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Education Pathways Gives Students Experience & College Credit

The national teacher shortage is impacting schools all across the U.S., but a new partnership with Buffalo State College is giving Ken-Ton high school students the chance to explore the field of education and get a head start on their education degrees.

The program is called New Visions Education Pathways Academy and is through Erie 1 BOCES. It’s a one-year, senior-level, highly academic program that gives students the resources to move confidently in the direction of a career in education.

“By showing interested high school students all that education has to offer, I’m looking to foster a pipeline of passionate homegrown talent to fill key positions locally, nationally, and abroad,” said New Visions teacher Anthony Lleras. “Education is primarily about relationships in my view, and we have so much fun getting to know and learn from one another. It’s very inspiring to come in and be a part of that every day.”

Kenmore East students Lauren Knight and Braden Yiengst are in this year’s program and began classroom instruction in September. They’ll eventually work with mentors in the field and gain a better understanding of the work that’s involved in education. 

“The best part is watching students transform into educators,” Lleras added. “They come in with cursory ideas and questions about education based on their experience as students but very quickly start to evidence thinking like a teacher.”

“I’ve learned I can do anything I put my mind to,” Knight said. “We make presentations, lesson plans, go to conferences and campus events, and have college professors come in to talk about their job.”

Students in the program will earn credit in high school economics, English, and government. They’ll also earn up to 17 college credits, which means Yiengst and Knight will begin college with more than half of their freshman year already completed. They also earn two certifications: Dignity for All Students (DASA) and Mandated Reporter Training. 

The New Visions Education Pathways Program is one of the many ways the Ken-Ton School District is supporting the development of the teaching profession. Our new year-long teacher residency program, in partnership with the University at Buffalo, is placing student teachers in our Ken-Ton high schools where they spend time between co-teaching and substituting. There’s also a Future Teachers Club at both Kenmore East and West that gives students the opportunity to explore the profession and attend seminars/college fairs.