The following was originally published AuSable Valley MHS Newsletter January 2023

CFES Brilliant Pathways helps shape the futures of young adults, and AuSable Valley students are taking
advantage of what’s being offered. CFES has three core practices including mentoring, essential skills, and college and career readiness. If anyone wonders what CFES does, consider it a boost to education. AVCS teachers can incorporate CFES content into their curriculum, and in return, students in grades 7 through 12 gain a vision of what’s ahead and the future pathways they may take in education and beyond. “For me, anything that engages kids and gets them excited, I am in,” AVCS Technology Teacher and CFES Liaison Jim Caron said. “That is why I got into this.”


The CFES mindset helps teach goal setting, teamwork, leadership, agility, perseverance and networking. This is accomplished in a variety of ways whether students are participating in STEM activities, career path surveys or other curriculum-based assignments. “I love to incorporate warm-up opportunities into
my class because it helps me get to see another side of the students,” AVCS English Teacher and CFES Liaison Heather Gottlob said. “Some of the CFES activities allow the kids to come out of their shell, and what I like about that is it helps provide a good culture. Kids are working together and communicating in ways that are a bit different and refreshing.” And most importantly, participating is simple. Students simply create an account on the CFES website, and that’s all it takes to get started. If they have any
questions, their teachers are ready to help. “AuSable Valley has great leadership that embraces college and career readiness,” CFES Program Director Chris Mazzella said. “Really what we are trying to do is give kids more clarity when they are making high-school decisions. When they’re approaching college, CFES can help see if they want to go to a 2-year or 4-year college or enter the workforce right away. And if they are younger, they can start to see if they’re interested in trades and consider CV-TEC as an option.”


Plenty of CFES activities are already part of AVCS classrooms and beyond. CFES works hand in hand with the U.S. Department of Education’s Gear Up Program and utilizes an $11.6 million, 7-year grant with seven heavily rural North Country schools, which includes AVCS.

“This grant has been fantastic because it has allowed us to set up college visits for students as well as other things like STEM programming and mentoring where we can bring college students in to work with high school and middle school students,” CFES Advisor Richal Bisht said.

There continues to be increased commitment to CFES by AVCS faculty and administration members who
attended a planning day in Essex to lay out the events for the year the district expected to utilize. The Artemis Project has been a fun activity in Mr. Caron’s classroom that’s supported by CFES. Students worked through an engineering design process to create a lunar landing apparatus, which was judged by best flight, best of show and best name. “The kids love it, and I love seeing their energy,” Mr. Caron said. “There’s activities like this or a field trip that we just went on with the eighth-graders to Clinton Community College for a STEM Day that was led by the West Point Cadets and coordinated with our CFES activities.” And what’s one of the most exciting things related to CFES right now at AVCS?

Well, that’s the Community Garden. Seventh and 11th grade faculty planned and organized a CFES gardening project, and there are some fun goals in place. Students will have a chance to study soils and plant growth, and technology classes will soon be constructing hydroponic systems once materials arrive. Eventually, food grown in the garden will hopefully be part of lunches served right at AVCS.


For anyone interested in learning more about CFES, visit their website
When students make their way through school, there are always questions about what the future has in store. CFES can help answer those questions, and AVCS is embracing the opportunities it provides.

“It all starts with culture building, and CFES does a great job doing that,” Mrs. Gottlob said. “Once you have a good culture that promotes learning, you can build off academics. We are building a foundation our students can rise from and have success.”