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January 10, 2017 - 2:37pm

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

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

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

The full press release about the contest is here.

All of the videos that won and placed are here.

December 23, 2016 - 8:15pm
posted by Rick Franclemont in sports, alexander, basketball, byron-bergen.

Alexander Boys Varsity took down Byron-Bergen 53 to 40.


Standout sophmore Chris McClinic led Alexander with 21 points, three rebounds, three assists, and four steals.

Adding points for Alexander with strong games:

Matt Genaway -- 12 points, five rebounds
Erik Scharlau -- nine points, 10 rebounds, six blocks
Dustin Schmieder -- nine points

Leading Byron Bergen:
Brandon Burke -- 16 points, seven rebounds
Colin Noeth -- 11 points, eight rebounds


Alexander Coach Josh Bender said "I thought tonight my guys played great disciplined defense. These guys stepped up to the challenge and it was a great team win for us. We are starting to hit our stride and will look to continue to keep improving."

Current records:

Alexander 3-3 overall
Byron-Bergen 3-3 overall

More pictures from this game and other Alexander Varsity games can be found http://francletography.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Basketball/C0000f.aPItX_A7o

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

December 14, 2016 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, byron, bergen, pembroke, basketball, sports.

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Pembroke beat Byron-Bergen in a home game for the Bees last night, 55-46.

Olivia Kohurst scored 14 points for the Lady Dragons, with six coming off a pair of three-pointers. Mackenzie Jurek had 11 and Mackenzie Johnson, who also had a pair of three-point buckets, had 10.

For Byron-Bergen, Karson Richenberg had 11 points, Dana VanValkenberg, nine, Jenna Amesburg, nine, Hailey Hubbard, eight, and Kelsey Fuller, seven. VanValkenberg and Amesburg each hit three-point shots.

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November 16, 2016 - 7:18pm

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Pictured: Instructional coaches of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership with Jim Knight, director of the Kansas Coaching Project. (Courtesy of Jim Thompson.)

A new program for the improvement of teaching techniques has begun to take root in the Genesee Valley Boces school districts. The new program connects educators with trained coaches who review video footage of teaching sessions and provide commentary and advice to improve quality and effectiveness.

Jim Thompson, director of Instructional Coaching Services at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, began installing the program during the 2014 school year. The program has since grown from 10 teachers in its first year, to being used in over nine districts in the area. Jim has worked as the primary coach since its inception, and is currently working on training educators in each district to become coaches themselves.

“We strive for excellent instruction, every day, in every classroom, for every student. That is our true north.” Thompson said, quoting his mentor Jim Knight, director of the Kansas Coaching Project at the University of Kansas.

The program itself involves several stages. First, teachers will meet with coaches, in order to establish goals and develop a positive relationship between them. Next, the teacher submits a 15-20 minute video clip from a teaching session. The coach will then review the video multiple times, implementing time-stamped commentary, concluding with a meeting and review session with both the educator and coach in person.

Thompson emphasized the importance of the teacher-coach relationship in the program, as well as the program’s non-evaluative nature, confidentiality and volunteer basis.

“The program is built on strong relationships and trust. We set up a relationship with teachers which not only generates trust, but also promotes a willingness on the part of both the teacher and coach to reflect on instruction and help improvement.”

One school in which the program has found a receptive home is in the Byron-Bergen district, where superintendent Mickey Edwards has instituted it in both the secondary and elementary levels. As of now, 40 percent of teachers in the school have participated in video coaching, and the school has begun training its own coaches.

“We offer it to teachers to help them improve on their craft and delivery,” Edwards said. “At Byron-Bergen, teachers are not done learning yet.”

Edwards compared the program to the model presented by sports film study, saying that watching yourself teach and seeing what you do well and what you need to improve on – terms which the program refers to as “glows and grows” – is an eye-opening experience.

Diana Walther, an eighth-grade English teacher from the school, is currently being trained as a coach for the district. As an educator who has seen the program from the perspective of a teacher as well as a coach, she claims that it was one of the most effective professional development programs she has been a part of.

“It draws your attention to things you’ve never thought of before,” she said. “Personally, I speak very quickly, so slowing down was something I needed to improve a lot.”

Walther also echoed Jim Thompson’s emphasis on the teacher-coach relationship. “Each session begins by getting to know each other,” Walther said, “in order to identify goals.”

Deborah Slocum, another coach from the Byron-Bergen district, says that her experience in the program also led to her desire to get involved.

“I had an epiphany, it was the most valuable professional reflection I’ve had over the past 24 years of teaching.”

The school has enjoyed the benefits of the program, so much as to implement it into their quarterly evaluation process. Each teacher goes through four annual evaluations, which often include a supervisor sitting in on a class. This option allows teachers to present a video session with a coach as one of their four evaluations.

“This ties into a growth model, where teachers can hone their craft,” Edwards said.

In the future, Edwards hopes to increase the size of the program to include many more coaches within the district.

“I’d like to see one in each content area, and a few at the elementary level.”

The program is in what Edwards referred to as a “fledgling stage,” and it will be evaluated at the end of the school year.

November 15, 2016 - 8:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, byron, bergen, news, schools, education, business.

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Press release:

Students from the Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School got a close look inside several of Genesee County’s leading advanced manufacturing facilities recently. Teacher Jay Wolcott’s Manufacturing Systems class visited four companies to assess the local job market, learn about pay and benefits, see potential job opportunities, and hear about the skills employers are looking for. Host companies included Bergen’s Liberty Pumps, along with Le Roy businesses Aluminum Injection Mold (AIM), PCORE Electric Company, and Orcon Industries.

Company representatives explained the varied career opportunities available at manufacturing companies like these, including jobs in assembly, engineering, sales, marketing, and management. Students came away with the understanding that successful job applicants must have strong skills in basic math, problem-solving, and communication, along with, at minimum, a high school diploma or GED. Each company visited stressed their support for job-specific training and college course work.

Students toured the Liberty Pumps facility, experiencing the machining of pump housings, powder coat finishing, assembly, inspection, packaging, and finally, the global shipping process. At AIM, they followed the prototype manufacturing process from the initial customer design requirements to machining of the aluminum injection mold and molding of plastic parts.

PCORE manufactures bushings for the high voltage electric transformer units used by power companies. Students observed a demonstration using electricity to check for defects that took place in a completely dark lab that concluded with electrical humming and flying sparks. At Orcon, a custom industrial packaging company, students observed firsthand the need for problem-solving skills in all areas of the operation.

Using their experiences with the participating companies, students completed a technical report assessing the job opportunities at each company, concluding with their opinion on the best job fit for them.

The career exploration trip was arranged with the help of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance (BEA).

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May 16, 2016 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education.

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Press release:

Horrifying. Terrible. Stressful. Horrible.

Emotions ran high as Cady Glor spoke to Byron-Bergen juniors and seniors on May 10 to share the long-lasting effects of how a drunk driver changed her life.

Glor was smitten with Chris Blake, her high school sweetheart and boyfriend of eight years. In 2014, Blake was a passenger in a vehicle and his friend behind the wheel was intoxicated. An accident occurred which put Blake into the hospital with a broken neck.

“I remember the moment my mom called me to tell me that Chris was in the hospital,” said Glor. “It was like what you see in a movie. I fell on the floor. I was screaming and crying.”

“Seeing someone lying in a hospital bed with a breathing machine, someone who was so strong, is just devastating,” added Glor. “I still see it in my nightmares today.”

Blake spent months in the hospital but was confined to a wheelchair, was a quadriplegic, and had a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe. His body deteriorated from the strong physique he once had.

Talks of Blake going home began to happen as the summer ended and Blake knew that he wanted to share his story with schools, and help students understand the impact their decisions could have. Unfortunately, Blake ended up passing away in Aug. 22, 2014, after an infection entered his blood. Glor has since taken on the task of carrying out his wish and speaking to schools.

Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School Principal Patrick McGee invited Cady in to speak to students because he knew that her message would resonate with students.

“Cady is such a courageous woman,” McGee said. “She told a story that is unfortunately all too familiar in our society and did it in a way that hit home with our students. There were very few dry eyes in our auditorium.”

Glor told the students that while she doesn’t know any of them, she cares about all of them. She encouraged the students to not drive drunk, to not get into a car with someone who is drunk, and to call someone for a ride no matter what the time or circumstance.

“Knowing that his death was preventable makes it a thousand times worse,” Glor said. “He chose to get into the car with a drunk driver and he paid the ultimate price.”

April 28, 2016 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

The halls at Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School were full of colorful and imaginative artwork and pottery, and the cafeteria was filled with music as hundreds of community members, parents, teachers and students got their creative buzz on. The school’s third-annual Buzzin’ Bistro event showcased a wide range of talent and drew a huge, enthusiastic crowd on April 22.

The Buzzin’ Bistro began with the opening of the District Art Show, which featured visual arts from the elementary and jr./sr. high schools. Participating art teachers Melissa Coniglio, Sandy Auer and Justine Fritz displayed the best work from their classes in a variety of media, including several exceptional student portfolios.

The main event, however, was the music. The Buzzin’ Bistro is an opportunity for students from grades five through 12 to perform with each other in front of a community audience. They are also able to sing and play as equals alongside their music teachers and talented musicians from the Bergen community. This year, guest artist Johnny Cummings, talented songwriter and Byron-Bergen alumnus (2000), and his band entertained and inspired the young artists.

The musical portion of the evening began with the fifth- and sixth-grade Jazz Band and Jazz Choir, directed by teachers Robert Lancia and Karen Tischer, with impressive solos from students Cameron Carlson and Angel Heick. Teacher Kevin Bleiler directed both the jr. and sr. high jazz bands in several numbers that had the younger members of the audience on their feet dancing. The Singing Silhouettes, a select group of high school chorus members, led by teacher Laurence Tallman, swung a wonderful version of the classic “In the Mood.”

Students took a breather to let staff members Amanda Cook, Alyson Tardy, Amber Taylor-Burns, Jodie Vandelay and Megan Wahl, along with community musicians Steve Keenan, Chris DeValder and Bob Wilkins, join the music department to perform a few numbers. Johnny Cummings and his band, Something Else, followed with a showstopping 30-minute set that had all the students up and dancing. The evening concluded with a rendition of “Twist and Shout” involving the jr. high band, sr. high band and community members.

Buzzin’ Bistro was sponsored and supported by the Byron-Bergen Music Boosters, Todd Sloat from T.S. Lighting, LLC, Ralph Marsocci from McCullagh Coffee Roasters, Ralph & Rosie’s Delicatessen, and Greg’ry’s Bakery.

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April 26, 2016 - 9:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, byron-bergen, news.

mickeyedwardsapril2016.jpgPress release:

The Byron-Bergen Central School District’s Board of Education has named Mickey Edwards as the district’s next Superintendent. Edwards’ start date is July 1.

“The search process was rigorous and the Board of Education truly values the input we received from the various stakeholder groups, including staff, and community members who met with the candidates to help us make a final decision,” said Board President Debi List.

“With his dedication, enthusiasm, and professional background, along with a deep understanding of many aspects of educational leadership, our board feels that Mr. Edwards is an excellent fit for the students, faculty and staff of the district."

Edwards currently serves as the superintendent of Wyoming Central Schools located in Wyoming, NY. Previously, he served as the coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for Orleans/Niagara BOCES, a position he held from 2009 until 2014.

Edwards began teaching in 1995 as an art teacher for the Hilton Central School District. In 1996, he began teaching at Albion Central Schools as an Art/Technology instructor. He continued his career at Albion Central Schools serving as the elementary school dean of students, middle school assistant principal and high school principal. Edwards is a veteran of the Marine Corp.

Edwards earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Roberts Wesleyan College, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from The College at Brockport. He holds a School District Administrator certificate from The College at Brockport.

“I am very excited to join the Byron-Bergen Central School District team and meet the staff, students, and the community members of Byron and Bergen. Byron-Bergen Central School District should be proud of its many accomplishments and strengths. I look forward to continuing this tradition of excellence as we work together to ensure that our students are successful and prepared for tomorrow,” Edwards said.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, acted as search consultant. MacDonald said the Board developed and implemented a process that helped to determine the best candidate.

“Mr. Edwards understands the challenges and issues the districts in our region face. His breadth of experience, and educational leadership will greatly benefit this district as he works with the Board of Education, staff and community to provide a quality education for the children of this community,” MacDonald said.

April 25, 2016 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

The Byron-Bergen chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) welcomed 15 new student members to their distinguished company on April 20.

The service included congratulations from Interim Superintendent Jon Hunter, Ph.D., along with the time-honored candle-lighting ceremony that acknowledges the high standards students in NHS must exhibit in knowledge, character, leadership, service and scholarship.

Inductees each received a yellow rose, which they shared with family members, and were presented with their traditional honor cords and certificates.

Jr./Sr. High School Principal Patrick McGee asked students to consider the question posed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”: Why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? He challenged students to work hard and use every opportunity they can find to fulfill their promising futures.

Students also heard from two inspiring guest speakers, Amy (Seward) Stacy (Class of 1980), and Helen Hulburt, the mother of Judy (Hulburt) Holly (Class of 1976). Stacy and Holly were this year’s Alumni Hall of Fame honorees.

The 2016 inductees to the Byron-Bergen National Honor Society are: Cameron Brumsted, Catherine Brumsted, Lauren Burke, Benjamin Chaback, Quinn Chapell, Brionna DeMichel, Margaret Graney, Justin Hannan, Hayley Hoehn, Brian Ireland, Daniel Jensen, Peyton Mackey, Makenzie Muoio, Leah Thompson and Dana VanValkenburg.

Current Members of the Byron-Bergen National Honor Society are: Olivia Audsley, Merrisa Bohn, Rose Bower, Bethany Ezard, Rider Farnsworth, Chase Felton, Clare Fraser, Brittany Goebel, Lauren Graney, Kaitlyn Harder, Ana Hubbard, Cora Ivison, Kelsey Maurer, Taylor McPherson, Celia Mercovich, Ashley Montgomery, Esther Musiyevich, Grace Pulcini, Brittany Rada, Brandon Reiner, Alexandria Rosse, Colby Savage, Adam Walter and Michael Zwerka.

National Honor Society membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but also challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service. The organization has chapters in all 50 states, Canada, and beyond.

March 11, 2016 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, news, sports.

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Press release:

On March 4, the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong Hospital received a check for $1,277 to help combat head and neck cancer. The money was raised by the Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School’s girls’ soccer team. The team, led by Coach Wayne Hill, hosted a fundraising event in October. This is the second year the team has focused their efforts on head and neck cancer. Teammate Karson Richenberg’s mother, Toni, has throat cancer.

Many local businesses supported the school’s fundraiser, including Sloat Tire Shop in Batavia, Fullerino’s Pizzeria, and NAPA Auto Parts in Bergen. They donated products and services to fill baskets that were raffled during halftime at one of the team’s games.

“We are very grateful to the many individuals and businesses in the community who donated,” said Jr./Sr. High School Interim Principal Patrick McGee. “We are so proud that our students are learning that they have the power to drive change in the world and give back to their community.”

The Byron-Bergen girls’ soccer team is no stranger to fundraising to beat cancer. Earlier years’ efforts supported breast cancer awareness. The girls' soccer team plans to expand their endeavors next year by encouraging additional athletic teams to participate.

Photo: Representatives from the Byron-Bergen girls’ soccer team presented a check for $1,277 to the doctors and medical team at Strong Hospital’s Wilmot Cancer Center. Center, holding check, is junior Karson Richenberg. Then (l-r) Toni Richenberg, junior Olivia Audsley, senior Alex Rosse, Interim Principal Patrick McGee and (far right) Coach Wayne Hill.

February 20, 2016 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County 4-H, byron-bergen, education, news.

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Above, Sydney Reilly gives a cookie baking demonstration during Genesee County 4-H Club's annual public presentation day at Byron-Bergen High School. 

At the event, students ages 5 to 18  give presentations in front of their peers and a panel of volunteer judges.

Presentations include everything from illustrated talks using posters, PowerPoint slideshows, to live demonstrations and even impromptu topics.

The event is designed to help students improve their public speaking skills while developing self-confidence, poise, self-esteem, stage presence and knowledge.

Sydney's judges were Bob and Ester Leadley.

Below, Clare Mathes during her presentation and then talking with judges Denise Chatt and Karleigh Chatt. Also presenting, Teegan Mathes.

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February 2, 2016 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, sports, Harlem Globetrotters.

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Press release:

The special student/teacher jazz quintet played the familiar theme song “Sweet Georgia Brown.” As Harlem Globetrotter Zeus McClurkin entered Byron-Bergen Elementary School’s packed gymnasium on Jan. 28, hundreds of excited students burst into ground-shaking applause. The basketball superstar surprised everyone, including the band members, by skillfully taking over the drums to bring the Globetrotters’ song to a show-stopping finale.

“In my two years with the Harlem Globetrotters, this is the very first time I’ve had 'Sweet Georgia Brown' played live,” said an impressed McClurkin. “I had to be part of it.”

It was the first of many surprises during the visit. McClurkin visited the school to talk about CHEER™ for Character, the Globetrotters’ character education program. The program targets young people and focuses on the character traits of cooperation, healthy mind and body, effort, enthusiasm and responsibility. It was a perfect tie-in to the Byron-Bergen Central School District’s own emphasis on character building.

McClurkin shared a little of the Harlem Globetrotters' 90-year history and his own personal story. Perseverance finally earned him a spot on his high school basketball team, after being passed over for years. He advised his youthful fans to never give up on their dreams. He shared that people often told him that he “smiled too much” and was “just too nice to succeed.” Not so, he told his audience. Now he works for an organization that is all about helping people and promoting good humor and character, and he travels around the world doing it.

Students were treated to a demonstration of classic Globetrotters' ball handling and slam dunks by McClurkin, who actually holds the Guinness World Record for most slam dunks in one minute (15!). He invited volunteers to try a few signature moves, and in the process, proved they are not easy by any means.

The Elementary School Student Council, the Byron-Bergen STEP Boosters, and teacher Ken Rogoyski arranged the Globetrotter's visit, with the support of the whole community. The band, directed by music teacher Bob Lancia, included students Angelique Heick and Corden Zimmerman, along with elementary school teacher Amber Taylor-Burns and high school teacher Kevin Bleiler. The Harlem Globetrotters will be performing at the Rochester Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, Feb. 6.

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January 26, 2016 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, ugandan water project.

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Press release:

On Jan. 25, students at Byron-Bergen Elementary School hosted representatives from the Ugandan Water Project, a humanitarian organization headquartered in Bloomfield that works with communities in Africa to provide safe, accessible drinking water.

After learning how precious water is to children and families in Uganda, students took on the challenge to help raise funds to install a rainwater collection system at a school there. The system will serve a community of almost 400 people for up to 35 years. Byron-Bergen students will change lives.

“It is just as important to us to help kids here in Byron-Bergen see how powerful they are; how every one of them is capable of changing the world, as it is to bring safe drinking water to villages in Uganda,” said Ugandan Water Project Executive Director James Harrington. “Our purpose is to help kids grow on both continents.

"The connection between Byron-Bergen and Uganda began last year with a chance meeting between Harrington and third-grade teacher Lynnette Gall. Thanks to the elementary school’s Character Education Committee, with help from educational experts at the Ugandan Water Project, teachers school-wide are incorporating the concept of water as a valuable resource into their studies of world culture, geography, and science.

Students will learn how water is used, where water comes from, about the water cycle, and the problems caused by unequal distribution of water around the world.

The Ugandan Water Project presentation began with joyful Ugandan folk music played by Harrington, and a chance for children to try out traditional dance steps. Students then experienced what it is like to try to carry a 40- to 50-pound container of water — a task faced by many Ugandan children who live over an hour from their water source.

Harrington and Ugandan Water Project Communications Lead Megan Busch then spoke about their water projects, over 250 currently, and demonstrated how something as simple as a small filter can make unsanitary water safe to drink.

The nonprofit Ugandan Water Project was founded in 2008, and works with more than 200 communities in Uganda. Their water solutions include rainwater collection systems, well repair and water purification systems. To contribute to Byron-Bergen Elementary School’s campaign visit http://ugandanwaterproject.com/product/byron-bergen/ by Feb. 12.

Top photo: Special water filters can purify otherwise undrinkable water. Byron-Bergen students and their teachers join Ugandan Water Project Executive Director James Harrington in sampling clean, safe filtered water.

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Byron-Bergen Elementary School students shake their tail feathers as part of a traditional Ugandan dance.

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Students try to imagine carrying heavy containers of water over long distances. Many Ugandan children their age face this daunting task every day. 

January 21, 2016 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education.

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Press release:

This year’s National Geographic Society Geography Bees for grades seven and eight, and grades four through six were held earlier this month at the Byron-Bergen Junior High and Elementary schools. All of the participants qualified after earning high scores on written tests taken in December.

At the Junior High, the top student performers were — Grade eight: Caitlin Ashton, Siomara Caballero, Alex Dean, Kyle Foeller, Sara Fraser, Coltin Henry, Connor Kaminski, Cambria Kinkelaar, Garrett Swinter, Justice Towne, Hannah VanSkiver, Abby Vurraro, and Grant Williams. Grade seven: Nick Baubie, Ricky Denson, Josh Fleming, Colby Leggo, John Mercovich, Isaiah Merrell, Zechariah Merrell, Andrew Parnapy, Deacon Smith, and Josh Swapceinski.

The very smartest Bees on this side of the globe were students Ricky Denson and Alex Dean, who competed in the event’s Championship Round. Denson was able to answer all three final questions correctly and was declared the Junior High School Geography Bee Champion. He was awarded a $25 Amazon.com gift card. As the runner-up, Dean received a $15 Amazon.com gift card.

The next step for Denson will be a written test. If his score is one of the 100 highest in the state, he will be invited to take part in the New York State Bee. State winners compete in the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C., hosted by Alex Trebek from the “Jeopardy” TV show.

At the Elementary School, there were also many outstanding competitors: Jared Barnum, Dayanara Caballero, Cameron Carlson, Caris Carlson, Braedyn Chambry, Sadie Cook, Evan Cuba, Gianni Ferrara, Emily Henry, Frank Hersom, Grace Huhn, Brooke Jarkiewicz, Ryan Muscarella, Stephanie Onderdonk, Madelynn Pimm, Elizabeth Piper, Carter Prinzi, Elli Schelemanow, Grace Shepard, Ella VanValkenburg, Alexandra Vurraro, Dawson Young, Corden Zimmerman, and Nicholas Zwerka.

The new 2016 Champion Corden Zimmerman, a sixth-grader, will also be taking a written exam in hopes of qualifying for the state competition. Fifth-grader Cameron Carlson was the runner-up.

District teachers and counselors also played a part in the success of the events. At the Elementary School: Judges Craig Schroth, Erin Varley, and Liz Findlay; moderator Rick Merritt; and Bee Coordinator Ken Rogoyski. At the Jr. High School: Judges Rob Kaercher, Matt Walther, and Bryan Kavanaugh; moderator Debbie Slocum; organizer Ken Gropp; and Interim Dean of Students Aaron Clark.

Top photo: Elementary School Geogrpahy Bee Champion Corden Zimmerman.

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Byron-Bergen Junior High School participants in the National Geographic Society Geography Bee for grades seven and eight.

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Junior High Geography Bee Champion Ricky Denson, Mr. Gropp, and runner-up Alex Dean.

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Contestants from grades four through six in the 2016 National Geographic Society Geography Bee at Byron-Bergen Elementary School.

January 11, 2016 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, byron, bergen, schools, education.

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Press release:

Sixth-grader Elli Schelemanow bested 22 other participants in the annual Robert Fowler/Byron-Bergen Grades 6-8 and Buffalo Evening News Spelling Bee held last month. Schelemanow now represents Byron-Bergen in the run for regional representation at The Scripps National Spelling Bee. Up next for her is a written test in early February to determine her eligibility for the regional spelling bee. That competition, The Western New York Oral Final, will be held on Sunday, March 13, at 1:30 p.m. at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

Runners-up this year are Byron-Bergen seventh-grader Joshua Swapceinski and eighth-grader Garrett Swinter. The competition put all the students through their paces, with eight challenging rounds and scores of demanding words before a champion emerged. The competition was moderated by teacher Andrew McNeil; with instructors Charlene Kelly, Laurie Penepent, and Diana Walther acting as judges. 

Byron-Bergen’s exceptional spelling contestants:

Grade 6: Corey Abdella, Madison Burke, Sadie Cook, Grace Huhn, Elli Schelemanow, Alex Toal, Ella Van Valkenburg, Hallie Wade, and Corden Zimmerman. 
Grade 7: Julietta Doyle, Josh Fleming, Gavin Lewis, John Mercovich, Alaura Rehwaldt, Sarah Streeter, and Josh Swapceinski.
Grade 8: Siomara Caballero, Alex Dean, Cambria Kinkelaar, Ethan Ray, Garrett Swinter, Justice Towne, and Grant Williams.

Byron-Bergen’s Jr./Sr. High School Interim Principal Patrick McGee congratulated Shelemanow, Swapceinski, Swinter, and all the participants.

“Our schools are proud to have Elli represent us, and I’m confident she will do a great job,” he said. “All our kids did impressive work with very difficult spelling challenges. McGee also wished to thank all the teachers at the Elementary School and Junior HS for their support, “especially Jason Blom and Elizabeth Findley and the sixth-grade team.”           

Top photo: Robert Fowler/Byron-Bergen Grades 6-8 and Buffalo Evening News Spelling Bee (l-r) runner-up Garrett Swinter, Bee champion Elli Schelemanow, and runner-up Joshua Swapceinski. 

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December 22, 2015 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education.

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Press release:

A standing-room-only audience of more than 200 filled the Elementary Cafetorium at Byron-Bergen Elementary School on Dec. 21 to hear the school’s kindergarteners greet the holiday season with music. The annual Holidays Around the World event is the culmination of the children’s study of world cultural diversity through understanding holiday customs. This year, the program featured songs and carols highlighting seasonal traditions from Germany, Mexico, Israel and England.

Teacher Melissa Chamberlain presented the program, introducing the students from her kindergarten class and the classes of fellow teachers Beth Amidon, Shana Feissner and Lori Simmons. Accompanist and former kindergarten teacher, Marsha MacConnell, who has been part of the proceedings for many years, played the piano. Dressed in their finest festive garb and wearing elf hats they made themselves, the children enthusiastically launched into their performance.

Songs included a demanding Spanish rendition of “Casca Bells,” “Oh Christmas Tree” from Germany, complete with dancing trees, and “Deck the Halls,” which celebrated the English tradition of caroling. The young performers also represented the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah with a version of “I’ve Been Lighting All the Candles.” Favorite songs were not forgotten: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” were all part of the fun.

After the singing concluded, parents and students enjoyed punch and cookies, and had the opportunity to speak with hosts Principal Brian Meister and Assistant Principal Amanda Cook, along with the kindergarten teachers.

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December 18, 2015 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, byron-bergen, Punt Pass and Kick.

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Melissa MacCowan, an eighth-grader at Byron-Bergen, won her division of the Buffalo Bills region for the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Championship on Dec. 6 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

MacCowan participates in varsity soccer, swimming and track at Byron-Bergen.

She was provided with hotel accommodations for the weekend, lunch in the Buffalo Bills cafeteria, tickets to the game, certificate, jersey, hat, football gloves, participated in opening ceremony/National Anthem on the field during the Dec. 6th game, and announcement of the winners on the Jumbotron as well as watching the game from the Bills' suite.

To reach the finals in Buffalo, MacCowan had to win a sectional tournament in Rochester. This year marked her third-straight year of posting a win at that event.

She is pictured with Aaron Williams of the Buffalo Bills.

Info and photo provided by Diane MacCowan.

December 9, 2015 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen.

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Press release:

Byron-Bergen Central School District continues to value that our most important priority is keeping our students and staff safe,” said District Superintendent Casey Kosiorek. To that end, the District has added the New York State Sheriff’s Association (NYSSA) Rapid Responder® Program to their crisis management and emergency preparedness plans.

The new program uses cutting-edge technology to give school personnel and all first responders immediate access to emergency response information, enabling clear communication and quick, coordinated action. 

Rapid Responder is an all-hazards site-based crisis management system that is used in schools nationwide and Canada. The system brings school officials and first responders from diverse agencies together on a single digital platform, giving everyone instant access to site-specific emergency response information, including floor plans, aerial views, hazardous material locations, utility shut-off information, evacuation plans, and live camera feeds.

Byron-Bergen CSD Director of Facilities Michael List said, “We are expanding the dialogue between the District and responders from local law enforcement, fire and medical departments. We have already found areas for improvement that will enable responders to better handle many emergency scenarios in our schools. The new Rapid Responder system helps make that possible.”

List added, “We recently completed detailed site visits and are now reviewing all the data. The next step in implementation will be training and drills with local responders based on different emergency and daily security situations to test all portions of the system.”

Implementation of the Rapid Responder Program is part of the District’s solid commitment to safety and security in the schools. Current security for the District includes a comprehensive visitor management system, Raptor®, in all three schools and the District Office, which is used for visitor background checks, as well as for generating ID badges. A large security camera system oversees buildings and grounds, and will now be tied into Rapid Responder using their capability to integrate IP-based cameras. The District also recently welcomed School Resource Officer Matt Butler to the staff.  

“In a world of seemingly increased violent incidents, we are proud to put an additional measure in place to ensure everyone’s safety,” Kosiorek said. “I want to thank our team — Mike List, Transportation coordinator Drew Doll, School Business official William Snyder, the building principals, and Deputy Butler for all their work with the overall safety of the organization, and most recently with the implementation of the NYSSA Rapid Responder Program.”

Rapid Responder (http://www.preparedresponse.com/New-York-Sheriffs-Rapid-Responder-Progra...) is currently deployed in over 16,000 facilities nationwide and is SAFETY Act Certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Caption: The administrative team at Byron-Bergen CSD begins work on implementation of the new Rapid Responder system. Standing (l-r) Jr./Sr. High School Interim Principal Patrick McGee, Superintendent Casey Kosiorek, and Elementary School Principal Brian Meister. Sitting (l-r) Transportation Director Drew Doll, School Resource Officer Matt Butler, and Director of Facilities Mike List.

December 8, 2015 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education.

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Press release:

The third-annual Reading Celebration at Byron-Bergen Elementary School got off to rollicking start with a farmyard-themed event on Nov. 20. Students were in the mood, wearing straw cowboy hats, overalls, and bandannas. Teachers dressed as cows, pigs, and singing farmhands hit the stage to build excitement for the challenge ahead: reading 25,000 books (almost 50 per student) before the end of the school year.

Students have consistently surpassed their reading goals since the challenge began in 2013; last year beating their target of 20,000 books by almost 4,000.

“Reading really is fun. We want kids to enjoy it and develop the reading habit now while they are young,” said Principal Brian Meister. “The motivation this year is the promise of a very special farm-themed reward in June. We’ll make all their hard work pay off in an event to remember.”

The assembly kicked off with Byron-Bergen parent Alyson Tardy, her backup teacher/singers and the student population singing and dancing to “Read a Book” — a special version of Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off.” Then Assistant Principal Amanda Cook played the starring role in a skit based on “Little Pig Joins the Band,” a favorite children’s book by David Hyde Costello.

Things got even more boisterous with an enthusiastic gameshow version of Pictionary, with students trying to guess which favorite books were being represented by teacher-drawn pictures. The festive atmosphere continued with a colorful quartet of Book Fairies (more enthusiastic teachers) who awarded a free book to one child from each class. 

Top photo: Reading is fun at Byron-Bergen Elementary School and a new book makes the day complete for student Mace Tyson.

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Byron-Bergen Elementary School teachers perform “Read a Book,” with a little help from the audience of young readers. 

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Assistant Principal Amanda Cook puts on a pig nose to lead the band and advance the celebration of reading at Byron-Bergen Elementary.

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The Byron-Bergen Book Fairies made sure that outstanding representatives from each class got their very own new book.

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Byron-Bergen student Gianni Ferrara is already well on the way to making sure the goal of reading 25,000 books is reached.

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