State Sen. Pam Helming, R-54th District, recently got an up close and personal glimpse of how the Newark Central School District is using state aid funding for education.
Helming visited the functional skills development class led by special education teachers Matt Groot and Sarah Kiley at Newark High School, where Reds Wagon Catering emanates from.
“We had a few kids preparing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for a snack cart that goes out to staff every other day,” Groot said. “We had another group of kids preparing a zesty cold chicken pasta salad for a payday lunch available to staff every other Friday. We had a few students boiling noodles and a few other students chopping up celery for the salad. Another group of students were preparing popcorn bags for the senior lounge.”
The class gave Helming a tray of sugar cookies and a fall-themed Mason jar centerpiece made by students in the morning technology program.
“All of the students signed a card that thanked Sen. Helming for everything she does,” Groot said.
Helming stopped by the WNHS TV production studio at NHS and spoke with Kyle Bliek, NCSD audiovisual and social media coordinator.
Students in Renee Bailey’s Drawing and Painting 2 class discussed their recent compositions made with the 1:1 laptops. These laptops for NHS and Newark Middle School students, as well as iPads for Kelley, Lincoln and Perkins schools, were purchased with Smart School Bond funds.
Bailey explained the growing integration of technology with art. Sophomore Paris Morris discussed how she created her composition using Adobe Photoshop. Students then complete their composition using acrylic paints or colored pencils.
Artists had the option to create their compositions in the “Who Am I” unit using traditional ways or technology. Bailey said they understand that strong foundational drawing skills are important and make using the technology that much easier.
“We strive to make sure the kids understand this and know that it will make them more marketable,” she said. “It’s important to our program that our kids are meeting, if not exceeding, that next level expectation.”
Helming stopped by the new athletic complex at NHS to examine the district capital project.
Sixth graders involved in the My Brothers Keeper Rites of Passage program at NMS, which is funded by a state Education Department grant, met with former participants and Helming.
The young men of color advocacy program seeks to help students make a social, emotional and learning transition into a new school. It is open to Kelley third graders, NMS sixth graders and NHS freshmen. These students participate in community activities and field trips, which are overseen by the Wayne County Youth Advocacy Program, directed by Michael Crespo.
James Schuler, assistant director of the Wayne County YAP, developed the MBK Rites of Passage program in Newark and acts as a consultant. He told Helming that the program is making a difference in the lives of those participating.
Jesse Cruz, YAP program coordinator, works with and provides support for each of the three MBK groups in their schools each day.
Helming expressed gratitude that the MBK program received state funding in Newark and Lyons, noting that most support for such programs go to big cities. She invited Schuler to provide her more information about the program and funding needs, and encouraged MBK students to visit her office in Geneva or Albany.
“It was so good of Sen. Helming to come tour the Newark Central School District,” Superintendent Matt Cook said. “Knowing we have such a great partner and supporter of public education in Albany is a huge relief. Several times during our tour, the senator urged our students to consider a career in public service. She really believes that helping children become active in civic life is vital for a successful society.
“Later that day, I ran into Assemblyman Brian Manktelow and Sen. Helming at the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES P-Tech ribbon-cutting, and we will be setting up a similar opportunity for the assemblyman to get to know our school district better.”