Colonie Community Connection program named “Champions of Change” recipient by NYSSBA

students, faculty members gather together for a photo holding an award.
NYSSBA Area Director Cathy Lewis and Member Relations Manager Patrick Longo recently visited the Colonie Community Connection classroom to present the Champions of Change award.

The South Colonie Central School District was recently recognized as a Champions of Change recipient by the New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA) for its work-based initiative for students, the Colonie Community Connection Program.

Colonie Community Connection, a new program for South Colonie students implemented this school year, is more than just a job skills program. The program which is housed in Colonie Center Mall aims to connect students with community and business partners giving students a unique experience both in the classroom and business world.

At the mall beyond the new classroom space is where you can find students working to identify how and where their interests click and become immersed in a job program including: Boscov’s, LL Bean, Christmas Tree Shops, Sports Zone and PCX Apparel. This important outreach, with support from community business partners, business leaders and advocates, helps to keep students engaged in being self-sufficient and successful in the workplace.

Colonie Community Connection students Steve Sager, Kate James, and Dylan Mendez pose with the Champions of Change award presented by NYSSBA.

“We are excited to celebrate the success of our students and faculty who created and implemented this program this school year,”  said Dr. David Perry, superintendent of schools. “We continue to be grateful for the partnerships that we have been able to establish with many Colonie Center businesses to provide this opportunity for students and are honored NYSSBA has recognized the efforts and heart of this program.”

The Champions of Change award from NYSSBA recognizes innovative programs in school districts across the state and pays tribute to the people who create them.

NYSSBA Area Director Cathy Lewis and Member Relations Manager Patrick Longo recently visited the Colonie Community Connection classroom to present the award to students and staff members.

“When a program has both the community involvement element and you know it is making lasting positive change for students, it’s a homerun.” said NYSSBA Member Relations Manager Patrick Longo. 

Colonie Community Connection is wrapping up its inaugural year with eight student participants successfully completing the program. 

“By creating opportunities outside of the classroom, we can enable our students to gain independence, while learning new skill sets and responsibilities to grow their respective career choices. It’s a win-win for both our school community, local business partners and more importantly, it strengthens our students’ ability to become quality employees and citizens in our community,” said Colonie Community Connection teacher Deirdre Locke. “Next year our plan is to have 12 student participants and to expand program offerings to include grocery store and food service experience through relationships with our community partners.”

Learn more about the Colonie Community Connection Program here.