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December 21, 2017 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify, schools, education.

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Using a detection device to identify students who might have been drinking at high school dances is nothing new, said Batavia City Schools Superintendent Chris Dailey, and previous uses have gotten no pushback from students or parents.

Yesterday, The Batavian published a picture of Batavia High School receiving two new wand-like devices that act as breathalyzers to help school officials identify students who may have been drinking prior to arrival at a school dance or other social function where they might be used. The publication of the picture raised a lot of questions among readers about the legality and ethics of such devices.

Dailey said the district's first priority is the safety of the students.

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of our kids don't generally show up under the influence, so it's rather a moot point to them," Dailey said. "They're not thinking we're trying to take away their rights and we're not trying to take away their rights. We're trying to provide a safe environment for all. It's all about safety for us."

All of the complaints that surfaced after yesterday's picture publication surfaced online, Dailey said. There have been no calls to the district office and he met with high school officials today and there was no mention of complaints at the high school.

The wands donated to the school by STOP-DWI and local law enforcement are not at all invasive, Dailey said, unlike the previous alcohol sensor used by the school, which was only used if a student was suspected of drinking. The wands, Dailey said, can detect a potential use of alcohol by a person in a group of people.

"Alcohol consumption by students is something that is illegal and is not tolerated," Dailey said. "We want to make sure we provide the safest possible environment for all of our students."

That's critical, Dailey said, when you have 200 to 300 students coming together for an event.

If a student is found under the influence of alcohol at a school event, the first step, Dailey said, is to make sure the student is safe. Next, school officials call the teenager's parents.

"We reach out to the parents," Dailey said. "(the student) is not allowed to leave if under impairment and we will work with the parent so the child will learn from the mistake."

There isn't necessarily disciplinary action taken against the student.

"(It) depends on the situation," Dailey said.

As for whether the sensors violate students' rights, Dailey said, any student or parent who might be concerned about it are free to not attend the school function.

"If people choose not to come to the dance because of it, that's their choice, absolutely," Dailey said.

December 21, 2017 - 1:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Today was the Holiday Give Back Day for students at Batavia Middle School who traveled throughout the community visiting more than a dozen organizations and businesses to thank them for their support of BMS and education.

Two of the visits were to Batavia PD and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The students presented a bag of gifts and cards made by the students.

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December 20, 2017 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.

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The first year that seniors at Batavia High School could paint personalized parking spaces was a big success, representatives of the Class of 2018 told school board members at Tuesday's meeting.

They recommended the board approve the same project for the class of 2019.

Not only were there no problems, the project raised $795 for the senior class.

“That’s probably one of the easiest fundraisers ever,” said Senior Mikey Lullo.

There were 35 spaces painted and 19 spots reserved by students.

Several faculty members wanted to get in on the act, offering as much as $200 to have their parking spaces painted by a student, but since that wasn't part of the agreement the senior class had with the board, the class declined to sell those services.

Mikey said that was one of several recommendations this year's class had for the Board of Education.

First, the biggest recommendation was that the Class of 2019 be allowed to move forward with the same program.

The students also recommended that seniors be given a whole week to get their spots painted. Two days isn't enough time when students have sports activities starting up that time of year, family vacations wrapping up, and jobs. Some students found it hard to fit in painting on just a Thursday and Friday. That meant some of them painted over the weekend, which technically was against the rules, but Lullo said the board should consider that there were no problems as a result and all of the students (many accompanied by parents) were respectful.

The few problems encountered by the students were minor, the students said. Lauren Leone said one time some garbage got left behind but other students took care of it right away. There was also an incident after the first snowfall where one student parked in another student's spot, but that was quickly resolved. Nobody purposefully caused a problem with another student over parking.

The project was also successful, Mickey said, because it helped raise senior class spirit.

"It was so great," she said. "Even though I didn’t paint a parking spot, I was just there helping other people, and it was so relaxing, just getting to paint and be with each other before senior year started."

Photo: Amand Patel, Lauren Leone, Mikey Lullo, and Kiara Cherry.

December 20, 2017 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, schools, education.

The Batavia City School District Board of Trustees handed out its monthly awards at the start of its meeting Tuesday night. 

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Sarah Gahagan and Lindsey Leone – Outstanding Staff Award

I just wanted to pass along praise for Sarah Gahagan and Lindsey Leone for their hard work and dedication to making the B-Squad program a success. My son participated in the program and he learned so much from it. Sarah and Lindsey perfectly balanced physical fitness, community involvement, career development, and social responsibility with this program.

They kept the participants motivated and taught life lessons that would be hard to duplicate in a classroom setting. I imagine they spent a significant amount of their personal time on this program and wanted to recognize their efforts with the administration. Please know that they are assets to BCSD and the City of Batavia who have made a difference in the lives of these young men. -- Nominated by Jill Halpin, Parent

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Shirley Boyd – Outstanding Staff Award

Shirley always goes above and beyond for all students; not just the ones she works directly with in the inclusive classroom. She is patient and very receptive to the students’ needs. She takes on additional responsibilities that are not required of her throughout the entire school. She is more than willing to assist the teachers she works with directly and those that she does not. Shirley takes time out of her personal schedule to build relationships with students that need it most. She is truly an amazing individual we are blessed to have her on board. --Nominated by Laura Kaczmarek & Cindy Morgan

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The board also presented a proclamation to Caryn Wood for the Drama's Club's successful production of "Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone." The proclamation cited the cast and crew and said the show "exceeded all expectations of a high school drama performance, bringing laughter, jest, and extreme entertainment to the audience it gathered for this event."

December 4, 2017 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, schools, education, news, notify.

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Le Roy's Alex Wynn is Yale-bound. The high school senior has won a full scholarship to the prestigious university from QuestBridge.

Wynn is among 918 students selected by QuestBridge for a 2017 National College Match scholarship that sends high-achieving, low-income students to top universities.

U.S. News and World Report ranks Yale as one of the top three universities in the nation. Yale counts among its graduates presidents (both Bushes, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford), world-renowned actors (Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Jodie Foster), and business leaders (Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi, John E. Pepper Jr., CEO of Walt Disney Co.), along with leaders in many industries and professions.

Alex said she learned about QuestBridge during her junior year and decided to join more than 15,000 other high school students who would seek a QuestBridge scholarship.

The process included a visit to Yale, which helped convince Alex that Yale was where she wanted to go if given the chance.

"Yale has been my top school ever since I was afforded the opportunity to visit last June," Alex said. "Despite my love of the school, its low acceptance rate made me believe that I never would actually be accepted, let alone be offered a full scholarship. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to be able to attend my dream school for the next four years, nor can they describe how incredibly excited I am for this amazing opportunity."

She will major in Chemical Engineering.

"I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a student of Alex's caliber in the first year of my career as a school counselor," said Austin Dwyer, a counselor at Le Roy High School. "On the very first day of school, Alex introduced herself to me and informed me she was applying to a National College Match Program that included some of the most selective schools in the entire country.

"Alex has been an outstanding self-advocate for herself, especially throughout the extensive application process of this program. Alex is truly a 'go-getter' when it comes to accomplishing something, whether it is in the classroom or an extracurricular commitment, and has been a great role model for our students."

Principal Tim McArdle said Alex has worked hard and the school is proud of her.

"Alex's commitment to academic excellence coupled with a passion for participation in music, athletics, and other extracurricular clubs, along with service in our community has made her an ideal Oatkan Knight whose journey is inspiring," McArdle said. "She has pushed herself in the classroom to always challenge her intellect and fulfill her love of learning.

"Evidence of her success can be found all over our school from helping launch our Knights' Tech Desk to excelling in her AP courses to performing in our marching band and musical pit. We are very excited for her and her family; it is truly life-changing, and we are so proud! I would like to thank QuestBridge for their commitment to college-bound students across the country."

Photo: Alex Wynn, taken Saturday night at Le Roy's Christmas Tree lighting.

December 1, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, schools, education, news, GCEDC.

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John Jakubowski, workforce development consultant for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and Chris Suozzi, VP of business development for GCEDC, visited Le Roy High School today as guests of the Business Education Alliance's Career Lunch-N-Learn Series.

Jakubowski and Suozzi talked about career opportunities in STEM (Science, Tehcnology, Engineering and Math) fields, advanced manufacturing and nanotechnologies, and what it takes for a student to enter those career paths.

"The BEA Career Lunch-N-Learn Series is a tremendous opportunity for our students to interact with professionals in different fields, and we can't thank Karyn Winters enough for her organizing efforts and partnering with us," said Principal Tim McArdle. "It is these experiences that allow our students to focus on their future and learn about the many options they have.

"Today's speakers from GCEDC gave our students a chance to learn about amazing opportunities right here in our backyard so that we can retain the talent we are developing. I really commend Mr. Suozzi and Mr. Jakubowski for their efforts in promoting the WNY STAMP and also educating our students on career advice."

The purpose of the series, McArdle said, is to expand beyond the traditional career day and expose students to information about various careers throughout the year.

"We have taken the traditional one day 'career day' and infused it in and throughout the school year," McArdle said. "Each of our teachers are tasked to host one professional to speak to their classes in an experience we call Career Chats.

"Each Career Chat speaker also stays for an after-school session in the library open to all students. Our students also participate in off-campus field trip opportunities visiting local business/industries through our Student Success Center and staff initiated opportunities."

Another resource available to students and parents is Naviance, in which counselors work with students on career and self-exploration throughout the school year both at school and at home. 

To prepare the local workforce for jobs like what is anticipated at WNY STAMP -- Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- the district has partnered with Byron-Bergen Central School in a Soft Skills Training program.

The program is being funded through a grant from an America’s Best Communities Award that the Towns of Le Roy and Bergen won in 2015 and is coordinated with Jakubowski and Loren Penman. Seniors in both districts are exposed to four different lessons from local professionals this spring.  

"Our goal is to not have one week go by without our students having a chance to hear from a professional in the field. It is vital we maintain this important commitment for the development of our graduates."

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November 29, 2017 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

Students at Byron-Bergen Elementary School gathered on Nov. 27 to honor the school’s Students of the Month and to learn about giving back and making a difference.

Guest speaker Holly Paramjit Sembhi, a 2014 Byron-Bergen graduate, joined in with her personal story of how one person, who was just like each of them, has found the power to help change the world.

Sembhi, now in her final year of working toward a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science from RIT, began her education and her love for helping people in kindergarten at Byron-Bergen Elementary. She currently works part time at Rochester General Hospital and plans to get her master’s degree as a Physician’s Assistant in Neurosurgery. She also volunteers with Global Brigades, a medical relief organization operating in Honduras.

She urged students to believe that they can each make the world more awesome, starting right now.

“It is exciting for me to come back to a place I love,” she said. “I hope that I can inspire these kids, to make them really want to help others. Maybe they will look back someday and remember this moment. I’d like to think that this might start them on their own paths to making the world a better place.”

The monthly Character Assembly also included musical numbers performed by talented students and staff members, and a discussion of what students can do in the community, from supporting homeless children and families to remembering our seniors and the elderly. Throughout the month of December, classes will participate in a range of service-learning projects that will have an impact our local and global communities.

The Students of the Month were: Peyton Alejandro, Jake Carlson, Tyler Chapman, Kendall Chase, Leah Cramer, Daniels Dawson, Robert Dix, Nixon-Riley Eichenberger, Chesney Fregoe, Harlow Galves, Lila Graff, Stella Hassett, Hunter Jarosinki, Carter Kuipers, James Lamb, Taylor Lundfelt, Amelia Meier, Parker Moore, Bradley Pocock, Colin Rea, Ava Smith, James Starowtiz, Travis Thomas, Mariah Williams and Rena Wilson.

Top photo: Principal Brian Meister congratulates one of the Students of the Month, kindergartener Nixon-Riley Eichenberger.

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Visiting speaker Holly Paramjit Sembhi (2014 Byron-Bergen graduate) tells students that they don’t need to wait until they are older—every one of them can do awesome things right now.

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November 27, 2017 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

This fall, Le Roy Jr-Sr. High School, in conjunction with our Le Roy PRIDE Character Education program, ran our 5th annual Thanksgiving Feast Drive. This seventh-through-12th-grade effort supported 45 of our own families, equaling close to 200 people. Staff participated in four Turkey Tuesday Dress Down days by making a weekly monetary donation. Close to $1,000 was raised and used to purchase the turkeys, milk, eggs, bread and ingredients for pumpkin pies made by our FACS teacher and students! 

Students participated in our Stuff The Turkey Food Drive where grades partner up and compete against each other bringing in food under different theme days - Day 1: Macaroni Madness, Day 2: Can Jam, Day 3: Baking Bonanza, Day 4: Starch Fest, and Day 5: Kitchen Sink. The competition was fierce this year with the ninth- and 10th-graders making a huge final day push to win with 706 donated items. Grades 8 and 11 brought in 702 items and grades 7 and 12 had 675 items for a grand total, and new Stuff The Turkey Food Drive record, of 2,083. 

Last week, our counseling staff, school resource officer, principal, and assistant principal made the deliveries to our families. We would like to thank ALDI in Batavia and Tops and Save-A-Lot in Le Roy for their donations and contributions as well! 

From Principal Tim McArdle:
"We cannot thank our school community enough for their ongoing support of this effort. Five years ago we started by supporting 12 families and each year the need continues to grow in our community, and our students and staff step up and meet this need head on. Our staff continues to go above and beyond when students are in need, and we are so appreciative of their ongoing support of ALL students!"

"This effort is a great lesson for our students about giving back and the importance of helping others in their community. This focus is a common theme in our school and a character trait that is so important."

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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."

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