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January 12, 2017 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, news.

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A $26.8-million plan for a wide range of improvements and upgrades within the Batavia City Schools is moving to the next phase of the approval process after getting a funding guarantee from the state and unanimous approval of the school board.

The next phase, a public hearing followed by a vote of district residents in March.

The public hearing will be at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the high school. The public vote will be Thursday, March 2.

The district will use $7.5 million saved in the capital reserve fund and the balance of the expenditure will be covered by the state.

This funding plan, said Scott Rozanski, business administrator, will mean the district can complete a number of projects without a local tax increase specifically for this project.

Rozanski compared the project to something a homeowner needs to do periodically, basic maintenance, replacing old and worn out parts of the house and making general improvements.

"It allows us to move into the 21st century in a lot of different ways," Rozanski said. "There will be technology upgrades and we can take care of our facilities for the long run. There are some things that need fixing and some things that needed fixing after our consolidation in 2012. After living in it for four or five years, things fit but they could be a better fit."

All of the schools will get fixes specific to those locations.

Batavia Middle School (floor plan above) will receive:

  • a renovated building entrance and improved entrance security;
  • expanded music area;
  • upgraded finish on gym floor, stairway halls, auditorium and classrooms;
  • improved indoor air quality;
  • upgraded lighting and PA system;
  • replacement of roof areas.

Batavia High School:

  • auditorium upgrades, including lighting and sound system and improved orchestra pit;
  • upgraded fire alarm system;
  • expanded restrooms;
  • roof replacements;
  • improved parent drop-off configuration.

Jackson School:

  • upgrade finishes in classroom;
  • expanded restrooms;
  • upgraded lighting system;
  • exterior window replacements.

John Kennedy School:

  • classroom addition;
  • reconfigure interior spaces;
  • window replacements, roof repairs;
  • upgraded lighting system;
  • improved parent drop-off;
  • improved sound system.

Upgrades to Richmond Memorial Library, including ventilations and the fire alarm system, are also part of the scope of work.

A big part of the project is a proposal to demo the current Van Detta Stadium and reconfigure the location of the stadium (still to be called Van Detta) and Woodward Field.

Woodward Field would get artificial turf and the surrounding track would become an improved synthetic material. 

Without this rebuild, Rozanski said, the 70-year-old Van Detta will become a bigger and bigger money pit. The current estimated costs of repairs and upgrades to improve accessibility and safety are nearly as costly as what the district is proposing now.

An improved, all-purpose facility will also help Batavia become a destination location, being halfway between Rochester and Buffalo, for regional sports competitions.

Even now, he said, the district gets requests to host events but can't because they conflict the the high school's own use of the facilities.

"We could keep repairing it or we could fix it permanently for 30 or 40 years and have very little maintenance expense," Rozanski said. "(Given the location) we should be able to draw a lot of different activities and that should benefit all businesses in the community. We should have increased (numbers of) people coming into the area to hotels, restaurants, retail and whatever other types of business. That will have a long-term positive impact on the community."

January 10, 2017 - 5:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, batavia, news, schools, education.

chaya_patty.jpgPress release:

Genesee Community College has appointed its next dean of Student Services, a familiar face with years of experience working with students, faculty and staff, and service to the College. Patricia "Patty" Chaya emerged as the top choice from a lengthy search of many qualified candidates, and will assume the responsibilities of dean of students, transitioning from her previous role of associate dean of the GCC Warsaw and Lima campus centers.

Chaya joined the College in 2002 as associate dean of the Warsaw campus, and inherited the same role with the Lima campus in 2012. Handling multiple duties, she was charged with leading, directing, team building and administrative oversight for all operations at both campus centers. In 2013, Chaya was awarded the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service, an award given to recognize consistent superior professional achievement.

"Her familiarity with the GCC community and experience working with our students will make her an invaluable asset to our team," said Virginia "Ginny" Taylor, Ph.D., vice president for Student and Enrollment Services. "We are excited for the students, faculty and staff at the Batavia campus to begin working with Patty, whose passion for helping others has always been evident."

Chaya holds a bachelor's in Sociology from SUNY Fredonia and a master's in Student Personnel Administration from the University at Buffalo. She was a resident assistant while attending SUNY Fredonia and became residence hall director after earning her bachelor's degree.

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to take on a new professional challenge," Chaya said. "There is great potential with the dean of Student Services position, and new initiatives are important for moving forward. Not only do I hope to cultivate new programs such as those relating to wellness, but I plan on expanding the delivery and availability of these programs using our current technology, making them more accessible for our students."

Prior to working at GCC, Patty was the associate director at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, and also worked for the Genesee County YWCA as the director of the Domestic Violence Program. She is heavily involved in the GLOW community, serving as the vice president of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Business Education Alliance (BEA) Board of Directors in Livingston County.

"I live in the community and am familiar with local issues," Chaya explained. "I have a strong commitment to GCC and am confident I can be a strong ambassador for the College."

As the dean of student services, Chaya will work closely with College administration to enhance its current leadership program and expanding innovative student development programs. Among numerous other areas, she will focus on student retention and degree completion, as well as handling student conduct and discipline.

Chaya officially began her new role on Jan. 3rd. Patty and husband, Ray, a former GCC BEST Center staff member, currently reside in Batavia.

January 10, 2017 - 2:37pm

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Farash Foundation, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Rochester Area Community Foundation sponsored a contest for high school students and last night Byron-Bergen learned the videos it produced for the contest grabbed Second Place and Third Place.

The contest challenged students to make public service announcements for in-demand jobs of the future.

Students in Byron-Bergen's tech academy made two videos about food processing.

The full press release about the contest is here.

All of the videos that won and placed are here.

January 3, 2017 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, news.

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December was Kindness Month at John Kennedy School and throughout the month, the "Kindness Elf" went around spreading kindness. Just before Christmas, the Elf helped arrange a visit by members of the Batavia FD and Batavia PD.

The firefighters and police officers shared cookies with the second-grade class of Mrs. Marsh and Mrs. Lebeau. The teachers then helped the students write thank you notes to the police and fire departments. The students not only thanked them for coming to the school but thanked them for all they do on a daily basis to help our community and to keep us safe.

Photo and info submitted by Courtney Marsh.

December 31, 2016 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.

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Peter Beuler, a teacher at Oakfield-Alabama, shared with us today this photo and information about students from O-A going to Albany on Dec. 19 to witness electors casting their votes.

Oakfield-Alabama teacher Peter Beuler’s Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics class was selected by the Governor’s office to represent the Great Lakes region on December 19th to witness New York State’s Electoral College vote for the 45th President of the United States.

The voting was conducted at noon in the Senate Chamber at the State Capitol building in Albany.

This was a prestigious honor for Oakfield-Alabama because only one-hundred high school students state-wide were chosen by the Governor’s office to observe this historic event.

The twelve students had a busy day as they left at 4:45 in the morning and didn’t get back until eight at night.

While in Albany the students were able to visit the offices of their state legislative representatives; State Senator Ranzenhofer and State Assemblyman Hawley.  During the hour-long Electoral College vote, the twelve students got to view and hear from Former President Bill Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, Buffalo’s Mayor Byron Brown, Rochester’s Mayor Lovely Warren, and other New York State public officials.

Before departing Albany, the AP class received a guided tour of the capitol building where they ran into and got a second to speak to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

The AP class and Mr. Beuler are very grateful to the community members and school’s administrative team who helped make this trip possible.

In the photo: Emily Staniszewski, Ryan Missel, Joshua Larmon, Ciera Baker, Hannah Newton, Mr. Peter Beuler. Clayton Smith, Sara Voltura, Hope Kollarik, Olivia Carroll, Jonah Schnettler, Jacob Houseknecht, Haily Davis.

December 28, 2016 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, news.

Press release:

In sports, it's the MVP or most valuable player. In journalism and the arts, it's a Pulitzer Prize. Film has its Oscars and Academy Awards, and television has the Emmy Awards. But in the serious business of higher education, standards of excellence and adherence to quality are gauged by the Commission on Higher Education, a voluntary, non-government, regional membership association that assures institutional accountability, improvement and innovation through a rigorous application of standards within a peer reviewed process.

James M. Sunser, Ed.D., president of Genesee Community College, was recently appointed as one of 26 commissioners (board members) of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which oversees 530 colleges and universities within New York State, as well as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. He was selected from 85 nominations for just three open seats, and he is one of the few community college presidents to serve as commissioner.

MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation to accredit degree-granting institutions which offer one or more post-secondary educational programs of at least one academic year. Sunser joins the team of academic leaders who help define, maintain and promote educational excellence across many institutions with diverse missions, student populations and resources. Prior to his appointment as a commissioner, he served as a chairman or a member of an evaluation team within the peer-review process on more than a dozen occasions over the past 20 years.

To earn and retain accreditation through MSCHE, each institution of higher education undergoes a multi-stage accreditation review process every 10 years that begins with an intensive self study. The institution appoints a steering committee and working groups, and organizes campus-wide discussions to prepare a comprehensive Self-Study Report focused on specific accreditation standards. The Report also helps frame the three-day site visit by an assigned evaluation team made up of members from peer institutions.

After careful review of the Self-Study Report and numerous on-campus interviews, the evaluation team chair compiles an Evaluation Report summarizing the team's overall findings. In the end, the commissioners of MSCHE can affirm accreditation, require follow-up action, or remove accreditation.

Ironically, Genesee Community College is currently undergoing its decennial evaluation and is in the final stages of completing its 150+ page Self-Study Report with its MSCHE site visit scheduled April 2-5. (To avoid all conflicts of interest, the commissioners recuse themselves from all discussions involving their own institutions of employment.)

President Sunser is a native of Syracuse and has spent the majority of his professional career in higher education. He is a graduate of Onondaga Community College, earned his BS degree from Syracuse University, an MS from SUNY College at Brockport, and a Certificate of Advanced Study and his Ed.D. Degree from the University of Rochester. He came to GCC in 2011, after working at Onondaga Community College in several capacities including as the bursar and vice president for finance, and vice president for continuing and extended learning.

"I am truly honored to be a part of such an important organization within higher education," President Sunser said of his new appointment. "Accreditation is the lynch pin that holds higher education together. From setting policy to the self-assessments, team reviews during on-site visits, Middle States has imparted leadership in higher ed throughout its nearly 100-year history."

December 26, 2016 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news.

Today, we look back on 2016 to celebrate the accomplishments of the young people in our community in three of the most important aspects of life: Academics, the Arts and Athletics.

To purchase prints of any of these photos, click here.

December 23, 2016 - 8:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia MS, schools, education, batavia, news.

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Students, along with teachers and staff, from Batavia Middle School, made their annual field trip today, visiting some of the local organizations and businesses that supported the school over the past year.

The students handed out gift bags with presents that they made.

The photo above is from their visit to Batavia PD, and below, at WBTA with Jerry Warner.

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December 23, 2016 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Batavia City School District’s Jackson Primary School teacher, Melissa Mattice, was presented with an Outstanding Employee Award by Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Dec. 20 Board meeting.

She was nominated by Jackson Principal Diane Bonarigo, who wrote, “Mrs. Mattice is a kindergarten teacher at Jackson School. She is a teacher leader and serves Jackson Primary School in many different ways year after year. She has volunteered her time on the School Improvement Team, PARP (Parents as Reading Partners) Committee, Parent Home School events and works closely with administration and staff to promote a positive and collaborative culture in the building as well as on the APPR District committee.

"Mrs. Mattice sets high academic standards and builds strong relationships with her students. She has earned a great deal of respect in the community as evidenced by the number of parent requests we receive each year, asking for Mrs. Mattice to be their child’s teacher.”

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Batavia City School District’s Jackson Primary School teacher, Marie Bigsby, was presented with an Outstanding Employee Award by Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Dec. 20 Board meeting.

She was nominated by Jackson Principal Diane Bonarigo, who wrote, “Mrs. Bigsby continues to serve the students and families of Jackson Primary with great enthusiasm and dedication. Mrs. Bigsby is a standing volunteer member on many Jackson committees. Over the past several years, however, she has also dedicated a great deal of her time as a Jackson Teacher Representative and meets monthly with our parent group volunteers and the Parent Co-Presidents to support the school with evening and weekend events.

"You can always find Mrs. Bigsby volunteering to get the school ready for Fall Carnival, Breakfast with Santa, and Family Learning Nights. She works closely with staff to create a strong partnership with our families and is able to initiate great school support throughout the year. We appreciate her hard work and am thankful for her continued contribution to Jackson School.”

Photos and info submitted by Kathy Scott, Batavia City Schools.

December 23, 2016 - 10:48am

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As students at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary left school yesterday, they were given a "High-Five Goodbye" from six NYS Troopers and K-9 "Paris."

Photo and info submitted by Lynn Gehlert.

December 22, 2016 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

A sell-out crowd of 320 guests enjoyed a celebratory night at Encore 2016 last week, Genesee Community College Foundation's annual holiday fundraising event featuring a holiday concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The Dec. 13th celebration continued the long-standing tradition of a fun and festive evening with new and old friends coming together in the spirit of raising funds for the College's numerous scholarship programs. More than $50,000 was raised.

Following the theme, "A Star Shines On," the event recognized both the 25th anniversary of Encore together with the Genesee Community College's 50th anniversary. This year, Encore was organized by a chairing committee featuring the two sisters who organized the first of the Encore events in 1991, and their multigenerational families. The co-chairs included Glenn and Rosalie Maguire Simon, joined by Rosalie's sister, Lucy Barnett and her husband, Timothy; daughter Jessica Maguire Tomidy and her husband, Alan; as well as son, Andrew Maguire and his fiancée, Jamie Beswick. In addition, Encore included special programming just for children the first time this year, allowing the children and grandchildren to attend as well.

"Planning the first Encore is a very fond memory for me and my sister Lucy. We were delighted to bring in the next generation for this significant milestone and also give children a chance to experience the arts and this incredible event," Rosalie Maguire Simon said. "We specifically revisited the theme from 25 years ago, 'A Star Shines,' and featured the star logo and artwork designed by GCC's late art instructor, Michael Powers from many years ago."

The evening featured four segments: the Prelude in the Genesee Center for the Arts; Dinner with numerous food stations set up in the central William W. Stuart Forum; the BPO concert in the Stuart Steiner Theatre featuring soprano soloist Emily Helenbrook; and finally desserts in the Wolcott J. Humphrey III Student Union.

The Genesee Community College Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to providing volunteer and philanthropic support to Genesee Community College. Formed in 1986, the Foundation has been instrumental in providing thousands of scholarships over the last decade, and assisting with the funding of numerous capital projects including the Student Success Center and the Richard C. Call Arena currently under construction and scheduled to open in the summer at GCC's Batavia Campus. The Foundation also supported the construction of the Conable Technology Building, the Humphrey Student Union, and the expansion of College Village, Genesee's student residence.

Top photo: The event's co-chairs; bottom photo: Roseann and James Sunser, and Emily Helenbrook.

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December 21, 2016 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia MS, schools, education, news, batavia.

In an effort to help students who are falling far behind in their studies, to the point where the students start to lose hope of catching up, principals Scott Wilson, Batavia High School, and Ashley John Grillo, Batavia Middle School, have developed an innovative new afterschool program to help the students make up for lost time.

Wilson described the program as "creative" at Tuesday's meeting of the City Schools Board of Trustees.

The board unanimously approved implementation of the program after Wilson's presentation.

The program will be held at the high school on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Wilson said he would anticipate from five to 15 students participating in each five-week segment.  

There would be a rotating group of teachers running the sessions each day and the program uses online courses designed to help students with makeup work as well as group learning.

"The goal is to have enough progress for the students to recover," Wilson said.

Students fall behind for a variety of reasons, from home life, to illness to other distractions and they often would like to keep up with their school work, Wilson said. That's hard to do when each day is filled with the current day's schoolwork.

During the course of the academic year, students get grades that are really just progress markers, Wilson explained, but the most important grade comes at the end of the school year, so the goal of the program is to provide midyear course correction for those who "go off-roading," Wilson said.

Wilson hopes to implement the new program starting in January.

December 21, 2016 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, schools, education, batavia, news.

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During Tuesday's City Schools board meeting, held at Jackson School, students and their teachers did a show-and-tell on some of the skills they've been learning through innovative classroom activities.

Above, kindergarteners count in increments of two to start a demonstration that included jumping in increments of two on a floor map, and then on a second trip through the map, picking up building blocks, which provides a lesson in groups and multiplication. Their teacher is Melissa Mattice.

Bottom photos, teacher Jessica Torrey works with her students in first grade on a demonstration of their writing and storytelling abilities.

During her presentation about progress at the school, Principal Diane Bonarigo said teachers and staff are very aware that the study skills and attitudes toward learning developed in kindergarten and first grade will have a big impact on a student's ability to eventually graduate from high school. 

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December 19, 2016 - 8:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's School, schools, education, batavia, news.

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Press release:

Miss Zambito’s first-grade class at St. Joe’s Catholic School spent the first few weeks of December raising their own money for a very special cause. These first-graders generously collected $160 of their chore, birthday and tooth-fairy money to purchase gifts for the girls and boys at Golisano Children’s Hospital.  

December 15, 2016 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, news, schools.

Press release:

The Byron-Bergen Central School District community has been doing an amazing job of providing assistance to our families during the holidays for years.  The B-B community members, administrators, faculty, staff and students donated toys and games, clothing items, rolls of wrapping paper, boxes for wrapping gifts, and more than 1,000 non-perishable food items.

In addition to the items above, close to $3,500 was donated by the community, administrators, faculty, and staff so we could purchase gifts for families in need from our school district. Other area businesses helped out by “adopting” families/individuals to get gifts for.

All the food items will be picked up by the local Hesperus Lodge No. 837 Free & Accepted Masons for sorting and packing into close to 100 food baskets for local families (as they have done for many, many years), with several community, Board of Education, and school district employees pitching in to help.  Sponsors of this holiday good will were organized by Hesperus Lodge No. 837 Free & Accepted Masons and coordinated by Dick Sands; and include the faculty, staff, and students of Byron-Bergen CSD; the Byron-Bergen community members, and area businesses.

Food baskets and gifts will be delivered on Saturday, Dec. 17, by the Masons and school volunteers. All involved truly believe in the magic of the holiday season!

December 11, 2016 - 2:51pm
posted by James Burns in Jackson School, education, schools, batavia, news.

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Saturday morning Jackson Primary School hosted a Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Breakfast was bagels and donuts. The children attending had the opportunity to play games and build some art and crafts. There was a basket raffle for the adults and kids. There was a book giveaway, too. Of curse any child who wanted was able to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus and get their picture taken with them. (Follow this link to see all of the pictures.) After visiting with Santa, every child was given a toy donated by Dollar General of Batavia. 

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Photos provided by www.jimburns.org

December 10, 2016 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elba Central School, elba, schools, education, news.

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Article and photo submitted by Drew Muehlig.

President-elect Donald Trump isn’t the only one putting a transition team together. Elba Central School has worked diligently over the last year and a half to get its administrative team together. Friday night, the school hosted a “Meet the Principal’s Night,” giving the community an opportunity to meet the new “team” face-to-face.

First there was new Superintendent Keith Palmer who came over from his post as high school principal at Pembroke Central School. Palmer was hired prior to the 2015-16 school year.

“As a fairly new superintendent, it is fortunate to be in a position to hire your administrative team,” Palmer said.

That team is made up of Elementary Principal Carol Bush and Junior-Senior High School Principal Mike Langridge.

“Both bring unique strengths to the District that will have a direct and immediate impact on learning,” Palmer continued. “Carol’s knowledge and experience with literacy along with her ability to speak Spanish has already benefited our most needy students at the elementary level. As an Elba alumnus, Mike brings established relationships and credibility with the faculty and community. His focus on rigorous and challenging coursework for all students will continue to prepare our high-schoolers for both college and career.”

Bush, former coordinator of the Center for School Improvement and Professional Development at Orleans/Niagara BOCES, boasts 14 years in the field of education with time as a Spanish teacher, literacy specialist and coordinator of student services and curriculum. Providing ECS students with the best possible learning experience is her top priority.

“Creating an environment that is conducive to learning and meets the needs of all students is critical,” Bush explained. Each day, teachers and students enter our school building with an array of personalities, interests, expectations, skills and talents. As the instructional leader, it is my job to recognize these unique attributes and nurture them so they may grow to their full potential.”

Langridge, former principal at the O’Connor Academy at Monroe #1 BOCES, plans to continue that same effort at the high school level.

“We will provide the opportunities and support for all students to be ready to take on their post-secondary life with the skills, abilities and character necessary to find success,” Langridge said.

Those opportunities that Langridge speaks of are far more numerous than they were when he graduated from Elba Central School in 1998.

“Students have greater access to Advanced Placement courses, ACE (Genesee Community) courses, BOCES, small class sizes, a family atmosphere in which we take care of one another, and, thanks to mergers with local districts, extracurricular options my friends and I only dreamt of as students,” Langridge added.

Many of those former students now make up the core community in Elba, fueling the growth and success of the school.

“There is a great sense of pride that exists in Elba, not only as a strong school community but also as a family,” Bush said. “Everyone is truly invested in the academic, social and emotional well-being of our students and provide a remarkable support system for one another. I continue to be amazed by their dedication and commitment.”

It seems that with their respective backgrounds and skills, Palmer, Bush and Langridge are poised to lead Elba Central School into the future.

“Carol and Mike are strong leaders and I look forward to the progress we will make in providing our students with the best education in Western New York,” Palmer said.

Photo: Mike Langridge,Carol Bush and Keith Palmer (photo credit, Michael Augello).

December 9, 2016 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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At Tuesday's meeting, the City Schools Board of Trustees, represented its president Patrick Burk, presented a series of awards.

Above, the girls swim team is recognized for the kindness they showed to a competing team near the end of the season. 

From the presentation:

A cancelled Senior Night Meet at Wilson Magnet was made up at our home pool recently. Our girls, in an act of generosity, included their four seniors from Wilson Magnet within OUR senior night ceremony with gifts of flowers, candy, individualized recognition and a custom towel.  The honor was unexpected by their families, but greatly appreciated.

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The football team, which won a third-straight Section V title, was also honored.

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Jessica Franks and Christopher Bateman – Outstanding Staff awards.

Recently, Jessica and Christopher both stepped up to help a group of students.  They helped to come up with a logical solution to a problem and volunteered their time to see it through during the school day.  Because of their thoughtfulness and student-first thinking, students in 8th grade Algebra were able to stay current and receive quality instruction during their teacher's absence.  We would like to thank Jessica and Christopher for all their hard work and dedication to the students at BMS.

Two teachers were also honored but were not present at Tuesday's meeting:

Tammy Wiedrich – Outstanding Staff Award

Tammy Wiedrich has worked tirelessly to improve the culture at BMS. She has taken a leadership role in our P.B.I.S. system by creating valuable lessons for our students during HERO meetings. Tammy has also taken the lead to coordinate the staff donated basket raffle for the Family and Community Night, which was a huge success. Currently, she is organizing a holiday gathering for the BMS staff. We would like to thank Tammy for all her hard work and dedication to our BMS family.

Kerry McBride – Outstanding Staff Award

Kerry McBride has worked very hard to promote a culture of gratitude with our staff and students. She is an integral part of our P.B.I.S. program. She helps to organize two of our PBIS events -- "Warm The Night” and our "Giving Back" field trip in December where students make gifts during the HERO meetings for our community. Recently, she placed messages and pictures on everyone's door to make them feel appreciated. Kerry works very hard to make sure that all staff and students feel appreciated. We would like to thank Kerry for her hard work and dedication to our P.B.I.S. initiative.

Photos by Howard Owens.

December 7, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, schools, education, batavia, news.

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The College and Career Center at Batavia HS, now led by Anita Strollo, has launched a new program called, "Lunch with the Pros," where students can sit down with local professionals and business leaders to learn about what it takes to pursue and succeed in various career fields.

Today, a group of students talked about law enforcement with Officers Matthew Wojtaszczyk and Marc Lawrence to learn about becoming a police officer.

Coincidently, Batavia PD is about to launch a new Explorer program and will host a meeting for potential Explorer Post members at 7 p.m., Jan. 10 and BPD headquarters, 10 West Main Street.  High school interested in joining the program are welcome to attend. RSVP to either officer at [email protected] or [email protected].

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December 7, 2016 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, schools.

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In an ambitious plan to improve facilities at the district's four schools and build a new stadium and field at Union and Richmond avenues, Superintendent Chris Dailey told the City Schools Board of Trustees on Tuesday night that the $23 million to $27 million project won't increase property taxes at all.

When a board member said, "0.0," Daily emphasized, "$0.00."

Voters will still need to approve the capital improvement project March 2. There will be public forums prior to the vote, assuming trustees approve a resolution at their Jan. 10 meeting to move forward.

At Tuesday's meetings, trustees gave every indication they like the plan.

While every school in the district will get upgrades as part of the plan, the plan's signature expenditure might be the reconstruction of Van Detta Stadium and replacing the grass of the current field with artificial turf and surrounding it with a new, larger synthetic track surface.

The location of the field would also shift diagonally on the athletic facility's current parcel and move more to the east of the parcel. This would create additional parking to the west side.

There could even be more parking near the stadium if the district is able to move the playground at the former Robert Morris School, which is currently adjacent Richmond, and put parking in that spot. The playground would be closer to the back of the current school building and would still be available to neighborhood residents.

The new stadium would have home and visitor locker rooms with tunnels leading out to the field at the 50-yard line and a new press box over the stands, as well as all new lighting.  

"We were given Woodward Field, and we built Van Detta in 1947," Daily said. "We have not done significant renovation since. Most battleships that were built in '47 are retired or are currently museums. Ours holds 2,500 screaming fans on a Friday night.

“Pretty soon it’s going to get to the point where we’re going to have to do it one way or another," Dailey added. "We can do it now with a zero tax impact and it will be called Van Detta Stadium and Woodward Field, still. It will provide a community asset."

The new facility will be able to host a larger variety of events more frequently because officials will no longer need to worry about damage to the grass field. This means not only the district's soccer and lacrosse teams will be able to compete and practice on the field, but it will be available to youth football and soccer as well as adult leagues, such as the local rugby league.

It will be able to host large regional track meets and Section V and Section VI competitions, Dailey noted, and this will benefit local restaurants and hotels and help generate revenue for the district and the community.

The project can go forward without a tax increase because the district believes both that it has enough in reserves and that much of the project can be funded through state aid. Whether the price tag is $23 million or up to $27 million will depend on how much aid the district receives. If there isn't as much aid as hoped, the project can be scaled back or more reserves can be put into the pot.

There was no discussion Tuesday as to whether any kind of bond would be required to bridge any expenditure.

For the schools, improvements include:

  • High school: Upgrades to the auditorium, new public restrooms and an upgrade to the fire alarm system; 
  • Middle school: New attendance entrance, improvements to indoor air quality, upgrades and improvements to the gym and auditorium;
  • John Kennedy: An addition with five more classrooms, reconfiguration of classrooms and upgrades to the gymnasium;
  • Jackson School: Classroom upgrades, expanded restrooms and new public restrooms, new lights throughout the building and window replacements.

If approved by voters March 2, it would be at least six months before state funding could be approved, then design work could start. Construction would likely begin in the summer of 2018, with much of the construction finishing up by the fall of 2019 into early 2020.

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