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Mock Book Awards held at Sullivan BOCES

Liberty (February 8) – Recently, School Library Media Specialists from Sullivan Counties Schools met for the 9th Annual Mock Book Awards. The Mock Book Awards allows area Library Media Specialists the opportunity to come together to discuss and rate newly published school-aged books. 

“I look forward to the Mock Book Awards every year,” said Lori Bizjak, School Library Media Specialist at the Eldred Central. “I love the intellectual property of the event. It allows us to discuss other perspectives on the book and how it may tie to other’s life story. It’s a great way for us to get a different take on the book, which helps us recommend different books to students.

The awards are broken down into three categories, Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz. The Newbery Medal is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children up to age 14. The Caldecott Medal is given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The Printz Award is an award for fiction, nonfiction, poetry or an anthology that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature ages 12 through 18.

This year, when Julia Serrano, School Library Media Specialist at the Cooke Elementary School returns from Mock Book Awards, she will hold her own Caldecott Challenge with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. She is very interested to see what their opinion is on which is the best books for their age group. 

The following books were selected by the group as the best books for the 2015-2016 school year.

Newbery Medal:        The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Bradley
Honor Books:              Fish in a tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
                                    Echo by Pam Numoz Ryan
                                    The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz                                       

Caldecott Medal:       Water is Water: a book about the water cycle by Miranda Paul
Honor Books:              The day the crayons came home by Drew Daywalt
                                    If you plant a seed by Kadir Nelson
                                    Red: a crayon’s story by Michael Hall

Printz Medal:              More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Honor books:              Tightrope Walkers by David Almond
                                    The walls around us by Nova Ren Suma

The American Library Association (ALA) holds the actual Book Awards.  This year’s ALA ratings were slightly off from the choices of the Sullivan BOCES Mock Book Awards.

“Books are such a fantastic bridge for individuals of all ages,” said Randell Enos, Youth Services Consultant, Ramapo Library System, “The best part of this event is being able to focus on the quality of the books available to our students.”

For information about Sullivan BOCES’ School Library System, please visit  . 


SC BOCES to offer Office Procedures and Management Course

MONTICELLO (February 8) - The Adult and Continuing Education Program at Sullivan BOCES is offering a course in Office Procedures and Management (OPM) at the St. John Street Education Center in Monticello.  Classes will run each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, February 16th through May 16th, from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm. 

This unique course offers a mock office setting where the student can develop his or her computer and typing skills while interacting with other students.  The course is designed so a student will have marketable skills at the end of the course, along with a certificate of completion.  Each module is self-paced with individualized instruction.  A Skills Assessment & Career Plan interview is available at no cost.

Modules include:

  • MS Publisher
  • MS Access
  • Intro to Computer/Internet
  • Typing Refresher    
  • MS Excel
  • MS Word
  • Civil Service Prep 

This class is NYSED ACCES approved for current HSE and ESOL students.  Tuition is based on the total number of classroom hours planned.  Funding is available for eligible students.

To register or for more information, contact the Adult and Continuing Education Program at (845) 295-4915 between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm or visit us at  For program updates Like Sullivan County BOCES on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

The Adult Program at BOCES enhances our community, one family at a time.


Lots of hands-on opportunities in the
new Science Center

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum to open Science Center

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 2) - The Mid‐Hudson Children’s Museum will be opening its new Science Center the weekend of February 27-­‐28, 2016.  To celebrate the grand opening of The Science Center @ MHCM, museum guests are invited to enjoy the new exhibits, special hands-­‐on activities and live science demonstrations all weekend long during regular hours.  On Friday, February 26, 2016 the Children’s Museum and the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception at 4:00 pm for local business leaders and community partners.  Later that evening, there will be a special afterhours exhibition preview for families who are museum members from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

The Science Center @ MHCM is an innovative learning space, specifically created to support and advance early STEM learning in young children in the Mid-­‐Hudson Valley region.  “STEM refers to the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math,” explains Lara Litchfield-­‐Kimber, executive director of the Mid-­‐Hudson Children’s Museum. “It is never too early to have young children investigate STEM concepts and content.  This type of exploration helps young children develop the critical thinking and problem-­‐solving skills needed to succeed in school and in life.”

The Science Center @ MHCM is host to several distinct interactive exhibit areas.  Link, Lift, Launch! exhibition invites families to explore physics by taking on real-­‐world engineering challenges.  WonderDome is an immersive environment featuring hands-­‐on, sensory exhibits on light, color and shadows.  The Sticky Science Table introduces magnetism, shapes, sizes and colors.  The Pop-­‐up Science Cart will allow museum staff and volunteers to facilitate live science demonstrations and shows throughout the new space.



L-R: Neuhaus, Mack, Cullen

Neuhaus visits Twin Towers Middle School to talk to students about issues facing veterans

GOSHEN (January 29) - Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus spent part a morning speaking to eighth-grade students at Twin Towers Middle School in Middletown about the importance of honoring our veterans and the variety of issues they face, including homelessness.

Neuhaus was joined at the event by Chief Warrant Officer Alan Mack, a decorated U.S. Army helicopter pilot, and Cullen Lyons. Lyons was a member of the U.S. Army National Guard from 2009-15 and served a tour in Afghanistan. Mack has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and is attached to the second aviation unit at West Point.

“The students were eager to learn about veterans and the difficulties they often experience,” Neuhaus said. “Orange County is home to approximately 23,000 veterans and we all appreciate their service and the sacrifices they make for our freedom. I want to thank the students at Twin Towers for the wonderful letters they wrote me and for taking such an interest in our veterans.”

Kyle Roddey, Mayor of the Village of Goshen, is also an eighth-grade U.S. History teacher at Twin Towers. He and his class invited Neuhaus to their school after reading a recent story about homeless veteran Barry Long. Neuhaus teamed up with HONORehg (Helping Others Needing Our Resources emergency housing group) executive director Chris Molinelli and Orange County Commissioner of Social Services Darcie Miller to help find Long an apartment in Port Jervis.

Neuhaus, joined by Mack and Lyons, answered a variety of questions from students about veterans, the challenges they face, what their service means, U.S. history and Orange County government on Wednesday. Approximately 200 students were in the auditorium for the discussion and question and answer session.

“Mr. Neuhaus spoke in a way that really connected with our students,” said Twin Towers principal Gordon Dean. “I thought his visit was timely and tied a lot of things together for our students. He was very accessible to the children. His whole demeanor was so relaxed. Our children related to that and were appreciative to listen to Mr. Mack and Mr. Lyons speak as well.”


O&R Seeks Innovative Classroom Projects for $25,000 in Grants

PEARL RIVER (January 29) - Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. announced that it will award grants totaling $25,000 again this year to support classroom projects and teacher professional-development initiatives focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The O&R STEM Classroom Grants program will award 25 grants of up to $1,000 each to educators at schools (pre-kindergarten through grade 12) and youth group leaders for the 2016-2017 school year in communities located within O&R’s service area. 

Any creative classroom project designed to improve, advance and enrich student learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be considered. Grants will be awarded based on a review by the O&R STEM Education Advisory Council, a panel of educators and engineers assembled by O&R expressly for this process.

“We initiated this program last year as a pilot, and the response was deeply gratifying,” said O&R President and CEO Tim Cawley said. “The projects were thoughtful and ambitious, interesting and ingenious. The teachers brought hard work and great enthusiasm to crafting their proposals. These instructors challenge their students to think, to plan, to act and to achieve. The lessons these students learn here will serve them well throughout their lives.”

Last year, O&R made STEM Classroom Grants to 27 schools and youth education groups in the O&R service area in Orange Rockland, Bergen and Pike counties.    

The STEM Classroom Grants Program application can be completed online at The application must be received by O&R no later than 5 p.m. March 31, 2016. The grants will be awarded in May.


Tech Club members

John S. Burke Technology Club Competing for State Title in National CyberPatriot Competition

GOSHEN (January 16) – Almost weekly, we read news reports about the serious issue of cyber security or online identity breaches which are creating a vast need for more cyber security professionals. Recently, Time Warner Cable was told by the FBI that hackers may have stolen the identity of up to 320,000 subscribers.  Students involved in the Technology Club at John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen, NY, are learning the critical importance of cyber security as they advance to the state-level in the National CyberPatriot Competition.

In December, a Tech Club team of students from Burke Catholic qualified for States during a six-hour, online competition or “match” which pitted them against other schools and involved patching 18 of 19 Linux network computer system vulnerabilities and fixing a Windows 2008 server. The Tech Club now will compete for the New York State 2016 Gold Title on Friday, January, 29.  If they place in the top three, they’ll move on to regional competition against schools from other states. The National Finals competition will take place in April in Baltimore, Maryland.

CyberPatriot was conceived by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire high school students toward careers in c​yber security or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. ​

Burke Tech Club coach David Bernhardt said the competition highlights the importance of computer security at all levels.

“The students are learning the true ramifications of cyber security and how it affects us all - from the home owner level to national security,” Bernhardt said. They’re presented with three different types of computer operating systems and work together as a group to identify and remedy particular faults with the system. It could be a small business’s system, for example, where they scour files and fix a virus or malware which can damage or disable the business’s computers or event entire system.”

The Burke Catholic Tech Club also recently finished a Verizon application challenge to develop a mobile application concept. The concept for their app was called SnoBeGone which would connect people looking to get their driveways and walkways cleared of snow by snow removal services. The tech club didn’t win, but gained valuable experience in strategizing together to conceptualize a useful app solution that addresses everyday issues.

Principal John J. Dolan said, “We are very proud of the Tech Club students and wish them the very best in this competition. At Burke Catholic, we recognize that technology is rapidly changing in the world today. We remain committed to finding ways to help our students successfully prepare for the future.”


(contributed photo)

Green Chimneys students celebrate kindness to counter bias and bullying

BREWSTER (January 22) - Green Chimneys School students capped off a week of anti-bullying activities in honor of No Name Calling Week, a nationwide effort that asks students to help put a spotlight on name-calling and bullying in their schools. Fun educational and supportive activities within the school and across the Green Chimneys campus had students and staff involved in this important campaign reminding everyone to be “one of the brave.”

Chimneys culture is one of safety, respect and inclusion and that students – and staff – are committed to being Upstanders, and the Equal Rights Activists (ERA) student group, which advocates for LGBTQ issues on campus. Activities undertaken included a Garden of Kindness in which students drew or wrote something kind they recently did or witnessed, or why they feel it is important to be kind to one another.

Classmates Alex and Gerald chose to highlight their own bond by documenting the support they feel toward each other. “When I first came to Green Chimneys, I didn’t know how to cope with all of my issues,” Alex explained. “Then I met my best friend who helped me get through everything.”

Green Chimneys is a multi-faceted nonprofit organization helping young people to maximize their full potential by providing residential, educational, clinical and recreational services in a safe and supportive environment that nurtures connections with their families, the community, animals and nature. Spanning two campuses in Putnam County, NY, Green Chimneys services include an accredited special education school, residential treatment center, animal-assisted and nature-based therapeutic programs, public education and recreation programs, and community-based support for youth and families.


Neuhaus in the PJHS auditorium

Neuhaus speaks to students at Port Jervis High School as part of “Excellence Series”

PORT JERVIS (January 19) - Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus met with and addressed students at Port Jervis High School on Friday as part of its “Excellence Series.”

The program includes the top 25 academic performers in grades 9-12 at Port Jervis High. Neuhaus was joined at the event by Orange County Legislator Tom Faggione and Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker.

“I enjoyed spending time with the students at Port Jervis and to have the opportunity to give them some insight into County government,” Neuhaus said. “They were a lot of fun and had some great questions. I urged the students to continue to work hard and to pursue a career that they have a passion for. My thanks to Port Jervis High School principal Andrew Marotta for inviting me to such a wonderful event.”

“We were very proud to have Steve Neuhaus here at Port Jervis,” Marotta said. “He did a great job speaking to the students about his life and career. He was personable, approachable and is great role-model for our students. I am always looking for opportunities for our students and Steve delivered with his presentation.”

Port Jervis High began the “Excellence Series” last year to connect its top academic achievers with distinguished alumni and community leaders who have achieved a high level of success in their professional or personal lives. The program is comprised of a series of motivational assemblies. During the assemblies, the role models share their personal success stories, provide helpful advice and motivate students to continue to excel.

“As a Port Jervis graduate [class of 1990], I was proud to have County Executive Neuhaus serve as the featured guest at this event,” Faggione said. “I appreciate his common sense approach to issues and his positive message. Steve Neuhaus has so much energy and I think that is just one of the reasons why he was so well received by the students and faculty.”


Historical Society donates warm hats, gloves to Hyde Park students

HYDE PARK (January 19) - Members of the Hyde Park Historical Society donated warm hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves for the grade school students in the Hyde Park Central School District. 

Full details on Community Page


Simon Youth Foundation seeks applicants for $1 million in scholarships

WOODBURY (January 15) - Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit that provides educational opportunities for at-risk high school students, has begun looking for a graduating senior who lives within 50 miles of Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.

Each year, Simon Youth Community Scholarships are awarded in every community across the country that is home to Simon, Mills, or Premium Outlets malls. The application period has begun and ends on March 1, 2016.

Students can apply online by visiting   Recipients will be notified in May.

SYF will award 25 scholarships to students graduating in the class of 2016 who live within 50 miles of any Premium Outlets mall nationwide. No more than one scholarship will be awarded per property. Recipients will receive up to $1,500 to enroll in an accredited college, university, vocational or technical school.

In addition, an “Award of Excellence” will be given to the top candidate from among the scholarship applicants that represent the nationwide Premium Outlets locations. That student will receive a $10,000 award ($2,500 for up to four years).


DEP launches 30th annual Water Resources Art & Poetry Contest for 2nd through 12th grade students

NEW YORK (January 9) - New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced the launch of the 30th annual Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest.

Full details on our Communnity Page


SUNY Ulster Foundation announces special scholarship award for New Paltz residents  

STONE RIDGE (January 1) - The Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc. is now accepting applications from New Paltz residents who are enrolling at SUNY Ulster as new or transferring students for the Spring 2016 semester. Through a bequest, long-time New Paltz resident, Grace Elliott established the Frank G. Elliott Scholarship in 1997 in honor of her brother, specifically to assist students from the Town of New Paltz.

This is a new initiative for Spring students. Complete criteria for eligibility is as follows:

  • Candidates must be Town of New Paltz residents.
  • Students must be new students to SUNY Ulster.
  • Candidates must enroll for the SUNY Ulster Spring Semester 2016 and must complete an admissions application and a scholarship application on-line at the following sites:

Successful candidates will receive a scholarship for up to full tuition when combined with all other financial aid for the Spring 2016 semester.

Students who maintain good academic standing may have the opportunity to receive this award for additional semesters while completing their initial degree at SUNY Ulster.

 “We are very appreciative of Grace E. Elliott’s generosity in establishing the Frank G. Elliott Scholarship in support of higher education,” said SUNY Ulster College President Alan Roberts.  

The Foundation will announce scholarship awards as applications are reviewed and anticipates awarding as many as 10 to 15 full-time scholarships for students entering for the Spring 2016. Classes begin in January.

“Come back to school - Start at SUNY Ulster,” said Roberts.  “There is no better time.” 


New Paltz named a “Best College Value” by Kiplinger’s

NEW PALTZ (December 16) - SUNY New Paltz was again named to the list of “100 Best Values in Public Colleges,” according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s annual ranking for 2016.

These rankings highlight colleges and universities that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost, and are a widely-used resource for students and families preparing to pursue higher education.

“Once again, we are honored to receive this continuing and long-standing endorsement from a major national publication,” said David L. Eaton, vice president for enrollment management. “We are included in this ranking because we remain accessible and affordable at a time when the cost of higher education is rising, while offering a world-class university education that promotes academic and professional success.”

To assess quality, Kiplinger’s uses a number of measurable standards, including the admissions rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include low tuition, abundant financial aid and low average debt at graduation. New Paltz regularly scores highly across all categories, and has been a presence in the rankings for several consecutive years.

In addition to making the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” list, New Paltz also earned a top-200 placement on the “Top 300 Best College Values of 2016” overall list, which combines publics schools, private universities and private liberal arts colleges.

“We start with a universe of 1,200 schools, so each school on our rankings, from number 1 to number 300, is a best value,” said Janet Bodnar, Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “Families can use the list as a starting point and then tailor it to each student’s preference for such things as size, location, campus culture and major.”

The complete rankings are now available online at and will appear in print in the February 2016 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands Jan. 5.


Mount donates more than 600 gifts for local families

NEWBURGH (December 11) - Mount Saint Mary College is making the holidays a little brighter for Newburgh families in need: Through the annual “Giving Tree” event,

Full details on our Communnity Page





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