Spotlight on Partnership Between Hen Hud and PNW BOCES’ Center for Environmental Education
Fourth graders entered a giant, inflatable globe and took a virtual tour around the world. First-grade campers looked at traditional fairytales through a scientific lens. A hissing Madagascar cockroach served as a rainforest ambassador during a third- grade classroom activity on the music, culture, plants and wildlife of the Amazon rainforest.
The Hendrick Hudson School District is known for providing its elementary students with unique and engaging ways to learn about science and technology, whether through in-class activities or summer programs.
Laying the foundation for scientific curiosity at an early age has helped distinguish the district in the area of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning, and the results speak for themselves. In recent years, Hendrick Hudson High School has been designated a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for its programming in biomedical science, computer science and engineering, and students in the school’s Science Research program have succeeded at competitions all the way up to the final round of the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Facilitating many of its students’ formative STEM experiences is Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES’ Center for Environmental Education (CEE), which delivers programming to the district year-round.
BOCES Regional Coordinator of Environmental Education Dan Novak considers the district a great environmental educational partner.
“Our naturalists know that students in the Hendrick Hudson School District will be prepared and full of anticipation when they arrive to facilitate a CEE activity; they know that a great educational space will be ready and waiting; and they know that the district’s teachers will maximize connections between the program experience with CEE and the school’s local curricula,” said Novak.
Throughout the year, CEE naturalists can be found in and around the district’s three elementary schools, leading students in engaging and eye-opening activities.
“BOCES’ CEE programming plays an important role in developing our students as global citizens and creative problem solvers,” said Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter. “These activities provide an engaging platform for our students and help nurture their interest in STEM topics in a very user-friendly way.”
Catherine Holtzman’s third grade students at Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School have explored rainforests, the water cycle and mapmaking through CEE programming this year. “CEE programs are always well thought out and age-appropriate,” she said. “In every presentation, the instructors have done an amazing job. They are all incredibly knowledgeable about the content and have a way of connecting with every student.”