I want to take this time to thank our BOCES region for making this a wonderful school year. We have much to be proud of individually and collectively as a BOCES region.

Our end-of-the-year awards programs and graduations are evidence of our staff’s hard work. These events are milestones in our continuing efforts to serve students and school districts in our region. They are a time to look back and reflect – and to look ahead and celebrate.

For educators, June is a bittersweet time when we say goodbye to students and another school year – and prepare to say hello to a new journey ahead. This is particularly true at Questar III, as we serve students in our programs for several years and come to understand their aspirations, interests and needs.

At Questar III, we have much to celebrate together. This includes new contracts with the Tech Valley High School teachers, our administrators’ unit, and the Coalition which includes three unions (Teachers’ Association, TA Unit and Federation).  I thank the bargaining teams for their professionalism and collaboration in working together to reach agreements.

Summer is always a busy time at Questar III. Our Summer School Program will deliver an extended year program to special education students starting on July 2. Additionally, our 12-month staff will continue to deliver services regionally and across the state.

We will offer a wide range of professional development for school staff and leaders, including our STEM Research Institute. This two-year program places teachers in laboratories and businesses for four days per week for two consecutive summers, with one day devoted to professional development each week.

Again this year, we will provide the Tech Valley Region Science Camp to incoming ninth graders – this week-long STEM experience takes place from July 9-13. The camp, which predates Tech Valley High School, provides students with hands-on experiences at local businesses at no additional charge.

In July, we welcome a new superintendent at Rensselaer CSD (Joseph Kardash) and a new Questar III board member (Mark Mann). Thank you to Rensselaer CSD Superintendent Sally Shields and Questar III Board Member Carol Orvis for their leadership. They will be missed.

Looking ahead, we will launch several new programs and services this fall, including our Heavy Equipment and EMT CTE programs. We also renamed our Sarah’s Sisters program based at the Arts Centers of the Capital Region. It will now be known as the Robin Sobol Transition Academy in honor of our retired special education director, who championed the need to establish this program for 18-21-year-olds in our region four years ago.

Moreover, we will be convening a special committee to plan a gala benefitting Questar III’s Educational Foundation to support enrichment programs for our students. This follows Tech Valley High School’s success in raising money for its robotics club, student trip to China and college scholarships. The Questar III gala planning committee will be co-chaired by Special Education Teacher Beth St. Clair-Bedell, a long-time teacher and advocate for our students. Please contact Denise Geyer at dgeyer@questar.org if you are interested in serving on our gala planning committee.

As we wind down one school year and look ahead to another, I want to thank our board members, superintendents, assistant superintendents, business officials, principals, school counselors, consultant committee members and others for their work and support. If you are heading towards a summer break or vacation, I wish you a relaxing and energizing time. If you are working this summer, I thank you for their continued work and hope you enjoy the return of summer.

On behalf of our Board, I look forward to continuing our work together in the new school year. Working together, we will “change lives, realize dreams and do together what can’t be done alone.” Thank you!

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