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

Press release:

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

WhenFriday and Saturday, September 22-23, 2017

-Cougar Crawl: 9/22/17, 5:00 - 10:00 pm (Downtown Batavia)

-Multiple Events: 9/23/17, 10:00 am - 8:00 pm (Batavia Campus)

Where: Downtown Batavia, NY Genesee Community College, One College Road, Batavia, NY 14020

Who: Open to the Public

Background:

After Friday night's third annual "Cougar Crawl" in downtown Batavia featuring stops at local establishments for food, drink and special discounts, the public-at-large is cordially invited to Genesee Community College's Homecoming Fall Fest at the Batavia Campus on Saturday, September 23, 2017starting with the Car Cruise, Tours and Craft Market at 10:00 am, and continuing with a variety of events throughout the day and into the evening. The overall schedule of events follows:

10 am - 3 pm Craft and Vendor Market - Inside William W. Stuart Forum

10 am - 4 pm Car and Bike Cruise - North Parking Lot

10 am - 4 pm Public Tours of the new Richard C. Call Arena and Student Success Center

11 am - 1 pm Family Fun in the Cougar Den - Cafeteria

1 pm - 3 pm *Firefly Power Wind Turbine Demonstration - Conable Technology Building Hallway

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

7:30 pm Alumni Soccer Gamer - Under the lights on the Turf Field

*Among the newest events to be added to the day-long itinerary is the Firefly Power Wind Turbine Demonstration that will be occurring from 1:00 - 3:00 pm at the monitoring station located in the east hallway on the first floor of the Conable Technology Building. Genesee Community College is delighted to introduce this newly installed wind energy unit to the community, which comes after a lengthy, five-year review of wind turbine technology. Originally, GCC had partnered with several area school districts under a special grant, but unfortunately, the first unit met with technical difficulties and was not able to be repaired. Tim Landers, GCC's recently retired director of Buildings and Grounds persisted in researching new turbine technology that could use much of the existing infrastructure from the old unit, and continue the original mission of providing area students, both at the high school and college level, with a hands-on learning experience about renewable energy resources. Landers patiently watched as the Firefly Power came on to the market realizing that the vertical axis, carbon fiber blades that are lightweight and yet nearly indestructible offered many advantages. Engineered in Canada, manufactured in the United States, the patented design of the blade is, in itself, an industry game-changer. For further information come to the demonstration and meet the founders and patent holders of Firefly Power or go to: http://www.fireflypower.com/.

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

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

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

Edwards said the plan will not increase local taxes.

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

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

Press release:

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

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

School districts and organizations receiving funding are as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Kathie Scott, Batavia City Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenney will serve as principal until Dec. 22.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: Scott Rozanski provided these PDFs:

He also told us:


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

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

September 8, 2017 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, Richard C. Call Arena, batavia, news, notify, schools, education.

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Richard C. Call epitomized community, speakers noted yesterday at the dedication of two new facilities at Genesee Community College, and he was an avid supporter of agriculture, so it's only appropriate, they said, that the new athletic and community center on the college campus be named after him.

"This is a great day," said Peter Call, son of Dick Call, a member of the board of trustees for five years (top photo). "It just doesn’t get any better than this and this building exceeds all of our wildest expectations. It seems like two minutes ago we were having the campaign, trying to raise a few bucks and now it’s all done and it’s ready for students."

It was Dick Call, said College President Jim Sunser, who recognized the need for an event center that could serve both community and student athletic needs. When the plan was drafted for the building and the Student Success Center, it was Call who had the vision to turn to the community, especially fellow farmers, to raise $5 million to help fund the project. And it was Call who recognized Craig Yunker was just the person to lead the fundraising campaign.

"I’m grateful to have been mentored by Dick Call," Yunker said. "He convinced me to be involved with this effort and I’m grateful. It’s been a great honor."

From Dick Call's original vision to planning for the facility, the need to recognize agriculture's central role in the community was a big part of the effort, speakers said.

"Early on in the campaign," said Peter Call, "during one of our campaign meetings, Jim Vincent made a very strong, encouraging comment that the college needs to have some kind of permanent agriculture exhibit on display so that all of our students and all of our visitors can understand what the history of agriculture is in Western New York, what agriculture is today and the future of agriculture. I think you can see the message got through and the college put together just an amazing exhibit."

Dick Call didn't live to see his vision become reality. He died in 2014.

"When I think of community life, I’m reminded of Dick Call and the values he lived by each day," Sunser said. "It is most fitting that this structure bears his name."

The central role of agriculture in the region is on display in the front hallway of the new arena.

"Those visitors will immediately grasp the values and traditions that define our community and make it so special," Sunser said. "Our community has thrived in a large part because of the agriculture. We all know that agriculture is the driving economic engine and force in our GLOW county region and agriculture is the driving force behind the values that we cherish in our community."

Peter Call said the dedication was a proud day for his family and the community and he thanked the community members who turned out for the event.

"I’ve traveled around and been to many community colleges and certainly our campus and now, with these two new buildings, we are above everyone, any community college anywhere as far as facilities," Peter Call said. "It’s very easy to say but it’s just a fact. It’s wonderful."

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Laura J. Bohm, chair, board of trustees

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GCC President Jim Sunser

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Craig Yunker

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September 8, 2017 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Batavia Middle School was packed Thursday night for a first-day-of-school open house, giving parents a chance to visit their children's classes, meet teachers, find out what students would be studying, what homework expectations were and other information about the school year.

Above, teacher Sarah Gahagan points to where homework assignments are written on a whiteboard.

For the past three years, Gahagan has led a group called Girls on the Run. This year, she will continue Girls on the Run, but will also lead a new group, B Squad Running Club.

Like Girls on the Run, B Squad will be a running group, but with a focus on building community ties and relationships, with visits to role models, successful businesses. The participating boys will run or walk to the local location.

Students at Batavia Middle School interested in participating should visit Mrs. Gahagan's room (A116) at 2:45 p.m., Sept. 11. 

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September 7, 2017 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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It's the first day of a new school year and the first day for Kia Evans as principal of Jackson School in Batavia.

Evans greeted students this morning with hugs and high fives. 

"I'm excited," Evans said. "This is what we do so I'm excited and I'm excited for the kids."

Evans grew up in Buffalo and started her career teaching in Buffalo. She taught for 10 years in Buffalo and Amherst and then became an assistant principal, working the past five years as an assistant principal in Williamsville.

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September 6, 2017 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, Batavia Middle School, batavia, news, notify.

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Nick Cain talks with Batavia Middle School students today during Connect Day at the school, which is a time for new students, mostly incoming fifth-graders, to get acquainted with the school before classes start.

They met eighth-grade mentors and participated in team-building exercises. Cain provided karate instruction to go with a talk on success in school. The other pictures below are from a game that is part four-square and part volleyball.

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September 5, 2017 - 2:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, news, notify.

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The dedication ceremony and open house for the Richard C. Call Arena and the Student Success Center at GCC will be at Thursday, Sept. 7, at Genesee Community College. Open house begins at 5, with the dedication ceremony commencing at 6, with a reception immediately following.

Press release:

The Dedication Ceremony of the Richard C. Call Arena is a special event to officially open the new 54,000 square foot facility that now houses many of Genesee Community College's physical education classrooms and coaches offices, a new Fitness Center, meeting rooms, a press box overlooking the Turf Field, and the 20,400-square-foot field house that can accommodate many different types of events-from sporting competitions to trade shows and community gatherings.

The Dedication Ceremony also honors and recognizes the many donors who contributed to the "Creating Our Future Together" capital campaign. (The event is by invitation only.) The Ceremony commences at 6 p.m. in the Richard C. Call Arena with a reception immediately following. GCC's new facilities, including the Student Success Center which was occupied in July, will be open for visitors to see before and after the ceremony.

In January 2015, Genesee Community College kicked off its "Creating Our Future Together" fundraising campaign with the goal to raise $5 million to support the construction of two new facilities at the College's Batavia Campus, and also to support student scholarships emphasizing outreach to students living near GCC's campus centers in Albion, Medina, Arcade, Warsaw, Dansville and Lima. By the end of 2016, "Creating Our Future Together" exceeded its goal and a total of $5.5 million was raised.

In May 2016, Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees formally dedicated the College's new event center in honor of longtime College supporter Richard C. Call, who was a member of the GCC Foundation Board from 2001 until his death in 2014. Mr. Call was a strong proponent of volunteerism and philanthropy, and also an advocate of a new event center at GCC. He recognized its potential economic impact on the overall region as well as its intrinsic value to the teaching and learning experience for students of all ages.

Over many decades, Mr. Call and his brother, Robert, built Call Farms into a highly innovative and nationally-known agricultural enterprise. Mr. Call's brother and their children continue to operate the farm. Not surprisingly, Mr. Call encouraged other agricultural leaders across the region to get behind the "Creating Our Future Together" campaign and collectively, they were instrumental in making the new Arena possible. Mr. Call was also a strong supporter of many community causes, and had a special interest in youth. In addition to his local volunteer commitments, he was well-known across the United States for his leadership in agricultural organizations and he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Cornell University.

August 30, 2017 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

Among the districtwide goals for 2017-18, City Schools Superintendent Chris Dailey told the board at last night's meeting, the district will strive to communicate better and engage more with the Batavia community, improve student writing, improve the use of technology and maintain a solid budgeting process.

Goal #1 he said is communication and engagement with the community, which will include recognition of outstanding alumni, more use of social media, increased use of volunteers and promotion of academic, athletic, art and music achievements.

"We have kids and staff who are doing amazing things all the time," Dailey said. "We need to do a better job celebrating it in our community so they know what’s going on in all aspects of our school."

Improving student written communication is the second goal, Dailey said. At every grade level, the district needs to put more focus on helping students become better writers. 

“We’ve had college professors share with us that our kids need to learn to write better," Dailey said. "We take that very seriously. As a group, this year we’ve committed to common benchmarks across the district in each grade where our kids will do written responses and work on improving their ability in writing.”

Over the past couple of years, students and teachers have been given Chromebooks, each with access to a group of Google tools known as Gsuite. The district has provided more training and will continue to provide training to teachers, on the use of Gsuite in classrooms. As a third goal, this will continue to be a priority he said because it helps bring STEAM into each district building. (STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, (and) Mathematics.)

"That’s where the jobs are coming in our region," Dailey said. "(The students) need to know what’s out there."

The district has a solid budgeting process, Dailey said. Its budget ambassador program is even being copied by other school districts around the state now as a way of getting the community involved in the budget process.

As a fourth goal, Dailey wants to improve this process. Last year, he spoke before eight community groups about the budget. His goal this year is to double that number.

The district will continue to work to keep the tax levy below the tax cap level, which helps ensure residents are eligible for state rebates. The district will also look for other sources of revenue.

"Our goal is to pass (the budget) with a super majority of 60 percent or higher to show the community does support what we’re doing financially to advocate for their students," Dailey said.

As a stretch goal, what Dailey calls the "Columbus Day Goal," is to have 100 percent of the teachers set up with their own Web pages on the district site that they are updating regularly. This is a great resource for parents, he said.

August 23, 2017 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in common core, schools, education, City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

Common Core spring results show improvement for Batavia City School Students, a point Superintendent Christopher Dailey emphasized during a conversation today, but that isn't the most important stat he looks at in evaluating student proficiency.

The most important number to him, he said, is the district's 95-percent graduation rate.

"The tests are supposed to be an indicator of graduation readiness and I've yet to see that kind of link because we graduate a lot of kids who go on to do great things," Dailey said.

In English Language Arts, the district improved from a 34-percent pass rate last year to 36 this spring. The statewide pass rate is 40 percent, but Dailey noted that in both ELA and Math, City Schools perform on par with other small city school districts.

In Math, the district improved from 36 percent to 38 percent with a 40-percent statewide rate.

In ELA, 40 percent of the girls passed and 29 percent of the boys. The pass rate for girls in Math was 35 percent and 40 percent for boys.

The test was given to students this spring in grades three through eight.

Dailey said Common Core provides more data points to measure how the district is doing and what it might need to address to meet the educational needs of students, but it isn't the only data point.

"If you look at like schools, we're doing OK, but not good enough," Dailey said. "We still need to improve and we will."

Other Genesee County districts:

  • Byron-Bergen, from 42 to 49 percent in ELA, and 49 to 48 percent in Math;
  • Le Roy, from 39 to 43 percent in ELA, and 45 to 50 percent in Math;
  • Pavilion, from 30 to 34 percent in ELA, and 45 to 42 percent in Math;
  • Alexander, from 34 to 33 percent in ELA, and 47 to 43 percent in Math;
  • Oakfield-Alabama, from 33 to 41 percent in ELA, and 50 to 49 percent in Math;
  • Elba, from 30 to 27 percent in ELA, and 36 to 41 percent in Math;
  • Pembroke, from 39 to 36 percent in ELA, and 50 to 45 percent in Math.

For complete countywide results, click here.

August 17, 2017 - 8:57am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, Richard C. Call Center, GCC, schools, education.

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Genesee Community College’s new Student Success Center and Richard C. Call Arena are finished with construction just in time for the start of the academic year and the 50th anniversary.

The dual construction project of the new facilities began last spring, costing $25 million. Donna Rae Sutherland, the associate director of Marketing Communications, said more than $5 million was raised by the community.

“We’re very proud, grateful and pleased to have this new space available for community use, as well as student use,” Sutherland said.

The 18,478-square-foot Student Success Center is an addition of the Technology building, becoming the new “front door” of the campus.

Sutherland said the plan was to take all of the student services and bring them in a more cohesive place. The new building is home to GCC’s success coaches, staff members who are specifically trained and assigned to designated students to assist them throughout their entire academic career. These coaches assist students from the first phase of admissions, financial aid and academic advisement, through the process of earning their degrees, graduation, or helping them transfer or secure career placement.

“A few months ago, Financial Aid was in one part of the building, Admissions is across the hallway and down a little bit, the Career Services is on another floor,” Sutherland said. “We had all these student services in one building, which is great, but then you have to climb the stairs and find them. People weren’t sure where to start.”

Having offices in different parts of buildings was hampering student success, Sutherland said.

“The Student Success Center is a model that we think is going to become something other colleges may be interested in,” Sutherland said. “Maybe it will become a model for the nation.”

Now that the old space is vacated, the next step is to repurpose that space for student success and need, Sutherland said.

Shelitha Williams, the associate vice president of Student Services, said students are excited about the new center because of “the idea that their experience is now streamlined. They don’t have to go to five offices, they have seven departments now under one roof.”

The coaches will proactively introduce themselves and identify themselves as a resource to the students of GCC.

“What sets us aside is the intentional engagement, instead of reacting to students' concerns,” Williams said.

The new Richard C. Call Arena is located on the west side of the Batavia Campus and is not connected to the main building. Sutherland said the new facility is the largest, open, flexible floor space in the GLOW region. The 45,000-square-foot arena will be open to the community to rent for events, but the student need will come first.

“We talked to the people in the community and it was recognized that there’s not really a big events center,” Sutherland said.

Some of the athletics were moved into the new building, while some are in the main building. They are currently working out the logistics of being able to rent out the facility in order to make the public space available.

“We are just getting ready to open up the facilities towards other types of events,” Sutherland said. “Anything from a home show, to a tractor show, to a coin show, to all kinds of public events. Whatever a convention center might offer in Buffalo or Rochester, we will be looking for the same.”

There may be some limitations due to it being a college campus, but they are open to different events.

The first big public event in the new Richard C. Call Arena will be on Sept. 23. The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will put on a special concert with new music. The concert is free and will be open to the public. 

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Photos above taken by Maria Pericozzi.

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Photo above provided by Donna Rae Sutherland.

August 12, 2017 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, agriculture, 4-H, chris collins, news, Announcements.

Press release:

Legislation is currently being debated in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that would lower the tax burden for students involved in 4-H programs and provide them with an opportunity to invest their earnings in future projects, college funds, or savings accounts. Congressman Chris Collins released the following statement, in which he highlighted his support for the bipartisan legislation titled the Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017.

“4-H programs offer constructive ways for students to expand their knowledge of agriculture and animal sciences,” Collins said. “With agriculture being the largest industry in New York’s 27th Congressional District, those who participate in local 4-H programs will soon be amongst the primary contributors to Western New York’s economy. For this reason alone, it’s critically important that incentives are set in place that will drive up participation and spread awareness of 4-H programs.”

If signed into law, the Act would create a tax exemption for the first $5,000 of revenue earned by students 18 years old or younger from either the sale of livestock or agriculture projects completed through 4-H or Future Farmers of America programs. In effect, it will eliminate the tax-filing burden for eligible students and allow them to invest their earnings in future projects or college funds.

“Plain and simple, the Student Agriculture Protection Act is an investment in the next generation of American farmers. This bill will have a direct and positive impact on New York’s 27th Congressional District and will ensure the U.S. remains the world leader in agriculture. As a proud cosponsor, I will continue my advocacy in support of this legislation to ensure it is put up for a vote on the House Floor.”

For more information on H.R. 1626, the Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017, click here.

August 10, 2017 - 1:29pm

Press release:

Not many organizations celebrate their golden anniversary while opening up two new buildings valued at $25 million. And even fewer can claim they were founded through a successfully passed public referendum that was supported by a grass roots citizen campaign in the mid-1960s.

Genesee Community College is proudly recognizing both these historic events with a series of special events next month.

With the anniversary theme "Our true-blue past, Your golden future," GCC is focusing forward on an exciting future while simultaneously reflecting on a rich history with strong traditions. Underlining all of the College's efforts -- then, now and long into the future -- is student success. The new 18,478-square-foot Student Success Center exemplifies this most vividly as GCC transforms various student services into a stream-lined process under a new "success coaching" academic model.

Meanwhile, on the west side of the Batavia Campus, the new Richard C. Call Arena is now the largest open, flexible floor space in the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties). The two-building Arena complex features an adjoining two-story lobby and concession stand area, classrooms, coaches offices, a fitness center, meeting rooms and a press box overlooking the Lacrosse / Soccer Turf Field.

Additionally, the interior Arcade walkway has four mural-sized photo collages expounding on this region's dynamic agricultural history as well as the vast economic impact of agribusiness in GLOW.

Together, these two new buildings are collectively valued at just over $25 million, and they position the College to expand student success and opportunity through the coming years, while augmenting the economic growth of the GLOW region. To celebrate the opening of these buildings and recognize the College's 50th Anniversary, the following series of events are planned for September at the Batavia Campus.

  • Richard C. Call Arena Dedication and Student Success Center Open House
  • 5 - 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7

This special event will be attended by the many donors who contributed to the "Creating Our Future Together" capital campaign and supported the College's successful fundraising efforts with $5.2 million dollars to support the new facilities at the Batavia Campus as well as endowed scholarships for students in the College's six campus centers. Tours of the new facilities will be ongoing throughout the event, and the Dedication Ceremony will commence at 6 p.m. in the Richard C. Call Arena with a reception immediately following. (This event is by invitation only.)

  • Genesee Community College Convocation
  • 1-3 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12 / Stuart Steiner Theatre 

This formal academic ceremony marks a milestone in the life of a college or university. Afternoon classes will be cancelled allowing students, faculty, staff, honored guests and community members to join in the solemn ceremony that recognizes not only the College's 50th Anniversary but also its promising future with the new facilities, new academic programs and courses, and the forward-thinking student success services. GCC's last convocation was in 2006 to recognize the College's 40th Anniversary.

  • Presentation/Lecture by Heather Ann Thompson, Ph.D.
  • 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12 / T102

As part of the Historical Horizons lecture series, Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft Prize winning author Dr. Heather Ann Thompson will cap off the College's special Convocation Day, delivering a presentation, "Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy," based on her award-winning book. Attica State Prison is part of GCC's history with inmate education a part of its programming in the 1980s. Dr. Thompson's book provides a definitive account of the prison uprising in 1971. She utilized sources available to no other researchers to write a reliable tome that upends the myths and exposes cover-ups of that violent event that captured international attention. For a complete listing of the Fall 2017 lecture series go to: https://gcchistoricalhorizons.wordpress.com/.

  • GCC's Annual Fall Fest / Cougar Weekend
  • Friday - Saturday, Sept. 22-23

The two-day event provides fun and festive activities for all with the following schedule featuring the return of some favorite events and a few new opportunities as well. All events are FREE and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.

  • FRIDAY EVENT: Third Annual Cougar Crawl
  • 5-8 p.m., Sept. 22 / Various Stops in Downtown Batavia

The GCC community, be they current students, faculty or staff, alumni, retirees or general supporters are all invited to stroll through downtown Batavia making special stops for special treats at various businesses, many owned or operated by GCC alumni. The event kicks off at City Slickers / Ken's Charcoal Pits and winds up at T.F. Brown's Restaurant with various stops to businesses such as The YNGoddess Shop, The Hidden Door / Pollyanna and Dot, and Center Street Smoke House. Cougar Crawl stops are still in development and subject to change. Cost is $15, or 2 for $25 and will NOT be sold at the door.

  • SATURDAY EVENT: Sept. 23, Public Open House and Facility Tours
  • Public Open House and Facility Tours / 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

This is the chance for the general public to tour the new Richard C. Call Arena and Student Success Center. Visitors can catch a view of the Turf Field from the new Press Box, check out the new Fitness Center and Arena and explore both floors of the Student Success Center.

  • "Rods and Rock" Classic Cruise
  •  11 a.m. - 4 p.m. / North Parking Lot

For those who love classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, the popular "Rods and Rock" Car Cruise returns on Saturday in GCC's north parking lot.

  • "Lollapalooza Golden Gala" Concert with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra
  • 5 p.m. / Richard C. Call Arena

The first music to grace the new Richard C. Call Arena will be from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, the College's orchestra-in-residence. Led by Conductor and Music Director S. Shade Zajac, the GSO is presenting a variety of musical selections especially arranged for this one-time event under the theme, "Lollapalooza Golden Gala." A reception with light refreshments will immediately follow the performance. The concert is free with general admission seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

"September is shaping up to be an exciting month in the life and history of Genesee Community College," James M. Sunser, Ph.D., president of GCC, said. "We are so grateful to many thousands of people who have positively impacted GCC through the years.

"From our trustees and donors, to legislators and advisory council members, hardworking students and involved alumni, and of course, our dedicated faculty and staff who make a difference in the lives of our students each and every day-we have been truly blessed with a supportive community that makes our middle name. Next month, we hope to recognize and remember all of you!

August 10, 2017 - 1:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, politics, education.

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia):

“Gov. Cuomo is proposing that New York state provide prisons $7 million so convicts can take college courses. I believe that there are more efficient ways to spend this amount of money.

"Our infrastructure throughout the state is in desperate need of attention along with many hardworking taxpayers who are struggling to provide college tuition for themselves and members of their family.

“Unfortunately, I feel that when the governor announces such misguided ideas and proposals that he is solely attempting to bring national media attention upon himself and to position himself for an upcoming presidential run.

"I call on the governor to relieve some of the burden that he placed on taxpayers to pay for his 'free' tuition plan and use this proposed $7 million for education at SUNY schools for law-abiding citizens.

“I can’t believe the governor puts the future of convicted felons ahead of the young men and women of our state who are working day in and day out to provide for their families and to become pillars of their communities. The people of New York state deserve better.”

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