HS Student Olivia Wood Studying at BOCES to be an Educator

Capital Region BOCES program addresses national teacher and childcare shortage

Capital Region BOCES is doing its part to combat the well-documented shortage of educators and childcare workers at the local, state and national levels.

Launched at the behest of educators, students and parents/guardians alike at the start of the 2022-23 school year, the Early Childhood Education program teaches the fundamentals of how a child develops.

Through the program, high school juniors and seniors will learn the basics and methodology of child development and early childhood education while gaining a solid foundation in classroom arrangement and management and curriculum development for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and young children. Students will also learn how to communicate and work with parents/guardians and staff in an education setting.

Nineteen high school juniors from a variety of districts are enrolled in the program, which was last offered by Capital Region BOCES more than a decade ago.

“We heard loud and clear from our partners in education and our students that they wanted this program, and we are glad to be able to offer it,” said Jeff Palmer, director of Career and Technical Education.

From teachers to dentists

Students say they are excited to have such a program available to them.

“I was very happy this program was offered this year. I had planned to go into cosmetology, but I told my counselor how much I liked working with kids and how I wished there was a program like Early Childhood, and she told me this was being offered,” said Ollie Tankersley, a Guilderland Central School District student.

Many of the students are building on their love of working with children and a desire to see if teaching is right for them.

“I have been around kids my whole life and I have had the opportunity through church groups and other organizations to be in a teaching position. This program is going to allow me a more in-depth look into this career and whether this is what I want to do,” said Olivia Wood, a Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District student.

For some students, the program affords them a chance to learn more about childhood development for a career that isn’t directly tied into education.

“I want to be a pediatric dentist,” said Janiya Williams of Niskayuna. “This program will allow me to learn more about childcare and child development.”

A love of teaching

Capital Region BOCES Teacher Jessica Quackenbush previously taught in Amsterdam and has a decade of experience owning a daycare center.

She said she is excited to share her knowledge and help meet the workforce needs of educators in the region.

“I love watching students grow and change over the course of a school year.   I am most excited to share my love and expertise of teaching young children with students who are thinking about entering the Early Childhood Education field.”