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July 19, 2017 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, City Schools, schools, education, notify.

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Seniors at Batavia High School this year will not only be afforded the privilege of reserved parking spaces in the student lot, they will be able to paint their designated spot with just about any design they like.

Overall, board members for the City School District loved the idea, presented by the executive council of the Class of 2018, but requested some modifications from the original idea before approving it.

"With a personalized parking spot, the students are able to reserve their spots and then express their individuality, which is really meaningful as maturing young adults," said student Mikey Lullo.

The students said there would be three options for students. The first costs the student nothing -- they get an assigned spot that will remain black asphalt throughout the year. The second option allows them to reserve a spot for $10, but they can't personalize it. The sweet spot, painted and personalized, would be $15.

The project is a fundraiser for the Class of 2018.

The original proposal would make all options available to all students who drive to school and students paying $15 would be able to select three possible spots, which would then be assigned randomly from those choices.

Because it's the first year, the board thought painted spots should be reserved for seniors and all spots should be selected at random.

"I love this kind of stuff," Board Member Peter Cecere said. "I think the finished product looks amazing."

Then he raised concerns about how slots would be selected.

"While I'd like to give everybody at least one of their top three choices, that's just not going to work," Cecere said. "Inevitably you're going to have a kid complaining because 'hey this kid's got this and I paid the same amount of money.' "

Trustee Shawna Murphy wondered if the privilege might be tied to academic performance or attendance, but the feeling was that would add another level of complication. She also expressed concern that in this climate, the painted slots would look dingy over the course of the year.

The students said they researched schools in similar climates and found with the right paint, it hasn't been a problem. They also said the paint acts as a sealant, which helps protect the surface of the parking lot.

At the end of the year, the students would be responsible for painting over, with black paint, the customized student spots.

While students who wish to personalize parking spots must get a sketch approved by school administrators, the council said they will also help watch over the parking lot.

Cecere expressed concern about vandalism and bullying associated with customized slots. The students hope security cameras and their vigilance will help tap down these issues.

"We're going to be there and we take it upon ourselves to monitor everything, us being the executive council," said Lauren Leone. "We are there to check everyone's paint and make sure it's being respectful."

Murphy asked how the council knew this was something they knew their fellow students wanted.

Lullo said the idea has been a big hit on social media.

"This has gone around multiple times and there has been positive feedback from pretty much the majority of the school who is on social media saying 'oh we wish we have this' and 'this would be so cool,' " Lullo said. "They said, 'this is so great, we want this.' So we kind of took it and ran with it."

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

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Video about a similar program at a high school in Lebanon, Ind.

July 6, 2017 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, schools, education, news, notify.

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The Batavia City School District welcomed three new members to the school board, including Zach Korzelius, appointed to replace the seat vacated by Leslie Johnson. Johnson resigned to accept a job in education in New York City.

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Michal Lullo is the new student ex-officio member of the board.

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Newly elected Board Member Barbara Bowman.

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Newly elected Board Member Tanni Bromley.

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Pat Burk was re-elected by the board to be chairman.

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Pete Cecere becomes the vice-chairman.

June 28, 2017 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

Father Ivan celebrated Mass at Resurrection Parish (St. Joseph site) to honor the 28 students who are moving on to high school in the fall.

Many of these eighth-grade students participated in their own Graduation Mass by saying the readings, reciting prayers and singing in the choir. A special moment of the Mass was when, after Communion, graduating eighth-grader Ariana deSa e Frias beautifully sang “Ave Maria” to everyone’s family and friends.

After Mass, Principal Karen Green, as well as many of the eighth-grade teachers, presented awards to honor all of these hardworking students.  Students received Honor Roll Awards, Music Awards, Excellence Awards as well as many other special Achievement Awards.

In addition, miore than $7,000 was given out in scholarships to those students attending Notre Dame High School in the fall. Congratulations to these St. Joseph Catholic School graduates!

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June 24, 2017 - 2:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, schools, education, news.

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The Class of 1967 led the Class of 2017 into the auditorium Thursday for Le Roy High School's Honors Night.

More than $65,000 in awards were handed out to graduating seniors  

"We are fortunate to have many individuals and organizations in this community that dedicate efforts to raise funds for our students," Principal Tim McArdle said. "A highlight of the night was hosting members of the Class of 1967."

Jerry Howe gave a special greeting and message to the Class of 2017.

"It was awesome to have them with us last night!" McArdle said. "I would like to congratulate our seniors who received an award and were recognized for their efforts!"

Photos and info submitted by Tim McArdle.

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June 16, 2017 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news, bergen.

0428172052a-1.jpgKendal Phillips, a sixth-grader at Byron-Bergen Elementary school has completed the first seven years of her public education with a perfect attendance record. She's never even been late for school, according to Amy Phillips.

She's also never been dismissed early.

She is a straight-A student, a member of the safety patrol and plays in two basketball leagues. She also plays in a year-around travel soccer team, is a member of the band, chorus, jazz choir, percussion ensemble and Solo-Fest band.

In softball this season, she struck out 128 batters over 47 innings pitched.

She also volunteers in the Byron-Bergen Public Library during the summer.

"As a teacher in a different school district, I feel this is a phenomenal accomplishment," Amy said. "I also happen to be very proud of her as I am her mom!"

June 14, 2017 - 12:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, batavia, schools, education, news.

Press release:

Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees set 2017-2018 tuition at $2,025 per semester for full-time students, an increase of $50 over 2016-2017 tuition. Tuition for part-time students will be $165 per credit hour, an increase of $5. Genesee's tuition and fees will remain among the lowest among all State University of New York colleges, President James M. Sunser noted.

Trustees also approved a $40.92 million operating budget for the coming fiscal year, Sept. 1, 2017 to Aug. 31, 2018, up less than 1 percent from the current $40.54 million budget. The budget is a maintenance-of-effort budget, said Sunser and Vice President for Finance and Operations Kevin P. Hamilton.

The operating budget:

Funds all of the College's academic programs and services at current levels;

Provides for the heating, lighting and maintenance of the new Student Success Center and Richard C. Call Arena;

Seeks an increase of $50,000 in annual support from the Genesee County Legislature, sponsor of the College.

Anticipates New York State aid totaling $10.61 million, significantly less than the one-third funding anticipated as part of the state legislation creating the SUNY system.

Although the College has named seven success coaches as part of its innovative new success coaching program for students, the College has not increased the total number of student services staff members. With careful planning, the College reorganized many of its non-classroom functions, and created new success coach positions by reducing the number of positions in other college departments.

"Success coaching is a very efficient and productive way for us to deliver services to students, but more important, it provides students with the very important personal guidance they need to be successful in their academic careers and beyond," Sunser told trustees.

The budget will next be presented to the Genesee County Legislature. After Legislature approval, the budget will be presented to SUNY for final review and approval.

In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:

Heard Nominating Committee Chair Donna M. Ferry report that the Committee has recommended the re-election of the Board of Trustees' current officers for the 2017-2018 year: Laura J. Bohm, chair; Ms. Ferry, vice chair; and Peter R. Call, secretary. Officers will be elected at the Board's annual meeting July 10.

Heard Finance Committee Chair Peter R. Call report that the Committee had reviewed the College's third quarter financial report. Revenue and expense is meeting budget targets for the first nine months of the fiscal year, which began last Septe. 1,  Call said. Board members approved the third quarter financial report.

Heard William T. Emm report that work on the new Student Success Center and Richard C. Call Arena is nearing completion. Contractors are completing painting, carpeting, cabinetry and installation of various finishes. The College is awaiting delivery of the large stairwell railing in the Success Center. Rubber flooring and wall padding has been installed in the Arena. Furniture has arrived, and staff members are expected to be moving into the two new buildings over the next four to six weeks.

Heard President Sunser report that the New York State Higher Education Services Corp. has issued regulations on the new Excelsior scholarship program. He also reported that students may now apply for the new scholarships through the HESC website. Under the Excelsior program, students from families with adjusted gross income of $100,000 may receive a tuition scholarship provided students meet various academic criteria. The adjusted gross-income eligibility threshold increases to $110,000 next year and $125,000 in 2019.

Heard Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Virginia M. Taylor report that applications for summer 2017 study are up 11 percent. The College offers two summer sessions, the first running from June 5 to July 8, and the second from July 10 to Aug. 12. Taylor also said that the College has received 420 applications from area high school students for the Genesee Promise Plus program, and 260 of these students have already registered for classes. Genesee Promise Plus has been growing steadily, enrolling 185 students in 2013, and increasing each year, to 243 in 2016. Through Genesee Promise Plus, high school juniors and seniors can register for one or two courses, and have costs paid by a Genesee Community College Promise Plus scholarship. Students of any age interested in registering for summer or fall courses can view a listing of available courses on the College's web site www.genesee.edu, or call 585-345-6800 for more information.

Heard President Sunser report that the College has filled four key positions, replacing three staff members who are retiring this spring and one staff member who has moved to a different College department. They are:

  • Levi T. Olsen will join the staff as director of Buildings and Grounds, replacing Timothy M. Landers, who is retiring July 2 after 33 years of service. Olsen comes to Genesee with 15 years' experience in facilities management at the University of Rochester. He currently serves as assistant director of Utilities and Energy Management. Olson, a resident of Basom, is a graduate of Genesee Community College (Class of '98), and holds a B.S. degree from the University at Buffalo and a M.S. degree from the University of Rochester.
  • Laura J. Taylor will join the staff as instructor of Fashion Business Merchandising, replacing M. Richard Dudkowski, who is retiring after 33 years of service. Taylor is a member of the faculty of Villa Maria College in Buffalo. She holds a B.S. degree from SUNY College at Oneonta and a M.F.A. degree from the Academy of Art University in California. She is pursuing a Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. Taylor is a resident of Akron.
  • Jessica R. Olin will join the staff as director of Library Services, replacing Nina T. Warren, who is retiring after 25 years' service. Olin has served as library director at Wesley College in Maryland, and has served as a faculty member at Hiram College (Ohio) and Landmark College (Vermont). She holds a B.A. degree from Hood College (Maryland), a M.A.E. degree from Touro University (California), and a M.L.I.S. degree from Simmons College (Massachusetts). She lives in the Rochester area.
  • Edvardo R. Pabros Jr. will fill a vacancy in the College's Institutional Research Office as Institutional Research associate. He comes to Genesee from Lockheed Martin, where he has been a software engineer and programmer for 15 years. He holds a B.S. degree from California State University and has completed advanced certificates in various information technology fields. He is a resident of Le Roy.

Heard President Sunser thank and congratulate seven members of the faculty and staff who are retiring this spring. In addition to Landers, Dudkowski, and Warren, President Sunser also thanked Margaret E. Heater, Ed.D., associate dean for Student Development, who has served GCC for the last 11 years; Mary Jo Dumuhosky, testing coordinator, who has served GCC for 31 years; Elizabeth Geuss, assistant Learning Lab and tutor coordinator who has served GCC for 30 years; and Cheryl M. Young, who has served GCC for 36 years.

Heard President Sunser report that St. John Fisher College has reserved two annual spots in its highly regarded Wegmans School of Pharmacy for Genesee Community College graduates who meet required academic criteria. Students completing the program receive a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Approved a policy requiring review and authorization of on-campus fund raising sales and events by student clubs, athletic teams and other internal groups. The policy is important because of the growing volume and complexity of laws and regulations governing fund raising, said Policy Committee Chair Benjamin J. Bonarigo Sr.

Viewed "The Human 50," a video of students, faculty, staff and trustees gathering in the form of a "50," marking the College's 50th anniversary. The video was created on May 4, and may be viewed on the anniversary home page at http://sunygcc50.genesee.edu/.

June 10, 2017 - 11:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, schools, education, news.

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Elba Central Schools parents and teachers organization hosted its first Muckers and Sons event -- with real Elba muck supplied by a local farmer -- at the school today.

(Apologies to the folks in Elba -- I only have one picture because I had an incorrect setting on my other camera, so all of the pictures on that camera were overexposed.)

June 7, 2017 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Fourth-graders from John Kennedy School were at Van Detta Stadium today for the annual Fourth Grade Track Meet. A total of 180 students competed in seven events.

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June 6, 2017 - 5:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, news, education, bergen, byron, agriculture.

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Press release:

The Byron-Bergen community’s agricultural heritage was celebrated on June 2 with the Jr./Sr. High School’s fourth annual Agriculture Appreciation Day — better known as the bring-your-tractor-to-school-day.

Brothers Garrett and Wyatt Sando were the first to arrive in their carefully restored and shining 1973 White tractor. They were soon joined by other students with their farm vehicles, large and small, including a classic 1952 Farmall.

Science teacher Jeff Parnapy is excited about the important role agriculture will be playing in education at the school next year. He is spearheading the new agriculture program, which will launch in the fall with an Intro to Ag class and a new Byron-Bergen chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA).

“We’ve been working with our Advisory Council, a wonderful group of experienced people from the community, to plan and organize the program,” he said. “Our Superintendent, Mickey Edwards, and Principal Pat McGee, recognize the interest our students have in agriculture and natural resources. We already have 22 students signed up for the first class.”

Junior Garrett Sando is one of them. His family owns 75 acres and he has had his tractor license since ninth grade.

“I’m really interested in trying the program out,” Garrett said.

Parnapy is excited to work with young people who are interested in building futures in agriculture. He taught Agriculture in Albion schools before coming to Byron-Bergen in 2000, and sees similarities between the two communities.

“My hope is to launch the program and expand it every year. The FFA chapter will be open to kids in grades nine through 12 for the first year, with plans to extend it to grades seven and eight when it is solidly established.”

Top photo: Brothers Garrett and Wyatt Sando with their 1973 White tractor.

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Student drivers strike a pose on Adam Starowitz’s tractor: (l-r) Garrett Sando, Brandon Lewis, Marquis Brown, Benjamin Latham, and Starowitz with School Resource Officer Matt Butler.

June 5, 2017 - 8:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, schools, education, news.

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Notre Dame High School conferred diplomas on 41 students yesterday in a ceremony at Genesee Community College. 

Tyler Reese (above) was valedictorian and received several senior awards, including Man of the Year.

For the first time since 1983, the award for Woman of the Year went to two students, Hannah Bowen and Lyndsey Rowland (photo below).

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June 2, 2017 - 10:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, St. Joe's, education, news.

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The third- and fourth-grade students at St. Joe's got to make butter today.

Then they got to eat the butter they made on graham crackers.

Anne Marie Starowitz, representing the Holland Land Office Museum, visited the classroom today, bringing an 1800-era butter churn as well as other artifacts from the museum and talked with the students about what life was like in early Genesee County. 

She then filed two canning jars with heavy cream and had the students pass them around the room, with each student giving the canning jars 10 hard shakes before passing it to the next student. 

Before long, they had butter.

Next week the students will tour the historic Batavia Cemetery.

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June 2, 2017 - 10:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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One of the most memorable days of sixth grade at Batavia Middle School is the day students recreate the Silk Road, says Social Studies teacher Stephanie D’Alba.

Many of the children dress in costumes of the nations along the world's first stable trading route that connected China with Rome and started the process of global trade.

The Silk Road recreation gives students a chance to learn about history, geography, climate, culture, civilization and, of course, trade. The Silk Road put the world on the path of global trade.  

"Today kids just get on the Internet and they think it’s so easy," D'Alba said. "This shows them the very first way that things traveled from one side of the world to the other."

The name for the trade route comes from China's chief export, silk, which wasn't available in Europe before Genghis Khan established law and order and safe passage for travelers and traders along the routes the comprised the Silk Road. China managed to keep the production method secret for centuries and Rome, with only gold to trade, found its reserves becoming depleted. The Silk Road also introduced Europe to new foods and spices (though, contrary to myth, Marco Polo did not bring back pasta to Italy).

The BMS "Silk Road" covers two floors in the school, with selected classrooms acting as countries along the trade route and the hallways marked with posters and pictures simulating deserts, seas, water stops, and areas that might be filled with bandits.

"It kind of shows you how to make a bargain and see what other people have to trade in their land and see their creativity," said Aidan Anders.

"It's pretty fun," said Cody Harloff. "It's fun trading to get other stuff and we get to see how the conditions were."

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June 2, 2017 - 7:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, stem, STEAM, news, batavia.

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Press release:

John Kennedy Intermediate School has received a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant to purchase "Math and Movement" materials for The JK STEAM Program.

“We had the Math and Movement day with Suzy Koontz in April and can now purchase mats of our own to have here at John Kennedy thanks to Lowes,” said Melissa Calandra, who spearheaded John Kennedy’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Program for fourth-graders this year and will take charge of the STEAM lab for all JK students, grades 2-4, next year.

During the Math and Movement day, students moved to the mathematics lessons – emphasizing patterns, stepping out calculations, and working out concepts on large mats. They were able to practice addition, subtraction, telling time, multiplication, division, fractions, place value, and geometry – and with physical movement incorporated into the brain work, the information was a lot of fun – and better retained.

Lowe’s, which seeks to approve grants that improve learning communities, noted that, “These materials will allow for a kinesthetic, multisensory approach to teaching math that incorporates physical exercise, stretching, and cross-body movements. Using the mats, students are ‘moving to the numbers.’ ” The mats will be ordered by the end of this school year to arrive in time for use next year in the STEAM lab. 

All K-12 public schools in the United States are eligible for the Toolbox for Education program.  More information is available at www.ToolboxforEducation.com.

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June 1, 2017 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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The fifth-grade students at Batavia Middle School presented their human rights projects today in the school auditorium, including Tiara Banks and Jayden Dersham, above, who portrayed Madam C.J. Walker.

Born in 1867, Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) was the first child in her family born into freedom. She eventually found a cosmetic and hair-care product company, making her the first self-made female African-American millionaire in the nation and the prominent female entrepreneurs of her era. She was also a philanthropist. 

Below, Cruise Rapone and Brendon Peterson, both as Milton Hershey, founder of the chocolate company and founder of charitable foundations.

The students also made portraits of the historical figures they studied. They also recorded their presentations (bottom photo, a recording of a student as Helen Keller on an iPad). The recordings were made in front of a green screen so historical photos could be used as a backdrop.

The projects work in several Common Core requirements for fifth-graders, including making a public presentation.

Several parents attended today's presentations.

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May 29, 2017 - 1:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, schools, education, news.

A math teacher a Pembroke Junior-Senior High School, Dawn Krol, died last night following an ATV accident, according to a letter sent to district parents today.

The letter does not specify where the accident occurred or provide further details about the accident. 

"Ms. Krol was an exemplary teacher in every way and we will miss her greatly," Principal Nathan Work wrote in the letter to parents. "Her commitment to teaching and love for our students can be an example to all of us."

Work said counselors will be available to meet with students this week to provide emotional support and help them cope with her death.

"Because of our close school community, this death touches everyone at school," Work wrote.

May 24, 2017 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, schools, education, business, GCC, news, byron, elba, Pavilion, corfu.

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Press release:

"What is the biggest challenge you face in your business?" is a question often asked by the Agri-Business Academy students during tours of local agriculture businesses. The answer is almost always the same. "Labor."

The challenge of finding dependable, hardworking individuals for stable, well-paying careers in agriculture has been a constant battle for agriculturalists for years. As the instructor of the Agri-Business Academy, I've spoken with local agribusiness people from more than 100 local agribusinesses and the need for good employees is a common thread.

The common misconception is that these are not careers, but physically demanding jobs that do not require a college degree and involve a way of life that many would not willingly choose. Today, agribusinesses are usually seeking applicants with college degrees, technology and management experience, and business and communication skills. What is most important is that the compensation aligns with these requirements. In addition, the benefits and satisfaction that comes from working in the agriculture industry is unlike any other.

Agriculture continues to be the number one industry in Genesee County and the driving force of the local economy. When students of the Agri-Business Academy toured Torrey Farms, among the largest agribusinesses in New York state, they heard Maureen Torrey Marshall explain that Torrey Farms does not simply employ a few people in the surrounding community.

She described the multiplier effect, which means that other businesses, such as trucking companies, mechanic shops, equipment dealerships, transportation hubs, technology, fuel and fertilizer suppliers, and many others are all part of the agribusiness economy. Most people do not recognize the many different aspects of agriculture and the need for individuals with a broad array of interests and expertise. Animal and plant systems, food products and processing, agricultural mechanics, precision agriculture, agribusiness networks, international trade, environmental and conservation systems, and energy use are just a few of the trades under umbrella of agriculture.

To ensure that the agriculture community has the employees they need to thrive, and to continue to be the bedrock of our community the Agri-Business Academy is again seeking high school seniors to learn about careers in all aspects of agriculture. The Agri-Business Academy is a one-year partnership program between the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Genesee Community College.

Through this program, the students earn 15 college credits through the ACE program at Genesee Community College. They spend half the school day in the Agri-Business Academy enrolled in the following five college courses: Western New York Agriculture, Career and Educational Planning, Principles of Business, Principles of Biology and Public Speaking.

Throughout the year students tour area agribusinesses to learn and experience these businesses, job shadow professional producers and at the end of the year each student participates in a two-week internship. This year's Agri-business Academy students are working at their internships experiencing many different aspects of agribusiness -- from robotic and organic dairies to maple syrup and crop management and much more.

The following locations throughout Western New York are currently sponsoring student internships: DeLaval Dairy Services in Corfu, WBB Farm in Alden, Beaver Meadows Audubon Center in North Java, Merle Maple Farm in Attica, Cottonwood Farms in Pavilion, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wyoming County, Schierberdale Holsteins, Perry and WNY Crop Management in Warsaw.

If you know of a current junior or underclassman who is interested in business or agriculture, or is unsure of a career path, please encourage them to apply for the Agri-Business Academy at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. Through the Agri-Business Academy, students explore the plethora of wonderful careers available to them -- locally, internationally or often it is a dynamic blend of both.

Whether they like working inside or outside, with their hands or crunching numbers, handling heavy equipment or studying the nuances of soil (agronomy), tending to livestock or discovering how technology can help feed the world-the "Ag Academy" is a career starter.

Jack Klapper, an Agri-Business Academy graduate and Cornell University assistant men's basketball coach, said, "I would recommend this academy to anyone, whether they are pursuing a career in agriculture or not. The life skills I developed in this program are some of the best skills I have ever learned."

Applications are available at http://www.genesee.edu/home/ace/career-pathways/agri-business-academy/.

The first 20 students to submit their application will receive a free Genesee Community College flash drive wristband.

Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact me at 585-344-7783 or [email protected]. Check out the Agri-Business Academy on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Agri-Business-Academy-680673051998953/

Top photo: Agri-business Academy student Cherie Glosser of Warsaw High School with calf at Post Dairy Farms.

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Agri-Business Academy students at Torrey Farms, in Elba.

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Agri-Business Academy students at Porter Farms in Elba.

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Agri-Business Academy students at SJ Starowitz Farm, in Byron.

May 23, 2017 - 2:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, schools, education, Mental Health Association, news.

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A pet therapy dog, flying doves, a butterfly, a tree with a swing, a meditation bench, a lilac bush and a drum, these are just some of the metal sculptures that were handcrafted by area career and technical education students. More than 100 students from four career and technical education centers located across Western New York have created more than 70 metal sculptures that will be auctioned to benefit The Mental Health Association.

Welding for Wellness is a collaborative project that includes students from 65 school districts, which span 10 counties in Upstate New York. Students in the Metal Trades Programs at Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, Monroe 2- Orleans BOCES, Monroe #1 BOCES, the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GV BOCES) have worked since December to craft this artwork.

In June, these sculptures will be auctioned to benefit The Mental Health Association. The auction will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 2, from at Village Gate on the 2nd floor Atrium, 274 N. Goodman St., Rochester.

Auction tickets may be purchased online at Weldingforwellness.com or by contacting the Mental Health Association at (585) 325-3145.

The American Welding Society – Rochester section is a sponsor of this project.

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May 22, 2017 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STEAM, stem, schools, education, John Kennedy School, news.

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Press release:

By all counts, the Fourth Grade Innovators STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Program that was started at Batavia’s John Kennedy Intermediate School this year is a huge success – whether being measured by student enthusiasm, teacher observation of growing skills, or meaningful partnerships with the community. It’s no surprise, then, that plans are in the works for next year, including greater expansion into the younger grades at John Kennedy.

What did come as a surprise, however, was recognition from beyond our community. The Program won the Elementary STEM (Science/ Technology/ Engineering/ Mathematics) Innovation Award from The Finger Lakes STEM Hub and was honored at a reception in early May at St. John Fisher College. The Hub is the regional arm of the Empire State STEM Learning Network -- a statewide, community‐led collaborative that works to advance STEM education.

The Finger Lakes STEM Hub covers a nine-county area (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties) and consists of leaders from K-12 education, higher education, business, government, and community organizations who work together to advance the interdisciplinary teaching and learning of STEM disciplines with the goal of sustaining economic vitality. As part of their commitment to students, they identify and highlight exemplary STEM activities and events that are engaging, exciting, and empowering for students.

JK’s STEAM Program was recognized as being such a program.

Evolving out of a request last summer by fourth grade teacher Melissa Calandra to do some STEAM activities once a month, JK principal Paul Kesler was quick to give his approval and support.

“STEAM is so important for young students,” said Kesler, “basically because science, technology, and math are really lifelong concepts that students are going to need in whatever job that they have, but especially because so many jobs in the future are going to have a math and science emphasis. It’s important that our students gain experience now.”

To help bring the idea into fruition, they were joined by fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Sloan, ACE teacher Karen Shuskey, and librarian Katelin LaGreca.

“This team,” Kesler said, “really got the ball rolling and, as it got going, we were able to start partnering with GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center) in terms of bringing local businesses in to help us and see how we can partner with them.”

In its promotion of regional economic development and growth, the GCEDC advocates for the education and skill development that students need to equip themselves for meeting that growth. Their help and support was extremely valuable to the planning and implementation of the STEAM opportunities for the JK students.

Each month, all of the fourth graders took part in the planned STEAM opportunity. Through the year, these activities helped students explore DNA and living systems, structures and design, robotics, coding/computer programming, graphic design, 3D printing, electrical circuits, math and movement, robotics in agricultural, and ecology/environmentalism. Nearly every hands-on activity was introduced to the students by a professional from the community who had expertise in that area, so the students were also introduced to an array of careers.

It was one of the community presenters who told the team about and encouraged them to apply for the STEM Hub award. Despite coming at a particularly busy time of the school year, they were so proud of the program that they wanted to make the time to enter the competitive application process.

Much to their delight, they won!

While it was very exciting to be held up as an example of fruitful partnerships with the community that help students learn about and grow in an increasingly needed skill set, it is even more exciting to contemplate the future of JK STEAM.

“For next year, we’re looking at an expansion to include third and second graders,” Kesler said. “We’re opening up a STEAM lab next year. Melissa Calandra is going to lead that, and it will allow us to offer activities to students once a week versus once a month. We’re really excited about that!”

“My hope,” he continued, “is that students will see how interesting science, technology, and math can be, and, in the long-term, that they recognize the opportunities coming available to them in the STEAM field.”

May 21, 2017 - 8:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, news.

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More than 600 students received their diplomas this afternoon from Genesee Community College in a ceremony that also honored a local philanthropic couple, a man long dedicated to the college and featured a keynote address by a nationally recognized local author.

Bill Kauffman, author of "Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette," "Ain't My America," and "America First!," as well as the screenplay for "Copperhead," encouraged students to pay attention to small kindnesses, to be good neighbors, to be present, and make a difference in the place where they plant their roots.

"Engage with each other," Kauffman said. "Talk face to face in communion with one another. Live a real life, not a virtual life. The vividness, the color of the world outside is so much more spectacular than anything you can see on a high-definition TV screen."

The college is celebrating its 50th year, Kauffman noted, and that too has a message about place and the connectedness of community.

"It was born in the summer of love through a citizens' initiative, a grassroots movement of the people in Genesee County," Kauffman said. "It was organic, a natural outgrowth, not something imposed upon us by some distant authority."

Kauffman ran down the list of names of local people who have been honored with buildings named after them at GCC, such as Anthony Zambito, William Stuart and Barber Conable.

He remembered Zambito as a man of many talents and great knowledge, a scientist, a broker, and a muck farmer. He was also a trustee of the college and fan of Cougars sports. Kauffman said he knew him only briefly, when he and his wife, Lucine, first moved to Elba. He exemplified the small kindnesses, Kauffman said, of a person who tended to leave people feeling better after meeting him.

“He was a kind old man with wise eyes who would always find times to speak to me when I saw him in the post office,” Kauffman said.

Conable, the namesake of the technology building, served in Congress for 20 years, and later was head of the World Bank, but he always came back to Genesee County.

"He effortlessly moved between worlds," Kauffman said. "One day he would fly to Washington and chair a meeting of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents and the next day he would be back in Genesee County having coffee and donuts with his friends at Genesee Hardware."

Kauffman recalled that Conable once told him that eventually all of his accomplishments in Congress would soon be forgotten, but Kauffman said he did make a difference in the lives of people around him.

"The difference these people made were on a more intimate scale, the human scale -- the only scale that measure a person’s worth," Kauffman said.

He also talked about his friend, author, and newspaperman Henry Clune, who lived to 105 and still performed windsprints in his front yard into his late 90s. He also drank a martini every day promptly at 5 p.m. 

But that wasn't what led to a long life, Kauffman said.

"Henry was interested in his neighbors, in his own backyard, in what was going to happen next," Kauffman said. "He participated. He listened. He engaged. He reached out. He found something he loved to do and he did it as well as he could with joy and pride and always with a sense of gratitude. Henry wasn’t jaded. He wasn’t bored. His mind hadn’t been dulled by hundreds of hours of video games."

Clune celebrated Rochester in his writing, the way Kauffman has frequently celebrated Batavia in his, and in the end, Kauffman told the graduates, wherever they wind up, they should find the wonder and mystery of the place they live and love it.

"You're not just graduating today," Kauffman said. "You're graduating from Genesee Community College. The name means something. It's important. The community in Genesee in varying ways and varying degrees shaped you. Now it's your turn to shape it.

"For those living in other counties, in other states, in other countries, it's your turn to shape those places," Kauffman added. "You can enrich your place. You can make it better, kinder, livelier, more inviting, or you can just skate along on the surface, making no difference, leaving no one's life better for having met you. It's your choice."

Honored during the ceremony were Edgar and Mary Louise Hollwedel, who have spent lives dedicated to making life better in Genesee County, especially through education, most recently giving a large gift for a new children's room at the Pavilion Library, as well as being long-term supporters of GCC. They were awarded GCC Foundation's Alpha Medal of Service.

They had their own message about the secret of life: "The harder you work, the luckier you get."

Norbert J. Fuest, an advocate for the college since the 1980s, and credited with encouraging hundreds of people of all ages to start their college careers at GCC, was awarded an honorary degree.

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Bill Kauffman

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Edgar and Mary Louise Hollwedel

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Norbert Fuest

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May 18, 2017 - 10:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, schools, education, news.

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Teachers and staff from Batavia High School were at McDonald's on West Main Street, Batavia, yesterday evening for McTeacher's Night, serving up meals to customers and helping raise more than $500 for the Class of 2020.

Photo and info provided by Lisa Robinson.

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