Knox teachers have role in program at PTECH

JOHNSTOWN – Two Knox Middle School teachers have been selected to participate in a yearlong teacher residency program at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Pathways in Technology Early College High School.

Jennifer VonderHeide, a history teacher, and Amy LaMena, a science teacher, are teaching with PTECH teachers and will be integrated with the staff at the school for the 2016-17 year. This is the second year of PTECH’s teacher residency program, which is funded through the PTECH grant that BOCES, its component school districts and a group of local business partners received in 2013.

In addition to teaching in the classroom, VonderHeide and LaMena will collaborate daily with PTECH teachers, employ new enrichment and intervention techniques as they work with PTECH students and work on their own project-based learning plans. Project-based learning is an approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking and communication, a news release said.

PTECH Principal Michael Dardaris said in the release. “We intend for Amy and Jennifer to fully be part of our team this year, but then ultimately leave PTECH with their own project based learning plans to bring back to their home school.”

Candidates who applied for the two teacher residency positions went through an application and interview process.

VonderHeide has taught history at Knox Middle School in Johnstown for four years and has taught economics, psychology and sociology in high school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University at Albany and her master’s degree in education from the College of Saint Rose, the news release said.

LaMena has taught seventh- and eighth-grade science at Knox Middle School for the past 11 years. She also has taught high school science at a private school and worked as a lab technician. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and her master’s in biology education from Fordham University, the release said.

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