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Johnstown teachers named to PTECH teacher residency positions

September 9, 2016 | Filed in Archive, HFM PTECH

Resident teachers

Two Knox Middle School teachers have been selected to participate in a yearlong teacher residency program at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH).

Jennifer VonderHeide, a history teacher, and Amy LaMena, a science teacher, are co-teaching with PTECH teachers and be fully integrated with the staff at the school for the entire 2016-17 school year. This is the second year of PTECH’s teacher residency program, which is funded through the PTECH grant HFM BOCES, its component school districts and a group of local business partners received in 2013.

In addition to their experience in the classroom, VonderHeide and LaMena will collaborate daily with PTECH teachers, employ new enrichment and intervention techniques as they work with PTECH students and work on their own project based learning plans. Project based learning is a hands-on, cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

“Part of the PTECH vision is to impact instruction in our component school districts,” PTECH Principal Michael Dardaris said. “We intend for Amy and Jennifer to fully be part of our team this year, but then ultimately leave PTECH with their own project based learning plans to bring back to their home school.”

Candidates who applied for the two teacher residency positions went through an application and interview process, as well as getting the required recommendations from their principals and superintendents.

VonderHeide has taught history at Knox Middle School in Johnstown for four years and also has taught economics, psychology and sociology in the high school setting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University at Albany and her master’s degree in education from the College of Saint Rose.

LaMena has taught seventh- and eighth-grade science at Knox Middle School for the past 11 years. She also has taught high school science at a private school and worked as a lab technician. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and her masters in biology education from Fordham University.

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