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August 20, 2015 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, BOCES, Le Roy, Pavilion, education.


Press release: 

Sarah Noble-Moag’s roots are deeply immersed in the business of agriculture. Her family tree spans across generations of farmers and thousands of acres of land. Although she is deeply immersed in her family business called Noblehurst Farms, she truly knows the value of giving back to the community.

Noble-Moag was recently honored with the Genesee Valley School Board Association’s Albert Hawk Award. This award is presented annually to a current or former school board member for outstanding contributions to public education and children in his or her own community.

Noble-Moag is modest about her accomplishments but the list of her contributions is long and noteworthy.

“I come from a family of educators. Becoming a board member was a natural extension of the stewardship that my family has supported for generations,” she said.

Noble-Moag serves on a number of local, regional and state boards including the Agricultural Affiliates Board of Directors, and the New York State Agricultural Society. In 2014, she was appointed to the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation Board of Directors.

She served for 11 years on the Pavilion School Board and held positions as trustee, vice president and president of the board of education. Her efforts for continued improvement resulted in the district being honored as a “Reward School” by New York state in 2007 and again in 2014. Noble-Moag was instrumental in the development of a new career and technical education program offered by the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Genesee Community College.

The Agri-Business Academy gives high school seniors the opportunity to explore careers in the agricultural field as they earn college credit. During her time as trustee, the Pavilion School Board was faced with difficult decisions especially when the district faced drastic budget cuts due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment. But some of her best moments were when she was able to witness students’ successes.

“After a capital improvement project was completed, I was at school for an event," Noble-Moag said. "I looked up and saw students on stage in the new auditorium. As I glanced around, I saw the."

Making those complicated decisions during challenging times can be difficult, said Ken Ellison, superintendent of Pavilion Central Schools. According to Ellison, Noble-Moag always kept the students’ best interests as the top priority.

He said: “During her board tenure, Sarah’s leadership contributed in so many powerful ways. Sarah was a valued partner during the merger/annexation study with Wyoming CS. A merger process can be an emotionally charged event and very divisive in the school communities involved.

"Sarah brought wisdom and perspective to a very challenging process. Sarah also served on the PCS Board during one of the most challenging fiscal periods ever faced by our school. At one point our Gap Elimination Adjustment was $1.6 million dollars. Sarah was a vital partner in developing strategies, and in some cases sacrifices, to keep the district on firm financial footing."

Education has always been a valued priority in her family hence the reason for her dedication to the Pavilion Central School District. Many generations of both the Noble and Moag families have graced the halls and walked the graduation stage at Pavilion Central. Noble-Moag’s mother was a home economics teacher and her mother-in-law worked in the library.

But what resounds deeply with Noble-Moag are words from her grandmother’s senior thesis from Cortland written in 1926.

“Just now there is fraud in business, humbug in politics, back biting, slander and deceit in social intercourse. Do you want your children to repair to such practices as a standard of conduct? We must give them an education, which will lift them infinitely above the moral and intellectual level of life outside the school, today. We must teach them to aspire to be all they can.” -- Written by Rella Smith in 1926.

“These words resonate with me; my grandmother was a wise woman. It’s vital that we provide our children with the best education possible," Noble-Moag said. “By becoming involved with their school districts, parents can make a difference and have a voice in making decisions for their children and students."

Noble-Moag is a graduate of Cornell University. She resides in Pavilion with her husband, Timothy Moag. They are the parents of three grown children, Griffin, Rella (named for Noble-Moag’s grandmother) and Austin.

August 19, 2015 - 9:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, schools, education.


Press release:

St. Joseph School (SJS) has been working toward financial self-sustainability for several years. Tuition, fundraising and other income sources can no longer be the sole funding source for Catholic schools. Due to the current economic climate, the need for long-term and strategic budget forecasting is imperative.

Lauren Humphrey, Advancement coordinator at St. Joseph School, is proud to announce that the St. Joseph School of Batavia Endowment Fund has been established and that it has been given a fantastic kick-off with two anonymous donations totaling $105,000! These wonderful donors have left a permanent mark on the school and have created a long-lasting legacy that will benefit St. Joseph School’s students for years to come.

At SJS, a team of committed volunteers, staff members, and board members have worked tirelessly to establish enhanced and relevant financial and operational plans. The All Apostles Society (AAS), an annual giving recognition program, was put into place several years ago. AAS membership continues to grow; however, the need for something with even greater effect was necessary. About three years ago the team began looking into long-term strategies, including an endowment.

Because a permanent endowment is an invested pool of money that provides a reliable source of income in perpetuity, the organization now has the ability to rely on annual distributions from the endowment for its charitable work. The endowment will also relieve some of the pressure on smaller fundraising projects and events while creating economic stability for the future.

Bryan Winters, SJS parent, board member and Advancement Committee chairperson, weighs in on what this means for our school: “The creation of the SJS endowment is our most important step in designing a self-sustaining financial model for the school. Over the long-term, this will create a steady flow of income for the school without being quite so dependent on local parishes or the diocese. The immediate impact will actually be beneficial for our donors.

"We will now have the ability to provide more complex and deferred gift arrangements such as charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and other life income types of agreements. Until now, many of our most generous donors have never considered gifting assets from various securities such as, IRAs, 401(k) plans, pensions, stocks, bonds, even old life insurance policies.

"The SJS endowment is going to have a tremendous positive impact for our community. As SJS continues to grow both the endowment and our annual giving society, the All Apostles Society, our financial outlook is the best it has ever been. Most importantly, current and future students of SJS will reap the benefits of this strategic project.”

Principal, Karen Green notes that, “The ability to find financially prudent ways to support the operation of the school is becoming more and more challenging every year. In combination with our annual giving society (The All Apostles Society), this endowment will provide school leadership with the ability to offset the annual expenses of the school and move closer to our goal of complete self-sustainability.”


Top row: Rick Suchan, executive director of Development, Diocese of Buffalo; Marcia Huber, Resurrection Parrish business manager; Lynne Houseknecht, St. Joseph School Advisory Committee president; Roger Bohn, Resurrection Parrish Council president; Seana Logsdon, St. Joseph School Advisory Council vice president; Robert Zickl, St. Joseph School Advisory Council secretary; Bryan Winters, St. Joseph School Advisory Council member, SJS parent, Advancement Committee member.

Bottom row: Norman Argulsky, Resurrection Parrish trustee and St. Joseph School Advisory Council member; Fr. Ivan Trujillo, pastor of Resurrection Parrish; Karen Green, principal, St. Joseph School; John Dwyer, Resurrection Parrish trustee.

August 14, 2015 - 3:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee youth lead, GCC, education.

Press release:
The Genesee Community College’s Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) Program and Genesee County Youth Bureau are partnering to offer Genesee County juniors and seniors the Genesee County Youth Lead Program.

We are currently recruiting our fourth class and are looking for 15 youth representing our nine high schools who would like to improve their leadership skills and expand their knowledge on the community and resources therein. Genesee Youth Lead is designed to help our youth assess their strengths, weaknesses and potential for personal and intellectual growth.

We provide the opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills by being a part of a team, the community and by hands on learning within the county. This fall students were able to take field trips, speak directly with government officials, and so much more.

The areas of the community to be explored during the fall program are Government & Law Enforcement, Health & Human Services, and Agriculture.

The Youth Lead Program will take place at Genesee Community College & Genesee County Youth Bureau beginning Sept. 10th at GCC with a Meet & Greet. The class sessions are 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. following that on Saturdays; Sept. 12, 19, 26, Oct. 3, 17, 24, 31, and Nov. 7.

The program costs $55 and the students will earn one college credit through Genesee Community College. If there is an economic hardship please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

Applications for the program will be accepted until Aug. 28 and can be found at:

Please contact Chelsea at the Genesee County Youth Bureau with questions at (585)344-3960 or at [email protected]

August 12, 2015 - 6:35pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Pembroke Central School, corfu, education.

Established in 1993, the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators brings hundreds of middle, high school and community college teachers to Washington, D.C., each summer to train them in effectively teaching the Holocaust to their students. Pembroke Central School teacher Justin Loeber will be able to bring that training into the classroom this school year.

Loeber, of Silver Springs, was one of more than 200 participants who attended the 19th annual Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators. The three-day teachers' workshop is hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in mid-July.

The Museum gives participants a chance to interact with its scholars and educators to reinforce their understanding of Holocaust history. Additionally, educators are given the tools to figure out successful strategies in bringing the lessons of the Holocaust to their classrooms.

The conference, funded in part by the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Foundation, is a vital part of the Museum’s ongoing effort to equip educators with the knowledge and skills to effectively bring Holocaust education to their students. 

“In the face of rising antisemitism and Holocaust denial, educating students about this history is becoming increasingly urgent,” said Peter Fredlake, director of the Museum’s teacher education and special programs. “As the global leader in Holocaust education, the Museum works to ensure teachers have the training and resources they need to introduce their students to this important and complex history — and show them how its lessons remain relevant to all citizens today.”

Every year, the Museum trains hundreds of teachers through training programs held in Washington and around the country. It provides these teachers with advanced tools and teaching materials for students of history, English, social studies, language arts, library science, journalism and more.

At the conference, the participants teamed up with Museum educators and scholars in sharing rationales, strategies and approaches for teaching about the Holocaust, Nazi propaganda and antisemitism. Media, such as literature, survivor testimony and diaries that the Museum provides are just some of the tools made available to the teachers. 

Participants also toured the Museum’s permanent exhibition, as well as the special exhibitions Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration & Complicity in the Holocaust; Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story; and From Memory to Action: Meeting the Challenge of Genocide.

Additionally, they heard from Holocaust survivor and Museum volunteer Henry Greenbaum. Greenbaum survived the Auschwitz Buna-Monowitz subcamp and a death march to Dachau before being liberated by U.S. soldiers in April 1945.

Once the participants completed the program, they received a set of educational materials and a $100 voucher for Holocaust-related materials in the Museum shop. The Museum’s Web site provides resources at no cost to educators, including a range of online training modules, exemplary lesson plans and extensive historical information about the Holocaust.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a living memorial to the Holocaust. The goal of the Museum is to inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit

August 8, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Public Health, immunizations, vaccines, education.

Press release:

Back-to-School season is here! It’s time for parents to gather school supplies and backpacks. Whether it’s a baby starting at a new daycare, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should also check their child’s vaccine records. 

“These settings are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases,” said Dr. Gregory Collins, Wyoming County Health commissioner. “Children can easily transmit illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, uncovered coughs, dense populations and other factors.”

To emphasize the importance of immunizations for people of all ages – and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need – the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming county health departments are joining partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. 

“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure a healthy future for their children,” said Paul Pettit, Genesee & Orleans Public Health director. "If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs.”

Vaccines protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.  When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for diseases and can also spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.

Talk to your child’s doctor to find out which vaccines are recommended for them before going back to school.

For more information about the recommended vaccines for each age group visit:

Information on NYS Immunization Requirements for School Entrance/Attendance:

For more information about Health Department services, use the contact information below.

July 31, 2015 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, education, schools, batavia, City Fire.


Earlier this week, City firefighters paid a visit to the History Heroes summer education program at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Photos submitted by Jeffrey M. Fischer, assistant director.



July 29, 2015 - 1:48pm

Press release from Cornell Cooperative Extension in Batavia:

Fayetteville, NY – The Farmers Market Federation of NY, in partnership with SUNY Cobleskill and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, is pleased to announce the first ever Farmers Market Managers Professional Certification Course to kickoff Nov. 10th to 12th on the SUNY Cobleskill Campus: FMM PRO.

This program will create New York State’s first Market Manager Certification designation and will be recognized through the SUNY system.

The FMM PRO course curriculum will include all aspects of maintaining and growing a successful farmers market given in 22 workshops covering three main topics:
1.    Nuts and Bolts of Managing Markets

2.    Reaching Out to the Market Community

3.    Building Market Systems

Program participants who complete the full curriculum will be receive certificates signed by the three partnering agencies and will have earned the title of Certified Market Manager. As a SUNY FMM PRO Certified Market Manager, graduates of the program will:
·         Be fully knowledgeable in today’s best practices for managing farmers markets;

·         Learn tactics to expand and optimize their farmers market;

·         Be equipped to build successful relationships with farmers and shoppers;

·         Be able to use their certification to leverage funding and support for their market.

The cost of the SUNY Farmers Market Managers Professional Certification will be an affordable $200 for 12 months of access to the online curriculum.  Participants will need to complete all 22 sessions within this time frame, including submitting a quiz and assignment from each section for review in order to receive certification. In addition, they will need to earn two continuing-education credits bi-annually by attending special sessions at the Federation’s annual Farmers Market Managers Conference and/or specified manager training webinars in order to keep their Certification active.

Nov. 10th to 12th a conference to be held at SUNY Cobleskill, will be used to launch the development of the course. This will replace the Farmers Market Federation’s Annual Conference that normally takes place in late winter, with the regular conference schedule resuming in early 2017. The schedule will include an intense three days of workshops, tours of the SUNY Cobleskill Ag Facilities, and an opportunity to network with market managers from around the state.

The workshops will be recorded and used to form the full online curriculum for the FMM PRO Certification Program and will be placed on, an online learning platform, under the sponsorship of Cornell University. SUNY Cobleskill students will have the unique opportunity to become New York State’s next generation of farmers market managers. As space is available, the three-day conference will be free to enrolled students who use their student meal.

Attendees of the Nov. 10th to 12th conference will have a jump start on their official Farmers Market Manager Certification as they will not need to view the sessions they participated in at the conference on Moodle. In addition, for each day they participated fully in the conference, each participant will receive a $25 voucher toward the cost of the online FMM Pro Certification Course.

Interested parties can register for the conference here: by paying online or mailing in the registration form with a check made out to the Farmers Market Federation of NY. FMM Pro Certification registration will be made available at a later date.

All mail-in conference registrations must be received by Nov. 4th after which registrations can only be made on the website above and will be subject to a $10 per day walk-in fee.

For more information on the content of the sessions, agenda, hotel information and directions, visit: or contact [email protected].

FMM PRO is funded by a grant from Governor Cuomo’s Fresh Connect Program, as part of the Governor’s initiative to build bridges between Upstate NY and Downstate NY, as well as build connections between consumers and NYS agriculture.

Brandie L. Schultz
Administrative Assistant
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County
420 E. Main St.
Batavia NY 14020
Phone: (585) 343-3040, ext. 101
Fax: (585) 343-1275

July 23, 2015 - 6:02pm
posted by Traci Turner in alexander, education, Reunions.


Eight members of Alexander Central School's Class of 1940, along with family and friends, met to celebrate their 75th reunion at Bohn's Restaurant this afternoon.

Robert Meyers attended Alexander High School for two years and formed close friendships with his classmates.

"We were a small school with a graduating class of 36," Meyers said. "Everybody knew each other." 

According to Meyers,10 members are alive today.

Irene Johncox organized the reunion and enjoys catching up with her old classmates every year.

"The fact that we have stayed in touch all these years is great," Johncox said.

The class looks forward to next year's reunion.






July 22, 2015 - 1:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, GCC.

Press release:

Interested in a new career? Looking for a fast growing field with job stability and tasty benefits? Want to work in the local region? Enroll in the Intro to Food Processing Technology course (FPT101) at Genesee Community College this fall with a full scholarship valued at more than $600.

FPT is GCC's newest associate in applied science degree program. The College developed the course of study in response to the regional demand for skilled workers in food manufacturing. The New York State online job bank currently lists more than 500 openings in food-related occupations in the Finger Lakes Region, which includes Genesee County.

"We are continuously developing new academic programs that are focused on long-term career success," said Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, dean of Math, Science and Career Education at GCC. "The food sector is thriving in Western New York and we look forward to providing the industry with the highly trained workers it needs. These positions are local and offer attractive salaries and benefits."

Those interested in learning more about the program and scholarship can find information online at: or contact FPT instructor Greg Sharpe at 585-343-0055, ext. 6157, or [email protected].

The FPT101 course begins Sept. 21 with GCC's 12-week session.

Overall, GCC's fall semester with 15-week course session begins Aug. 24. Students can still register for hundreds of courses offered at all seven campus locations in Albion, Arcade, Batavia, Dansville, Lima, Medina and Warsaw, as well as online. Go to: or call 866-CALL-GCC.

To help students prepare for the start of the semester, the Batavia Campus offers New Student Orientation sessions. These sessions are designed to help students feel comfortable on campus, learn about academic and social opportunities and meet other students. Students can select from the remaining three sessions on Thursday, July 23, Thursday, July 30, or Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Each orientation runs from 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with a variety of activities planned. A concurrent program is offered to help parents and family members become familiar with GCC and sign up for Cougar Kin, the E-newsletter just for family and friends of GCC students. To meet the Orientation leaders, watch the College's new online video available at:

July 21, 2015 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Announcements, education, The BEST Center, batavia.

Press release:

The BEST Center's Building Leadership Excellence Certificate Program is now forming a new cohort.

Building Leadership Excellence is an intensive, hands-on program designed to develop proven skills needed to manage, influence, create, inspire and LEAD organizations in today's dynamic economy. You will learn to think and act strategically, enhancing management performance and improving organizational skills in decision making, coaching, innovative problem solving and conflict resolution.
As a participant, you will work in an engaging and dynamic team environment. Upon completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Inspire subordinates to work to their full potential;
  • Communicate at an advanced level to better manage conflict;
  • Learn strategies to establish buy-in and ensure accountability;
  • Enhance your coaching skills;
  • Establish a lasting network of capable leader colleagues.

Each session is filled with real-life examples and practical techniques for getting results. Begin immediately applying leadership excellence at your job and in your life!

In today's fast moving, highly competitive marketplace, organizations require highly functioning, innovative leaders. To make the most of this opportunity -- ENROLL TODAY...the next cohort will kick off Thursday, Aug. 6.

Attendance is required in all of the eight half-day sessions scheduled Thursdays, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Session dates are: 8/13, 8/20, 9/3, 9/17, 10/1, 10/15, 10/29 and 11/5. Graduation presentations will occur on Thursday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seating is limited.
For more information call 585-345-6868 or
e-mail Lauren Cummings at [email protected]

July 21, 2015 - 3:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, GCC, social media.

Press release:

From friends to followers, tweets to YouTube, Snapchats to YikYaks -- future students at Genesee Community College will one day have the opportunity to study all the nuances of social media marketing. The College's Board of Trustees has approved a new Social Media concentration within the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Business Administration degree.

With the Board's approval, the program will now be submitted to the State University of New York for approval, and later to the New York State Education Department. The College expects the program to available in the Fall of 2016.

The new concentration will provide GCC students interested in business careers with a third option -- one which focuses on the cutting-edge business, marketing and communication methodologies that predominant in today's global marketplace.

The new 62-credit concentration builds from the existing Business Administration curriculum, which provides a strong foundation in business and marketing principles, professional sales, computer applications and a selection of nine elective credits.

New Communication Technologies (COM120) and Introduction to Creative Problem Solving (CPS101) are among the courses Social Media students will take along with: Principles of Marketing (BUS213), Advertising (BUS203), Entrepreneurship (BUS225), Intro to Computers or Microcomputer Applications (CIS102 or 116), Web Publishing (CIS113) and Web Design and Implementation (CIS204).

"We've seen a number of students opt into courses that provide them the most modernized business program giving them a strategic advantage for a cutting-edge business career," said Kathleen Schiefen, Ph.D., GCC's provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

"Built around the same basic business administration coursework, these students will focus on the marketing uses of social media-such as search engines, and become technically competent using the strategic advantage of cutting-edge business degree."

GCC's Business and Commerce division currently includes the following programs: Accounting; Business Administration; Business Administration: Supply Chain Management concentration; Economic Crime Investigation; Entrepreneurship; four Fashion Business programs in: E-Commerce, Event Planning, Fashion Design, and Fashion Merchandising Management; Sales and Customer Service; and Tourism and Hospitality Management. All of the programs are open to new students of all ages, and can begin this fall semester, which starts Aug. 24.

In other business, the Board of Trustees heard a positive report from Kevin Hamilton, vice president for Finance and Operations, on the status of summer construction work for the capital project. Currently, the project involving the complete renovation of the cafeteria at the Batavia Campus and some updates at the College Bookstore is on schedule with completion targeted before the start of the fall semester.

July 18, 2015 - 3:30pm
posted by Traci Turner in education, elba.

A nonprofit corporation called We R 3C a has devised a curriculum using different techniques to teach students the value of respect and skills needed to create caring communities. 

Robert Purifico, president of We R 3C, and Bart Dentino, program founder, believe school administrators are looking under the wrong rock when it comes to teaching students character education and development. As an alternative to many of the behavior programs that are based on extrinsic forms of motivation such as rewards, Purifico and Dentino, who both come from educational backgrounds, launched the We R 3C curriculum. 

It focuses on developing pro-social behaviors through intrinsic motivation. The goal is to teach students to develop an understanding of values such as respect, empathy and forgiveness. According to Dentino, once students are able to understand and find the value in one another, they will become intrinsically motivated and sincere in their demonstrations.

“Kids learn pro-social behaviors, understand it and do acts of kindness, not for a reward, but because it is an appropriate concrete operational social behavior that they demonstrate 365 days a year,” Purifico said.

The foundation of the curriculum is based on the work of three psychologists, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg and Benjamin Bloom. Using principles from their research, the process-based curriculum moves students through the moral stages of development from the egocentric stage to the concrete operational stage.

The first part, "beginnings," teaches children in kindergarten through second grade how to start considering the world outside their ego. The lessons teach the children to think about others around them.

The second part teaches students in grades three through 12 how to understand the value in someone and demonstrate it in the community. The curriculum is divided into five themes, which include the meaning of respect, fixing a problem, self-respect, bullying and communities within communities. Each theme has several lessons and the lessons are broken into approximately 30 learning blocks. In the learning blocks, all of the presentations and activities are written out for teachers.

Dentino has taught several piloting lessons at Elba Central School District.

Dentino recalls talking about a bully during a learning block he taught to a fifth-grade class. He started off the conversation by asking the class what they knew about the boy who was bullying the students. The students shared that his mom works two jobs and his dad is a truck driver who he only sees two weekends a month. Dentino then asked the students how the boy felt and they mentioned how he really missed his dad.

"I looked at one of the girls in the back and she had her head down and I asked her what's the matter," Dentino said. "She responded I feel so sad for him."

From discussing the situation, the students began to empathize with the boy and that understanding made it easier to forgive him. To heal the relationship with the boy, Dentino told the class they had two weeks to let him know he matters.

When Dentino came back, the students shared their stories. One student told of an experience he had with the boy while playing baseball during gym class.

"When the boy came to the plate the student yelled to the pitcher 'you better pitch well to him because he is a really good hitter,' " Dentino said. "This student didn't get a reward for saying it. It was intrinsically motivated behavior to demonstrate kindness to someone whose only relationship to him up to that point was the boy hurting him."

The curriculum has also proven to be beneficial for students at the Lyndonville Middle-High School in grades seven through 12 last school year. Superintendent Jason Smith has received positive feedback from both teachers and students.

"The students thought the curriculum was well needed and the lessons were well run, Smith said. "Students were anxious to have conversations about value, respect and community and teachers commented the lessons proved to be effective as well."

Principal Aaron Slack believes the curriculum is less procedural and rule-based like some other behavior programs. Students learn important skills they can use beyond the classroom.

"The curriculum teaches students how to value others and to look at differences in others as an asset," Slack said.

Due to the success of the curriculum at the middle and high school levels, the district will start using the curriculum at the elementary school level in September.

Dentino's goal is to raise awareness for the curriculum and gauge the interest of as many educators as possible. He is currently working on full implementation of the curriculum at Elba Central School District. School districts that are interested in implementation receive an extensive training workshop and all the curriculum materials.

In addition to New York, Purifico is working on implementing the program in New Jersey and Tennessee. Purifico hopes the curriculum will be used as a character educational tool in schools nationwide in the future.

July 8, 2015 - 8:22am
posted by Traci Turner in Le Roy, American Legion Auxiliary Le Roy, education.


Jamie Englerth, senior at Le Roy High School, learned how to state her case in court and participate in government elections at Empire Girls State last week.

The Empire Girls State is an educational workshop where girls from all over the state are selected to partake in political processes at the county and state levels. The girls are divided into groups to represent 11 counties and each county is assigned to the Nationalist or Federalist Party. They participate in a variety of activities including court cases, political campaigns and debates.

Englerth's favorite activity was assuming the role of district attorney in her county's court cases. She got the opportunity to learn how to build a solid case and prosecute crime. She won all four of her cases.  

During the program, she also learned how to write bills and participate in a caucus. Four girls from each county were nominated to run for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller. All the nominees gave speeches on why they would be the best candidate for the position. Then all the caucuses met and voted. 

"It was an awesome experience and I wish every girl could have because you learn so much and make so many friendships that will last you a lifetime," Englerth said.

More than 300 girls attended the weeklong workshop at the College at Brockport. The program is sponsored by the New York American Legion Auxiliary.

Englerth was chosen by the American Legion Auxiliary Le Roy Botts Fiorito Unit 576. Teachers at Le Roy High School first picked the top three candidates to be interviewed by the auxiliary. Then the auxiliary picked Englerth as its top choice. Only a handful of girls are chosen to participate from Genesee County.

At school, she is a member of the National Honor Society and plays basketball and soccer. Outside of school she volunteers at local triathlons, American Legion dinners and the Open Door Mission.

In the future, Englerth plans to study pre-law and Social Sciences at a four-year college and continue onto law school to fulfill her dream of becoming a district attorney for special victims.

"Women and children voices in court are often lost, especially children, and they need people to advocate for them," Englerth said. "People are always worried about what is going to happen to the person who did the crime, but I want to know what happens to the kids.

"I would be thinking about sentencing the person that hurts them and making sure they get what they deserve but I also would be thinking about what is going to happen to the kids or women after."

July 2, 2015 - 10:42am
posted by Traci Turner in Jackson School, batavia, education.


The landscaping in front of Jackson School is being ripped out this week to make room for a new bus loop that City Schools Superintendent Chris Daily said will improve transportation safety for students.

The project means some grand old trees in front of the school are now gone, but Daily said new trees will be planted as part of the project.

Besides the trees, so far, the sidewalks have also been jackhammered and hauled away.

The project should be completed by Sept. 1.

In addition to the bus loop, new locks and classroom bathrooms will be installed at the school.

The construction is a part of the district’s $3.8 million capital project that was approved three years ago. 

June 26, 2015 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, batavia, City Schools, education, schools.


It was a big day for the students at Jackson School. They moved up a grade, receiving certificates of continuation from administrators during a ceremony in the Batavia High School auditorium.





June 23, 2015 - 7:15pm
posted by Traci Turner in st. joseph school, education, Batavia Kiwanis Club.


After raising money all year long, the Kiwanis K-Kids Club presented checks to the YWCA and Genesee County Child Advocacy Center this afternoon. The children selected a total of six organizations to receive donations. The other organizations were Strong Memorial Hospital's Cardiac Unit, Golisano Children's Hospital, Smile Train and Genesee County Animal Shelter.

The children raised money through various fundraisers including selling flowers, candy-grams and pies.

The extracurricular club focuses on serving the community and the school population. Mary Case, a first-grade teacher at St. Joseph School, is the club's advisor.


The children presenting a check to Jeanne Walton, executive director of the YWCA. They raised $98 for the YWCA.


The club presenting a check to Anne Bezon, supervisor of the Genesee County Child Advocacy Center. They raised $100 for the center.

June 22, 2015 - 4:10pm
posted by Traci Turner in Batavia High School, prom, education.


(Jarrett Laskett, Shontee Allis and Allison Della Penna. Photo taken by Laura Tenebruso.)

It was Batavia senior Allison Della Penna's plan all along to give her crown to Shontee Allis, a senior with Down Syndrome, if she was named Batavia High School's 2015 Prom Queen on Saturday night.

When Della Penna was announced as Senior Prom Queen, she immediately went up on stage and declared Allis to take her place.

"I knew it would make her so happy and it doesn't really mean anything to me," Della Penna said. "I mean it's nice that people wanted to vote for me but it's something that she is going to remember for the rest of her life."

Allis was all smiles when Della Penna, her friend, called her up on stage and put the crown on her head. She had always dreamed of being named prom queen.

"I was excited," Allis said. "It's good to be queen."


( Allison Della Penna crowning Shontee Allis. Photo taken by Laura Tenebruso.)

Principal Scott Wilson has been to more than 40 proms and has never seen anything like it.

"It was absolutely wonderful," Wilson said. "I have never been a part of such a great group of kids and Allison just represented them so well. It was a very selfless thing to do."

Laura Tenebruso, English teacher and senior class advisor, has known Della Penna since she was in middle school and wasn't surprised when she made the selfless act because that is just the kind of person she is.

"Allison is a loving, giving and compassionate person," Tenebruso said.

After Allis was named Prom Queen, she and Prom King Jarrett Laskett danced to her favorite "Frozen" theme song, "Let It Go."

Allis told Della Penna she couldn't wait to watch "Frozen" and dance with her crown on. According to Allis's younger sister, Summer Mims-Allis, she wears the crown everywhere she goes.

Della Penna and Allis became friends on the school's senior trip last week. Della Penna really clicked with Allis's funny and friendly personality.

"She is always so happy and that is something that I really liked," Della Penna said. "She always wants to make sure everyone is happy and smiling. Everyone should have just a tiny bit of her happiness."

Nancy Brandon, Allis's mom, was amazed by how great the senior class has been to her daughter.

"The senior class has literally took Shontee underneath their arms and just made her feel so special," Brandon said. 

According to Wilson, Batavia High School has a saying "take care of BHS by taking care of others" and he feels Della Penna has really done that by honoring Allis as Prom Queen.

June 19, 2015 - 9:55pm
posted by Traci Turner in Jackson Primary School, education.




With the hard work of all the first-graders and their reading efforts, the animals were able to get back to their normal habitats at the Jackson Zoo today.

Faculty dressed up as zookeepers and animals to put on a closing play and reward students for their reading achievements. With everyone’s help, the zoo was back to normal.

The play was a part of the Parents as Reading Partners program, which began on March 16 with a challenge for students. Faculty put on an opening play showing the zoo animals had gone wild. The animals were eating the wrong foods and living in the wrong places. The zookeepers asked students to help them solve the problem.

To help zoo animals get back to their normal habitat, students were required to read at home for 15 minutes every night. Students had to get a ticket signed by a parent once they completed their reading and return it to school every day.

During the program, the students read a total of 441,000 minutes. For all their effort, they were rewarded with prizes and received a new book to take home at the end of the play.

Heather Landers, first-grade special education teacher, organized the play.

“The program aligned with the curriculum so kids could connect what they were learning in class to the reading,” Landers said. “The kids got excited about reading and loved the play.”

The play was one of many reading incentives students participated in. Other events included a Family Reading Night, Fairytale event and reading with members of the Genesee County Bar Association.

Principal Diane Bonarigo has been thrilled with her students’ reading progress.

“I’m so excited 80 percent of our children are reading at grade level or above,” Bonarigo said. “I have seen the children significantly improve in reading this year.”

Bonarigo hopes children will continue reading and be lifelong learners.


June 13, 2015 - 5:28pm


(Photo: Edwin Cooney)

Members of the New York State School for the Blind Alumni Association met for their annual reunion to recall memories with their schoolmates and reinforce their connection to the school. The opening ceremony was in the auditorium at Severne Hall last night.

Tom Flaherty, vice president of the alumni association, led the ceremony. Barbara Lemen, NYSSB superintendent, gave a speech about the school’s recent efforts to increase educational opportunities for current students.

Following Lemen, Edwin Cooney, president of the alumni association, shared history of the school through a trivia game he created. Winners received prizes including key chains and soil from the school grounds.

Cooney thought the soil would help bring back fond memories alumni made at the school. He remembers when he first attended kindergarten there in 1950 like it was yesterday.

“There were 16 boys and 16 girls in the old kindergarten building,” Cooney said. “We were in big dorms and there was a bed in each corner. You could fit 16 beds in the room so it was all very communal and very new for most of us.”

Cooney adapted to the culture quickly but felt isolated from the rest of the Batavia community. When he graduated in 1966, it took him a while to adjust socially at college because he never had the experience of going to a public school.

“Some of us were shocked when we went to college and found some people were afraid of us,” Cooney said.

Diane Scalzi, corresponding secretary for the alumni association, first attended the school in February 1957 but left three years later to attend public school. Her experience at public school helped her socially to interact with sighted students but she was concerned she wouldn’t have equal educational opportunities. As a result, in 1960 she returned to the school and graduated in 1971.

“I was worried that if I went to public school I would not get gym classes, Home Economics classes and mobility,” Scalzi said. “I was able to get through college and have a career because of my education at the school.”

Chet Smalley, treasurer of the alumni association, was in fourth grade when he came to the school in 1964 and graduated in 1973. He participated in student council, the Key Club and wrestling.

“The evolution that those of us at NYSSB were able to experience was the fact that we were able to grow up as ‘normal’ children because our blindness was incidental,” Smalley said. “We did everything else that normal children could do and that was the beauty of the school.”


(From left: Diane Scalzi, Linda Smalley, Chet Smalley and Edwin Cooney)

Tonight the association will have its annual banquet and Sunday members will hold a memorial service to remember alumni who have passed away.

Moving forward, alumni officers are planning the association’s 100th-anniversary celebration in 2018. The officers are working with Lemen to help encourage more graduates to join the alumni association. They hope recent graduates will show interest in becoming members.

“We don’t have a member in the association that is under 50 years old,” Cooney said. “We need to acquire more members because we are getting old and need to start caring for each other.”

The alumni association has also expanded its eligibility to allow graduate’s spouses to become members. The association hopes by working with the community they can continue their legacy and pass their memories onto future generations.

June 13, 2015 - 1:30pm
posted by Traci Turner in pembroke high school, education.


(Photo: Eric Johnson)

Eric Johnson, visual arts instructor at Pembroke High School, strives to teach his students principles of design so they can apply it to real world experiences. 

Johnson has been teaching a variety of art, design and photography classes at the school for 14 years. He rotates teaching different art classes with Rebecca Schuler, the school's other visual arts instructor.

"I try to tie things they learn with the work world so they don't think art lives in a bubble," Johnson said. "I want them to realize most of what is around us has been created by someone in the art field in some capacity."

A recent project Johnson assisted his students with was designing the new Village of Corfu signs. Last school year the village board asked the school if they would be willing to have students complete the project. Johnson first introduced the project to his advanced drawing and painting students and they came up with sketch ideas. After narrowing down 50 sketches he received from the students, he gave 30 sketches to the village board to review over the summer. The board selected different designs for the four new signs. Emily Verdaasdonk, senior, created three of the designs and Nicole Franclemont, senior, made the fourth design.

In September, Verdaasdonk and Franclemont, and four other seniors, Sabrina Sanner, Nikita Harding, Morgan Smykowski and Bailey Groth, started drawing and painting the signs. The project was not a part of any class so Johnson helped the girls, who worked on the signs during lunches and study halls all year long.

"The students were invested in their designs," Johnson said. "The project was like their baby so they came and religiously worked on it."

The signs were just completed a few weeks ago and will be up soon.

In addition to the sign project, Johnson selects students' art projects to be showcased in seven or eight local art shows every year. In the last few years, Johnson has noticed his students have been winning awards at local art shows.

"I think Pembroke has created a reputation at some of these art shows because students have been taking first and second place for two and three years in a row," Johnson said.

In this year's GO! Art Show, 12 students had their work featured including Verdaasdonk's ceramic tree. The ceramic piece was fired in a kiln Johnson and his students built out of a garbage can.

Johnson's favorite part about teaching is knowing when one of his students is truly in love with their artwork and is proud of it. He has been passionate about art since he was a child. He grew up in North Tonawanda with his parents and two brothers. 

"My father and I would make books together," Johnson said. "He would help me write and I would illustrate them."

One of Johnson's professors encouraged him to become a teacher so he could help students practice art. He holds an associate degree in the visual arts from Niagara County Community College and a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Buffalo. He earned his master's degree and teaching certification from Buffalo State College.

He currently lives in the Town of Tonawanda with his wife and two children. In his free time he enjoys creating sculptures and digital photography. In the future, he would like to have his own art show. 





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