Lancaster Central School District

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Dear Lancaster Parents, Family, and Friends...

I am so proud of the phenomenal academic results that have been exhibited by all our students in recent years, thanks to our fine educators. Last year, we were #1 in WNY with a 99 percent graduation rate with a near zero drop-out rate. 

For some, success comes easily.  For others, for example students with learning disabilities or perhaps social anxiety, academic success is a struggle.  For these students, success comes in part through their own hard work and a healthy dose of parental love and support.  Another piece to the puzzle comes from the dedicated work done by our entire special education department who in collaboration with these families continuously strive to provide quality programing and safety nets for our students.   

An example of this and for the first time, Lancaster students with disabilities are being equipped with workplace skills through a three-year New York State Education Department grant under the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) program. The goal of this new program is to provide students with opportunities to develop workplace skills so that when they graduate, whether or not they go on to further training or college, they are ready to enter the workforce and be successful and productive.

A $900,000 grant, shared with Clarence schools, is intended to provide students with new opportunities to develop real-world workplace skills while earning a CDOS credential in addition to their high school diploma. The grant enabled the district to hire support staff including a program coordinator, a business teacher, and a half-time special education teacher.

Director of Special Education, Mr. Armstrong, reports encouraging initial results, with about 100 high school students involved in the CDOS program. A number of these students have experienced full-year internships and are expected to graduate with CDOS credentials.

Besides internships at businesses such as Harris Hill Nursing Facility, students can also take advantage of opportunities at The Daily Grind coffee shop at LHS, classes at Harkness Career and Technical Education Center, and CDOS-specific courses within the business department, including career exploration, business math, financial literacy, computer applications, and customer service skills.

As students have had a chance to be involved in these classes and internships, things have really gelled and we’ve developed new classes.  On the horizon and in the final planning stages is an in-house mini print shop, where students would receive on-the-job training in producing posters, signs, buttons, awards, and plaques. Work hours in the school-based enterprise would be incorporated into an entrepreneurship class.

We hope that the state will continue the program after the grant expires, since it helps us meet the needs of our students.  It also provides our special education and high needs students with one more pathway toward academic success and a successful future.

Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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