JAMESTOWN – David Becker, an English teacher at Panama Central School, has been named the 2021 College Connections Teacher of the Year by SUNY Jamestown Community College.
College Connections recognizes a teacher each year who best exemplifies the core program standards. Becker was chosen from among 220 teachers representing 39 partner high schools and BOCES centers.
Becker teaches English Composition I, English Composition II, and Introduction to Literary Studies to high school students at Panama through JCC. He was nominated by Duane Richetti, the JCC faculty liaison for English.
“Dave has been consistently innovative as a College Connections instructor,” said Richetti. “Dave’s classes are fast-paced and student-centered. In addition to meeting curricular requirements, he respectfully encourages students to take responsibility for their learning through ongoing class participation. Before remote learning became necessary, he taught all his classes through Blackboard (JCC’s learning management system). As a result, the transition to indirect instruction has been seamless. Dave has consistently offered to share his practices with his College Connections colleagues.”
“Dave is constantly working to better himself as an educator and goes above and beyond to work with his colleagues to do what is best for our students.” said Scott Costantini, secondary principal at Panama Central School.
Becker has also served as an adjunct at the college, teaching online sections of English Composition I and II to students at Cattaraugus-Allegany Board of Cooperative Educational Services Centers in Belmont, N.Y., and Olean, N.Y.
“I’m impressed by Dave’s attention to detail, open communication, and willingness to help out in different situations,” said Jade Barber, interim director of High School Partnerships at JCC. “He has been a great resource to his colleagues, including the new College Connections instructors who came on board this year, providing them with a good overview of how to best manage online learning management systems. This has been especially relevant with so many instructors needing to teach remotely or find ways to share information with students who are not able to physically be in school.”
Becker has been employed at Panama Central School since 1999. He began teaching College Connections courses in the fall of 2018.
“I enjoy teaching College Connections courses because it’s an opportunity for students to get worthwhile and authentic academic practice that will pay off for them as soon as they graduate,” Becker said. “It’s great to help students learn college material faster than they might otherwise, but helping students through these classes while in high school helps lessen a lot of the anxiety that freshmen in college face.”
JCC has offered concurrent enrollment courses to qualified high school juniors and seniors through the College Connections program since 1998. The courses are taught in partner high schools by JCC-approved teachers and allow students to earn both high school and college credit.
During the 2020-2021 academic year College Connections offered 72 different credit courses in 39 area high schools, serving more than 2,200 students across the region.