SUNY Poly CNSE and New York State School Boards Association
Recognize Top STEM-Based Educational Programs from Schools Across
New York

SUNY Poly CNSE and New York State School Boards Association
Recognize Top STEM-Based Educational Programs from Schools Across
New York

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 16:45
News Releases
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For Release:     Immediate – September 29, 2015

Contact:    Jerry Gretzinger, Vice President of Strategic Communications and Public Relations

(518) 956-7359 |

David Albert, NYSSBA Director of Communications and Research

(518) 783-3716 |


SUNY Poly CNSE and New York State School Boards Association Recognize Top STEM-Based Educational Programs from Schools Across New York

“Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Award winners honored for unique and easily replicable programs that encourage high-tech skills

Albany, NY – Advancing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s innovation-based educational blueprint for preparing students for high-tech job opportunities across New York State, three school districts have been singled out to receive “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards as a result of their exciting approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math-related (STEM) programs. Currently marking its fourth consecutive year, the pioneering educational initiative is presented by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE).

“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership continues to spur New York State’s schools to become hands-on, high-tech centers for students to gain unmatched skills and experience, and the ‘Be the Change for Kids’ Innovation Awards are a powerful way to encourage student interest in subjects such as nanotechnology which are driving New York’s economy,” said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, President and CEO of SUNY Poly. “We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with the New York State School Boards Association as we honor this year’s award winners for the success of their STEM-based programs that are empowering students and enabling access to New York State’s innovation-based opportunities.”

“The programs that we are recognizing highlight pioneering approaches to education and illustrate how schools are providing students with opportunities to contribute to New York State’s high-tech economy. Each of these exciting educational initiatives is proof positive that high-level instruction in classrooms across the state can be used as a model for other school districts with virtually no impact to budgets,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

Over 30 schools from across New York State entered to win a “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Award. The three winning programs were selected by SUNY Poly faculty and staff members who served as judges and showcased an ability to be easily reproduced by other school districts; promote student curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and civic responsibility; and teach students the skills that they will need for STEM-based careers.

The winning districts, in alphabetical order, are:

  • The Coxsackie-Athens Central School District for its “Coxsackie Aqua Lab” program, in which laboratories are set up and maintained by students to produce corals and captive bred fish. As part of the process, students engage in science, technology, engineering, and math. The program is financially self-sustaining through fish sales while it provides marine and ecological awareness to students, family, and the community. The basic lab can be setup for as little as $175.
  • The Queensbury Union Free School District for its “Innovation Lab at Queensbury High School” program, which provides a technological refuge where students can spend study halls and free periods pursuing STEM solutions to real life problems. They have access to an array of 21st Century tools that were used to complete more than 100 self-directed projects, including a portable ski sharpener, a hydro-powered calculator, and a nine-button computer mouse for gaming, for example.
  • The Spencerport Central School District for “The 21st Century Technology Team” program, which provides STEM-based staff development for teachers, as well as direct instruction to K-5 students. The program utilizes an assessed blended learning “station rotation” model to effectively incorporate instructional technology into all classrooms for exposure to web and computer multimedia applications, for example, to provide a consistent and equitable experience in all elementary schools within the district.

“The award-winning projects this year provide great examples of how schools from around New York State are offering innovative educational programs to meet the demands of our high-tech world," said NYSSBA President Lynne Lenhardt. "From pursuing STEM solutions to real life problems, to applying classroom lessons in business, these students and teachers are stepping up to today's most critical educational challenges.” Each of the winning districts will receive $5,000, funded by SUNY Poly CNSE. As part of the announcement of the winning school districts, students and staff from each of the schools were also invited to tour SUNY Poly CNSE’s $24 billion Albany NanoTech Complex. SUNY Poly CNSE and NYSSBA created the “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards in 2012 to honor engaging, STEM-based local school programs that foster 21st Century career skills in emerging fields such as nanotechnology.



About NYSSBA.The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 650 school boards and more than 5,000 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training, and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools. For information, visit

SUNY Polytechnic Institute. SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany location and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome location. Thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts more than $20 billion in high-tech investments, over 300 corporate partners, and maintains a statewide footprint. The 1.3 million-square-foot Albany NanoTech megaplex is home to more than 3,500 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, faculty, and staff, in addition to Tech Valley High School. SUNY Poly operates the Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center (SCiTI) at Kiernan Plaza in Albany, the Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon, the Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries in Syracuse, the Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility in Rochester, and the Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center (STC) in Canandaigua. SUNY Poly founded and manages the Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad-C) at its Utica location and also manages the $500 million New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium, with nodes in Albany and Rochester, as well as the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend, Buffalo Information Technologies Innovation and Commercialization Hub, and Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub. For information visit and