Engaged & Empowered Learners: June’s NC Kids Care Honorees

We are very humbled to present this 10th and final group of NC Kids Care honorees for the 2022-2023 school year. Thanks to Mrs. Parks Forts Ferry Elementary fifth grade Learning Enrichment Program class, we will go out with a proverbial “bang.” This group could not reflect more North Colonie’s Academic Excellence Pillar, because they are without question engaged & empowered learners!

Fort Ferry Learning Enrichment students honored by Board of EducationWith us this evening is Mrs. Amy Parks, Enrichment Specialist & Innovation Lab Teacher and her LEP students are:

 Arya Bala, Diya Bala, Stella Bondi, Troy Dunne, Sienna Guglielmi, Livia Lu, Henry Mack, Sadie Malamood, Lily Mangona, Lily McGrath, Aanya Pradhan, Caitlyn Ryan, and Abigail Sprague.

As you are aware, they will be presenting a proposal to you this evening to create an outdoor learning space at Forts Ferry. So in a very conscious effort to not steal their show, here is a quick overview of how they came to be NC Kids Care honorees and exemplary models of engaged and empowered learning.


  •  They connected learning to a real-world situation: While in class discussing the Hudson River Watershed, runoff and permeable vs impermeable surfaces, the dug-up old tennis court on the school’s property came into the conversation. Water was not draining creating a quote “gross mess” end quote and making it unusable in that state and they thought about what could be done about it.
  • They followed-through, researched, and made a commitment: This turned into a two-month project. The students researched drainage ideas, and brainstormed what to do with the area once they were able to fix the drainage issues.
  • They sought community support and ideas: They called various landscape companies to get prices on bulk soil and other materials. The owner of one company came out to look at the space with the students and described what he thought was the best, most cost effective solution – which I will leave for them to share!
  • They partnered with Shaker High School students to further their learning: They recently took a field trip with the Shaker High School Food Sciences class to Forts Ferry Farm to learn about the different vegetables and fruit that grow well in this area. The Farm is where the SHS Garden Club gets their plants from and Amber Cost, the teacher, heard about their project and invited the class to come along with her class.

Let’s recognize our June NC Kids Care honoree!!