with EDWorks, delivers early college technical assistance to 23 state-wide schools. The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) is a part of the Smart Scholars initiative.
President Barack Obama visited P-TECH on October 25 to spotlight the innovative school structure and discuss education reform. The Brooklyn public school was a feature of his 2013 State of the Union address and the cutting-edge model is now being replicated nationwide, including 16 New York partnerships launching in 2014. The six-year program graduates students with a high-school degree, an associate’s degree and partners them with a mentor at I.B.M to help them attain a job in the technology industry.
Nineteen students and two instructors from Alfred State’s electrical construction and maintenance electrician program headed to Washington, D.C. this October to complete the largest phase of what has been a five-year project to help the U.S. National Arboretum meet its sustainability goals. Their mission: to install a 15 kilowatt photo voltaic system.
The new solar energy system is just one part of a long-term plan to update and improve the arboretum grounds while educating the public about renewable energy technology. The 446-acre facility operated by the Agriculture Research Service in Washington, D.C., is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the USDA. This particular phase will supply power to the arboretum to offset electricity costs associated with the facility’s bonsai displays.