Friday, March 26, 2010

BOCES Programs

Your blogger recently had the opportunity to speak with a mother whose family had limited financial circumstances, and who was concerned about the costs of college for a less than stellar student. "Does it really pay for him to go to college?", she asked. "Why does everyone seem to feel that all students need to go on to college?" She has a point. But although not all students would be best served by college, almost all of them need some post secondary training to gain the expertise to pursue a trade or to gain skills to live independently. One place that New York parents can look for programs that begin this kind of training during high school are operated by the BOCES programs -- the Boards of Cooperative Education Services.

BOCES programs are designed to allow public school districts to offer an array of courses that are too specialized or too expensive to be offered by individual schools, and which students can begin in high school, ofen while attending their home school part of the time. For example, Barry Tech in Nassau County on Long Island offers over 40 courses for high school students, including culinary arts, automotive technology, and horse science and management. New York City offers career and technical education programs in areas ranging from fashion to construction trades in a variety of different settings.

While BOCES programs also offer training and services for adults, and some offer special education services that individual districts cannot afford to maintain, it is the programs for high school students that can be the most helpful to young people seeking to develop career interests and workplace skills while completing their high school diploma. Some of these students will go on to college. Others will enter the workplace right from their BOCES programs. But it's good to have a choice.

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