Program returning to Niagara-Wheatfield after 6-year absence
By David Yarger
On Tuesday, the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District announced its Community Education Program would return for the first time since 2012.
Community Education Coordinator Mary Beth Fortunato said in a press release, "In an effort to extend the educational environment past the traditional school setting and into the community, Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District is re-introducing its community education program. The district anticipates a start date of April 2018."
The program is a way for the community to come together and learn more about interests they might have. Fortunato said, "The overall goal of the program is to enrich the community by bringing its members fun, unique and useful learning experiences that some may not have the chance to experience any other way.
"Despite all of our communication technology, we live in time when it is increasingly easy to disconnect from each other. Face-to-face contact seems almost an afterthought and there is absolutely no substitute for it. We are hoping that our Community Education Program will bring people together through shared experiences and the result will be a closer community made up of individuals who feel better connected to their neighbors and the world."
Fortunato said class subjects will range and "the sky's the limit." The program is looking to provide classes on art, dance, cooking, history of the community, practical issues from financial management to addiction; foreign languages and much more.
All these classes depend on the instructors the program is able to acquire, so Fortunato said the program is looking for possible instructors. She said the instructors just need a keen interest in a subject.
"The only qualifications that a would-be instructor needs is a hobby, talent, skill, or expertise and a desire to share what they know with others. Degrees and certifications are not essential. Life experience takes precedence. Instructors will be asked to provide information to support their expertise (experience, contacts who can verify their expertise, etc.)
"Enthusiasm is a must. We are seeking individuals who are willing to grow along with the program," Fortunato said.
Fortunato said she hopes the entire community takes advantage of the program and eventually, with time, she hoped the program could continue to grow.
"The first run of the program begins in April and it will be open to adults 21 and over, because we are just getting our feet wet. However, we hope to expand this population and eventually open it up to everyone. This is a community, and as such the entire community should be participants in this program. We don't want anyone to feel excluded," Fortunato said.
With the program, Fortunato is hoping that people will walk away with a passion to continue to learn more about what interests them.
"In the end, we want participants, and that includes instructors as well, to walk away from the Community Education Program feeling like they have been part of something that added to who they are and inspires them to learn and do more. As Ben Franklin said, 'An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.' "
Class ideas are now being taken for the spring and fall. Interested possible instructors can mail class proposals or suggestions to the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District Community Education Office, P.O. Box 309, Sanborn, NY 14132, or contact Fortunato via email or phone at [email protected]
and 716-245-1790. Suggestions from the community are also welcomed by Fortunato.
Niagara-Wheatfield BOE to meet
The Niagara-Wheatfield Board of Education meeting to be held on March 7 will begin at 6 p.m. with an anticipated executive session. The public meeting is anticipated to begin at 7 p.m. in the High School Adult Learning Center, 2292 Saunders Settlement Road.