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April 29, 2016 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander Central School, alaxander, news, schools, education.

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Students at Alexander Central School tried to break three world records today, securing their own legacy in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The effort was the culmination of a class assignment from Miss Colleen McNamara for her fifth-grade class. The students researched potential world records and wrote essays on why their records should be attempted.

The records attempted were the most people doing sit-ups simultaneously, the longest pop-n-lock arm wave and the most high-fives in one minute.

These photos are from the sit-up attempt. We don't yet have the results of the attempts.

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April 29, 2016 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, batavia.

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Officials from throughout Genesee County were at Genesee Community College yesterday afternoon to join in a celebration of the college's continued growth -- groundbreaking for the Student Success Center and Event Center.

The Student Success Center will provide a sleek new entrance to the Campus and the Event Center will be the area’s largest indoor event arena with 25,000 square feet of open multipurpose floor space.

One man was instrumental in envisioning the expense and is being memorialized in the Event Center.

GCC’s President Jim Sunser unveiled the Event Center's official title, in honor of a man he was proud to call his friend, Richard C. Call.  

"The Board of Trustees has also given me the great privilege of announcing that at the boards May meeting the Trustees' intent to dedicate the Event Center to Dick Call and forever inscribe his name above the doors to this wonderful new building that's helping to create our future. The Richard C. Call Arena will be a tribute to the remarkable legacy of a man that has given so much to our college and community. And as we look ahead to the future the Richard C. Call Arena will symbolize the strength of our community and the power that we all have to make a difference in other people’s lives.”

Craig Yunker, chairman for the GCC Foundation "Creating Our Future Together" Campaign, tied the entire endeavor together with a childhood memory of GCC’s foundation.  

“Fifty years ago I was 15; I remember my parents talking about this at the dinner table and going out and joining some other people in trying to get this referendum passed, and some of those people are here tonight.”

The celebration was as much about the community’s collaboration as it was about the facilities themselves. The college was asked to match $5 million of State funds and with many generous donations by local supporters it surpassed that amount raising $5.4 million.

Work on both facilities is expected to be complete sometime around July of 2017.

Our news partner, WBTA contributed to this story.

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GCC President Jim Sunser.

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Retired, longtime GCC President Stuart Steiner in the middle, then Craig Yunker and GC Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini.

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Diane D. Torcello, chair of the College's Board of Trustees.

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Eunice A. Lewin, SUNY trustee.

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Craig Yunker, chair of the GCC Foundation's Creating Our Future Together Campaign.

April 28, 2016 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

The halls at Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School were full of colorful and imaginative artwork and pottery, and the cafeteria was filled with music as hundreds of community members, parents, teachers and students got their creative buzz on. The school’s third-annual Buzzin’ Bistro event showcased a wide range of talent and drew a huge, enthusiastic crowd on April 22.

The Buzzin’ Bistro began with the opening of the District Art Show, which featured visual arts from the elementary and jr./sr. high schools. Participating art teachers Melissa Coniglio, Sandy Auer and Justine Fritz displayed the best work from their classes in a variety of media, including several exceptional student portfolios.

The main event, however, was the music. The Buzzin’ Bistro is an opportunity for students from grades five through 12 to perform with each other in front of a community audience. They are also able to sing and play as equals alongside their music teachers and talented musicians from the Bergen community. This year, guest artist Johnny Cummings, talented songwriter and Byron-Bergen alumnus (2000), and his band entertained and inspired the young artists.

The musical portion of the evening began with the fifth- and sixth-grade Jazz Band and Jazz Choir, directed by teachers Robert Lancia and Karen Tischer, with impressive solos from students Cameron Carlson and Angel Heick. Teacher Kevin Bleiler directed both the jr. and sr. high jazz bands in several numbers that had the younger members of the audience on their feet dancing. The Singing Silhouettes, a select group of high school chorus members, led by teacher Laurence Tallman, swung a wonderful version of the classic “In the Mood.”

Students took a breather to let staff members Amanda Cook, Alyson Tardy, Amber Taylor-Burns, Jodie Vandelay and Megan Wahl, along with community musicians Steve Keenan, Chris DeValder and Bob Wilkins, join the music department to perform a few numbers. Johnny Cummings and his band, Something Else, followed with a showstopping 30-minute set that had all the students up and dancing. The evening concluded with a rendition of “Twist and Shout” involving the jr. high band, sr. high band and community members.

Buzzin’ Bistro was sponsored and supported by the Byron-Bergen Music Boosters, Todd Sloat from T.S. Lighting, LLC, Ralph Marsocci from McCullagh Coffee Roasters, Ralph & Rosie’s Delicatessen, and Greg’ry’s Bakery.

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April 26, 2016 - 9:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, byron-bergen, news.

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The Byron-Bergen Central School District’s Board of Education has named Mickey Edwards as the district’s next Superintendent. Edwards’ start date is July 1.

“The search process was rigorous and the Board of Education truly values the input we received from the various stakeholder groups, including staff, and community members who met with the candidates to help us make a final decision,” said Board President Debi List.

“With his dedication, enthusiasm, and professional background, along with a deep understanding of many aspects of educational leadership, our board feels that Mr. Edwards is an excellent fit for the students, faculty and staff of the district."

Edwards currently serves as the superintendent of Wyoming Central Schools located in Wyoming, NY. Previously, he served as the coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for Orleans/Niagara BOCES, a position he held from 2009 until 2014.

Edwards began teaching in 1995 as an art teacher for the Hilton Central School District. In 1996, he began teaching at Albion Central Schools as an Art/Technology instructor. He continued his career at Albion Central Schools serving as the elementary school dean of students, middle school assistant principal and high school principal. Edwards is a veteran of the Marine Corp.

Edwards earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Roberts Wesleyan College, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from The College at Brockport. He holds a School District Administrator certificate from The College at Brockport.

“I am very excited to join the Byron-Bergen Central School District team and meet the staff, students, and the community members of Byron and Bergen. Byron-Bergen Central School District should be proud of its many accomplishments and strengths. I look forward to continuing this tradition of excellence as we work together to ensure that our students are successful and prepared for tomorrow,” Edwards said.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, acted as search consultant. MacDonald said the Board developed and implemented a process that helped to determine the best candidate.

“Mr. Edwards understands the challenges and issues the districts in our region face. His breadth of experience, and educational leadership will greatly benefit this district as he works with the Board of Education, staff and community to provide a quality education for the children of this community,” MacDonald said.

April 25, 2016 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

The Byron-Bergen chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) welcomed 15 new student members to their distinguished company on April 20.

The service included congratulations from Interim Superintendent Jon Hunter, Ph.D., along with the time-honored candle-lighting ceremony that acknowledges the high standards students in NHS must exhibit in knowledge, character, leadership, service and scholarship.

Inductees each received a yellow rose, which they shared with family members, and were presented with their traditional honor cords and certificates.

Jr./Sr. High School Principal Patrick McGee asked students to consider the question posed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”: Why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? He challenged students to work hard and use every opportunity they can find to fulfill their promising futures.

Students also heard from two inspiring guest speakers, Amy (Seward) Stacy (Class of 1980), and Helen Hulburt, the mother of Judy (Hulburt) Holly (Class of 1976). Stacy and Holly were this year’s Alumni Hall of Fame honorees.

The 2016 inductees to the Byron-Bergen National Honor Society are: Cameron Brumsted, Catherine Brumsted, Lauren Burke, Benjamin Chaback, Quinn Chapell, Brionna DeMichel, Margaret Graney, Justin Hannan, Hayley Hoehn, Brian Ireland, Daniel Jensen, Peyton Mackey, Makenzie Muoio, Leah Thompson and Dana VanValkenburg.

Current Members of the Byron-Bergen National Honor Society are: Olivia Audsley, Merrisa Bohn, Rose Bower, Bethany Ezard, Rider Farnsworth, Chase Felton, Clare Fraser, Brittany Goebel, Lauren Graney, Kaitlyn Harder, Ana Hubbard, Cora Ivison, Kelsey Maurer, Taylor McPherson, Celia Mercovich, Ashley Montgomery, Esther Musiyevich, Grace Pulcini, Brittany Rada, Brandon Reiner, Alexandria Rosse, Colby Savage, Adam Walter and Michael Zwerka.

National Honor Society membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but also challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service. The organization has chapters in all 50 states, Canada, and beyond.

April 21, 2016 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, elba, news.

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Press release:

Imagine a classroom where students can design and manufacture an iPhone case, whistles or even a part for an RC car for pennies on the dollar.

It's happening at Elba Central School with the help of a 3-D printer, which the school acquired as part of Genesee Valley BOCES Make and Take Workshop back in February.

A 3-D printer works much like a more familiar 2-D text and picture printer.

"3D printers take a digital file and turn it into a three-dimensional object layer by layer," said Elba's Technology coordinator, Mary Beth Stacy. "Engineering classes can print their designs and see if they will actually work instead of just assuming that it will. The printer we have can actually print many of it's own parts."

"The students design the objects using CAD software and then print it," Stacy said. "Sometimes the design works and sometimes it fails. Great life lessons about learning from their mistakes and not giving up are being reinforced, along with critical thinking and problem solving skills."

Instead of ink, users can choose their own material. Most educators use a low-cost plastic filament.

"The students are really excited to see it," Kevin Rombaut, technology teacher at Elba Central School said. "It allows them to see rapid prototyping and modeling. It gives them actual objects that they can see and hold other than just a computer rendering or imagination.

"It allows them to create parts and/or objects and to re-invent. I had one student break a part on their RC vehicle. They took it, drew a new one, changed the design to offer more support, and printed a new part out."

Elba Central School is doing what it can in keeping current with technology to help their students succeed in the future.

As Stacy pointed out, "Our students' futures will have technology embedded in their daily lives."

April 14, 2016 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, stem.

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Oakfield-Alabama Central School continues to innovate around the tech-education curriculum, and today students participated in a project to build a new 3D printer for the school.

The project was part of a class taught by Patti Buczek and Missy Lee.

Photos provided by the school district.

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March 9, 2016 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, batavia, news.

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Students from eight area high schools were at Genesee Community College today to show off their sales and marketing skills in a virtual trade fair sponsored by the Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) program.

The students applied skills they learned in their classrooms to try and convince others to buy their products using virtual credit cards. Students were required to interact with potential buyers by making pitches, showing off catalogs and demonstrating their products. The transactions were recorded and receipts deposited in virtual bank accounts. Students are judged on sales skills and sales results. The top three businesses were to receive awards.

Particpating schools were Batavia, Dansville, Elba, Le Roy (two teams), Livonia, Notre Dame and there was a team from Wyoming County.

Also coming up are the annual Tech Wars, which is March 17, starting at 9:30 a.m.

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March 8, 2016 - 9:10am
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, schools, news.

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Le Roy's Wolcott Street School was evacuated this morning “due to an odor,” Brian Foeller, business administrator, said in an automated voice message to parents.

Students were not allowed into the building, and are being sent home.

Students who take the bus to school will be “reverse-bused” home. Those who do not have a parent to receive them will be taken to the junior-senior high school or to a sitter if one is on file, the message said.

Students who walked to school were being dismissed from the school auditorium, the message said.

Wolcott Street School houses students in grades K-6.

UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: Le Roy Fire Department and RG&E personnel are at the school to investigate a possible natural gas leak. Also, in a follow-up automated message, the district said the evacuation was completed by 9:30 a.m. and any students who have not been sent home can be picked up at the Junior-Senior High School. 

March 4, 2016 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, schools, education, batavia, news.

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It was Family Reading Night at Jackson School on Thursday night, with parents joining their children for events at the school, including community volunteers reading to students.

Above, City Schools Superintendent Chris Dailey reading to a class.

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Barbara Holder, who retired many years ago from teaching, but still regularly volunteers at Jackson School, was the reader in another classroom.

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Batavia Police Officer Pete Flanagan.

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Shaley Johnson plays a puzzle game with Jesse Higgins.

February 26, 2016 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba central school district, schools, education, elba, news.

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Press release:

In a recent Buffalo Business First magazine, Elba Central Middle and High Schools' combined ranking placed in the top spot among all 17 schools in the Eastern Tier (Orleans, Genesee & Wyoming counties).

Factors used in determining each school's ranking are percentage of graduates who received Regents diplomas, Regents scores in 10 subjects and scores on statewide English and math tests -- all over the last four years.

Elba Central was also the only school of the 22 schools in the Genesee Valley to have a 100-percent passing rate on the Geometry Regents and the U.S. History Regents.

“Because we’re small, it’s difficult for any student to get lost in the shuffle," explained Elba Schools Superintendent Keith Palmer. “And even though we’re a public school, our staff treat our students as if we’re providing a private education, focusing on individual needs with individual interventions and taking the time to work with students who need it."

Submitted photo.

February 24, 2016 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, stem.

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There is hardly a profession in America that isn't being changed profoundly by technology. From taxi drivers and plumbers to big company CEOs, the world is increasingly digital.  

The Oakfield-Alabama Central School District wants to prepare students for this new and fast-changing world by providing them with the latest technology as learning tools.

As a pilot program this year, students in fifth and sixth grade were each provided Chromebooks (based on software from Google). The computers are touchscreen and connected to cloud servers, making file sharing easy for students both at school and at home on their own devices and with teachers, who are equipped in class with giant touchscreens.

"This is a skill set you're not going to escape, no matter what career path you choose to go down, even if you're at home and your spouse works, you're still going to need these skills to be a productive member of society," said Rob Zdrojewski, the district's director of instructional technology. "You're going to need to know how to communicate electronically."

The plan for the district is to roll out the technology to all of the grade levels with the help of a grant from the state, called a Smart Schools grant.

So far, there's positive feedback from students and teachers.

"It's a lot more fun and easier, too, because you don't have to keep track of a lot of papers or anything on your Chromebooks," said fifth-grader Jose Reding.

A hot topic of debate in Silicon Valley circles is over the shortage of women in the technology field, especially as entrepreneurs. Reding, like Mckenna Johnson, are probably unaware of such controversies, but both are ready to do something about it. Both have already built their own Web sites (Reding with Weebly, and Johnson with WordPress) and both say they think they might want to run their own technology businesses someday.

"I've always loved technology," said Mckenna, whose parents own Millennium Computers in Batavia, "It's helping me do more and I can learn more." 

Mckenna's also made a contribution to her class, using her tech savvy, by setting up a group contact in Gmail so one e-mail can be sent to all the students in the class at the same time.

While Josie and Mckenna might represent the top of the learning curve, it's a pretty shallow curve, said their math teacher, Michelle Smith.

"There are definitely kids with more experience," Smith said, but when I look around the classroom, I couldn't pick out a kid who is struggling with something because they don't know how to use the technology."

While there are districts around the country which are adopting more technology in classrooms, not all of them are providing devices for each student, Zdrojewski said. The advantage of O-A's approach, he said, is that it levels the playing field. There are students who can afford the latest iPhone for their children and there are parents who can't even afford a $50 tablet from Amazon, so with the district providing Chromebooks, no student is without a device.

"The Chromebooks are a great leveler," Zdrojewski said. "All of the students can participate in social media, they can all do their assignments online, because they all have the tools to do it."

The other benefit of the new technology, Smith said, is it raises the level of engagement. Kids are excited and they stay on task more readily.

"I think it's made the kids take more ownership of their work, not only in math, but other subject areas as well," Smith said. "And with the Chrombooks, there is a lot more data available to me to help drive my individualized instruction for each student."

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February 8, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, sports.

High school student-athletes interested in playing sports in college are invited to a discussion tonight in the library of Batavia High School starting at 6:30 p.m. The workshop is open to student-athletes grades eight through 12 and their parents and will provide information on NCAA rules and requirements, eligibility, scholarships and recruiting. Kelly Cruttenden, an associate athletic director at University at Buffalo, will lead the discussion.

February 7, 2016 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, Pavilion.

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A panel of legislators and an audience of school board members and administrators who gathered in Pavilion on Saturday morning all seemed to agree that cuts in state aid to schools, mandates, and a restrictive property tax cap are hurting school districts.

School districts are in financial dire straights and can't continue to tap into reserves to provide the same level of services to students and their families was the general message of the discussion.

"What we would like to see, because we know the property tax cap is so low, what we would like to see in the Senate Republican Caucus, is eliminate the GA (Gap Elimination Adjustment) fully this year and add to the Foundation Aid so that we can fund our schools," said Sen. Cathy Young, who represents Cattaraugus County and is chair of the State Senate's Finance Committee.

Gap Elimination Adjustments were a prime target during the panel discussion. The program is a product of 2010-11 fiscal year when state funds were tight and Foundation Aid was being cut. While the word "gap" might imply the program was meant to replace what was being lost in Foundation Aid, for most school districts in the state, the program just meant fewer dollars to fund programs.

For the region, GA has cost school districts more than $140 million over the past five years. For the current fiscal year, those school districts are underfunded, officials say, by $21,447,597.

Meanwhile, the complicated tax cap formula limits any increase in school district revenue to .12 percent.

David Little, executive director of NYS Rural Schools, said there are districts that a year ago didn't need a voter-approved tax cap override, but this year, with the exact same budget, will need to go to voters for approval.

Until 2010-11, school districts were kept on a level playing field across the state through Foundation Aid. It's a complex formula but accounts for publication, household income, district size and cost of living to arrive at the size of an annual grant to school districts to ensure they have enough operational revenue.

Over the past five years, as the figures above indicate, Foundation Aid has been slashed drastically, and GA hasn't closed the gap.

The issue of mandate relief was raised early in the discussion by Paul Alioto, superintendent in Dansville, and several of the panel members responded.

Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer said he was on a task force that came up with a list of 51 mandates that could be targeted for elimination, but as soon as you start to dig into them one-by-one, you find each has their constituency, people who will fight tooth and nail to keep it alive.

One of his pet mandates to eliminate is one that requires a third audit of district financial records. It costs districts from $10,000 to $100,000 annually and in Ranzenhofer's view, it's unnecessary. He was able to get a bill through that exempted the state's smallest school districts, but subsequent attempts to exempt more districts have been stymied.

"We have to be able to get (a reform) through both houses," Ranzenhofer said. "It seems like common sense to me, but there is somebody in the Assembly majority who feels it is a good idea to have these audits."

Young said mandates around special needs students are particularly contentious. Many of the mandates could be shifted to a federal budget responsibility, but at the local level, people fear change. At the local level, it's often easy to see how mandated spending on even one special needs child might lead to the elimination of an advanced placement class, which creates local conflicts, but it's difficult to shift expense responsibility to the federal government.

David Little said New York's funding formula is backward compared to just about every other state in the Union. In New York, the state picks up only about 40 percent of the cost of education; in other states, the school district is on the hook for less than 40 percent and the state covers the rest of the expense.

And that's something that could be fixed easily, Little said, at least in theory, though the politics of it are much more tricky. The state mandates a pension program that is state run, but the school districts pay into the program. If the state covered pension expense, Little said, that 40/60 split would flip. It would lift a huge expense burden from school districts.

Assemblyman Bill Nojay took aim at standardized testing. He said children need a broad range of experience and the ability to think critically. The system, he said, is forcing children at a younger and younger age into silos -- "you're going to be a doctor, you're going to be an engineer ... "

He said he was in China recently and their standardized testing is even more rigorous, and people there complain about it.

"For what purpose?" Nojay said. "No matter how good the standards, we are teaching to the test, for lack of a better term, and the obsession with testing, in my judgment, and the Chinese experience, it's not good for child development. It is immensely counterproductive to the development of a society."

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said the drift in education is being driven by a progressive agenda that is hurting America in a lot of ways, and he spoke at length about increases in the minimum wage and problems with the healthcare system.

He shared a story about a call from a restaurant owner who employs 27 servers. An increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour will cost that restaurant owner an additional $105,000 a year.

The owner also recently had a waitress and cook who fell in love and she became pregnant. The waitress did have health insurance, so the owner set her up with an appointment with a health insurance navigator. he waitress reported back that the good news was, she was going to get health insurance. The bad news was that in order to qualify, she couldn't work more than two days a week, and the child's father, a full-time cook at the restaurant, couldn't work more than three days a week.

"We've lost our way in this state with hands out instead of hands on, actually working," Hawley said. "This is not the America we grew up in. It's not the free enterprise system we all prospered under, or tried to prosper under, and that movement over the last seven years across this state is going the wrong way and it's hurting education."

January 29, 2016 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, schools, education, GSO, batavia, Batavia HS.

Anytime we cover an entertainment event at Batavia High School, we wind up with a picture of Ross Chua performing. He's very talented and very motivated. This is a photo from a talent show in June.

Besides being a performer, Chua is also a songwriter and composer. On Monday, the Genesee Symphony Orchestra played one of his compositions so it could be recorded to include with his college auditions and interviews.

This may be the first time the GSO performed a composition by a local high school student.

Here's the video:

January 26, 2016 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Imagination Station, batavia, schools.

Press release from Imagination Station:

Due to the water main break in between the Robert Morris School and Notre Dame School, we are having to close our Batavia facility early today. We request that all students are picked up by 3:30 p.m. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

January 26, 2016 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, ugandan water project.

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Press release:

On Jan. 25, students at Byron-Bergen Elementary School hosted representatives from the Ugandan Water Project, a humanitarian organization headquartered in Bloomfield that works with communities in Africa to provide safe, accessible drinking water.

After learning how precious water is to children and families in Uganda, students took on the challenge to help raise funds to install a rainwater collection system at a school there. The system will serve a community of almost 400 people for up to 35 years. Byron-Bergen students will change lives.

“It is just as important to us to help kids here in Byron-Bergen see how powerful they are; how every one of them is capable of changing the world, as it is to bring safe drinking water to villages in Uganda,” said Ugandan Water Project Executive Director James Harrington. “Our purpose is to help kids grow on both continents.

"The connection between Byron-Bergen and Uganda began last year with a chance meeting between Harrington and third-grade teacher Lynnette Gall. Thanks to the elementary school’s Character Education Committee, with help from educational experts at the Ugandan Water Project, teachers school-wide are incorporating the concept of water as a valuable resource into their studies of world culture, geography, and science.

Students will learn how water is used, where water comes from, about the water cycle, and the problems caused by unequal distribution of water around the world.

The Ugandan Water Project presentation began with joyful Ugandan folk music played by Harrington, and a chance for children to try out traditional dance steps. Students then experienced what it is like to try to carry a 40- to 50-pound container of water — a task faced by many Ugandan children who live over an hour from their water source.

Harrington and Ugandan Water Project Communications Lead Megan Busch then spoke about their water projects, over 250 currently, and demonstrated how something as simple as a small filter can make unsanitary water safe to drink.

The nonprofit Ugandan Water Project was founded in 2008, and works with more than 200 communities in Uganda. Their water solutions include rainwater collection systems, well repair and water purification systems. To contribute to Byron-Bergen Elementary School’s campaign visit http://ugandanwaterproject.com/product/byron-bergen/ by Feb. 12.

Top photo: Special water filters can purify otherwise undrinkable water. Byron-Bergen students and their teachers join Ugandan Water Project Executive Director James Harrington in sampling clean, safe filtered water.

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Byron-Bergen Elementary School students shake their tail feathers as part of a traditional Ugandan dance.

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Students try to imagine carrying heavy containers of water over long distances. Many Ugandan children their age face this daunting task every day. 

January 21, 2016 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education.

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Press release:

This year’s National Geographic Society Geography Bees for grades seven and eight, and grades four through six were held earlier this month at the Byron-Bergen Junior High and Elementary schools. All of the participants qualified after earning high scores on written tests taken in December.

At the Junior High, the top student performers were — Grade eight: Caitlin Ashton, Siomara Caballero, Alex Dean, Kyle Foeller, Sara Fraser, Coltin Henry, Connor Kaminski, Cambria Kinkelaar, Garrett Swinter, Justice Towne, Hannah VanSkiver, Abby Vurraro, and Grant Williams. Grade seven: Nick Baubie, Ricky Denson, Josh Fleming, Colby Leggo, John Mercovich, Isaiah Merrell, Zechariah Merrell, Andrew Parnapy, Deacon Smith, and Josh Swapceinski.

The very smartest Bees on this side of the globe were students Ricky Denson and Alex Dean, who competed in the event’s Championship Round. Denson was able to answer all three final questions correctly and was declared the Junior High School Geography Bee Champion. He was awarded a $25 Amazon.com gift card. As the runner-up, Dean received a $15 Amazon.com gift card.

The next step for Denson will be a written test. If his score is one of the 100 highest in the state, he will be invited to take part in the New York State Bee. State winners compete in the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C., hosted by Alex Trebek from the “Jeopardy” TV show.

At the Elementary School, there were also many outstanding competitors: Jared Barnum, Dayanara Caballero, Cameron Carlson, Caris Carlson, Braedyn Chambry, Sadie Cook, Evan Cuba, Gianni Ferrara, Emily Henry, Frank Hersom, Grace Huhn, Brooke Jarkiewicz, Ryan Muscarella, Stephanie Onderdonk, Madelynn Pimm, Elizabeth Piper, Carter Prinzi, Elli Schelemanow, Grace Shepard, Ella VanValkenburg, Alexandra Vurraro, Dawson Young, Corden Zimmerman, and Nicholas Zwerka.

The new 2016 Champion Corden Zimmerman, a sixth-grader, will also be taking a written exam in hopes of qualifying for the state competition. Fifth-grader Cameron Carlson was the runner-up.

District teachers and counselors also played a part in the success of the events. At the Elementary School: Judges Craig Schroth, Erin Varley, and Liz Findlay; moderator Rick Merritt; and Bee Coordinator Ken Rogoyski. At the Jr. High School: Judges Rob Kaercher, Matt Walther, and Bryan Kavanaugh; moderator Debbie Slocum; organizer Ken Gropp; and Interim Dean of Students Aaron Clark.

Top photo: Elementary School Geogrpahy Bee Champion Corden Zimmerman.

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Byron-Bergen Junior High School participants in the National Geographic Society Geography Bee for grades seven and eight.

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Junior High Geography Bee Champion Ricky Denson, Mr. Gropp, and runner-up Alex Dean.

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Contestants from grades four through six in the 2016 National Geographic Society Geography Bee at Byron-Bergen Elementary School.

January 20, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, schools, education.

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Press release:

Four students from the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center recently competed in the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association (NFADA) Ron Smith Memorial AutoTech Competition. This event was held on Jan. 16 at Erie Community College.

Santiago Deluna, from Batavia CS, and Tyler Weaver, from Pavilion CS, both juniors, competed in the tire rodeo. This timed event tested the students’ speed and accuracy as they demonstrated their expertise on the Hunter TC3700 tire changer. Both students were required to take an exam about tire theory. This team placed second. Tyler took first place for the highest test score and won a Best Buy gift card.

Seniors Dylan Binnert, from Caledonia-Mumford CS, and Dan Cone, from Pavilion CS, participated in a three-part competition. The first section of the competition was comprised of workstations that included front-end alignment, wheel balance, brake systems, electrical repair, precision measurement, and noise and vibration diagnosis. The second phase of the competition included debugging a 2016 Ford F150 Truck. The competition concluded with a mock employment interview.

Dylan and Dan, the senior team, earned first place and will advance to the national competition in New York City at the end of March. This trip is an all expenses paid trip funded by the Niagara Frontier Automotive Dealer Association. Dunn Tire, LLC, sponsored the competition.

All four young men are students in the Auto Technology Program at the Batavia CTE. Bob Yates is the instructor.

Photo: Scott Bieler, president of West Herr Ford; Dylan Binnert; Dan Cone; and Bob Yates, celebrate the team’s first-place win in the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association (NFADA) Ron Smith Memorial AutoTech Competition.

January 15, 2016 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, schools, education, nutrition.

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It was celebrity chef night at Le Roy High School on Thursday, with three local chefs acting as instructors for a group of teachers who competed against each other to create the best healthy meal.

While awards were given for best salad and best entree, the evening was really about providing a real-world lesson in healthy eating, said Michelle Sherman, a phys-ed teacher and coordinator of the wellness program at the school.

"It's so easy to create these meals out of just stuff you would have in a pantry and you don't have to go pick up fast food," Sherman said. "It's easy, and it's fun. You can have a nice fun family night by doing all of this."

The local chefs instructing the teams were Selby Davis, Hassan Silmi and Sam Hillburger. On Davis's team were Erica Jermy and Kim Cox. On Silmi's team were Julie Coleman and Mike Humphrey. On Hillburger's team were Tatyana Qadiri and Pete Green.

The judges are students in the Culinary Arts Program at BOCES, and they were Emily McVicker, Abbey Cacner, Steven Stephany and Nicholas Shepard.

Brian Moran was emcee.

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