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April 12, 2015 - 6:16pm

To Opt Out or Not?  That is the Question

by Gretchen DiFante - posting as a parent of students impacted by the assessments.  

Some of the Batavia City School District students will take New York State tests beginning this Tuesday. Many others are exercising their right to opt out of these tests. 

My husband and I have watched our children take these state exams since our eldest was in elementary school (she’s now 22 years old); however up until this year, we’ve never seen any of our five children exhibit any unusual stress or anxiety over these tests.  This year is different, and in the past two weeks our fourth grader’s anxiety over taking the tests has escalated daily.  Discussion of the topic between my eighth grader, her classmates and us, her parents, has recently dominated our family conversations.

Our district teachers had an evaluation system tied to several new items last year, including observations, and they performed very well as did teachers state wide.  Then the governor basically said something like, “teachers performed too well, and they really can’t be that good, so let’s make the evaluation system more difficult (and more ludicrous).”  Please tell me in what other industry in the world does that happen?  The position in which the governor is willing to put our teachers is, in my opinion, unforgiveable.  We have phenomenal teachers in our district and in the state.  I’m not saying that because I’m a school board member.  Being a school board member just makes me feel more protective of our teachers, but my opinion is based on having five children who have either graduated from or are currently being educated in this district.  My children have had outstanding teachers, coaches and administrators who have taught them life lessons way beyond the “basics.”  They have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, been there to lift our kids up when they’ve struggled, spent extra time with them when they’ve realized untapped potential that needed fueling, worked side by side with my husband and me as we faced some very difficult challenges and even cried tears with us at moments of crisis.  

One of the best overviews I’ve read regarding the recent education bill and its impact on our teachers is written by Valerie Strauss and entitled, What the ‘thoughtless NY government just did to teachers,’ published in the Washington Post on April 3.  The reader can access that article at this link:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/04/03/what-the-...

From our children’s friends and in countless social media posts I read, there seem to be two main reasons for opting out of the upcoming tests:  they are afraid their teachers will be unfairly judged if they perform poorly on the tests and they “hate” (or fill in the blank with similar words) Common Core. 

The nation’s governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), developed Common Core.  Teachers, parents, school administrators, and experts from across the country, together with state leaders, provided input into Common Core standards.  The design for the Common Core standards was based on scholarly research, surveys on the skills required of students entering college and workforce training programs, assessment data identifying college and career-ready performance, comparisons to standards from high-performing states and nations, National Assessment of Educational Progress frameworks in reading and writing for English language arts, and findings from Trends in International Mathematics and Science and other studies which concluded the traditional mathematics curriculum (the way my generation learned, paying attention parents?), must become substantially more coherent and focused in order to improve student achievement. 

All that research and wisdom, and we seem to have a significant number of people in this country who know more about educational needs than this body of research shows and this group of experts believes.  

Responsible interpretation of research requires critical questioning and strategic thinking and an objective perspective.  Ironically, the exact skills Common Core is designed to reinforce; but you see, I didn’t grow up in an educational system designed to teach those skills.  I was, however, lucky to be the daughter of teachers who instilled those skills in opportunities outside the classroom. 

I was horrible at math. Linear equations still make me nervous. As a young adult, the field I wanted to enter required lots of math; and because I saw myself as inadequate and, yes, too stupid, to master the math, I never pursued that path.  Our first three kids were educated prior to Common Core, and I could rarely understand their math past Middle School.  Common Core came, and I scratched my head at some of our daughter’s third grade math.  But something weird happened; my husband, a former civil engineer, who had always understood our kids’ math, was struggling to understand some of the basic math principles as well.  We did research on Common Core and found that the math curricula were designed to teach fewer concepts but to dive very deeply into those concepts and to teach them from the linear, visual and language-based perspectives.  I had heard opponents criticize Common Core as catering to one single type of learner.  Then a really odd thing happened in the DiFante house earlier this year, my husband was helping our fourth grader with her math and said, “I don’t understand this at all, maybe your Mom can help you,” to which our daughter responded with, “Yeah, right Dad.” 

I looked at the math problem and didn’t see a problem at all.  Instead I saw a very logical story, and I immediately knew how to arrive at the answer – it was math without numbers – a dream come true! What I learned is that the Common Core Math Standards require students to learn multiple ways to solve problems and explain how they got their answers.  The standards and resulting curricula are designed so the linear learners like my husband and verbal learners like me and visual learners as well have unprejudiced opportunity to build three different yet equally important logical approaches to mathematics.  I hope the reader can truly grasp how exciting that is!  Our childrens’ brains are getting trained a different way; and it is because of this that our children will be better strategic thinkers and able to make better decisions by virtue of a more robust and disciplined thought process than our brains were trained to undergo.

I know this change is painful for parents; we all feel inadequate and protective at the same time; however, we need to move forward for the sake of our children.  Progress is good and needed.  If, like many, you thought the previous educational approach in our schools was good enough and not in need of fixing, consider the huge body of evidence showing that two-thirds of American college students attending four-year colleges fail to earn their degrees within six years and estimating the cost of 1.7 million students nationwide in remedial college classes at $3 billion a year.  Remedial coursework makes taxpayers pay twice -- once for students to learn in high school, and again in college.

A 2011 national survey by the ACT, showed four out of five students in college remediation had high school GPAs above a 3.0!

If you are still a disbeliever, ask anyone on the faculty or in administration at Genesee Community College to tell you about the changes they have witnessed in the remedial needs of incoming freshman. 

Lest readers think it’s only college-bound students who need changes, please have a conversation with any employer in this county who is in charge of hiring employees in any industry from the manufacturing floor to the board room and listen to them describe the challenges inherent in the available pool of candidates.

Regarding the tests beginning this Wednesday, the Batavia School District’s official opinion regarding opting out is stated in the four points listen below:

1. We are a Focus District, and if we do not make our participation rate of 95% on the exams, we potentially could lose more local control for our district.  Two or more years of not making it could lead to us being a Priority District which would have even worse ramifications than being a Focus District.

2.  If our participation rate dips below 95% we can lose a portion or all of Title 1 federal grant, which impacts 26 teaching positions.  It would be the equivalent of losing funding for 12 full time teaching positions. 

3.  We do not use the exam to punish/fire teachers.  We have worked collaboratively for years with the BOE, administrators and teacher union to ensure that we keep perspective over this one piece of data for student achievement.  It is not used in BCSD to hurt our teachers or students. 

4.  The state tests allow us to compare our students to other students across the state that are similar to our population.  In general, we do very well compared to other small city school districts.  

While the way in which the state rolled out Common Core is certainly flawed, overall Common Core standards are good.  Common Core is necessary.  That said, we have two years behind us.  Our district has spent countless hours, resources and dollars to ensure our students are getting the best instruction and our teachers are getting support for curricula development and delivery.  If we walk away now, we walk away from progress; but I fear it will be too late if we have a significant number of our students opt out of state testing.  I encourage parents to protest - write letters, march on Albany, refuse to take, “no” for an answer when it comes to both teacher appraisals and New York State’s roll out of Common Core, but please don’t fall into the trap of being wholeheartedly against Common Core and making choices that cause stress for all students and may, in the end, hurt the district overall.   Get informed, ask questions, challenge what you hear; and if you don’t know how to challenge what you hear, ask a third grader – they are in their third year of Common Core, and IF they haven’t already been prejudiced against what they’re learning and IF you can listen to them without judgment, they just may be able to help you see some value in what they have to say. 

 

 

April 8, 2015 - 2:52pm

The Jackson Primary School staff looks forward to welcoming its new students for 2015-2016! Registration has started in the Batavia City School District’s Business Office for children eligible to begin kindergarten in the 2015-2016 school year. Children who will be five years old on or before December 1, 2015, are eligible to begin school at Jackson Primary in the fall. To register, parents may go to the District Business Office, located in the administration wing of Batavia High School (260 State Street), on school days between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and bring with them:

  • two proofs  of residency (for example: utility bill for gas, water, electric, cable; lease or rental agreement; mortgage statement; landline phone bill) unless the child is currently enrolled in the District’s Universal Pre-kindergarten program,
  • the child’s birth certificate,
  • the child’s Social Security card, and
  • the child’s complete immunization records.

   If you have questions, please call the Business Office at 343-2480 x1002.

March 3, 2015 - 5:56pm

Registration has started in the Batavia City School District for children eligible to begin kindergarten in the 2015-2016 school year. Children who will be five years old on or before December 1, 2015, are eligible. To register, parents may go to the Business Office, located in the administration wing of Batavia High School (260 State Street), on school days between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and bring with them:

  • two proofs  of residency (for example: utility bill for gas, water, electric, cable; lease or rental agreement; mortgage statement; landline phone bill) unless the child is currently enrolled in the District’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten program,
  • the child’s birth certificate,
  • the child’s Social Security card, and
  • the child’s complete immunization records.

   If you have questions, please call the Business Office at 343-2480 x1002.

Parents of new first grade pupils are also asked to register their child in the same time frame and with the same documentation.

 

November 12, 2014 - 5:00pm

Batavia City School District is in the running to win $1,000 because the varsity football team has been featured on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's game of the week. All that is needed is your vote (and plenty of others before the deadline of this Friday, November 14, at 2:30 p.m., so feel free to pass this information on… quickly!)

 

It is so easy – not to mention fun to replay one of the amazing passes/catches of the season! Just click on this link to go directly to the voting (and replay) page:

http://www.twcsportschannel.com/ny/rochester/play-of-the-year.html

 

The Time Warner Cable SportsChannel Play of the Year contest recognizes the best plays from their coverage of high school football this fall. Each weekly winner has advanced to a final competition to crown a Play of the Year. Along with bragging rights, a $1,000 Grand Prize will be awarded to the school that executed the winning Play of the Year.

 

Now is the time for all Batavia City School District students, families, and friends to vote for Batavia’s play. Do it now, because, remember, voting ends this Friday at 2:30 pm.

November 6, 2014 - 2:52pm
posted by Kathie Scott in batavia city school district.
The Batavia City School District is asking parents of students to take a short survey, The Batavia Family Engagement Survey, to share their opinions and thoughts about the District’s strengths and weaknesses. The survey should not take longer than 15 minutes to complete. It consists of rating-scale questions with possible responses ranging from “Strongly agree” to “Strongly disagree.” There are also a few open-ended questions for sharing comments and ideas. Parents are asked to fill out one survey for each school their children attend and are asked to complete them by November 30, 2014. Information, including the internet link for accessing the survey, has been sent home with children. The link is: www.surveymonkey.com/s/8XV7LLC . Parents without internet access are asked to call the District Curriculum and Instruction Office at 343-2480 x1003. This survey is part of an effort to gather information from parents, students, and staff which will be used in setting priorities and goals for the District and individual schools. Each family’s input is valuable and all parents are urged to take part in the survey so their thoughts, ideas, and aspirations can be heard.
October 1, 2014 - 4:05pm
posted by Kathie Scott in emergency, batavia city school district.

If enough Batavia City School District residents are interested, the District will host the American Red Cross FREE Citizen Preparedness Corps training sessions entitled Prepare, Respond, Recover: What to do When Disaster Strikes.

The Citizen Preparedness Corps training program was initiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to provide residents with the knowledge and tools to prepare for emergencies and disasters, respond accordingly, and recover to pre-disaster conditions as quickly as possible.

For the training, a Red Cross representative conducts an approximately two-hour session of the Citizen Preparedness Corps training program, which provides a comprehensive overview on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters.

Please contact Jim Jacobs, Director of Facilities III, 343-2480 x1013, if interested. If enough people express interest, the Batavia City School District will schedule and announce the training.

September 2, 2014 - 2:07pm

Registration for the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Program offered through the Batavia City School District is still open, as there are several openings left at two locations!

UPK provides an opportunity for four-year-old children to be involved in half-day, developmentally appropriate educational classes at no cost to their families. The District offers morning and afternoon programs, Monday through Friday, during the school year at three locations: the YMCA, Lucky Ducky Daycare, and, although filled to capacity for this year, Jackson Primary School.

In addition, the YMCA and Lucky Ducky Daycare each have the option for a “wrap around” program consisting of Child Watch in the morning followed by UPK in the afternoon from12:30-3:00, then School Aged Child Care afterward. Although there is no charge for UPK, the YMCA and Lucky Ducky Daycare do charge for the morning Child Watch and afternoon Child Care programs.

Children who are residents of the District, are four (4) years of age on or before December 1, 2014, and who are not enrolled in a special education program with the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) are eligible to apply. Letters/applications have been mailed to all known eligible families, but also are available at the District Registrar Office in the administrative wing of Batavia High School (260 State Street), or by calling 343-2480 ext.2008. They can also be downloaded from the District’s website, www.bataviacsd.org, by using the pull-down menu at the top of the page labeled “Parent,” or the Quick Link labeled “Parent Resources,” then clicking on the link for Universal Pre-K. Please return completed packets to the District Business Office.

May 1, 2014 - 10:21am

   Nearly 30 students earned Early Recognition/Certificates of Achievement from the Urban League of Rochester, NY, Inc. for the 2013-2014 school year. The Early Recognition Program, a component of the League’s Black Scholars Program, is used to identify, encourage, and support high school students with high academic abilities. Once students are identified, they are eligible for the League’s assistance and guidance in academics as well as in college and career planning. Those honored included Kaliann Bell, Tiarra Carney, Zoey Davis, Malachi Chenault, Jayvon Cherry, Jerrell Cherry, Adonis Davis, Hannah Durham, Tiara Filbert, Honesty Green, Jaz'mine Holmes, Olivia Majors, Briana Martin, Alyssa McKenzie, Mariah Morrison, Madeline Morrison, Ismile Smith, Alexis Vasciannie, Malik Vasciannie, Nephrateedies Williams, Jaysen Wylie, and (not pictured), Stacey Castro, Kenneth Griffin, Irisa Hill, Teiona Kemp, Sierra Sears, and Danny Williams.

Students who continue to do well in their studies up to and through their senior year are confirmed as Black Scholars and can participate in many college-related activities offered through the Urban League’s educational program, including the opportunity to apply for scholarships that are only offered to Black Scholars. Each June, the year’s Black Scholars are publicly recognized at an annual dinner and over $2.5 million in scholarships are awarded.

April 30, 2014 - 11:00am
posted by Kathie Scott in schools, batavia city school district.

All staff have been invited to respond to the question of what made or makes them feel particularly proud of being part of Batavia City School District. We are beginning to post their responses on our website (www.bataviacsd.org) and on our facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/BataviaCitySchools ) which has space for your comments. If you’d like to share a note about something that made or makes you feel proud of the District's staff or students, email Kathie Scott, [email protected]

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey shared this:  “A nationwide ranking by U.S. News & World Report gave high marks to Batavia High School, placing BHS in the U.S. News Top 150 schools in New York and in the Top 2,000 nationwide.
Of more than 30,000 total public, charter, and magnet schools reviewed nationwide, out of which approximately 19,500 were ranked, Batavia High School was placed at 1,824; out of more than 1,000 total schools analyzed in New York State, of which 268 were ranked, BHS was placed at 145. Based on 2011-12 data, the results were determined through the use of overall student performance on standardized tests and how well-prepared students were for college-level work. Availability of specialized classes for students of all skill levels as well as student-to-teacher ratios also factored into the rankings.

March 7, 2014 - 3:11pm

 

   The Batavia City School District is pleased to offer the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Program for students and will continue to operate the program in the 2014-2015 school year, pending State funding. UPK provides an opportunity for four-year-old children to be involved in half-day, developmentally appropriate educational classes at no cost to their families. The District offers morning and afternoon programs, Monday through Friday, during the school year. (If the YMCA is selected to be the Community Based Organization to provide UPK in 2014-15, there will be an option to select a “wrap around” program consisting of Child Watch in the morning followed by UPK in the afternoon from12:30-3:00, then School Aged Child Care afterward. There would be a charge for the morning Child Watch and afternoon Child Care programs.) If new State regulations are passed, the District may offer a full day UPK program in the 2014-15 school year.

   Children who are residents of the District, are four (4) years of age on or before December 1, 2014, and who are not enrolled in a special education program with the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) are eligible to apply. Letters/applications have been mailed to all known eligible families, but also are available at the District Registrar Office in the administrative wing of Batavia High School, or by calling 343-2480 ext. 2008. They can also be downloaded from the District’s website, www.bataviacsd.org, by using the pull-down menu at the top of the page labeled “Parent,” or the Quick Link labeled “Parent Resources,” then clicking on the link for Universal Pre-K.  Applications should be returned by April 4, 2014, however, late applications will be accepted if there is an opening.

October 2, 2013 - 11:58am

It was a pretty good day to begin with for fourth grade teacher Linda Restivo, but it was made better, thanks to Office Max, AdoptAClassroom.org, and John Kennedy Principal Paul Kesler. Mrs. Restivo received a surprise visit from OfficeMax representatives, Mr. Kesler, and Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey to be awarded $1,000 worth of classroom supplies. In addition to a new and very comfortable chair, there were two huge boxes filled with everything imaginable on a back-to-school list, and then some – from pens, pencils, composition notebooks, and paperclips to a Kindle Fire HD and digital camera.

The gift was part of the OfficeMax A Day Made Better advocacy program which was started to ease the financial burden on American teachers who, according to Office Max, spend approximately $1000 of their own money each year on essential classroom supplies. OfficeMax and its nonprofit partner, AdoptAClassroom.org, joined together in 2007 to create A Day Made Better and, since then, have paid surprise visits to approximately 100,000 classrooms nationwide. Teachers are nominated by their principals and selected based on demonstrated passion, dedication and innovation in the classroom.

“Mrs. Restivo is always positive which makes her a wonderful part of our school staff,” said Mr. Kesler. In nominating her, he highlighted her dedication and enthusiasm, saying, “Mrs. Restivo continually connects with each student to help them feel like part of the classroom community and to help them meet their academic potential. In addition, she co-facilitates our School Improvement Team, helps coordinate school events, is very approachable with parents, and volunteers for many Parent Group events.”

After making so many days better for others, Mrs. Restivo has a particularly memorable one of her own. 

 

(See pictures at http://www.bataviacsd.org/news.cfm?story=1132&school=0)

September 18, 2013 - 4:40pm

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Sept. 17 include the following:

  • Tax rate adjusted ~ Decreases to lowest level in 10-plus years           
  • Reminder: Re-register for Basic STAR exemption by Dec. 31
  • District goals outlined
  • BOE president’s report
  • Superintendent elected to Board
  • Auditors review financial statements
  • BHS Homecoming in full swing

Tax rate adjusted ~ decreases to lowest level in 10-plus years

As a result of savings realized from the consolidation of schools, as well as some reevaluation and reassessment of properties, homeowners will see a 3.95--percent reduction in the school tax rate, or a $0.91 decrease per $1000 of assessed property value (to $22.14 per $1,000 of assessed property value). This is the lowest tax rate for the District in more than 10 years.

Reminder: Re-register for Basic STAR exemption by Dec. 31

Bill Smist of the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) explained the new legislation that requires all homeowners who receive the Basic STAR exemption to register with the Tax Department by Dec. 31 in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and beyond. The legislation is an attempt to eliminate any inappropriate exemptions.

The requirement to re-register does not affect those seniors who receive the Enhanced STAR exemption. The process for Enhanced STAR has not changed.

Homeowners currently enrolled in Basic STAR have likely received notification of the requirement. That letter of notification included instructions and information to complete the process, but residents are able to register even without the letter. Smist emphasized that registration is both easy and quick. It can be done online at www.tax.ny.gov by clicking on the tab, “Register for STAR.” It can also be done via phone: 518-457-2036, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To register, residents will need their STAR code (included in the notification letter or available through the “STAR code lookup” link on the DTF Web site or through their phone assistance) and the names and Social Security numbers of all owners of the property and their spouses. Registrants will also be asked to confirm that the property is the primary residence of one of its owners (married couples with multiple residences may only claim one STAR exemption), that the combined income of the owners and spouses who reside at the property does not exceed $500,000 annually, and that no resident owner received a residency-based tax benefit from another state.

More information is available on the Web site or by calling the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance: www.tax.ny.gov or 518-457-2036.

District goals

For the complete presentation by Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey, please click on this link (or copy into your browser): http://www.bataviacsd.org/news.cfm?story=1120&school=0 .

Included here is a brief overview:

In introducing the District Goals for 2013-2014, Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey noted the District’s commitment, as articulated in the Mission and Vision statements, to empowering students to achieve their maximum potential and developing students who are able to successfully meet life’s challenges. He also emphasized the priority for continually improving the number of graduates who are college and career ready.

The four goals include: (1) close learning gaps UPK-12; (2) implement the second year of District Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans; (3) be fiscally sound; and (4) improve communication.

Steps to close learning gaps include such measures as implementing improvement plans aligned with the new Common Core Learning Standards; monitoring, reviewing, and adjusting strategies and programs; and providing and developing the resources and professional development needed for academic growth. The continuation of implementing APPR plans calls for utilizing the process as fully as possible for improving instruction, with the goal of having all teachers and principals rated as Effective/Highly Effective by Sept. 1, 2014.

In its aim to continue fiscal responsibility, the District will work toward creating a budget for 2014-2015 that is at or below the allowable tax cap while maintaining programs, managing the Capital Improvement Project, seeking revenue sources as well as more shared services, and advocating for our district at the local, regional and state level.

Communication goals include improving and increasing use of the Web site, Facebook, automated calling system, building and District newsletters, and local media; increasing meetings with community groups; adding Twitter accounts for each school building and video streaming the Board of Education meetings.

In addition, Superintendent Dailey touched on the Three-Year Vision which expands on the listed goals for improved academics and finances.

In closing, he noted that he believes the Batavia City School District will continue to lead, not follow, our region in success and achievements.

BOE president’s report

BOE President Patrick Burk outlined a number of goals to be considered for adoption by the Board. He and the superintendent will work together to bring a set of proposals to the Board for review, and he requested that all Board members forward any ideas they have to him.

Burk also noted that there has been high turnover of Board of Education members throughout the Genesee Valley region. The number of new board members in Western New York may be a challenge as Board members, administrators, and other concerned community residents continue to advocate, as a region, for such things as adequate funding for our students’ education.

In its continued efforts for championing local concerns, the Genesee Valley School Board Association is hosting a dinner meeting on Sept. 26 to bring together advocates of rural school districts. For more information about the dinner, contact Jim Thompson at 344-7947 or [email protected].

Superintendent elected to Board

Superintendent Dailey has been elected to the New York State Association of Small City School Districts, which will provide another platform which can be utilized to advocate for our district.

Auditors review financial statements

Audit Committee Chair Phil Ricci reported that the committee met with the auditors to review financial statements from the last fiscal year. Noting that the auditors had few and minor comments, he commended Business Administrator Scott Rozanski and District Treasurer Sally Sanford, particularly in the progress regarding Medicaid and Student Activities reports, where neither had any problematic findings.

BHS Homecoming in full swing

Student Ex-officio Board Member Samir Jain updated the Board members on high school events, including activities for Homecoming Week, Sept. 16-21. (See listing on the District Web site: www.bataviacsd.org/news.cfm?story=1113&school=1).

Superintendent Dailey noted that tickets are still available through the Athletics Office for the annual Athletic Hall of Fame dinner to be held at Terry Hills on Saturday, Sept. 21.

September 9, 2013 - 4:18pm

There are a few openings left, so the Batavia City School District has extended the deadline to submit an application for participation in the Universal Pre-kindergarten (UPK) program for the 2013-2014 school year.

UPK provides an opportunity for 4-year-olds to be involved in half-day, developmentally appropriate educational classes at no cost to their families. The District offers morning and afternoon programs at Jackson Primary School and partners with the Batavia YMCA to provide pre-kindergarten for children at that location.

Children who are residents of the District, are 4 years of age on or before Dec. 1, 2013, and who are not enrolled in a special education program with the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership are eligible to apply.

Letters/applications were mailed to all known eligible families, but also are available for pick-up at the District’s Business Office in the administration wing of Batavia High School; by calling Kelly Snyder at 343-2480, ext. 2008, and requesting that one be mailed; or on the District’s Web site by going to www.bataviacsd.org, using the pull-down menu under “District” and clicking on the link for Curriculum and Instruction, then the link for Universal Pre-k Information.

Applications for the remaining openings will continue to be processed through early October and students placed in the order that they are received. Please return the completed application to the BCSD Business Office, 260 State St., Batavia, NY, 14020.

If you have any questions, please call  343-2480, ext. 2008. for assistance.

August 9, 2013 - 11:48am
posted by Kathie Scott in education, batavia city school district.
image
Falleti presented information on the new State standards

On Monday, July 29, two administrative interns for the Batavia City School District -- Michelle A. Falleti (who is also a fourth-grade teacher at John Kennedy Intermediate School) and Lauren Combo (a kindergarten teacher at Le Roy Elementary) gave a presentation, "Getting to Know the Common Core State Standards, for Extended Year and TEAM Literacy."

The new set of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12 were developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including content experts, teachers, school administrators and parents in order to prepare America’s children for success in college and career.

The main goal of the presentation by Combo and Falletti was to guide parents through the new Common Core State Standards in a clear and cohesive manner and to also provide resources and tips on how parents can help their children at home.

Following the presentation, families were invited to visit stations according to their child’s grade level. Each station, for grades PreK-8, contained resources, activities, and tips for parents to help guide their child to succeed in school.

More information may be found by viewing the PowerPoint presentation on the Batavia City School District Web site (http://www.bataviacsd.org/popup_info.cfm?story=1102) or by visiting the website  www.engageny.org

May 14, 2013 - 12:21pm

 

Tonight (Tuesday, May 14), during the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting beginning at 7 p.m., there will be a presentation of the Batavia City School District's Proposed 2013-14 School Budget in the Batavia High School Library. All interested community members and parents are encouraged to attend.  For more information, see the following post on the District  website.
May 7, 2013 - 1:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, batavia city school district.
Event Date and Time: 
May 7, 2013 -
6:30pm to 8:00pm

An information meeting to inform parents and taxpayers about the nuts and bolts of the proposed 2013-14 budget's facility improvement projects will be held tonight at 6:30 in the library at Batavia High School.

Another such meeting will take place in the HS library beginning at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, May 14.

A public vote on the proposed budget is May 21.

The info sessions will provide a break down of planned facilities upgrades and repairs totaling more than $3.8 million and detail how they will be paid for.

 

 

April 10, 2013 - 5:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia city school district, Title IX.

Press release:

On April 5, Empire Justice Center filed a class-action suit against Batavia City
School District on behalf of three female softball players and their families, alleging wide disparities in treatment between girls’ softball and boys’ baseball.

Title IX forbids all federally funded entities from discriminating on the basis of sex. We are proud of the girls and their families for joining the ranks of so many brave Title IX plaintiffs over the course of history who have stood up for their civil rights and helped to level the playing field for women in sports.

In the words of one federal judge in another Title IX case, “[e]ach day these inequalities go unredressed, the members of the girls’ softball team, prospective members, students, faculty and the community at large, are sent a clear message that girls’ high school varsity softball is not as worthy as boys’ high school varsity baseball, i.e. that girls are not as important as boys.”

While we must refrain from commenting on the merits of pending litigation, we would like to make clear that had the Batavia School District agreed to commit to any concrete plans to remedy the inequities between girls’ softball and boys’ baseball by a specific date, there would have been no need for a lawsuit. As soon as the district makes a binding commitment, the case will be resolved.

As stated in the complaint, the Plaintiffs do not ask to take anything from their male classmates; nor are the girls asking for their own Dwyer Stadium (a request that they recognize would not be feasible). They are fans of the boys’ team and will continue to show their support by attending Blue Devils games at Dwyer regardless of the outcome of the case. They simply want equitable facilities to play on, as well as recognition that their athletic endeavors are as worthy as those of their male classmates.

April 9, 2013 - 7:59pm
posted by Kathie Scott in batavia, education, batavia city school district.

​Batavia Board of Education meeting highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on April 8, include news and updates about the following:

• Preliminary Budget Update

• School-to-Work Update

• Bu​siness Education Alliance Presentation

Preliminary Budget Update

Business Administrator Scott Rozanski brought the Board up to date on work being done on the preliminary budget proposal for the 2013-2014 school year.

As relayed at a previous Board meeting by Superintendent of Schools Chris Dailey, the Board advocated for containing any budget increase to 2 percent or less, but the initial “rollover” budget one that maintained but did not add any new expenditures -- would have resulted in a 4.26-percent increase to the budget and a consequent 6.11-percent increase in the tax levy primarily due to significant increases in pension and employee health care.

Furthermore, he noted that the calculation for our district’s Property Tax Cap Levy* equals a cap limited to a 5.51-percent increase (*As has been widely reported, the Property Tax Cap Levy, popularly called “the 2-percent tax cap,” is actually calculated by using the State’s eight-step formula then adding items that the State has identified as exempt from the restriction. If a district’s proposed budget falls at or below this calculated limit, passage of their budget requires 50-percent voter approval. If a proposal exceeds the calculated limit, passage requires 60-percent voter approval.) Our district’s tax cap of a 5.51-percent increase would mean an estimated tax increase of $1.27 per thousand dollars of assessed value or, on an $80,000 home, an annual tax increase of $101.

The draft summary presented to the Board on 3/26/13 by Rozanski noted changes resulting from six teacher retirements, two clerical retirements, and the elimination of a proposed position for a School Resource Officer that would have been partially funded by the City of Batavia and partially funded by the School District. That budget proposal came to $41,409,757, and carried a tax levy increase of 3.98 percent.

The current (4/8/13) preliminary summary presented to the Board included increased revenue of $930,000 from the State, primarily in restored State Aid, but also included additional expenditures of $571,000 -- approximately $121,000 in lost federal grants as well as an estimated $450,000 in additional expenses for the three employee contracts which are in the process of being negotiated.

The final figures for this proposal are: an expenditure total of $41,981,241 (up $1,894,509 or 4.73 percent from 2012-2013); a revenue total of $21,602,411 (up $1,897,680 or 9.63 percent from 2012-2013); an appropriated fund balance of $1,875,660 (down $365,965 or 16.33 percent from 2012-2013); and a tax levy of $18,503,170 (up $362,794 or 2 percent from 2012-2013).

“This budget proposal puts us at a 2-percent cap, which was the Board’s goal, rather than a 5.51-percent cap, which is what the State calculations permitted, and the elimination of jobs is not necessary,” Dailey said.

In addition, he noted, it preserves the funding for transportation so that all pre-kindergarten through first grade students will be eligible for bussing, which has been identified as a safety concern.

As a reminder, important dates related to the May vote include the following: Board of Education candidate petitions became available on March 12 and must be returned by April 24. Beginning May 6, copies of the proposed budget for 2013-2014 will be available in these Batavia locations: the Administration Offices (260 State St.), Batavia High School main office (260 State St.), Batavia Middle School main office (96 Ross St.), John Kennedy Intermediate School main office (166 Vine St.), Jackson Primary School main office (411 S. Jackson St.), and Richmond Memorial Library (19 Ross St.).

Organizations are encouraged to request a presentation of the proposal by calling the Superintendent’s Office (343-2480, ext. 1000). Presentations can be scheduled for after May 6, which is when the official proposal will be adopted by the Board.

The public hearing for the vote on the proposed budget will be at 7 p.m. May 14, in the High School library. The Budget Vote and Elections will be May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with polls open at Batavia High School (260 State St.) and John Kennedy Intermediate School (166 Vine St.).

Absentee Ballot voting is also permitted, and absentee ballots will be available during school business hours from the District Clerk from April 24 through May 14. April 24 is also Voter Registration Day from noon to 4 p.m. in the Administration Offices on State Street.

Please call if you have questions about the proposals or voting procedures: 343-2480, ext. 1000.

School-to-Work Update

BHS Business Teacher and School-to-Work (STW) Coordinator Jillian Thomas provided an update on the STW programs she coordinates: Make a Difference Day, Job Shadows, Career Related Field Trips, and K-12 Junior Achievement.

For the 14th annual Make a Difference Day, 22 nonprofit agencies hosted 170 BHS seniors so that the students could learn about giving back to the community and, for many, explore possible career fields. In addition, by the end of 2013, at least 19 students will have completed job shadows, several classes will have taken career-related field trips such as that taken by AP Biology students to the University of Rochester science labs, and 14 classes will have had a Junior Achievement volunteer come in and teach a business-related lesson.

To provide some examples of the value of STW programs, Thomas provided an opportunity for two students to speak about their experiences. Daemeon Reeves spoke about his job shadow with a State Trooper which reinforced his desire to go into law enforcement, and Jessica Valvano-Hoag spoke about her Careers and Financial Management class (taught by Eileen Ognibene) in which she has learned much about how to pursue a career -- such as how to write a resume, and how to prepare for and conduct oneself in a job interview. Two highlights of her class experience were participating in a mock interview and completing a job shadow with a local photojournalist.

Genesee County Business Education Alliance

Bill Hayes, Business Education Alliance (BEA) board member, reviewed the services provided to the District through the BEA and thanked the District for its continued financial support as well as the guidance and preparation it provides to students in regard to work.

In fulfilling its mission, the BEA fosters a partnership between business and education and assists students in preparing for the world of work through coordinating or participating in such things as: the Business School Interaction Committee; Junior Achievement; mock interviews; job shadows; teacher site visits; students site visits; virtual site visit videos; career speaker luncheons; classroom visits; career fairs and camps; resources and referrals for counselors seeking specific career education and/or employment opportunities for students; and class projects for students that mimic real business interactions.

A few additional District-specific services for Batavia have included assisting with recruiting Senior Exit Project volunteers and judges, and providing mock interviews and job shadows for Eileen Ognibene’s Careers and Financial Management class. The BEA’s programs help the District meet the NYS Learning Standards, particularly in Career Development and Occupational Studies, and they expose students to career opportunities in our own region.

March 8, 2013 - 12:17pm

The Batavia City School District’s May vote will include decisions on two Board of Education seats, as those held by Patrick Burk and Steve Mountain are ending.

The available seats are for three-year terms (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016).

Petitions for those interested in pursuing a Board seat will be available on March 12, 2013, at the District’s administrative offices, located at Batavia High School (260 State St.). They must be returned to the Business Office at the District’s administrative offices in Batavia High by April 24 before 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21 is voting day with polls open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

February 27, 2013 - 11:22am

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Feb. 26 include news and updates about the following: 

  • Preliminary Budget Update
  • Legislative Updates & Promoting Local Involvement
  • Capital Improvement Proposal Approved

 

Preliminary Budget Update

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski have met with the Budget Ambassadors and are reviewing the ambassadors’ budget surveys. Those suggestions and comments will be brought into consideration as work on the Proposed Budget for the 2013-2014 school year continues.

Before the process began, the board of education had directed Dailey and Rozanski to contain any budget increases to no more than a 2 percent. Preliminary figures presented by Dailey indicate that a “rollover” budget -- one that maintains but does not add any new expenditures - would result in a 4.26-percent increase to the budget and a consequent 6.11-percent increase in the tax levy.

Furthermore, the superintendent noted that the calculation for our district’s Property Tax Cap Levy* equals a limit to a 5.51-percent increase (*As has been widely reported, the Property Tax Cap Levy, popularly called “the 2-percent tax cap,” is actually calculated by using the state’s eight-step formula, then adding items that the state has identified as exempt from the restriction. If a district’s proposed budget falls at or below this calculated limit, passage of its budget requires 50 percent voter approval. If a proposal exceeds the calculated limit, passage requires 60 percent voter approval. )

In order to get to a flat 2 percent tax levy increase, nearly $750,000 needs to be reduced from the preliminary budget, or, to close the gap between the 2 percent goal and the allowable threshold, nearly $638,000 needs to be cut.

Dailey and Rozanski will continue to process the ambassadors’ comments as well as all the updated figures for such things as retirements and state aid and will report to the board as progress is made toward the final budget proposal.

Legislative Updates & Promoting Local Involvement

Superintendent Dailey reported that the Genesee Valley School Boards Association Advocacy Forum and Legislative Breakfast was well attended by regional school officials and students, including several from our district.

Discussion with the legislators who were present centered on: reducing the state mandates that financially cripple districts; eliminating the GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment which was instituted to help close the State budget deficit by taking back some of the education aid that had been promised to districts); educating voters about the aid formula that continues to provide funding for high-wealth/low-need districts, despite the increasingly high needs of low-wealth districts in meeting basic education requirements; and encouraging residents to contact their representatives including the governor to let their elected officials know the critical impact of their decisions and aid distribution.

Dailey commended BHS student and Student Ex-officio Board Member Kaitlin Logsdon for speaking to the legislators about how the loss of state aid has impacted the lives of students in our district.

Dailey, in the midst of discussion about the legislative impact on education, highlighted a few opportunities for board and community members to get more involved:

  • Have staff, administrators and board members, as representatives of the school district, continue to take advantage of opportunities to meet with our elected officials. The Legislative Breakfast was one such opportunity. While in Albany this coming Tuesday, Dailey is scheduled to meet with Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Michael Ranzenhoffer at which time he will discuss the impact of the GEA on our community and students. He would gladly take any notes or postcards from residents, students and staff and hand deliver them.
  • Attend the Statewide School Finance Consortium’s education rally featuring Rick Timbs, Ph.D, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium and a leading voice in the fight for fair and equitable education aid. This gathering will be similar to one held in the Albany area in January titled, "Your Public Schools in Fiscal Peril: Running Out of Time and Options," which served as both an educational session and advocacy rally. Our regional rally will be held at Geneseo Central School District on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. (Note: The board voted to attend the rally in place of a board of education special meeting that was originally scheduled for that evening. They will be encouraging parents, students and other community members to help them provide strong representation from our district.)
  • Write, and encourage other community members to mail letters and postcards, to legislators urging them to restore aid and to distribute aid equitably so that students in our district receive the same educational opportunities as other students in the state. Actual mail is more effective than e-mails.
  • For more background on the Statewide School Finance Consortium and the financial crisis facing schools, visit the SSFC Web site: http://www.statewideonline.org/

Capital Improvement Proposal Accepted

The board voted to accept the proposed $3,841,000 capital improvement project and will bring it to the voters in May.

An overview of the proposal was presented at the previous (Feb.12) board of education meeting by Jerry Young of Young and Wright Architectural. The proposal will be presented to interested community groups upon request. Please contact the Superintendent’s Office (343-2480, ext. 1000) if interested in scheduling a presentation.

Main components of that presentation (as posted with the BOE Highlights from Feb.12) included the following:

The major components of the $3,841,000 proposed project include work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000), VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000), Batavia High School ($406,000), Jackson Primary ($621,000), John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000), Batavia Middle School ($80,000), and Robert Morris ($39,000). Most of the items outlined and pictured by Young in his presentation addressed building deterioration or legal compliance issues.

Work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000) would include slate roof shingle replacement, flat roof replacement, masonry restoration on the original building, window and door replacements on the original building and addition, site work (including sidewalks, roadway, and parking), and interior improvements such as carpet and emergency lights.

Work at VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000) addresses both gender-based discrimination targeted by Title IX of the federal Educational Amendments Act of 1972 as well as discrimination based on disabilities as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The scope of work includes improvements to the girls’ softball field (dugouts, scoreboard and fence) as well as improving or creating handicapped access to the bathrooms, the concession stand, the ramps to stadium seating, and handicapped seating.

Work at Batavia High School ($ 406,000) includes site work for additional parking and a sidewalk to Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, HVAC upgrades, energy-efficient lighting and a motorized curtain in the gym, new hot water heaters and gas meters, and some security improvements.

Work at Jackson Primary ($621,000) includes site improvements for the playground and parent drop-off, masonry restoration on the chimney and corners of the building, window replacement on the second floor, bathroom installation in the kindergarten wing, and some security improvements.

Work at John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000) includes window replacement on the original building, masonry restoration, energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym, and some security improvements.

Work at Batavia Middle School ($80,000) includes a new hot water heater, air conditioning in the cafeteria, masonry restoration on the chimney, and energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym.

Work at Robert Morris Elementary ($39,000) includes the replacement of a sanitary line in a crawlspace.

Plans for financing the project include the use of the Capital Reserve Fund for non-aided projects such as Richmond Memorial Library and VanDetta Stadium. For the remainder of the project, the Selected Building Aid ratio for 2012-2013 is 0.799 (or 0.201 local cost) for school buildings. In addition, other financing options such as Public Library Construction Grants and State Historic Preservation Funding will be pursued for the library projects. Grant applications, however, may only be made after the public approves a project.

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