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Alternative Education Overview
Alternative Education provides students with new beginnings and second chances.  At Erie 1 BOCES, we focus on the whole student, allowing every opportunity to achieve goals, ensure a brighter future, and build productive members of society.
 
Each program provides content certified teachers, who have experience working with an at-risk population.
  • Alternative High School (grades 9-12)
  • Home Hospital Instruction
  • Out of School Suspension Options (Grades 7-12)
  • Twilight After School Education Options (Grades 10-12)
Planning builds confidence

Annual career plans keep students on track

StudentsKatelyn Gentner, Instruction, Erie 1 BOCES, Work-Based Learning Coordinator and Alex O’Connell, Grade 9, Amherst High School. striving for their Career Development Occupational Studies (CDOS) Credential have more than just work ahead of them; they have a lot to learn about themselves.

Starting in ninth grade, students are required to complete an annual career plan. According to the New York State Department of Education, a career plan includes documentation of the student’s self-identified career interests, career-related strengths and needs, career goals, as well as career and technical coursework and work-based learning experiences that a student plans to engage in to achieve those goals.

At Erie 1 BOCES’ Exceptional Education Division, Work-Based Learning Program Teacher Katelyn Gentner has found that a one-on-one sit down allows her to help students navigate official jargon as well as get to know them on a personal level.

“The majority of the plan is based on work and personal characteristics versus academics,” Gentner explained. “So, it allows me to dive deeper into certain areas that seem to grab students’ interests. I look to see if they seem inquisitive about certain aspects such as the work environment, the job outlook of their intended career path or if they see the link between their strengths and their career path.”

Each year until 11th grade, Gentner sits down individually with the students at Maryvale Work Readiness Center, the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center and Northtowns Academy to edit, tweak, and re-evaluate their career plans. Even though she doesn’t see the students every day, she tries to foster a rapport so that students are comfortable being themselves and speaking their minds.

“I try to use my own life experience to relate to the students in order to show them that everyone goes through a discovery process to find their career path, even if it isn’t part of the curriculum. When they hear about my journey, it allows them to think of me not just as a teacher, but someone who has been where they are,” Gentner explained.

The very last question in the career plan asks, “What did you learn about yourself after completing the career plan?”

“I think that’s a great way to sum up the conversation and the career plan. Sometimes, students will say they already knew everything we talked about, but when we review everything, more often than not, they do find something new they learned,” Gentner added.

The career plans require effort on both sides, but Gentner said she has seen the rewards of that work. “I have had many students say with confidence and pride that they actually do have a plan for what they want to do and now have a better idea of how to get there after discussing their post-secondary plans. It is their future, after all. I am a resource they can most definitely utilize to get them to where they want to be, but they have to be willing to put in the time and effort,” she said.

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