Sharing School Programs Should Be Start Of Something More

We’re encouraged by a bit of news from a recent Clymer Central School board meeting.

Clymer board members are set to share an occupational therapist with Cassadaga Valley Central School. Such shared services are becoming more and more commonplace, and it’s good to see such partnerships growing. But what’s really encouraging is the possibility of Clymer starting a new shared program with Chautauqua Lake Central School. Chautauqua Lake students would be able to participate in Clymer’s agriculture programs while Clymer students would be able to take part in programs in Chautauqua Lake’s manufacturing space.

Beth Olson, Clymer superintendent, said six Clymer students recently traveled to Chautauqua Lake to use a laser cutter and burning tool to make a wood project. Others welded and learned more about the Project Lead The Way classes Chautauqua Lake provides. The school gave the students time to think it over and to gauge interest about entering into the program. Grades involved included those going into ninth grade and also juniors and seniors.

“The whole idea is that it would be sort of a one-for-one swap,” Olson said. “If we send two kids they would send two kids. We’ll talk about that and sort of work out the details. We need the interest first before that were to happen.”

This an interesting partnership, in part because it plays to the strengths and uniqueness of each of the districts. Clymer has a long history of strong agricultural programs while Chautauqua Lake has invested heavily in its manufacturing lab in recent years. Opening those programs up to neighboring school districts makes sense. It boosts interest in one school’s programs and keeps a legacy program strong while opening up programs to students who otherwise might not have an opportunity to learn about agriculture or manufacturing.

Sharing sports teams has worked well, by and large, for our high schools. We’ve long wanted to see more sharing of educational programs. As school enrolments decline, school districts can’t afford to be a jack of all trades and master of none. They need to be a master of one or two special areas and surround those areas with programs students need to prepare for college or a career – and then districts need to find ways to share their expertise with neighbors.

Clymer and Chautauqua Lake are on the right track here.


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