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November 3, 2017 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, Batavia CTE, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Parents of students and parents of prospective students were able to tour Batavia CTE (BOCES) last night and see firsthand what some of the course offerings are that help prepare students for careers in law enforcement, welding, manufacturing, agriculture, auto repair, cosmetology, culinary arts and other careers.

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November 1, 2017 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI, byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School seventh-grader Zoey Shepard surpassed the competition and was named Grand Prize winner in Genesee County’s annual STOP-DWI Poster Contest. Her sister, eighth-grader Grace Shepard, took First Place in the category for grades 6-8, and classmate Kendall Phillips won Third Place honors in that same group.

All three designers will be recognized at the STOP-DWI Awards Luncheon on Nov. 28 at Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility in Batavia.

The contest is sponsored by the county’s STOP-DWI Advisory Board. This year’s theme was “You can hand over your keys or your life. Make the right choice.”

Zoey Shepard’s Grand-Prize-winning poster design will be applied to T-shirts and a prominent county billboard to help raise awareness for the dangers of drinking and driving.

When the competition was announced in September, Grace Shepard, a 2016 STOP-DWI contest winner, enthusiastically promoted it to the other girls. All three designed their entries on their own time, outside of class. Art teacher Sandy Auer worked with them, guiding their discussions about what makes a great design.

“They were very serious about creating good compositions with compelling imagery and readability,” Auer said. “All three have a passion for art that is awesome to see. I really enjoy teaching them.”

Photo: Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School’s STOP-DWI award-winners (l-r) Kendall Phillips, Grace Shepard and Zoey Shepard.

October 20, 2017 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, City Schools, schools, news.

A student at Batavia High School has contracted viral meningitis, a contagious but not fatal virus, according to Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

Dailey informed parents in the school district through a memo released today.

Here's Dailey's statement:

This is to inform you that a Batavia High School student has been diagnosed with viral meningitis. It is caused by a virus and is not fatal. It can be caused by any one of the common cold or intestinal viruses. The difference is, it affects the lining of your spinal cord and brain. It is spread by person-to-person contact, or a cough, just as the common cold virus is.

The symptoms of meningitis can be fever, stiff neck and tiredness, along with a sore throat, cough or intestinal symptoms.

If your child complains of any of these symptoms, he/she should follow-up with their own physician.

The best way to keep healthy is to wash your hands regularly and not share drinking bottles.

October 13, 2017 - 5:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Batavia Middle School held its first-ever pep rally this afternoon, celebrating the participation of students in sports and clubs. Teachers and students also participated in some fun competitions.

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October 12, 2017 - 7:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, schools, education, news.

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From Science teachers Sherri Lovria and Mike Chiulli:

Science classes at Le Roy Jr. Sr. High School have current technology available to them. Digital microscopes provide students with an easier and more accurate way to view the microscopic world. Digital microscopes contain cameras for easy viewing through a software interface.

Images visible through the eyepiece are accurately viewed on a computer allowing for students to view specimen together so they can collaborate on identification and analysis. Images can be captured and saved as still photos or as videos. 

Thanks to an alumni technology donation, a classroom set of digital microscopes are being used by students in Sherri Lovria and Mike Chiulli’s Living Environment, AP Biology and Infectious Disease classes to explore and more easily observe the natural world. For example: the process of osmosis in onion cells; cell structure comparison; cyclosis in elodea; microscopic organisms in pond water; chromosome spreads from HeLa cancer cells to identify abnormal chromosomes; simple stains of bacterial smears and Gram stain results to identify bacteria; sickle-shaped red blood cells to detect the presence of malaria parasite; human cell comparison due to gene expression; and Daphnia as a model to design and perform experiments to detect environmental effects on organisms.

Students have found the microscopes to be much easier to manipulate. Mrs. Lovria’s Living Environment classes recently performed a lab investigation that introduced the microscopes to the students. Students were gathered around laptops and adjusted fields of view to follow the progress of several microscopic pond organisms as the organisms fed on algae and detritus.

The students were fully engaged in exploring the microscopic world with exclamations of “Whoa, look at that!”, “Oh, this one is different,” and “That one is really weird -- it’s a vorticella!” throughout the classroom.

For many years students were unenthused about using microscopes; it was an individual experience and not always one in which all students actively engaged. In addition, since only one person could view a specimen at a time, teachers were not sure of the students’ understanding of what they were observing.

Having this more up to date technology is a definite benefit. Because the students enjoy working with them they use the microscope for longer periods of time and Mrs. Lovria reports that they already have a better understanding of the microscope parts and functions. But, just as important, they are finding their curiosity to explore!

From Principal Tim McArdle:

"We are very fortunate to have a community that supports our endeavors in the classroom and beyond!"

"Our teachers are always ready and take great pride in implementing new and exciting opportunities for our students. I cannot thank them enough for their efforts and willingness to learn and grow professionally to better our students."  

Photos submitted by Tim McArdle.

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October 11, 2017 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, schools, education, news, batavia.

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Photos and information submitted by Batavia City Schools:

As part of a school-wide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) Day, all students in Batavia Middle School rotated through three grade-specific learning stations to participate in a variety of interactive STEAM-based activities.

Fifth-graders, at one station, used a Bloxel application and kit to design and build their own video game settings and characters, then upload them for virtual gaming adventures. At another, they created useful items -- such as wallets, bookmarks and lanyards -- using nothing but decorative duct tape and their imaginations. At the third, they tried different size wheels on a robotic car to determine how wheel size changed the amount of time it takes to travel a given distance.

Sixth-graders played challenging coding games at one station. At another, as part of learning about simple machines, they worked in groups to build a catapult and test its launching capabilities by hurling an eraser down a measured track. After each shot, they returned to their building table to make adjustments that would improve their machine’s performance. At their third learning station, the students made paper jack-o-lanterns lit by a small bulb that was powered by a circuit they had completed.

Seventh-graders also created circuits using copper tape and a battery laid out on a piece of paper and used the power to light a small bulb that completed a picture they had drawn on the reverse side of the paper. At another station, they simulated the popular Escape Experiences exercise and solved puzzles to discover the necessary information for unlocking a mystery box. At a third, they used several different apps to drive and design programs for driving robotic sphero balls. 

Eighth-grade students had the opportunity to program a robotic space-rover so it would move around to pick up and capture objects. At another station, the classroom became a live computer game with scenarios and situations being announced, then students determining what their next move should be. At their third station, students learned how to create a flip book out of index cards -- a book with a series of pictures that depict gradual changes from one page to the next, so that when the pages are flicked rapidly, it looks like a moving picture. 

The kits for these learning adventures were provided through the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Library Services, which also helped to plan and facilitate the Middle School’s STEAM Day.

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October 11, 2017 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Paul's Lutheran Church, schools, education, news.

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A bit of rain didn't hold back the K-5 students at St. Paul's Lutheran School today from their annual walk-a-thon to help raise money for the school's tuition assistance program. They just moved the money-raising trek inside.

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October 11, 2017 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news, b-squad.

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From Sarah Gahagan:

Yesterday's destination for B Squad was the Batavia Police Department. We ran 1.35 miles and met up with Detective Matt Wojaszczk and Assistant Police Chief Todd Crossett. Both men enjoy running and staying physically active. They spoke about how critically important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle, especially with their demanding jobs.

One of the highlights of this visit was discussing the importance of developing and maintaining a good reputation for yourself, one that you can be proud of. Remembering to surround yourself with positive individuals who are going to lift you up, rather than drag you down.

While job hunting and looking for college recommendations you want to stand out and shine. Outstanding qualities like honesty, punctuality and good decision making are all highly sought after. This starts with the choice of how you represent yourself in school, in public and even when you think no one else is watching.

Each of our B Squad boys practiced a firm handshake and graciously thanked our two local heros! It was a great opportunity!

October 4, 2017 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, schools, education, news.

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Photos and write-ups provided by Batavia City Schools.

In recognition of his friendly manner and willingness to help out his fellow classmates, Batavia Middle School student Andrew Jursted was presented with an Outstanding Student Award by Batavia City School District Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on Oct. 3.

He was nominated by Mr. Grillo, principal of Batavia Middle School, who wrote, “Andrew has helped with new students. He always has a smile on his face, and is a good role model. He offered to switch his locker to help another student be closer to his classes. He is a good friend and very helpful to his teachers.”

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In recognition of his valuable contribution to the administration, staff, and students of the District, Director of Health, Physical Education and Interscholastic Sports, Michael Bromley was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award by Batavia City School District Board Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on Oct. 3.

He was nominated by Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey, who wrote, “Year in and year out, Mr. Bromley oversees one of the most accomplished athletic programs for young women and men in Section V and New York State.  Batavia City School District teams are regularly recognized for academic success, athletic championships, and sportsmanship. Mr. Bromley has worked for the District for 18 years, lives in the community, and can be seen at multiple athletic events both in and out of our District. Mr. Bromley is a great example of Taking Care of BCSD!”

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In recognition of their valuable contribution to the students of the Batavia City School District and the Youth Bureau’s Parks ProgramSusan Presher, on behalf of herself and her summer staff, was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award by Batavia City School District Board Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on Oct. 3.

They were nominated by Coordinator of Assessment and Instructional Services Julia Rogers, who wrote, “Mrs. Presher applied for the USDA Grant (National Summer Food Service Program) this summer and was awarded it. This grant fed children (under the age of 18) breakfast and/or lunch at the District’s Extended Year and TEAM Literacy Programs, and the Youth Bureau's Parks Program (held at Lions, Lambert, John Kennedy, Farrell, and Williams Parks, as well as at the Youth Bureau). The variety of food offered and the ease of accessibility garnered the appreciation of the parents and children, as well as the entire staff of these programs. Students were able to focus on reading and math during Extended Year and TEAM Literacy because they were not focused on being hungry.”

October 3, 2017 - 8:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, Batavia HS, batavia, schools, education, news, notify.

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When this year's seniors at Batavia High School are handed their diplomas this spring, they will see a familiar face, a face they've known since they were kindergarteners in the City School District -- Paul Kesler.

This winter, Kesler will end a 13-year run as the principal of John Kennedy School and become principal of Batavia High School. He was appointed to the new position tonight by the school board. He begins his new position Dec. 22, the first day of Winter Break.

His 16-year-old daughter, now a sophomore at BHS, but also once a student at JK, also approved of the move.

"I wasn't sure how she would react but she got a big smile on her face and she said, 'Dad, kids that went to John Kennedy, they still talk about John Kennedy. They really respect you.' So when your own daughter feels like it's a good thing, that's pretty confirming."

Kesler also got a ringing endorsement from Superintendent Chris Dailey during the board meeting. 

"You have a lot of people behind you," Dailey said. "You’re going to do great things. Your dedication to your community and your school is outstanding. We can only expect great results, so no pressure. But, hey, you do the great things you do here at John Kennedy at the high school, the high school will have the same kind of results we’ve seen here."

Kesler, originally from Utica, started his teaching career in Rochester. He was a kindergarten teacher, a second-grade teacher, a reading specialist and an instructional coach for three years before moving to Batavia.

He has a daughter who is a junior at Boston University, two children attending BHS, and a child who is a student at JK.

Two weeks ago, after setting aside all the prior principal applicants, the district hired Dennis Kenney as interim principal. His contract runs through Dec. 21.

Dailey said when the initial search for a new principal didn't turn up the perfect match, he thought about the criteria the district sought in a candidate and realized they already had the perfect candidate in the district with Kesler.

One hallmark of Kesler's oversight of JK is his promotion of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and he's looking forward to continuing that effort at the high school level.

"I think you know we always have the instructional challenges of a small city district, especially in the performance of some economically disadvantaged students, particularly in the areas STEAM," Kesler said. "Those are some of the areas that are a challenge for any small city district. I'm excited about having that connection between what we do in the elementary school all the way up through high school."

There's really only one downside to moving to BHS, Kesler said -- leaving behind the staff and faculty at John Kennedy.

"I don't cry much but I was very close today as I told staff after school," Kesler said. These are just fantastic people. You know, they've been part of my family. My whole experience in 13 years in Batavia has been here. That's going to be the struggle, saying goodbye."

September 29, 2017 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Thursday night was open house for Batavia High School, with teachers on hand to provide parents information on homework, assignments, chances for college credit, classroom expectations, and to answer questions and show off students' work.

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September 28, 2017 - 6:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, batavia, City Schools, schools, education, news.

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The students at John Kennedy School raised $555 for new library books and Principal Paul Kessler paid the price.

As a "reward" for the students, Kessler spent the day in jail.

Students, such as third-grader Anthony Nesbitt, took turns as guards to ensure he didn't escape.

The pre-lunch crowd passing the jail was pretty merciless. "You stay locked up, Mr. Kessler," more than once said as they walked in their class lines.

"The kids are having fun with it," Kessler said. "So are some of the teachers."

September 22, 2017 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfiled-alabama, Oakfield, news, schools, education.

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The students in Tracy Schlagenhauf leadership class at Oakfield-Alabama High School saw the news of destruction in Texas and Florida in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma and considered the friends and family they have in those states and decided they wanted to do something to help.

They wanted to do something more than just raise money. They wanted to provide assistance in a way that was more tangible, so they came up with the idea of creating school, cleaning and hygiene kits.

Now they're trying to rally not just their fellow students at the elementary school and high school, they're trying to get the whole community involved.

"We don't usually dive right in the projects but the kids felt very passionate about what has been happening in our country," Schlagenhauf said. "There are a lot of them who have family and friends that have been affected by Harvey and Irma. We wanted to do something to help so the kids formulated a plan and decided to do it."

The goal is to create 150 to 200 kits to send south. They're hoping to have school and community members donate the items directly (items can be dropped off at the school's attendance office) but monetary donations will be accepted to help pay for shipping.

Here are copies of fliers listing items needed: here, here, and here.

Junior Rebecca Cramer said she and her friends were upset by the news they saw coming out of Texas and Florida and really wanted to do something to help. She said people need help getting a new start and money alone isn't enough.

"I think that we're going to have a good turnout and since it's the elementary school and the high school," Cramer said. "I think we're going to have a lot of supplies and we will be able to make a lot of kits between the school kit, the cleaning kit and the hygiene kit, and we will be able to donate a lot."

Senior Juliana Makarevic said she was devastated when she saw the news coming out of Texas and Florida.

"I was very upset," she said. "I have family down there, too, so this helps out in their community. We're all working together to help a bigger cause."

Top photo: Bryson Tobolski, Seth Seppala, Trevor Maier, Lindsey Walton, Rebecca Cramer, Melissa Voltura, Serina Velleta, Juliana Makarevic, Evan Dusky, Nicholas Boumler, Erik Maier and Lexie Tambe.

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September 22, 2017 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, news.

Press release:

What: Genesee Community College's 50th Anniversary Fall Fest, Homecoming and Cougar Weekend

WhenFriday and Saturday, Sept. 22-23

  • Cougar Crawl: Tonight from 5 to 10  in Downtown Batavia
  • Multiple Events: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Batavia Campus
  • Where: Downtown Batavia, Genesee Community College, One College Road, Batavia
  • Who: Open to the Public

Background

After Friday night's third annual "Cougar Crawl" in downtown Batavia featuring stops at local establishments for food, drink and special discounts, the public-at-large is cordially invited to Genesee Community College's Homecoming Fall Fest at the Batavia Campus on Saturday, Sept. 23, starting with the Car Cruise, Tours and Craft Market at 10 a.m., and continuing with a variety of events throughout the day and into the evening.

The overall schedule of events follows:

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. -- Craft and Vendor Market -- Inside William W. Stuart Forum

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Car and Bike Cruise -- North Parking Lot

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Public Tours of the new Richard C. Call Arena and Student Success Center

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. -- Family Fun in the Cougar Den -- Cafeteria

1 - 3 p.m. -- *Firefly Power Wind Turbine Demonstration -- Conable Technology Building Hallway

5 - 6:30 p.m. -- Lollapalooza Gold Gala Concert by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra with a post-concert reception -- Richard C. Call Arena

7:30 p.m. -- Alumni Soccer Gamer -- Under the lights on the Turf Field

*Among the newest events to be added to the daylong itinerary is the Firefly Power Wind Turbine Demonstration that will be occurring from 1 - 3 p.m. at the monitoring station located in the east hallway on the first floor of the Conable Technology Building. Genesee Community College is delighted to introduce this newly installed wind energy unit to the community, which comes after a lengthy, five-year review of wind turbine technology.

Originally, GCC had partnered with several area school districts under a special grant, but unfortunately, the first unit met with technical difficulties and was not able to be repaired. Tim Landers, GCC's recently retired director of Buildings and Grounds, persisted in researching new turbine technology that could use much of the existing infrastructure from the old unit, and continue the original mission of providing area students, both at the high school and college level, with a hands-on learning experience about renewable energy resources.

Landers patiently watched as the Firefly Power came on to the market realizing that the vertical axis, carbon-fiber blades that are lightweight and yet nearly indestructible offered many advantages. Engineered in Canada, manufactured in the United States, the patented design of the blade is, in itself, an industry game-changer.

For further information come to the demonstration and meet the founders and patent holders of Firefly Power or go to: http://www.fireflypower.com/.

September 22, 2017 - 8:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

A plan for upgrades and renovations at the Byron-Bergen schools that lost by only six votes in March was approved by a wide margin in a districtwide vote yesterday, with 338 citizens voting yes to 112 no votes.

The $18.4 million project is very similar to the $20 million capital improvement project voters rejected March 31. The new plan eliminates some parking lot work at the bus garage and some work in the elementary school gymnasium, Superintendent Mickey Edwards said.

Edwards said the plan will not increase local taxes.

The capital improvement project involves district-wide energy savings, which include installing energy-efficient lighting and improving/replacing heat, boiler, HVAC, and dehumidification systems, along with other improvements.

September 21, 2017 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, Pavilion, batavia, bergen, byron-bergen.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer today has announced $167,000 in state funding for student programs throughout Genesee County.  

“As a State Senator, I am committed to delivering state dollars to ensure our students are successful inside and outside the classroom,” Ranzenhofer said. “As another academic year begins, this funding will help to support existing tools and create new tools for students across Genesee County. Each one of these programs will help to develop student achievement in high school and beyond.”

School districts and organizations receiving funding are as follows:

Byron-Bergen School District: $85,000 to Expand Existing STEM Program
The funding will be used to further develop the District’s Inquiry-Based STEM Program to include a STEM Robotics and Programming Career Exploration Lab. The program utilizes engineering, robotics and coding to develop solutions to real-world science problems and exposes students to skills and careers in the STEM fields.

“It is projected that 65% of today’s students will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist, and STEM programs will help our youth to become future innovative creators of programs, apps and inventions,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “On behalf of the children of Byron-Bergen Central School District, I am overjoyed to express our thanks to Senator Ranzenhofer for obtaining state funding to expand our STEM program.” 

Pavilion Central School District: $55,000 for a New Ag Education Program
The funding will be used to purchase equipment and supplies for a new Ag education program being offered to students for the first time this academic year. The program consists of classroom instruction, supervised work experiences, and integrated student leadership development activities through FFA.

“The Pavilion Central School District and Board of Education deeply appreciate Senator Ranzenhofer's strong support of our Ag program. This state-of-the-art program will benefit Pavilion students in many areas of college and career readiness,” said Pavilion Superintendent Kenneth Ellison. 

Agriculture and its related industries are the number one economic driver for Genesee County and New York State.

Genesee County Youth Bureau: $17,000 for Afterschool Programs
The funding will be used to support programs throughout the county to provide safe, structured and healthy afterschool programming for youth.

“The Youth Bureau’s main mission is to support programs in Genesee County for the betterment of our children, youth, and families. We appreciate the additional funds to help us achieve our goals,” said Genesee-Orleans & City of Batavia Youth Bureaus Executive Director Jocelyn Sikorski. 

Learning Center at Gillam-Grant: $10,000 to Support Afterschool Enrichment Programs
The funding will be used to support tutoring services, afterschool homework help, and educational enhancement classes for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“With the support of Senator Ranzenhofer, there are so many benefits for students at the Learning Center. Students can get involved in new interests– art, computer classes, robotics– and receive additional support to help them excel in their studies,” said Gillam-Grant Community Center Executive Director Peggy Swapceinski. 

The Learning Center at Gillam-Grant is the first nonprofit tutoring center in Genesee County. Services are available to students in area school districts in Genesee and Monroe counties.

September 20, 2017 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, news, education.

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Press release:

In recognition of her academic perseverance and successful accomplishments, Batavia High student Julieth Caceres was presented with an Outstanding Student Award by Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on September 19.

She was nominated by Courtney Turcer, a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, who wrote, “Julieth sat for both the Global and Earth Science Regents on the same June day, for a total of 12 hours, from 8:30 a.m. to nearly 9 p.m. Unfortunately, she failed both exams. Despite the grueling day, she decided to try both exams again in August when they would be given on consecutive days rather than the same day. This time, she walked in with confidence and a positive attitude and she passed both Regents!

"While this is a great accomplishment for any student, for Juli, this is huge. She moved here three years ago from Colombia and did not speak a word of English. There are not many students who would persevere for 12 hours through two Regents exams in the same day – and then, as Juli did, continue to be positive and return to try again. She is truly worthy of recognition.”

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In recognition of her valuable contribution to the staff and students, Middle School teacher Michelle Woodward was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award by Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on September 19.

She was nominated by Mrs. Lindsey Heassler, sixth-grade social studies and reading teacher, who wrote, “Mrs. Woodward is an extremely hard-working, motivated, and dedicated sixth grade teacher who goes above and beyond her normal obligations for students. She works with students after school on a daily basis and runs various student clubs.

"For many years, she has served as the sixth grade coordinator at the Middle School. In this role, she organizes fundraisers, field trips, and handles grade level finances. This is an extremely large undertaking, and she shoulders the responsibilities with accuracy and expertise. Colleagues would not be able to do many of the extracurricular activities with their students without Mrs. Woodward’s valuable contribution of time and skill.”

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In recognition of her valuable contribution to the staff and students at John Kennedy, teacher aide Michelle Nanni was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award by Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on September 19.

She was nominated by special education teacher, Mrs. Neumann, who wrote, “Ms. Nanni is flexible and willing to support the special education teacher and team of professionals who strives to meet the needs of all John Kennedy students. She has a positive demeanor, and is genuine and kind to all whom she encounters.”

Photos by Kathie Scott, Batavia City Schools.

September 20, 2017 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

Batavia City Schools continue to exceed state averages for the graduation rates for children with special needs.

Trisha Finnigan, director of special education and alternative education, updated the school board on special education in the district during Tuesday night's board meeting.

For 2015-16, the state average graduation rate of 55.39 percent. The City Schools rate was 60.9 percent.

That's consistent with prior years, going back to 2005-06 when the state was 37 percent and the local rate was 46.4 percent. In 2014-15, the state rate was 50.48 percent and the local rate was 57 percent.

Also, Finnigan said, the district is having some success with students that state doesn't count as "graduated," though she thinks they should be counted.

"The truth is, and I've talked about this before, is that, for example, some of our students that have some pretty significant cognitive limitations and can't earn a Regent's diploma. They now earn what's called a skills and achievement commencement credential. It's evidence that we've prepared them for, ideally, employment or work toward a realistic postsecondary plan. We don't get credit for those in our graduation rate and it actually counts against us. It's something that any time I can give feedback to the state about, I do."

Students also have until their 21st birthday to graduate, but when a student needs more time, the state doesn't count those eventual successful graduations in the district's graduation rate for special education.

"I think many of you had pleasure last year to meet a young lady who needed until January after her senior year to graduate, but she did it," Finnigan said. "That counts against us."

In other measures, 80 percent or more of special education students in Batavia are spending at least 66 percent of their time inside of regular classrooms. That exceeds the state standard of 58.2 percent. 

September 20, 2017 - 8:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, City Schools, schools, education, news, notify.

img_1340bhsprinc.jpg

As of this morning, Dennis Kenney is the new interim principal at Batavia High School.

Kenney fills the vacancy left when Scott Wilson accepted a position in Churchville.

The school district reviewed several candidates to replace Wilson on a permanent basis but has decided to extend the search.

Kenney will serve as principal until Dec. 22.  

The school board approved his contract in executive session at the start of last night's meeting.

A resident of Warsaw, Kenney has 40 years in education and recently retired as a principal at Iroquois Central Schools, where he worked for 12 years.

His first 18 years in education was with the New York State Division Youth, which is now Child and Family Services, working in residential facilities with kids who had serious emotional issues and learning disabilities.

He's also been a principal at Barker, an assistant in Albion and Canandaigua and served for two-and-a-half years as superintended in Perry.

He has three sons and was on vacation in Virginia Beach with eight of his grandchildren when he got the call from Superintendent Chris Dailey asking if he would be interested in interviewing for the interim position.

"They'll find me a very visible high school principal and very approachable," Kenney said. "I'd like the parents to know that my door is always open, and staff, to come and see me on anything. The students, too. I think we have a great school district here and the high school has a great faculty, good assistant principals, and we're going to work together and keep moving forward."

September 19, 2017 - 8:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ctiy schools, batavia, schools, education, news, notify.

When district officials asked voters to approve a $27 million capital improvement project they promised the tax levy would go up "0.00 percent" and with the approval of the annual tax warrants tonight, Batavia School District trustees kept the promise.

In fact, because assessed values have gone up about 3 percent for properties in the school district, the 2017-18 tax rate for property owners will go down 79 cents, or 3.54 percent.

The new rate will be $21.46 per thousand of assessed value, Business Manager Scott Rozanski told the board.

It's the second year in a row the district has lowered the tax rate by more than 3 percent.

In six of the past 10 years, the school district property tax rate has gone down from the previous year. Accounting for those years the rate has gone up, the average annual increase is .07 .70 percent.

UPDATE: Scott Rozanski provided these PDFs:

He also told us:


The only thing in the District's control is the levy.  The tax rate is determined by a number of factors outside our control (assessments, equalization rate and county adjustments from prior year such as omitted taxes and exemption removals) 
Also, this will be the fourth consecutive year that taxpayers will receive a rebate check from NYS as a result of our compliance with controlling the taxes (tax freeze).

Just one clarification, the ten-year tax levy increase is 0.70 percent (not 0.07 percent) - as written online.

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