CTE student stars in commercial

Back to School Expo Commercial Shoot6

Questar III CTE student Vito Pascarella had the chance to tape a commercial with Albany Medical Center President and CEO James Barba for the annual Back to School Expo coming up in September.

 

 

The commercial was shot in the emergency room at Albany Med, and also featured Vito’s younger brother Rocco outfitted in a particularly flattering hospital gown.

The spot will air on Channel 10 (WTEN/ABC) and Channel 8 (FOX23) for about two weeks before the expo. You can see more photos on our Facebook page.

The Back to School Expo runs from 10am to 3pm Saturday, September 19 in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. It’s designed to provide hands-on activities to introduce children to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in a non-traditional, non-intimidating setting.

Questar III BOCES is a Silver Sponsor of the Back to School Expo. This is Questar III’s fifth consecutive year participating in the Expo. For more information, including ticket sales, visit www.backtoschoolexpo.com.

Meet Jodi Rossman

Jodi_RossmanQ: What is your role here at Questar III, and where do you work?

I am the Behavior Specialist, and I work mainly within all of Questar III’s special education and CTE classrooms, as well as consult for our component districts. I write and implement much of the TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) refreshers and curriculum, serve as an external PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) coach and often a listening ear. In theory I am based at the main office, however I really am not there much.  I am one of the few behaviorists in the state of NY with a license. (I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC)

Q: How long have you worked here?

I have been lucky enough to work for Questar III for almost 10 years.

Q: How do you see your role in supporting the BOCES and the school districts it supports?

I provide embedded mental health support for many of my classrooms.  I work on developing and writing trainings to teach needed information regarding mental health and de-escalating agitated and aggressive students.  I help to structure the classrooms for behavioral student success, as well as individually consult with teams regarding unusual and diverse students.  I work with the strengths of our teams to find a way to better support some of the intense struggles our students have.

Q: What is your background like – previous jobs, your education, etc.?

I have my undergraduate degree from SUNY Oswego in Elementary Education and Psychology, and did my student teaching in the City of Syracuse.  I then went to work in Environmental Education at Frost Valley YMCA where I first met Special Education Students that would come stay in the Catskills for 3-5 days. There I learned how much I loved that population, and that I was mesmerized learning and watching individuals grow emotionally.  From there I went to SUNY Oneonta for a Masters in Community Mental Health Therapy. With my Masters I worked for three years at Equinox Youth Shelter as a Case Manager and eventually a Prevention Case Manager.  I then joined the behavioral team at Schenectady ARC in the Ridge Health Services.  I worked in Schenectady for a few years and then consulted for Rensselaer ARC in the clinical and residential program.  And from there, I was lucky enough to return back to working with children and accepted a position here at Questar III BOCES.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

I love how diverse my job is. I never know from day to day what new thing I might learn, what amazing child I will meet and story I will learn about, as well as witnessing terrific teaching. I learn daily from my staff and students and it’s never boring. I love when we, as a team, figure it out, and really try something a little different to help the lives of our students, and families. It’s incredible to see an idea work, and see a student succeed, and watch how proud the student, families and staff are. It’s a privilege to be a part of that.

Q: Tell us a bit about your life outside of Questar III.

I have been married almost 17 years and am the proud parent of a soon to be 8th grader.  I have two dogs.  They get a lot of walks and teach me quite a bit all the time about behavioral strategies.  It seems as though my life revolves a bit between gardening, walking, and driving my daughter to all of her activities.  I read quite a bit, but only really juvenile literature, and watch very little TV.  I do however love Jane Austin, Sherlock, and many movies.  I am lucky to have a terrific circle of friends that keeps me forever entertained and smiling.

Cos. student sets up for the future

casatelli2Rensselaer Educational Center Cosmetology student Alyssa Casatelli always wanted to go into cosmetology. A junior at Columbia High School, she attributes part of that desire to a family history. Several of her family members have worked in the field. She says from a young age, she was always looking for customers.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was little. I used to nag my cousins and my mom and everyone to let me do their hair and do it on my Barbies,” Casatelli said.

In the cosmetology program, students learn a variety of skills needed to work in a salon, from cutting and curling hair, to how to mix dye and do manicures and pedicures. They learn the theory before the practice, to have a better understanding of what they’ll be doing on the floor, part of the course Casatelli says she enjoys.

“I enjoy the theory. A lot of people don’t, but I like to learn the background,” she said.

She also set high goals for herself. Eventually, Casatelli says, she’d like to open her own day spa. The cosmetology program at Questar III is laying the foundation to make that dream a reality. Helping her reach that goal are the many opportunities available for learning outside the classroom.

casatelli1

Alyssa Casatelli competes in the SkillsUSA regional competition at SCCC on March 18

Casatelli has participated in the SkillsUSA Regional competition, where she competed against cosmetology students from all around the Capital District (where she took second place), an experience she says allowed her to see where other students are with their skills and perhaps what she could be up against in employment decisions.

She also took part in a job shadow, where she got to spend time in an actual salon to get a feeling for what a day in the field is really like.

The bottom line for Casatelli is doing the best she can to position herself for employment after high school. When she graduates next year, she’ll leave with a temporary cosmetology license. That will become her permanent license once she passes the state exams.

“It’s a passion of mine, and I really want to fulfill that. I’ve always loved it.”

Coin represents accomplishment

Microsoft Word - Challenge coin write up.docxThe Questar III Criminal Justice program collaborated with a designer to have a logo and challenge coin created which represents the accomplishments of students graduating from the two-year program.

Challenge coins are small medallions or tokens that signify a person is a member of an organization or completed special training. They have been in existence since Ancient Rome. If a Roman soldier performed well in battle, they would receive their normal pay, plus an additional coin that was marked for their legion.

Criminal Justice teacher Shawn Barry stated that modern day use of coins became popular in the United States military, and that the coins are awarded for completion of special training or being part of a special unit. This meaning has carried over to law enforcement. The coins are easily carried and used to provide proof of the individual’s accomplishment.

“The adoption of a logo is synonymous with the industry,” said Barry. “Whether it be the U.S. Supreme Court or your local police department, each is identified with their own crest or cartouche.”

The Criminal Justice program encourages leadership while promoting the cornerstones of a career in the criminal justice field. These include strength, honor, respect, integrity, professionalism, commitment, discipline, honesty and pride.

Barry said to complete the program not only takes dedication, but a strong desire to succeed in the criminal justice field. Graduating students will have demonstrated they are capable of being tasked both mentally and physically, and are better prepared to tackle the next challenges in their lives.

“For these accomplishments, the presentation of a coin showcasing the program’s logo, but also its core beliefs is recognition that the student has successfully completed the program,” said Barry.

CTE students recognize mentors

REC Mentor Breakfast-6409Seniors at Questar III’s Rensselaer Educational Center honored the internship partners they worked with over the course of the year with a breakfast and recognition ceremony Tuesday June 2nd.

REC Principals Anthony DeFazio and Tracy Racicot, Work-based learning coordinator Teresa Mills, and recruiter Pam Mertz spoke at the breakfast thanking the various business partners for the dedication to helping CTE students grow and gain real-world experience in the field.

“Today marks a year of celebration and success. Our students have been on journeys throughout their Career and Technical Education over the last year,” Mertz said.

“The mentors in this room epitomize the best of the best. The work you’ve done with our students is invaluable. The experiences they’ve had with you and your colleagues will not only serve them in their professional futures, but today as well,” said Mills.

Students intern in various locations including police departments, salons, educational centers, and construction sites.

“This is really powerful for us to see so many adults entering the lives of our children, and REC Mentor Breakfast-6507we say children because they really are like one of us,” DeFazio said of the work-based learning experience.

“These invaluable work-based learning experiences could have never happened without your patience, flexibility, and willingness to support our students,” Mills said.

Each student also awarded their mentor a certificate and spoke about their experience at their internship.

“This internship gave me an awesome real world experience. Sergeant Bateman always had something for us to do,” Tatum Cavener said of her Mentor, Sgt. Scott Bateman of the 109th Airlift Wing.

Skyler Dayton said of his mentor, Sergeant Andrew Norwacki also of the 109th Airlift Wing, “My squadron and I got to go through different fields on the base. I really appreciated the face that we were able to go on the base and get a general knowledge of multiple systems of the aircraft.”

“This internship taught me that it’s ok to ask questions no matter how stupid it sounds in your head. Dan taught me that there’s always a solution. Working at Zachary’s was one of the best experiences of my HS career,” said Morgan Percey of her time working with Dan Raymond of Zachary’s Pastry Shop.

Percey’s hard work paid off- she was offered a job at the pastry shop, which she accepted.

REC Mentor Breakfast--3REC also awarded the first ever Business Partner of the Year award to Tom Hoey of SUNY Albany’s Telecommunications Department. Hoey has mentored dozens of AIT (Academy of Information Technology) students over the last several years.

Culinary students provided eggs, bacon, sausage, and pastries for the event.

For more photos, visit our Facebook page

REC students receive awards

National Technical Honor Society Inductees

National Technical Honor Society Inductees

Questar III’s Rensselaer Educational Center (REC) in Troy honored students for achievement in academics and craftsmanship at the school’s Annual Awards Night on June 4 at Rensselaer City School District.

Focused on providing skills for the 21st century workforce, Questar III offers students career and technical educational programs (CTE) for professional training and the opportunity to acquire industry-related certifications while they’re still in high school. Most students continue their education at community colleges or technical institutes.

The 2015 scholarship winners from Questar III’s REC are:

  • KC Gosse – Certified Nursing Assistant (Berlin)
  • Brandon LaBounty – Information Technology (Columbia)
  • Amy Loveridge – Culinary Arts (Averill Park)
  • Gretchen McCormick – Certified Nursing Assistant (Averill Park)
  • Ryan Ramundo – Automotive Technology (Columbia)
  • Taylor Roberts – Criminal Justice (Hoosic Valley)
  • Carly Rapello- Certified Nursing Assistant (Averill Park)
  • DiAisa Smith – Criminal Justice (Troy)

Bryant & Stratton College $1000 Scholarship

  • Jason Campbell – Criminal Justice (Tamarac)

SkillsUSA Scholarships

  • Anthony Capece – Information Technology (Averill Park)
  • Kaitlyn Griffin – Criminal Justice (Columbia)
  • Caleb Hendricks – Construction Technology (Berlin)

Thirty-six students from REC were also inducted into the National Technical Honor Society. Eight additional students were re-inducted for a second year of membership. Induction into National Technical Honor Society is the country’s highest award for excellence in CTE.

The inductees took the pledge of membership and participated in the lighting of candles which represented each of the attributes of a National Technical Honor Society member: skill, honesty, service, responsibility, scholarship, citizenship, and leadership.

To qualify for National Technical Honor Society, students must maintain an average of 90 or above for three quarters in their career-tech program, an average of 85 or above for three quarters at their home school, have five or fewer absences for three quarters, receive a recommendation from a teacher, and perform 25 or more hours of community service.

The following students were honored on June 4:

Two-Year Members:

  • Amanda Abel – Criminal Justice (Hoosic Valley)
  • Morgan Epting – LANSINGBURGH (Automotive Technology)
  • Brandon Labounty – AIT (Columbia)
  • Morgan Percey – Culinary Arts (Maple Hill)
  • Taylor Roberts – Criminal Justice (Hoosic Valley)
  • Haley Scott – Culinary Arts (Lansingburgh)
  • DiAisa Smith – Criminal Justice Troy)
  • Reigan Stone – Criminal Justice (Averill Park)

First-Year Inductees:

  • Devin Blaisdell – Criminal Justice (Troy)
  • Gabriel Brimmer – AIT Maple Hill)
  • Cameron Bristol – AIT (Lansingburgh)
  • Karrilyn Bristol – Criminal Justice(Lansingburgh)
  • Zachary Cahill – Construction Technology (Averill Park)
  • Anthony Capece – AIT (Averill Park)
  • Alyssa Casatelli – Cosmetology (Columbia)
  • Maxwell Chittenden – Construction Technology (Maple Hill)
  • David Cocca – Aviation Maintenance (Averill Park)
  • Timothy Cooke – Cosmetology (Maple Hill)
  • Serena D’Amico – Criminal Justice(Lansingburgh)
  • Scott Gallerie – Construction Technology(Averill Park)
  • Logan Gibbins – Criminal Justice (Tamarac)
  • KC Gosse – CNA (Berlin)
  • Michael Gregg – Automotive Technology (Hoosic Valley)
  • Matthew Harris – AIT (Tamarac)
  • Christopher Kneer – Construction Technology (Tamarac)
  • Jake Lanzillo – HVAC (Averill Park)
  • Christopher Lashwa – AIT (Lansingburgh)
  • Ciarra Lemner – Criminal Justice (Averill Park)
  • Mackenzie Lepage – Cosmetology (Averill Park)
  • Aaron Lindeman – Construction Technology (Averill Park)
  • Amy Loveridge – Culinary Arts (Averill Park)
  • Joshua McCoart – Automotive Technology (New Lebanon)
  • Gretchen McCormick – CNA (Averill Park)
  • Ryan Morash – AIT (Adult)
  • Afabia Morris – CNA (Troy)
  • Christopher Mueller – (HVAC (Averill Park)
  • Madison Paloski – Cosmetology (Columbia)
  • Vito Pascarella – Construction Technology (Tamarac)
  • Carly Rapello – CNA (Averill Park)
  • Cody Rifenberick – Green Technology (Rensselaer)
  • Brandon Valoze – AIT (Columbia)
  • Elana Weissman – Hotel & Lodging (Adult)
  • Tristan Wells – HVAC (Tamarac)
  • Jordan Winn – Construction Technology (Berlin)

Questar III congratulates all of this year’s graduates and award winners! See the RECProgram ’15 for a full listing of award and scholarship winners from the 2014-2015 school year. See photos from REC Awards Night

CGEC students receive awards

Questar III’s Columbia-Greene Educational Center (CGEC) in Hudson honored students for achievement in academics and craftsmanship at the school’s 38th Annual Awards Night on June 2 at Columbia-Greene Community College.

National Technical Honor Society Inductees

National Technical Honor Society Inductees

Focused on providing skills for the 21st century workforce, Questar III offers students career and technical educational programs (CTE) for professional training and the opportunity to acquire industry-related certifications while they’re still in high school. Most students continue their education at community colleges or technical institutes.

The 2015 scholarship winners from Questar III’s CGEC are:

  • Nicholas Churchill – Criminal Justice (Taconic Hills)
  • Brandon Johnson – Culinary Arts (Greenville)
  • Russell Lewis – HVAC/Renewable Energies (Greenville)
  • Courtney Mashaw – Criminal Justice (Chatham)
  • Ciera VanAckooy – Cosmetology (Germantown)

The Alice and Murray Giddings Foundation Barbara Decker Memorial Award

  • Keith Hejnal – AIT (Germantown)

Columbia Car Club Award

  • Ben Elster – Automotive Technologies (Taconic Hills)

Barbara Decker Memorial Award

  • Juan Cruz – Building Trades (Catskill)

Bruce Baldwin Award 

  • Marcus Hinds – Automotive Services (Hudson)
  • Michael Kelly – Automotive Technologies (Chatham)

Thirteen students were also inducted into the National Technical Honor Society. Five additional students were re-inducted for a second year of membership. Induction into National Technical Honor Society is the country’s highest award for excellence in CTE.

The inductees took the pledge of membership and participated in the lighting of candles which represented each of the attributes of a National Technical Honor Society member: skill, honesty, service, responsibility, scholarship, citizenship, and leadership.

The following students were honored on June 4:

Two Year Members:

Alec Barrett – HVAC/R (Ichabod Crane)

Nicholas Churchill – Criminal Justice (Taconic Hills)

Marcus Hinds – Automotive Services (Hudson)

Russell Lewis – HVAC/R (Greenville)

Christopher Zwoboda – HVAC/R (Cairo-Durham)

First Year Inductees:

Heather Ford – Culinary Arts (Ichabod Crane)

Rachel Gumnitz – C.N.A. (Cairo-Durham)

Kaitlynn Harty – Culinary Arts (Cairo-Durham)

Keith Hejnal – AIT (Germantown)

Allison Johnson – Culinary Arts (Catskill)

Brandon Johnson – Culinary Arts (Greenville)

Joseph Markham – HVAC/R (Taconic Hills)

Courtney Mashaw – Criminal Justice (Chatham)

Kera Hunt – C.N.A. (Cairo-Durham)

Austin Kasper – Construction Technologies (Hudson)

Liam O’Connor – HVAC/R (Greenville)

Taylor Pearson – C.N.A. (Greenville)

Corey Winegard – Automotive Technologies (Cairo-Durham)

Questar III congratulates all of this year’s graduates and award winners! See the Annual Awards Ceremony Program 2015 for a full listing of award and scholarship winners from the 2014-2015 school year. See photos from CGEC Awards Night

Students receive BEST certificate

On May 27, 2015, 27 students from Questar III’s Columbia-Greene Educational Center received the B.E.S.T. (Business Employment Standards Transition) Certificate Award. The BEST program certifies the work readiness of students by creating a portfolio.  With the support of the Columbia & Greene County Chambers of Commerce, students who complete the portfolio requirements have the opportunity to have their portfolio reviewed and graded by a business professional.  A score of 85 or higher certifies students with the BEST Certificate.  Chamber members have agreed to give hiring preference to students who obtain a certificate.  The program is funded by Greene County Economic Development and supported by the Columbia and Greene County Chambers of Commerce.

Front Row (L-R): Jeff Friedman (Director, Greene County Chamber), Brandon Johnson, Trishanee Blake, Autumn Rose, Deborah Greco, Ciera Vanakooy, Karie Riley, Maggie White, Katrina Cowin, Moesha D’Allaird, Victoria Waite, Shelby Pulver, Lakia Walker Back Row (L-R): Dave Colby (Director, Columbia County Chamber) Logan Mair, Rachel Gumnitz, Kera Hunt, Adrena Ostrander, Chris Zwoboda, Brenden Lee, Lauren Gagliardi, Taylor Pearson, Russell Lewis, Hunter Mitchison, Frank Alguire (Greene County Economic Development) Not pictured:  Alyssa Deering, Aida Bridgham, Rebecca Frantz, Patrick Shultis, Cody White, Courtney Mashaw

Front Row (L-R): Jeff Friedman (Director, Greene County Chamber), Brandon Johnson, Trishanee Blake, Autumn Rose, Deborah Greco, Ciera Vanakooy, Karie Riley, Maggie White, Katrina Cowin, Moesha D’Allaird, Victoria Waite, Shelby Pulver, Lakia Walker
Back Row (L-R): Dave Colby (Director, Columbia County Chamber) Logan Mair, Rachel Gumnitz, Kera Hunt, Adrena Ostrander, Chris Zwoboda, Brenden Lee, Lauren Gagliardi, Taylor Pearson, Russell Lewis, Hunter Mitchison, Frank Alguire (Greene County Economic Development)
Not pictured:  Alyssa Deering, Aida Bridgham, Rebecca Frantz, Patrick Shultis, Cody White, Courtney Mashaw

 

 

 

 

Sackett and REC team up to dance

Students at Questar III’s Sackett Educational Center held a school dance in May, but it was far more than just music and dancing.

Earlier this year, the student council requested to have a dance for students. They decided to hold the dance during the school day because students attend Sackett from several districts, and transportation could be a challenge if it was scheduled in the evening.

The clinical team at Sackett had been working with staff at Questar III’s Rensselaer Educational Center (REC) about the possibility of rewards from CTE students (like baked goods or haircuts) as part of Sackett’s behavior management plan. When the student council asked to hold a dance, staff at Sackett immediately thought of REC cosmetology students.

Sackett Dance Prep_6“It was a natural progression to request that CTE cosmetology students be invited to help students prepare for the dance by offering hair and makeup services,” Sackett Social Worker Jane Govola said.

“I am very proud of the collaboration that we initiated this year between our REC cosmetology students and the Sackett Center. Our cosmetology students were very excited to travel to a different Questar III building, showcase their skills, and help the Sackett students feel pampered and special for their big dance,” REC Psychologist Allison Janis said.

When the cosmetology students arrived, they set up in a classroom and treated theSackett Dance Prep_2 Sackett students who wanted hair or makeup done like customer in a salon or barbershop. Govola said all the students involved had just as good a time preparing for the dance as they did actually dancing!

It’s not just Sackett who reaps the benefits of this collaboration. CTE students can receive internship/service credit for providing service to Sackett students.

“This is a win-win situation,” said Govola. “The CTE students were very enthusiastic, friendly, and skilled.”

As for moving forward? Janis hopes this is just the beginning.

“I think all of the students really enjoyed this experience, and the feedback that they received was wonderful. I hope that we can continue this collaboration in the future.”