Erie 1 BOCES celebrates EDGE Academy

Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristina Groff, Cheektowaga Central Superintendent Mary Morris, and BOCES Board of Education President John Sherman cut the ribbon the EDGE Academy on November 14th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristina Groff, Cheektowaga Central Superintendent Mary Morris, and BOCES Board of Education President John Sherman cut the ribbon the EDGE Academy on November 14th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – Erie 1 BOCES celebrated the opening of their new EDGE Academy Wednesday afternoon with a ribbon cutting inside the former Pine Hill Education Center at 1635 E. Delavan Avenue.

The new alternative school focuses on five different pathways – Art, Business, Drama, Music, and Career, and Technical Education.  It services 19 separate school districts.

“We’re expecting building wide student population numbers to be around 150. It is a mix; we’ll mainly have general education students. However, some students are classified with [Individualized Educational Plans] which were determined by their district’s [Committee on Special Education],” said Erie 1 BOCES Director of Exceptional Education Programs and Services.  “As a BOCES we’re always looking to be innovated and be on the edge which is why we call it EdgeAcademy. We really just look for something different that’s just not out there right now.”

Cheektowaga Chronicle reported on the school last year when the Cheektowaga Central School District closed a deal to lease the Pine Hill Education Center to Erie 1 BOCES for five years.

“The new EDGE Academy provides local high school students with five pathways designed to help them focus on their education and find their passions.  These exciting opportunities include a combination of core academics, electives courses across art, business, career, technical education, drama, and music,” said Melody Jason, BOCES Executive Director of Instructional Services.  “This personalized approach to high school will be highly engaging and will ultimately serve as a catalyst for graduation and beyond.”

The Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce says the students who graduate from this alternative school will benefit the area’s workforce.

“We represent over 320 member companies in and around this area, and the number one challenge that we hear from our member businesses is the gap in employment and the fact that they need skilled, qualified people to fill positions within their workforce,” said Executive Director Kristian Groff.  “I commend EDGE Academy and Erie 1 BOCES for helping to fulfill that need.  This is the start of a great partnership.”

Some of the students attending the nontraditional education program once held at the Pine Hill building through Cheektowaga Central were returned to their respective buildings in the district while others were enrolled in the new EDGE Academy.

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