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

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Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Agri-Business Academy students at Porter Farms in Elba.

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

May 23, 2017 - 5:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Le Roy, education.

Press release:

We are thrilled to announce that Lowe’s has awarded the Le Roy Jr. /Sr. High School $3,500 in funding for our “Builders Club” project.

The grant was written as a collaboration between our instructional tech coach, Jen Bertrand, and our Technology Education teacher, Matt Kleehammer. The grant application was based on the goal of an authentic opportunity for our students to project plan, build, create, and connect with our school and surrounding community.

We look forward to sharing the “Builders Club” with the Le Roy community. We expect that this project will be up and running this September with students able to take real-time staff or community building requests and turn them into a reality.

Our school and community will greatly benefit from this grant. We wish to thank our friends at Lowe’s for generously supporting this important project! 

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

May 23, 2017 - 4:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, education, online learning.

Press release:

The State University of New York (SUNY) has pioneered the world of online learning, and its success has been made possible in part by a community of researchers, instructional designers and online educators.

To build its foundation and advance its online efforts, SUNY launched the Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE) that celebrates, connects and grows effective online learning education practitioners across the SUNY system while also furthering its knowledge of the most effective teaching and learning practices in online education. Two faculty members at Genesee Community College, Gary Glaser and Jennifer Sisbarro will now be on the forefront for this advancement, after being named SUNY COTE Teaching Ambassadors for 2017. Glaser and Sisbarro were nominated by the College and by accepting, became the first COTE Ambassadors from GCC.

Glaser has taught both online and in-class courses at GCC for eight years. He developed Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2 hybrid courses to help students work around their busy schedules, providing a large digital library of materials that students can utilize and reference when not in the actual classroom or lab. He also developed a fully online Human Biology class, which includes an online lab component. Gary currently serves as the chair of the Online Faculty Advisory Committee at the College, which is responsible for improvements to the online learning environment.

Sisbarro is an assistant professor of music at GCC. She serves on the Online Faculty Advisory Committee and she participated in the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) course orientation. Among the online courses that Sisbarro teaches are: History of Rock and Roll (MUS 203), Music Appreciation (MUS101), and Basic Musicianship (MUS102). She also developed the online Hip Hop Culture (MUS107) course. Sisbarro began teaching at GCC in 2014, and she previously taught at Finger Lakes Community College and Hobart and William Smith College. She has been performing in musical theatre productions since the age of 10, and has toured internationally with the Geneseo Chamber Singers and performed with the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble.

"I am passionate about teaching online, and I believe that online learning is a wonderful alternative for non-traditional students who have careers, families, health issues and other life commitments," Sisbarro said. "I feel fortunate to be offering classes for students who otherwise may not be able to attend college."

The SUNY COTE is nationally and internationally recognized for its commitment to academic excellence through research-driven, community-supported practices of innovative teaching, learner-centered instruction, and pedagogy-focused approaches. SUNY COTE ambassadors are awarded a certificate of recognition and a digital badge in honor of distinction, and are considered exemplary online SUNY educators who are enthusiastic and effective in online teaching and positive, as well as strong advocates for online teaching and learning within the SUNY community.

Genesee Community College currently offers 16 different online associate degree and certificate programs and was ranked as the number one Best Online College for community colleges in New York State by Affordable Colleges Online (AC) in 2016-2017. The College offers more than 100 online courses each full semester; and tuition and fees are below $5,000 for full-time study for a full academic year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 22, 2017 - 6:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, BEST Center, education, genetics.

Press release:

Pre-K through fifth-grade teachers are invited to join the Business and Employee Skills Training (BEST) Center at GCC this summer for a three-part, professional-development course that focuses on genetics. The program is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, July 11 – 25.

The course is aligned with the recent New York State science learning standards and provides continuing education units or credits (CTLE).

This course will provide Pre-K-5 teachers with a general background in genetics and similar concepts to expand educators' content knowledge, and provide tips, ideas and activities to use in one's own classroom. The activities and ideas for the standards will be infused with agricultural examples to help facilitate further learning and provide students with a new lens in which to learn.

Attending these three sessions will give educators new and creative ways to help their students learn about complex concepts. Integrating math and English components into science lessons will be a focus of the sessions.

Instructor Hannah Milligan grew up on a 600-cow dairy farm in Pavilion, where her love for agriculture came to fruition. Following her passions, she attended SUNY Cobleskill and Cornell University to receive a degree in Animal Science. She then went on to Ithaca College pursuing her goal of becoming an agricultural science educator. In addition to teaching part-time at GCC, she will also be teaching at Warsaw High School this fall.

The cost for the course is $109 and it will take place at the GCC Batavia campus. Those interested in attending are asked to register by July 3.

To register for this and all BEST Center classes, visit their website at www.genesee.edu/best or call (585) 345-6868. For further information on the BEST Center offerings, including other courses or non-credit programs, contact program coordinator Jennifer Wakefield at [email protected] or call (585) 343-0055, ext. 6602.

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

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Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much to their delight, they won!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill Kauffman

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Edgar and Mary Louise Hollwedel

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Norbert Fuest

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

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

Photo and info provided by Lisa Robinson.

May 18, 2017 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, batavia, news.

Genesee Community College is ready to welcome students to campus under the state's new free-tuition plan for SUNY schools, known as the Excelsior Scholarship, said College President Jim Sunser, but implementing the program won't be without a few snags.

First, Sunser said, not all the guidelines and rules have been released yet, so school counselors have less information than is ideal for advising students. Second, the program could have a small impact on cash flow for the college.

The way the program works is, students must successfully complete two semesters of 15 credits each. The state will pay the first semester, but no payments will be released to school for both semesters until the student has successfully completed a full 30 credits.

"From a cash-flow perspective, we would have to wait until the student finishes before we’d see the dollars, so there is an eight-month lag," Sunser said.

Based on the current school population and demographics, GCC expects about 100 students to enroll in the program, and since most would be expected to successfully complete 30 credits, the negative cash flow impact is expected to be something the college can absorb.

Of course, one of the goals of the Excelsior program is to encourage more students to enroll in college, and the college is ready to embrace a higher enrollment if that's the outcome, Sunser said.

"We would very much like to see as many students as possible take advantage of it and take advantage getting an education here in New York, for sure," Sunser said.

The Excelsior program is a "last dollar in" scholarship, meaning if a student has other grants or scholarships, those would be used first to pay for tuition and Excelsior would make up the difference.

Because of the 30-credit requirement, Excelsior may not be the best option for some students who might otherwise qualify, so school counselors will work with students to help them find the best fit.

"When they come in, we’re going to individually advise them through Student Success Center and we’re going to let them know if this is the best possible avenue for them to pursue or even if campus-based scholarships might make more sense," Sunser said. "We’ll work with them one-on-one to make sure they get to where they need to be."

Sunser spoke about the scholarship program after providing the County's Ways and Means Committee with a budget update Wednesday afternoon.

The college trustees have not yet approved the budget, but it's expected that it will call for an increase in spending from $40,537,000 to $40,923,000, which Sunser noted is less than a 1-percent increase in spending. 

"On our budget, we are already cost conscious and make sure we are as responsible as we can be," Sunser said.

The county, as the sponsoring county, is required to make a sponsorship contribution to GCC's budget.

Currently, the county's contribution is about 6 percent of GCC's budget. Sunser said that's the second-lowest sponsoring county's contribution in the state.

In recent years, the amount of the county's contribution has been going up by $50,000 per year. Last year, there was some sentiment on the part of legislators that they didn't get enough time to provide input or deliberate its contribution, so there was no $50,000 increase and Sunser agreed to open up communications with legislators earlier in the process. He said he provided an update in the fall and then yesterday's appearance was made in advance of the final budget being approved.

This year, the college is asking for a $100,000 increase in county share, covering the $50,000 not provided last year and $50,000 for this year.

Sunser said the trustees are looking to approve the budget next week. The committee took no action yesterday on the request.

May 16, 2017 - 10:42pm

Batavia City School District:

Budget - $49,870,585 (increase of $5,504,146 or 12.41%: $0.00 increase in tax levy)
Yes - 374 (81.84%)
No  - 83 (18.16%)

Establish $7.5 Million 10 Year Capital Reserve 2017 -
Yes -  370 (80.96%)
No -    87 (19.04%)

Board of Education positions (2):
Two terms from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020 
Barbara Bowman, 293
Tanni Bromley, 279

 

Oakfield-Alabama Central School District
Proposition #1-Budget
Yes:  297
No: 53

Proposition #2-Buses
Yes: 290
No: 60

Proposition #3-Athletic Equipment
Yes:  258
No: 92

Proposition #4-Capital Reserve Fund
Yes:  288
No: 59

Board Members (Three Vacancies)
Chris Haacke, 208
Bonnie Woodward, 171
Jennifer Kirkum, 170
Tim Edgerton, 162
Andrew Merkel, 142
Bruce Pritchett      141

 

Elba Central School District

Proposition #1 Budget - $9,273,839
Yes: 136
No: 26

Proposition #2 – Authorization to establish the 2017 General Capital Reserve Fund 
Yes: 132
No: 29

Proposition #3 – Authorization to appropriate and expend from Transportation Vehicle and Equipment Capital Reserve to purchase one (1) 65 passenger school bus
Yes: 134
No: 28

Two Board of Education seats with two candidates running:
Travis Torrey, 149
Michael Augello, 134

 

Byron-Bergen Central School District

Proposition 1, Budget
Yes: 327
No: 153

Proposition 2:  Bus purchase
Yes: 340
No: 150

May 16, 2017 - 8:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, Oakfield, news.

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The day at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School was dedicated to leadership, with several classroom events built around themes from Stephen Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," such as "Think Win Win," "Be Proactive," Put 1st Things 1st," and "Begin with the End in Mind."

There were also musical performances from both middle school and high school students, and a talent show, along with a student-parent picnic in the gym.

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May 16, 2017 - 3:07pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Le Roy, education, superintendent, news.

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Merritt Holly, a Le Roy resident since 2009, never thought he wanted to go into administration. In the beginning of April, Holly started as the superintendent of the Le Roy Central School District.  

“I’m very humble to be in a position like this, to represent teachers, students and staff here at Le Roy,” Holly said.

After a month and a half in his position, Holly said he has not seen any negatives to his job as superintendent.

“Everyone has been so supportive, from inside here and in this community. They’ve been so supportive and I can’t be thankful enough,” Holly said. “You need that in order to be successful running a school district.”

Holly was a graduate of Pavilion High School in 1992 and went to Genesee Community College, later transferring into SUNY Brockport.

Holly’s teaching career began in 1999 when he was hired out of college as a Global Studies teacher at Oakfield-Alabama Central School District and coached varsity basketball. In January 2007, he was asked by the superintendent to carry out the rest of the year as the dean of students.

“I never thought I wanted to go into administration but it was a good opportunity to try it out and see if I liked it,” Holly said.

Holly stayed on to be the dean of students for the 2007-2008 school year and started taking classes for an administrative degree.

In 2008, Holly started as the middle school principal, making an impact for Oakfield-Alabama students in grades six through eight.

Before becoming superintendent of Le Roy Central School District, Holly served as principal of Caledonia-Mumford High School since 2011.

“I’ve worked with great leaders,” Holly said. “I’ve had a chance to learn under a lot of good people. I’ve had the chance to be involved in some great staffs at [Oakfield-Alabama] and [Caledonia-Mumford High School].”

Le Roy Junior-Senior High School is ranked in the top 10.3 percent in the country, earning a Silver Medal, according to U.S. News & World Report magazine's ranking of the Best High Schools.

Holly said he has been impressed with what Le Roy offers its students and the passion for the programs.

“Not only do we have strong academics, but if you look at what we’re doing with extracurricular [activities] and you’ve got a perfect scenario for kids to thrive with and be successful,” Holly said.  

Holly said that many students are coming in to rural area schools with a variety of needs and issues. One of his goals as superintendent is to look at how to best help those students.

“I think the whole group instruction concept that I was a part of as a student is not going to work in this day and age right now,” Holly said. “We have to think in a differentiation type of way that we have to meet our kids at their level.”

Holly said that it does not mean to lower standards and expect less from students.

“I think kids come in with a keen skill set that I don’t think I had when I was their age,” Holly said. “I think that kids aren’t changing in the sense of the academics, I think we have to adjust to what their interests are, different from where they were five to 10 years ago.”

Tim McArdle, the principal of Le Roy High School, said he has worked closely with Holly as neighboring principals over the years.

“To have him now on our team has been tremendous,” McArdle said. “It has been awesome seeing him start every day in our bus loop, greeting our students as they enter the building. He is a very caring and genuine person who wants nothing but the best for this community.”

McArdle said Holly’s transition into his new position was smooth. Prior to starting as superintendent, Holly was able to spend multiple days visiting and meeting informally with staff and students. McArdle said it allowed Holly to hit the ground running from day one.

“[Holly’s] presence has been felt from the bus loop, to the classroom, to the extracurricular events,” McArdle said. “He truly understands the importance of being visible and supporting our Knights.”

May 15, 2017 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, schools, education.

Voters will be asked tomorrow whether they support the 2017-18 Batavia City Schools budget, with a spending plan of $49,870,585.

That's an increase of 12.41 percent over last year, due entirely, school officials say, to a change to record debt service expenditures in the general fund as recommended by the comptroller's office.

Even so, local property owners will not be hit with an increase in school-related property taxes. The property tax levy isn't being increased at all.

This is the fourth straight year the district's tax levy is below the state's increase cap, so homeowners will be eligible for a state property tax rebate, sent directly to homeowners in the fall of 2017.

The budget represents a $10,859 per student in general education, $28,502 per Special Education student, or $19,241 per student on average. All three figures are below state averages, which are $11,949 and $30,667 and $22,536, respectively.

Of the district's total revenue, more than 52 percent comes from state and federal aid. The tax levy is 37.1 percent of total revenue. This budget calls for use of $2.7 million of fund balance (reserves).

Polls are open Tuesday, May 16, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Robert Morris (residents north of Route 5) and Batavia High School (residents south of Route 5).

May 12, 2017 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, St. Joe's, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

Students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grade at St. Joseph School had the opportunity to participate in their annual spelling bee this past week. Twenty five brave students gathered on the stage for a spelling competition that lasted 35 rounds.

In the end, three eightth-graders took the top three places winning cash prizes:

  • First Place -- Rachel Nickerson
  • Second Place -- Katelyn Zehler
  • Third Place -- Anne Marie Kochmanski

The other top spellers are: James Weicher II, Gabriel Weicher, Andrew Ricupito, Lucia Sprague, Madalyn Bochicchio, Sarah McGinnis and Isabelle Cooper.

Congratulations to this year’s top 10 spellers!
May 12, 2017 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, pembroke, schools, education, news.

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Submitted photos and info:

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley visited fourth-graders at Pembroke Intermediate School. Students have been studying the history of New York State, the government of New York, and how New York has helped shape America.

Assemblyman Hawley discussed his responsibilities and duties, while students participated in a question and answer session. Earlier in the year, students from Mr. Brown's Social Studies class wrote to Assemblyman Hawley after learning about the branches of government in New York.

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May 12, 2017 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ARC, batavia, pembroke, bergen, schools, education, news.

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Four area high school students were honored by the Arc of Genesee Orleans on Thursday night at the agency's annual meeting with scholarships from the Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded to students interested in working with people with disabilities.

The scholarships were awarded to Natalie Bigelow, Batavia HS, who plans to attend Daemen College and study Physical Therapy; Alyssa Weaver, Pembroke HS, who plans to enter a Physician's Assistant Program; Hannah Bowen, Notre Dame HS, who plans to attend Clarkson University, and she will pursue a career in Psychology; Marlaina Fee, Byron-Bergen HS, who plans to study Elementary Education at Geneva College, with a focus on Special Ed and Sign Language.

Representing the schoalrship fund was Molly George.

May 12, 2017 - 2:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news, Batavia HS, schools, education.

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The Kiwanis Club of Batavia, as it does every year, honored the top students from Batavia High School at its weekly lunch at the ARC facility on Woodrow Road, Batavia.

Pictured are: Campbell Anderson, Margaret Cecere, Madison Grover, Celia Flynn, Elizabeth Piedmont, Zachary O'Brien (back), Chyenne Ernst, Madison Moore, Serena Strollo-DiCenso, Abigail Stendts, Cassidy Miller, McKenna Dziemian, and Quenten Branciforte.

May 12, 2017 - 9:10am

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Members of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra visited Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School yesterday to meet with students from each grade to talk with them about classical music and the instruments they use. Above, Bob Knipe talks about his French horn. 

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Conductor Shade Zajac.

May 11, 2017 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, Oakfield, schools, education, news.

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Haily Davis, a senior at Oakfield-Alabama High School, reacts to her attempt to keep control of a car in a simulator while also texting. The simulator was part of the Save A Life Tour, which stopped by O-A yesterday, giving students a chance to experience just how distracting distracted driving can me. Another simulator mimicked the difficulty and dangers of driving drunk.

Davis said the simulator really opened her eyes to how hard it is to text and drive at the same time.

"I learned that it’s not as easy to text and drive as I thought it would be and that’s it’s not just you," Davis said. "You have to be careful because of other people running red lights or other people turning when they’re not supposed to be. If you look down and swerve into the other lane you could hit somebody."

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May 10, 2017 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, NASA, schools, education, news, batavia.

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Getting to work on parts that NASA will actually use on the International Space Station is definitely something to brag about, said Dominick Brown, a senior at Batavia High School (at right, in photo above) and a student in BOCES precision machinery program.

Brown and about a dozen other students are part of a program begun this year at BOCES by teacher Tim Gleba, who persisted in his pursuit last year to get Batavia's machine shop course accepted into NASA's HUNCH program. HUNCH is a nationwide program started in 2003 that gives high school students the chance to design and manufacture hardware for NASA. The program has since expanded to include culinary arts as well so that students can come up with ready-to-eat meals for astronauts.

Students have made single-purpose storage lockers to hold experiments being taken up to the space station and one of the next projects is new handrails.

Brown's reaction was like a lot of students in a video presented by NASA scientist Florance Gold, Ph.D, yesterday at a press conference about the program in Batavia. The students all said the program inspired them to think about engineering, science and aerospace careers and gave them the confidence to think it might be something they could pursue.

"It’s really awesome that we actually get to work for NASA and it’s something I can put on my resume," Brown said. "I’m always bragging to my friends, ‘OK, I work for NASA now.’ It’s kind of cool. I’m definitely very grateful for everything my teachers and NASA have presented to me to be part of this amazing program. I’m crazy grateful. Unlike test hardware, we’re making actual hardware that is going into the space station, so it’s something that I can say, ‘I made parts that are in the space station.’ ”

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Tim Gleba with the first part his precision machine students made for NASA.

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NASA scientist Flo Gold

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Nancy Hall, an aerospace engineer with NASA, who works at the Glenn Research Center in Ohio.

A couple of weeks ago, BOCES students were able to visit the facility. Hall said it's special getting to work for NASA.

“One thing I want to pass onto the students is think about the opportunity you have in front of you," Hall said. "You’re going to be making parts for NASA, which is just neat in itself. Even myself, working for NASA, I still pinch myself."

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Amanda Phelps, a HUNCH support machinist with one of the storage lockers designed and made by high school students.

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