MASSENA — JW Leary Middle School is one of 26 schools across the United States and two in Ireland recognized as Schools of Distinction by CFES Brilliant Pathways for its exemplary commitment to preparing students for college and careers. one of the groups
CFES (College/Career For Every Student) Brilliant Pathways is a non-profit organization that helps low-income K-12 students in rural and urban areas prepare for college and careers.
Teachers Beth A. Reyes and Benjamin Reed are mentors for this program. This is her second year on a three-year grant.
“This is a grant through an organization called Brilliant Pathways,” says Reid. “They go after schools in underserved communities. They come in and give us grants for three years on a trial basis.
“CFES is a grant our chief architect got last year,” Mrs. Reyes said. “Mr. Reid and I jumped at it, and we really believe it. I think it’s important, we wanted them to think about whether it’s going to be a career, whether they’re going to college, or whether they’re going to vocational school. , and take up why you need to know that.”
Teachers receive Career Readiness Mentor Training as part of the program.
“Things like that are proof that we act as mentors to our students and guide them in choosing colleges and careers,” Reed said. You will serve as a mentor to your peers, and you will also receive a certificate from the University of Vermont as a qualification.”
He said most of the seventh graders went through the program last year.
“This year we have restructured it a little differently to focus more deeply on certain topics,” he said. “We have a small group of people who actually mentor students, about 30 this year.
Hands-on projects are the key to the program.
“A lot of what we did was take the skills they were learning in class, and Reed found creative tech projects and things that used all those skills. , is to answer why when children ask why do they need to know this, we’ve had that question for generations,” Mrs. Reyes said.
“We do a variety of team building activities, but we also focus on college and career preparation,” Reid added. “We researched different colleges and different career areas. These students were asked what areas of work they wanted to do and were paired with mentors at the colleges they wanted to find a path to get there. It also had the ability to build
The project focuses on six essential skills that employers look for in potential candidates: teamwork, communication, networking, agility, leadership and perseverance.
“I try to incorporate all these skills into my lessons,” Reed says.
Last year students participated in the STEM Olympics and chose from three projects.
“They could choose to work as small teams or as individuals. When we hosted the STEM Olympics last year, that was when all the work came to light: team building, communication, conversations between students,” says Reid. said Mr.
“One of the things we really like to do is create problems for our kids. We will ask for solutions, such as cooperation,” Mrs. Reyes said.
Principal Kendra Quinlan said students are also taking college tours, both virtual and in-person. I said I would let them know.
They also opened a school store and created products to sell.
“They had to figure out what to do — how to do it, how to market it, how to manage it?” she said.
“The goal is to expose them to real-world career scenarios and problem solving,” says Reed. “Is there a better way than to bring a career here?”
One student who personally challenged was Jeric Wolstenholme, who hopes to attend Clarkson University to study engineering. Art teacher Nicole Ashley, who also runs the school’s “green team,” has plants that need watering. She wanted certain parts of the plant to self-water so that she wouldn’t have to go to school on weekends, and Wolstenholm devised the system.
“We are very proud of this project. are trying to attack areas of interest,” Mrs. Reyes said.
“Schools teach things online, sometimes virtually, but I took this class because they teach us practical things,” says Wolstenholme. Told. “When we are in the real world, there is no one to help us. I have.”