SUNY Polytechnic Institute & New York State School Boards Association Present Three Schools with Innovation Awards in Statewide Competition

SUNY Polytechnic Institute & New York State School Boards Association Present Three Schools with Innovation Awards in Statewide Competition

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 17:00
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“Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Award winners honored for unique programs that encourage STEM-based skills and can be replicated at schools across New York State

Albany, NY – Furthering Governor Andrew Cuomo’s high-tech educational paradigm as it prepares New York State’s students for opportunities in growing industries such as nanotechnology, three school districts have received “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards for their novel approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math-related (STEM) programs. The competition—now in its third consecutive year—is presented by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly).

“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership continues to catalyze the rapid growth of New York State’s nanotechnology sector, resulting in powerful educational opportunities, such as those that stem from the ‘Be the Change for Kids’ Innovation Awards, that can directly meet the needs of New York’s innovation economy,” said SUNY Poly CEO and Officer in Charge Dr. Alain Kaloyeros. “We are once again delighted to partner with the New York State School Boards Association, and we congratulate this year’s honorees for their exciting, science-based programs and steadfast commitment to providing their students with the critical skills that are necessary for accessing high-tech opportunities across New York.”

“Too often we hear about what’s wrong with our schools. Yet the programs we recognize today illustrate what’s right. Each of these outstanding educational programs exemplifies the type of high-level instruction taking place in classrooms across the state, and the most remarkable aspect is that each can be replicated in other school districts without busting the budget,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

Over 40 schools from across New York State entered to win a “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Award, and the three winning programs were chosen based on their ability to promote student curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and civic responsibility; prepare students for careers in the STEM-based fields; and for their ability to be easily replicated by other school districts. SUNY Poly faculty and staff members, in addition to alumni, serve as judges.

The winning districts are:

  • The Chenango Forks School District in Broome County for its “Chenango Forks STEAM Academy” program which arranged credit-bearing internships for high school juniors and seniors that were matched to the students’ intellectual and career interests. In addition to using the STEM to STEAM model of education which focuses on hands-on, project-based, cross-curriculum educational opportunities, students also gained basic workplace skills and learned about concepts related to professional demeanor, social skills, deportment, and appearance.
  • The Mineola Union Free School District in Nassau County for its ‘STEMineola’” program, which, in partnership with the science education company, Knowing Science, created hands-on STEM laboratory activities for all students in grades 3-7. They found that the close coordination of lab content with other subjects increased critical thinking as well as oral and written communications skills.
  • The Saratoga Springs City School District in Saratoga County for its “Educating Young Engineers (EYE)” program, which is held on Saturdays for elementary students. The program teaches basic engineering concepts to inspire the students at an early age and has raised community support for bringing elementary engineering content into the regular school curriculum.

Each of the winning districts will receive $5,000, funded by SUNY Poly, at a formal awards ceremony to be held October 26-28 at NYSSBA’s Annual Convention in New York City. As part of the announcement of the winning school districts, students and staff from each of the schools have also participated in tours and activities at SUNY Poly’s $20 billion Albany NanoTech Complex.

“This year’s award-winning projects demonstrate that innovation is alive and well in our schools,” said NYSSBA President Lynne Lenhardt. “From solving engineering problems, to applying classroom lessons in industry, to using lab activities to increase critical thinking skills, these students and teachers are raising the creative bar.”

SUNY Poly and NYSSBA created the “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards in 2012 to honor engaging, STEM-based local school programs that foster critical 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

About SUNY POLY. 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 campus, and degrees in technology, professional studies, and the arts and sciences at its Utica/Rome campus. 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 3,100 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, faculty, and staff. The Utica/Rome campus offers a unique high-tech learning environment, providing academic programs in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and offerings in the arts and sciences range from humanities to the social sciences. Thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. SUNY Poly operates the Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center (SCiTI) at Kiernan Plaza in Albany, the Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon, 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) on its Utica campus, and is lead developer of the Marcy Nanocenter site, as well as the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Complex, Buffalo Information Technologies Innovation and Commercialization Hub, and Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub. For information visit and


Media Contacts:

Jerry Gretzinger, Vice President of Strategic Communications and Public Relations (518) 956-7359 |

David Albert, NYSSBA Director of Communications and Research (518) 783-3716 |