Upcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

The Rensselaer County Health Department will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics this summer throughout the county. The vaccine is free and walk-ins are welcome. Clinics include: Onderdonk Park, East Greenbush, NY (Tuesday, August 10, 5-7 p.m., J&J); North Greenbush Town Hall, Wynantskill, NY (Sunday, August 22, 5-7 p.m., J&J); Stewart’s Shops, Nassau, NY (Tuesday, August 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Pfizer or J&J). You can also find a COVID-19 vaccine at https://www.vaccines.gov/search

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Christopher Ames and Jeffrey Simons shake hands

Sage President Christopher Ames shakes hands with East Greenbush Central School District Superintendent Jeffrey Simons during their announcement of an Early Assurance Agreement between the two schools.

Columbia High School and The Sage Colleges have agreed on a new college pathway for high school students, while at the same time, addressing a nationwide problem in education.

Officials from both schools signed an Early Assurance Agreement on Monday afternoon that will establish a pathway for Columbia students to matriculate to Russell Sage College on pace to earn a bachelor’s degree in either childhood education or physical education in three years, then a master’s degree in literacy, special education, counseling or health education, in the fourth year.

The agreement was signed by Jeffrey Simons, superintendent of schools for the East Greenbush Central School District, and Christopher Ames, president of The Sage Colleges in the Columbia library with Columbia students and staff in attendance.

Jeffrey Simons speaking from podium

Superintendent Jeffrey Simons discusses the new agreement with The Sage Colleges at an announcement ceremony on Monday afternoon in the Columbia High School library.

“This partnership with Russell Sage College will enable our best and brightest students to begin their path to a rewarding teaching career while still in high school,” Mr. Simons said. “In several certification areas, there is a teacher shortage in our country. This agreement will not only encourage our students to choose the teaching profession for their career, through coursework offered to them while in high school, they will gain some of the essential understandings and skills they need to become exemplary teachers.”

This agreement will not only give Columbia students another opportunity for college and beyond, it will address a nationwide decline in students becoming teachers.

Nationally, there were more than one-third fewer students enrolling in teacher preparation programs in 2018 than in 2010, and in New York State, there was a nearly 50% decline in teacher preparation program enrollment, according to the Center for American Progress.

“Sage is proud to partner with Columbia High School to create opportunities for students and strengthen the teaching profession,” said Mr. Ames. “Public-private partnerships like these represent the future of education and allow us to serve local students and regional economic needs.”

Christopher Ames signs agreement

Sage President Christopher Ames signs the Early Assurance Agreement on Monday afternoon in the Columbia library.

Other representatives at the signing event included Michael Buono, president of the East Greenbush Central School District Board of Education; James McHugh, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at East Greenbush Central School District; Columbia principal Michael Harkin; Thomas Nesbitt, vice president for enrollment at Russell Sage College; and Dr. John J. Pelizza, Dean of Esteves School of Education and School Health Advisor at Russell Sage College.

Eligible students may apply for the program during their sophomore or junior year at Columbia based on their past and projected academic performance. Students will need to submit an application, essay and transcript to Russell Sage College, and must be on track to complete a required number of academic units in English, social studies, mathematics, laboratory science and language.

Students who are accepted to the early assurance education program will not be required to enroll at Russell Sage College or to forgo application to other schools; rather, they will be able to secure their admission and reserve a place at Russell Sage College.

James McHugh speaking from podium

James McHugh, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at East Greenbush Central School District, discussing how this new pathway will help families with college affordability.

The Esteves School of Education at Russell Sage College is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. It offers bachelor’s degree programs in both childhood education and physical education, as well as, master’s degree programs in childhood/literacy education, childhood/special education, literacy education, literacy/special education, professional school counseling and school health education.

This agreement follows East Greenbush Central School District’s emphasized focus on college and career preparation. The district has added more college-level courses in recent years, now totaling 29 college-level courses. It also has an Early Assurance MBA agreement with Siena College, a Seal of Biliteracy program and a diploma certificate program in Business Administration.

“The board is pleased to be able to support our district’s partnership with Russell Sage College and this new opportunity for our students,” Mr. Buono said. “It continues our district’s goals of maintaining academic excellence and continuing to build educational and strategic partnerships. I want to thank Russell Sage College, the district staff and those in our school community for all their work in bringing this together.”