State education commissioner tours North Country during BOCES district evaluation
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 5:38 pm

State Education Commissioner John B. King, center, poses during his visit to Clarkson with University President Tony Collins, at left in back; Clarkson student and Salmon River alumnus Derek Dustin at right; and in front, Leslie LaRose, assistant superintendent of Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES and Jane Collins, superintendent of Salmon River Central School District.

POTSDAM -- Clarkson University recently hosted New York State Education Commissioner John B. King and Deputy Commissioner Kenneth Slentz, who were touring the North Country as part of a BOCES district evaluation process.

The commissioner met with Clarkson President and NCREDC Co-chairman Tony Collins and representatives from SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Canton, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Franklin- Essex -Hamilton BOCES, Champlain Valley BOCES, Salmon River Central School District and the Empire STEM Learning Network.

The two-hour roundtable discussion focused on how the State Education Department could facilitate stronger connections between public school districts and higher education institutions.

Among the suggestions were: increase summer experiences on campuses for teachers and secondary students, expand the career and technical education programs and early college-high school initiative, allow Carnegie credit for internships and mentoring experiences, grant relief from the seat-time requirements and bell structure, allow greater flexibility in the CoSer regulations, offer more on-line learning options for high schools, facilitate stronger investment of business and industry professionals and college professors in schools, and support the STEM Learning Network.

Derek Dustin, a sophomore biology major at Clarkson University and Salmon River Central alumnus, offered comments about how his connection through a university-high school robotics partnership helped him decide to attend college. He also noted that typical high-school courses are not challenging enough to prepare students for the difficulty level of college courses, particularly in the sciences.

“Overall, the experience was a very positive one," said Tom Burns, district superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. "The Commissioner was impressed with the attitude of cooperation among the stakeholders in the North Country."