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OCM BOCES Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program students help renovate their classroom environment

Over the past few months, students in Mrs. Phinney's Deaf and Hard of Hearing classes at Solvay High School have been working on a Project Based Learning (PBL) experience to make reading and literacy more engaging in the classroom. The students have been working collaboratively with the company Yogibo, a New Age bean bag furniture company that sells lounge bags, bean bag chairs, body pillows, rugs, and more. On March 4, as a result of their hard work, they were invited to the Yogibo store at Destiny Mall to create their own classroom furniture.

The students, who rely on American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, were finding that signing from behind a desk was restrictive, so they wanted to explore a non-traditional classroom setup for the purpose of enhancing communication. With the help of their teacher, Mrs. Phinney, they recreated a classroom learning environment that would better fit their communication needs.  The students decided, through trial-and-error experiments, what type of learning environment would benefit them most.

It was was through this trial-and-error process that students decided that having Yogibos in their classroom would be their best match. The students then did a consumer review report on different products that are on the market.  Through this, they learned how to communicate their needs and wants. The students made contact with the company by having a company representative come to the school. Later, they visited the store to test out the company's various products. After returning from their field trip, the students created a brochure for others to see what products worked best and what products would work best specifically for their deaf and hard of hearing classroom. The students then collaboratively worked on a presentation for a proposal to get Yogibos in the classroom and to replace the desks. The students said they felt they couldn't sign as much with desks being in their way.  
The students proposed a purchase offer to the OCM BOCES director of special education, and to the deaf and hard of hearing supervisor, explaining how students would benefit by having Yogibos in their classroom. For their presentation, the students needed to research different classroom learning environments and the costs of Yogibos, and rationalize why they would be the best fit for the classroom. Staff at Yogibo was so impressed with the students' hard work and determination, they decided to use some of the information for their own advertisement purposes. They were so impressed with the students' research and knowledge of the Yogibo, they even hired one of the students from the classroom for 
a work-study experience. 

The students learned a great deal through this project-based learning experience and are excited to learn in their new, less restrictive environment. They also plan to continue collaborating with the company. Their next step is to team up with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Rochester Institute of Technology's research department to determine if the students' theory on the prohibitive nature of desks holds true for all deaf and hard of hearing students. The students are excited to see how far this project will take them, and if this project will lead to a new way of thinking for other deaf and hard of hearing classrooms!


Two OCM BOCES students going to National SkillsUSA: Best wishes to two of our outstanding Career & Technical Education students who are heading to the National SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Ky., next week. Our two participants are  Jenna Knout  of Marathon, a junior who took first place at the state SkillsUSA competition in Early Childhood Education, and  Wolfgang Groetz  of North Syracuse, a senior who took first place in Information Technology Services. Jenna Knout - Marathon Jenna, ... more >>
Colleen Viggiano named Deputy Superintendent: Colleen Viggiano, assistant superintendent of Student Services, has been appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Service (BOCES). The OCM BOCES Board of Education voted unanimously for Viggiano’s appointment. Viggiano began her duties as deputy superintendent effective June 21, 2019. In her role as deputy superintendent, Viggiano will oversee the day-to-day operations at OCM BOCES, allowing the organization to continue ... more >>
Thank you, OCM BOCES Retirees!: Congratulations to 24 OCM BOCES employees who are retiring by the end of this 2018-19 school year. These employees have collectively given the OCM BOCES organization more than 535 years of service. We congratulate all of you on a job well done and wish you nothing but the best in retirement. Thank you for your service! Those retiring are:   Patricia Anthony Special Ed School Social Worker James Bay Special ... more >>
Learn more about: Salon Day at McEvoy: Practice makes perfect for students in the OCM BOCES McEvoy Senior Cosmetology Class. During the school year, students in the class are given a unique opportunity to learn and master their trade by working with clients during their weekly “Salon Day.” From October to June, Salon Day is held every Friday when classes are in session. During this time, the public is welcome to stop in for salon appointments for a variety of salon services such as cuts, colors, manicures and pedicures.   ... more >>
CTE students work for our communities: Students in our Career & Technical Education programs engage with local communities on a regular basis, taking on projects that help local municipalities and other groups save significant time and money. Here are just a few recent examples: Construction students in Jim Bender’s classes at our Cortlandville Campus recently built four wooden theater stages, a ramp and a set of stairs for the Cortland Youth Bureau so they can be used for concerts and other events this summer ... more >>

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boces 70th anneversary

J. Francis Manning, Ed. D.
District Superintendent & CEO

PO Box 4754
Syracuse, NY 13221
(315) 433-2600

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