CLCS Board Recognized By State School Boards Association

From left are Sullivan Ferrino, Andrea Munsee-Wellman, Zach Stahlsmith, Christine Schnaars, Travis Bensink, Michael Ludwig, Elias Quintero, Jennifer Obert, Jessup Baker, Joshua Liddell, Cole Otto and Rachel Curtin.

The Chautauqua Lake Central School District has been by the New York State School Boards Association with the “Champions of Change” award for its work developing a cutting-edge manufacturing and engineering program.

Christine Schnaars, state School Boards Association representative, presented the award along.

“The district is honored to be recognized as a Champion of Change by the New York State School Boards Association,” said Michael Ludwig, Chautauqua Lake Central School board president. “This award is a testament to our community’s commitment to excellence in education and its dedication to providing innovative programs that prepare students for a successful future.”

The Chautauqua Lake manufacturing and engineering program is the brainchild of Jay Baker and Randy Stuart through partnerships with the Gene Haas Foundation, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Dream It Do It of WNY and various local manufacturing companies.

Baker, the CEO of Jamestown Plastics, and Stuart, the founder of Stuart Tool & Die, came up with the idea of involving more students in manufacturing more than a decade ago. That idea led to the establishment of a manufacturing club at Chautauqua Lake. Witnessing overwhelming student interest and excitement, the club’s success spurred the creation of a Design, Drawing for Production Manufacturing (DDPM) course sequence, complementing the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) engineering program.

“Our manufacturing program empowers students to apply real-world critical thinking skills, work collaboratively, and solve problems creatively,” said Dr. Joshua Liddell, Chautauqua Lake Central School superintendent. “With the invaluable partnerships we’ve formed, students are prepared to thrive in the workforce or continue their education at top colleges and technical schools.”

The collaboration with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Project Lead the Way engineering program has expanded, allowing Chautauqua Lake students to earn college credit from RIT as early as ninth grade. Upon graduation, they have the opportunity to receive a full semester of RIT-approved engineering college credit. Additionally, the partnership with Jamestown Community College enables students to accumulate more than a semester’s worth of manufacturing college credits. Currently offering 13 manufacturing, engineering, and STEM courses, totaling 33 college credits, the program continues to produce exceptional results for its students.

“Chautauqua Lake has invested tirelessly in this program, ensuring that it provides unparalleled opportunities for students,” said Rachel Curtin, Chautauqua Lake principal. “We are proud to see the success of our students as they seamlessly transition into the workforce or pursue higher education, contributing to the greater success of our region.”


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