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BOCES looked to for change and innovation in education

April 6, 2017 | Filed in Archive

Dr. Michel addresses the crowd during the HFM BOCES Annual MeetingHFM BOCES Annual Meeting held Wednesday, April 5

Noting that this year is the golden anniversary of its founding, the HFM BOCES Board of Education held its Annual Meeting Wednesday, April 5, welcoming board members and administrators from its 15 component school districts.

HFM BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel highlighted the great changes that have taken place during the last 50 years including the construction of the Route 67 campus located in the towns of Johnstown and Mohawk.

“This community, to its credit, pulled together and built this facility,” Dr. Michel said, giving kudos to those who overcame the challenges faced by the center’s construction. “Everybody got together and they built something, I believe, that is extraordinary.”

HFM BOCES is the only BOCES in New York State co-located with a community college, sharing the same campus with Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

Beyond the facilities, however, the greatest educational asset in the HFM region, Dr. Michel said, is the cooperative spirit among the component school districts.

“Our power, in our region, is how well we all work together,” Dr. Michel said. “Your superintendents are focused, student-centered and they work really well together. I think that’s a reflection on their boards of education.”

Working together was also an issue touched on in a letter to board members written by New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia, which Dr. Michel read to the audience.

The commissioner said she will continue to rely on superintendents to lead change and innovation and help in the preparation of the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.

Jean LaPorta headshot

Jean LaPorta, BOE candidate

Designed to “fix” No Child Left Behind, President Barack Obama signed ESSA into law with bipartisan support in 2015. It represents an unprecedented turnaround of federal control of education policy, releasing it back to the states. HFM BOCES this year held two public forums gather feedback on concepts being considered for inclusion in New York’s ESSA plan. The state’s ESSA plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in the fall 2017.

“The department will continue to work collaboratively with you in preparation for the submission of the state’s ESSA plan in the fall 2017 to explore innovative sharing models and quality professional development,” the commissioner’s letter said. “We will continue to be required to think differently about how we organize ourselves and how to provide the best possible opportunities for our students so that each of them, regardless of race, class or ZIP code, has every chance of being college, career and future ready.”

John DeValve headshot

John DeValve, BOE candidate

Also during the Annual Meeting, three candidates, who are running for the two seats up for election this year on the HFM BOCES Board of Education, introduced themselves. The candidates are incumbent Jean LaPorta (Gloversville), John DeValve (Canajoharie) and Juanita Handy (Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville).

School board members in the HFM BOCES component school districts will select candidates, as well as vote on the administrative portion of the budget on Wednesday, April 26.

Again, this year BOCES continues the commitment to keep its administrative budget increase to 2 percent or less.

Juanita Handy headshot

Juanita Handy, BOE candidate

The administrative budget, including each district’s share, is explained in the annual Budget Book, a document that includes each district’s share of the administrative and capital charges. The proposed 2017-18 proposed budget contains details about the administrative, capital and program budgets and may be accessed online at

HFM BOCES Career & Technical education students from the Culinary Arts and Foundations of Food programs prepared delicious hors d’oeuvre and dinner for a reception that followed the event.

Foundations of Food and Culinary Arts students pose for a group shot

Junior and senior Foundations of Food Service and Culinary Arts students prepared the dinner for the guests at the HFM BOCES Annual Meeting.