New Visions
SUNY Oswego, BOCES partner for college-credit program

The New Visions program, a partnership of SUNY Oswego and the Oswego County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, has helped prepare scores of local high school students prepare for the college world.

Initiated in 2008, the New Visions program allows students from Oswego County to gain up to 12 credits each while attending classes in Sheldon Hall at SUNY Oswego.

New Visions class in Sheldon Hall.Ron Camp, director of career and technical education at BOCES, said the New Visions model is more beneficial than simply taking AP courses at the student’s high school.

“The students are immersed with college professors and working professionals in their respective departments,” Camp said. “Their maturity level skyrockets after taking the program.”

Over the span of three years, the school-district-funded New Visions program has helped 82 high school students gain college credits. BOCES hires instructors for the program as SUNY Oswego adjuncts. Camp said the instructors have the freedom to adopt college-level teaching techniques in a college classroom.

Besides learning on campus, students go into the field to learn from professionals in their respective career programs. For example, BOCES students in the allied health careers program spend two days a week at hospitals and health centers throughout Oswego County.

Those who choose the law and government program spend a few days a week working at the county District Attorney’s Office, the county Sheriff’s Department or the Oswego City Police Department. Students in New Visions’ education program participate in rotations at local elementary, middle and high schools.

Making the grade

Jade Jones, a high school senior currently enrolled in the education program, said New Visions helped her decide what career path to take.

“Being able to see firsthand all of the grade levels and different subjects is a huge help,” Jones said. “The first week of rotation, I fell in love with kindergarten, so the New Visions experience has most definitely changed the course of my career.”

Part of the growth in students’ maturity can be attributed to the rigor of the courses they can choose for their classes: biology, first aid and CPR, English 101 and two levels of English composition, an introduction to psychology, an education course called “Public Education in the United States Since 1865” and a public justice course, “Introduction to Human Services.”

“It has always been my wish for our kids to have fully transferable SUNY Oswego credits,” Camp said. “The main goal is to get students to attend SUNY Oswego.”

Linda Rae Markert, professor of educational administration, helped bring the program to SUNY Oswego. Markert, then dean of the School of Education, said a few BOCES educators contacted her some years back to work out a partnership.

“We could never figure out how to make it work,” Markert said. “It was a couple of years before the classes were moved from the BOCES office to the SUNY Oswego campus.”

Markert said the motivation behind moving courses to campus was to put BOCES students into the college environment, and it helped make New Visions a resounding success.

“New Visions has evolved into a powerful program,” Markert said.

Camp said BOCES would continue to work with SUNY Oswego to bring the students with the strongest academic skills on board with New Visions. 

“We love our relationship with SUNY Oswego,” Camp said. “When kids come back after their first year of college, students tell me how much more prepared they were from this program.”

PHOTO CAPTION: College vision—The New Visions program, a collaboration of the SUNY Oswego School of Education and Oswego County BOCES, allows high school students to earn college credit on campus, a richer experience than high school-based AP courses can be. Linda Knowles, standing, an adjunct instructor for the college’s English and creative writing department, leads a class discussion March 21 in Sheldon Hall with Mexico High School students, from left, Jade Jones, Megan Calhoun, Mariah Parkhurst, Katie Wallace and Taylor Kisselstein.

(Posted: Mar 28, 2011)