As New York and other states across the country face the ongoing teacher shortage, the New Visions Education program at the HFM Career and Technical Center is helping address the workforce needs of school districts while preparing local students for a rewarding career.
New Visions Education is an academically rigorous one-year program intended for high school seniors interested in pursuing a career in the K-12 education field. Students spend a half day on the HFM BOCES campus and return to their home districts for the remainder of the school day.
Earlier this year, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state is facing a steep retirement cliff in the education field. Officials project approximately 180,000 new teachers will be needed over the next decade to meet school district needs.
To help fill positions, Hochul has announced a number of initiatives including accelerating the teacher certification process, creating a state teacher residency program and other measures.
In the HFM New Visions Education program, Instructor Rit Santelli says all his students have already been accepted to one or more colleges and are looking forward to future careers in education.
During the program, students develop their public speaking skills while creating engaging lesson plans and learning about classroom management. Students also learn about psychology, educational ethics, modern problems in the educational system, the requirements and certifications needed to become a teacher and more.
“The students gain a thorough insight of what it’s like to be a teacher,” Santelli said.
Students also learn about other career paths including opportunities to be school counselors, psychologists, administrators and more.
Students currently enrolled in the program say they intend to pursue careers as teachers at the elementary and secondary levels, special education, history, English and other areas.
Amsterdam High School senior Catherine Chapman says she hopes to become a music teacher citing the impact her own teachers have had on her.
“They were very inspiring for me,” Chapman said.
Kailyn Ginter, a senior from Northville, says she intends to enter the field of special education as a result of her experiences babysitting a special needs child.
“I just want to help make a difference in kids’ lives,” she said.
In addition to their work on the HFM BOCES campus, New Visions Education students also gain field experience working in and observing classrooms at their home districts. At the end of the program each spring, students complete a two-week internship leading a class in a local school district.
“Even if the students don’t pursue a teaching career, the public speaking and management skills they learn in the program are invaluable in any career,” Santelli said.
To learn more about the New Visions Education program visit: www.hfmboces.org/new-visions-education/