CCHS launches ‘SMART’ program for incoming freshman; Students culminate orientation session with civic action event at Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park

man visits with students at a park. the students are cleaning up trash.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Perry visits with incoming freshman during a park clean up at The Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park in Colonie.

Colonie Central High School (CCHS) recently announced ‘SMART’, a new program for incoming freshmen. Unlike the traditional freshman orientation, the ‘SMART’ program, which stands for Students Making A Responsible Tomorrow, is designed to not only prepare students for next steps in their educational journey but also to prioritize strategies that promote health and wellness, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills.

The sessions which began at the high school during the week of July 11 covered traditional orientation materials while adding a variety of new topics to support students in their transition to high school. Among the topics,

Students help to clean up the park
CCHS incoming freshman participate in a park clean up at The Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park in Colonie.

service to our community, is stressed in that all CCHS students are expected to give back locally. This requirement compliments the school’s goal of all students earning the “Seal of Civic Readiness” through the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

“We really wanted to expand our orientation programming for incoming freshmen this year,” said CCHS Freshman Class Principal Stephanie Luce. “Not only are we providing the traditional orientation materials that students and families expect, but we are also prioritizing skills that will allow the students to have a smoother transition when they start in Fall. Additionally, we want our students to understand the importance of giving back and contributing to the local community which is why we incorporated a culminating activity providing just that for students.”

As a culminating event, students traveled to The Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park in Colonie to participate in a park cleanup.

“It was a really nice day,” said the Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Perry. “This is the first time volunteering activity has been added to the orientation program. I think it gives our students a taste of the civic engagement opportunities that are available at the high school level. From our iCare program, Eco Club, National Honor Society and more, we provide activities year round in collaboration with our community partners that allow the students to be involved and engaged outside of the classroom.”

The event concluded with a celebration presentation at the high school where Colonie Police Department Chief Woods, Colonie Town Supervisor Peter Crummy and rising CCHS senior John Malagrida addressed the incoming students.