High school graduates from a number of regional districts are working at the TST BOCES exceptional education regional summer school as teacher aides while attending college.
The regional extended school year (ESY) program is available to eligible students from all TST BOCES component districts in need of educational services for the summer. The program provides flexibility of services and instruction to regional school districts so that students do not regress between school years. Offerings such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and classroom instruction are available for students who require specialized services.
Caroline Dennis, who graduated from the Lansing Central School District this past spring, is working as a teacher aide as she prepares to attend Hartwick College to study pediatric nursing and music therapy. Her experience working at the regional summer school has encouraged her to further pursue the area of special education.
“Being able to work with the children and staff at the ESY program this summer has been an absolute privilege,” Caroline said. “Every morning I look forward to seeing these children because they are absolutely inspirational and make me feel like I’m making a positive impact on someone’s life.”
Caroline feels a very personal connection to her work as a teacher aide, as someone affected by hearing loss.
“Because of my own experiences with special education at school and hearing loss involving hearing aids, I feel that I connect to these children and advocate for them in ways that some other adults may not be able to,” Caroline said.
This year nine teacher aides work at the exceptional education regional summer school who graduated from Ithaca City School District, Newfield Central Schools and other local districts and are currently enrolled at colleges all over the country. By working at TST BOCES over the summer they are able to help the community they grew up in, and those studying education also have the opportunity to get relevant work experience in their field. Nicole Volkert worked a number of summers for TST BOCES during college and is now employed as a special education teacher in the Dryden Central School District.