What you don’t know about Nassau BOCES


There is more to the Nassau BOCES program than meets the untrained eye. It is not just a program to send troubled students or special education students, but a trade school offering more than 100 programs to children and adults.

Established in 1967, as the Board of Cooperative Educational Services of Nassau County. It is the largest BOCES in the state, serving 56 school districts.

The mission is to “enhance public education and the opportunities available to students of all ages and abilities by providing access to innovative and cost-effective services,” according to nassauboces.com.

With nearly three-dozen locations, the largest education facility is the Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Education Center in Westbury. It serves as a high school by day, and adult education center by night.

Nassau BOCES is the premier provider of special education services in the region delivering individualized instruction to over 1,800 students at 10 special education schools throughout the country, according to nassauboces.com.

The adult education program is not nearly as well known as the students program, but Assistant Principal of BOCES Adult Education Program, Brad Slepian is changing the narrative.

“We have a number of different training programs, some as short as three months and some as long as a year and a half,” Slepian said. “But we have a total student enrollment of over 1,400 in our program this year.”

In November 2023, Lawrence school district launched their first vocational school fair to help promote the opportunities from within with assistance from the school’s guidance team.

“We promote the vocational programs offered through BOCES after students graduate from high school via emails to the families,” Ann Pedersen, superintendent of Lawrence school district said. “These online presentations from Mr. Slepian are what helps provide information and education about the programs.”

Nassau BOCES provides a career counselor to help build resumes, give interview advice and help the students find jobs that fit their qualifications.

“Our enrollment is through the roof, in a good way, we’re up about 50 percent in our enrollment since the pandemic,” Slepian said. “I think people see the trades as job security and there’s a feeling of contentment for the students knowing that they are able to earn a credential and provide for their family without an absorbent amount of student loan debt and getting right to work.”

While the Lawrence district currently only has a handful of special education students attending BOCES, students and family members are taking advantage of their English Second Language and high school equivalency courses. These classes are completely free to the students.

The ESL courses are for students whose native language is not English and want to improve their speaking, reading and writing skills.

The high school equivalency/GED program helps prepare the student to earn a New York Equivalency Diploma by passing the New York State Testing Assessing Secondary Completion exam.

“It’s really helpful to launch yourself with a low cost training program like ours, before you commit and sign off for large tuition dollars and a four year commitment,” Slepian said. “Come and give it a try!”
Enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year is now open.

For more information visit NassauBoces.com.