The Community as School Program at Valley Central High School is making plans to move forward in order to provide students with more opportunities once they graduate.
The program has been in existence at VC for 25 years. It was created when BOCES costs began to skyrocket and trade classes such as woodworking were taken out of Valley Central’s curriculum.
To give students more career opportunities, the district discovered a program called City as Community. The name was changed to Community as School and the district began to reach out to local businesses to see if they would allow students to shadow them to gain school credit.
Guidance identifies students who fit the criteria. After that, guidance and students meet with the program’s Coordinator Michele Sinn and Site Liaison Robert Ciganek. Ciganek meets with local business owners to arrange a meeting with a student. Students interview potential placements. They usually have a two-week trial and if it is not a good fit they are placed somewhere else. Students complete the hours and assignments needed to receive credit (1 credit= 120 hours). They also do written assignments as well as learning experience activity programs (LEAPs).
“For example, the student is making up an economics program,” Sinn said regarding LEAPs. “I make sure they are doing an assignment that is economic based.”
Over the years, students have been placed at establishments such as the Humane Society of Walden, the Josephine-Louise Library in Walden and the Montgomery Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
“One of our CAS students is working accounting at the Montgomery Nursing Home,” Sinn said. “She would not have graduated without this program.”
Sinn added that another student who was enrolled in the program now has more direction in her career. After completing the program, the student noted that she plans to apply for a custodian position at VCHS.
As of Sept. 13 there were 11 students enrolled in the program who were looking to be placed.