Nassau BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Robert R. Dillon recently delivered the agency’s State of the Agency Address. In it he touted a banner year of successes, but also said the agency could and should do more. Among his many calls to action Dillon asked state legislators to remove roadblocks that keep the agency from providing an “equitable opportunity for all students to pursue the type of education that suits them best.”
A vital regional resource, Nassau BOCES is a cooperative of the 56 school districts in Nassau County. It offers state-of-the-art programs for learners of all ages and abilities, as well as cost-effective services for school districts and municipalities. The depth and breadth of the services provided by Nassau BOCES often makes it hard for people to appreciate just what the agency does. To help foster a greater understanding, the agency launched a “Get to Know Us” campaign this year.
“We want everyone to be proud to live in a county served by Nassau BOCES,” said Dillon.
Success highlights include a look at the strong graduation rates for Nassau BOCES regional education programs. The agency’s Special Education Department serves more than 2,000 students from throughout the county, and its graduation rates annually surpass local, state and national graduation rates for both regular and special education students.
“Ninety-one percent of our special education students graduated in 2017 as compared to 54 percent in New York and 65.5 percent nationally,” said Dillon.
The agency also serves students in career and technical education programs at Barry Tech, and those with a passion for a career in the arts at the Long Island High School for the Arts. It was these programs Dillon was referring to when he called for legislators to remove roadblocks to student applications.
“The constitution and other federal legislation guarantees all students with a free and appropriate education,” he said. “In New York, we are falling short of this mandate. At Nassau BOCES, we hear from multiple parents every year that their children have not been allowed to apply to our programs. This is an endemic experience shared by BOCES throughout the state. At the same time, parents who wish to send their children to charter schools have the explicit right to do so. This distinction and right should be granted to BOCES as well.”
—Submitted by Nassau BOCES