by Christine Retta
“Children are the future” is an oft-repeated phrase, but the students of Pine Bush High School take that phrase and turn it to practice. On Tuesday, February 25, a group of approximately twenty future educators arrived at the School of Education to discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with teaching, share their experiences in the classroom, and get a tour of the college.
With the new standards, tests, and curricula in place in classrooms around New York State, finding teachers who are truly invested in the well-being and education of their students is a challenge most districts face. However, the passion and spirit of the students of Pine Bush High School, and their desire to teach, give hope to the future generation of educators. Jay Kumar, a student at Pine Bush High School, enjoyed his trip to the School of Education saying “it was an exceptional experience to hear from a professor who is so well-versed in their field…I want to continue my education at SUNY New Paltz because of it.”
The experience was a beneficial one to students, teachers, and SUNY New Paltz faculty and staff alike. The students were able to get the full New Paltz experience by starting off the day talking to Dean Michael Rosenberg and Sue Books, professor in the Department of Secondary Education about teaching, and sharing experiences they had assisting in elementary and middle school classrooms. Dr. Books remarked “We wanted to provide the Pine Bush students with a ‘college experience’ and to forge a relationship with prospective educators.” When the students came to New Paltz, they had an engaging experience both in and out of the School of Education. After their orientation and discussion with Dean Rosenberg and Dr. Books, they had the opportunity to attend a planetarium show at the John R. Kirk Planetarium guided by Professor Raj Pandya, attend a Makerbot demonstration with Jeff Snyder, the 3D printer coordinator/director, eat lunch in Hasbrouck Dining Hall, and receive a full campus tour. “I loved the day we spent there because we got to see a planetarium show and the 3D printing. I look forward to continuing my education at SUNY New Paltz,” said Bella Camatcho, another Pine Bush student.
Both Pine Bush High School and the School of Education hope to continue this partnership. Principal Aaron Hopmayer says, “Our partnership with SOE has been exceptional over the past five years and we are looking to continue to cultivate it to produce future educators.” His idea is an important one because, as Dr. Books said after the program, “It’s always important to recruit the best possible teachers, but perhaps especially in these times when so much is expected of teachers and students alike…As challenging as teaching always is, it’s also some of the most important work to be done on this planet!” We hope to continue the partnership and to watch it grow and change into an even more satisfying and immersive experience for the School of Education and the students of Pine Bush High School.