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Thursday, October 2

Saratoga Springs School Recognized by NYSSBA and SUNY Polytechnic Institute

“Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Award winners honored for unique programs that encourage
 STEM-based skills and can be replicated at schools across New York State

Albany, NY – Furthering Governor Andrew Cuomo’s high-tech educational paradigm as it prepares New York State’s students for opportunities in growing industries such as nanotechnology, three school districts have received “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards for their novel approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math-related (STEM) programs. The competition—now in its third consecutive year—is presented by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly).
“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership continues to catalyze the rapid growth of New York State’s nanotechnology sector, resulting in powerful educational opportunities, such as those that stem from the ‘Be the Change for Kids’ Innovation Awards, that can directly meet the needs of New York’s innovation economy,” said SUNY Poly CEO and Officer in Charge Dr. Alain Kaloyeros. “We are once again delighted to partner with the New York State School Boards Association, and we congratulate this year’s honorees for their exciting, science-based programs and steadfast commitment to providing their students with the critical skills that are necessary for accessing high-tech opportunities across New York.”
“Too often we hear about what’s wrong with our schools. Yet the programs we recognize today illustrate what’s right.  Each of these outstanding educational programs exemplifies the type of high-level instruction taking place in classrooms across the state, and the most remarkable aspect is that each can be replicated in other school districts without busting the budget,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.
Over 40 schools from across New York State entered to win a “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Award, and the three winning programs were chosen based on their ability to promote student curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and civic responsibility; prepare students for careers in the STEM-based fields; and for their ability to be easily replicated by other school districts. SUNY Poly faculty and staff members, in addition to alumni, serve as judges.
The winning districts are:
·      The Chenango Forks School District in Broome County for its “Chenango Forks STEAM Academy” program which arranged credit-bearing internships for high school juniors and seniors that were matched to the students’ intellectual and career interests. In addition to using the STEM to STEAM model of education which focuses on hands-on, project-based, cross-curriculum educational opportunities, students also gained basic workplace skills and learned about concepts related to professional demeanor, social skills, deportment, and appearance.
·         The Mineola Union Free School District in Nassau County for its ‘STEMineola’” program, which, in partnership with the science education company, Knowing Science, created hands-on STEM laboratory activities for all students in grades 3-7. They found that the close coordination of lab content with other subjects increased critical thinking as well as oral and written communications skills.
·     The Saratoga Springs City School District in Saratoga County for its “Educating Young Engineers (EYE)” program, which is held on Saturdays for elementary students. The program teaches basic engineering concepts to inspire the students at an early age and has raised community support for bringing elementary engineering content into the regular school curriculum.
Each of the winning districts will receive $5,000, funded by SUNY Poly, at a formal awards ceremony to be held October 26-28 at NYSSBA’s Annual Convention in New York City. As part of the announcement of the winning school districts, students and staff from each of the schools have also participated in tours and activities at SUNY Poly’s $20 billion Albany NanoTech Complex.
“This year’s award-winning projects demonstrate that innovation is alive and well in our schools,” said NYSSBA President Lynne Lenhardt. “From solving engineering problems, to applying classroom lessons in industry, to using lab activities to increase critical thinking skills, these students and teachers are raising the creative bar."
SUNY Poly and NYSSBA created the “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards in 2012 to honor engaging, STEM-based local school programs that foster critical 21st Century career skills in emerging fields such as nanotechnology. 


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