Have you been considering starting college or going back to school? Or maybe you have been thinking about getting your next degree or professional certification? It’s never too early to consider how the Springbrook Scholars Program can help you on your journey. Springbrook created this program to invest in dedicated employees who invest their time and talent in Springbrook. We began in 2012 when we formed a partnership with SUNY Oneonta and have continued to change and adapt our program based on the feedback collected from our employees. Springbrook respects the opinion of our staff, and as a result of employee surveys and focus groups, we have consistently worked to build other college partnerships. These partnerships give Scholar applicants several educational paths to choose from. With the help of the program, our exceptional staff have been able to pursue their higher education goals, and worry less about the stress of funding and finding the time for classes. Follow along with three Springbrook employees, Brooke Leech, Shannon Nadolny, and Alyssa Horton, who took advantage of the Springbrook Scholars Program.
Brooke Leech has a passion for caring for others and building long-lasting relationships. Before coming to Springbrook, Brooke worked as a registered nurse in a hospital setting. Between alternating shift schedules and being on call, Brooke realized that she was not getting the fulfillment she desired in her work. She wanted to work somewhere where she could build relationships with her patients, and where she could continue her education and have a consistent schedule so she could be home regularly to spend time with her family. With these goals in mind, Brooke applied for a position at Springbrook, ready to use her talents to provide care for the people we support. Today, Brooke is a registered nurse and assistant manager at the School at Springbrook and has recently started pursuing her bachelor’s in nursing with the support of the Springbrook Scholars Program. Continuing her education has always been in the back of Brooke’s mind, but the overwhelming cost and time involved made it feel impossible at her previous job. As a Scholar, Brooke now takes part-time classes at her own pace. Her classes are online, giving her time at home with her children rather than having to be on a college campus after work. Her work at Springbrook also provides her with the long-lasting connections with the students she supports, which makes her work fulfilling. “The Scholars Program has made me appreciate how much Springbrook values education. For anyone who wants to be a part of the program, commit to it because you won’t regret it,” she shared. To Brooke, greater education put into practice is the best way for her to excel at her job. Springbrook is perfect for Brooke and has become the place where she can put her passion to work.
The Scholars Program has made me appreciate how much Springbrook values education. For anyone who wants to be a part of the program, commit to it because you won’t regret it.
I was very busy, but the house managers were very flexible with my hours. I am also extremely grateful for the teachers in the education department who mentored me and helped along the way.
From the moment Shannon Nadolny was in her bachelor’s program at SUNY Oneonta, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. Shannon was continuously searching for ways to reach her goal of becoming a special education teacher. One afternoon, she visited an information table set up at her college’s union hall, where she would often go searching for future possibilities. Shannon took the opportunity to speak with a human resource representative managing the recruitment table. It was during this conversation that Shannon discovered Springbrook—a place where she could gain experience in special education while also having the opportunity to advance her education through the Springbrook Scholars Program. Intrigued, Shannon applied to Springbrook and began her journey. Rather than taking part-time classes, Shannon wanted to reach her goal faster and decided she wanted to take full-time classes alongside work. Through the Scholars Program, Shannon has completed her master’s in special education at SUNY Oneonta. Shannon shared, “I was very busy, but the house managers were very flexible with my hours. I am also extremely grateful for the teachers in the education department who mentored me and helped along the way.” Working at Springbrook has also introduced Shannon to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is used throughout Springbrook’s educational and residential programs to understand behavior and promote methods to increase independence, communication, focus, and positive behaviors. Before Springbrook, ABA was a field of study that Shannon did not know existed. Shannon is already looking forward to her next educational opportunity and is now interested in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), but says she is going to get some work experience under her belt first.
As a child in elementary school, Alyssa Horton knew she wanted to be a teacher but did not know what field she wanted to specialize in. As an undergraduate at SUNY Oneonta, Alyssa gained teaching experience by working at BOCES in Troy, New York during the summers. This position was Alyssa’s first experience in special education, and she worked primarily with students with autism. She loved the experience, and it helped her decide that she wanted to teach special education. Alyssa kept returning to BOCES during the summers until her final year at SUNY Oneonta when she started searching for programs and employers that would help her pursue her master’s degree. She was looking to start her master’s program at SUNY Oneonta because she loved the campus and the Oneonta area. Alyssa was also searching for employment opportunities where she could work directly in special education—her newfound passion. It was during this final year of school that Alyssa came across a Springbrook Scholars advertisement highlighting the benefits of the program. Alyssa spent time researching Springbrook and our mission and knew it was a great opportunity. When she began working at Springbrook, she was a direct support professional at one of our on-campus residences and came to love teaching through ABA, which enabled her to identify and promote effective ways to deal with challenging behaviors. Alyssa knew she wanted to be a special education teacher working with students with autism. She wanted to learn about different disabilities and how to better support students to help them communicate and be more independent. She applied for the Scholars Program, and once she was accepted, she began her master’s program, working at Scriven House during the day and taking classes part-time in the evening. “I was very happy that my managers worked with me with my course schedule. I also had enjoyable classes, great professors, and I was able to do my student teaching at Springbrook.” Alyssa was able to get her required student teaching hours on the clock, another benefit of the Springbrook Scholars Program. In 2015, with the support of the Springbrook Scholars Program, Alyssa graduated from SUNY Oneonta with her master’s in special education. She intends to apply for the program again in the future to further build upon her knowledge of special education.
I was very happy that my managers worked with me with my course schedule. I also had enjoyable classes, great professors, and I was able to do my student teaching at Springbrook.
Brooke, Shannon, and Alyssa all benefited from the Springbrook Scholars Program and are excellent examples of how the program is intended to support the people who are committed to Springbrook. The Scholars Program enabled these three staff members to continue their education while maintaining a positive work, school, and life balance. No matter the specific work schedule, educational goal, or circumstance, Springbrook values education and career development—we are always ready to invest in our dedicated and bright staff.
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Donations to the Springbrook Annual Fund support the Springbrook Scholars Program. The program is expanding, and donations provide tuition assistance and full scholarships for our staff. Please consider a generous annual gift and make a difference for a lifetime