What is BOCES?


BOCES is a program that many schools across Long Island offer. Many programs such as law enforcement, IT, competency, human sciences, and many more are offered. BOCES stands for Boards of Cooperative Educational Services. Many high school students go to BOCES during their school day for a few hours and learn about something they have a passion for and may want to pursue in the future. I interviewed a few people about this program and how they felt about it and what they do.

Many different types of students choose BOCES for different reasons. For example, Valerie Sarran explains that she attends BOCES because “I’m in law enforcement and my goals are to know and learn about the law system. I chose it because I have a deep passion for learning about law and knowing about court and what goes on in court.” But Paige Lipson chose to follow the BOCES veterinary program because she wants “to become a veterinarian. I knew that I wanted to do this before the program. even though it is very difficult and hard work.” Everyone has different goals and plans in their lives, but BOCES offers a plan for everybody.

Just as every BOCES program is unique, so is every student. Sarran is an ambitious student, and she was motivated to join the program by “my passion for law enforcement and knowing about the rights and the law and things that many other law enforcement jobs do, in the program, they teach a lot about discipline so I now know much more.” Other students join because it is the best path to the career they want to pursue. Like Paige, who said she joined simply joined because “I wanted to be a vet.” 

When asked why she chose her program, Valerie said “I wanted to do it because I have a passion for law enforcement and I know people who are parole officers and it’s something I wanna do. As well as being a lawyer and social working, and just giving back to the community.” But she did take other programs into consideration. “It was either law enforcement or early childhood education just because  I like kids but law enforcement especially social work can work with kids so I felt there’s a correlation.” BOCES is diverse, and it offers a wide range of options no matter your vocation.

Nevertheless, Valerie recommends the BOCES law enforcement program, saying “law enforcement jobs are very helpful and there’s a place for anyone in the job, and if you love your community you can give back to it too.” Lipson believes that any BOCES program is a wonderful option. “People join these programs to learn about something they love and share it with others,” she says.

The traditional schooling model has worked for decades, but sometimes things need to be shaken up a little. BOCES is just another great example of how education builds students’ own future, not someone else’s.