Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors


June 30, 2022 - 2:32pm
posted by Press Release in Notre Dame, schools, education, news.

Press release:

Notre Dame is pleased to announce the following teaching and staff positions for the 2022-2023 school year.

We are pleased to announce that Kristen Gomez will have an enhanced role on our Administrative Team. In addition to her role as the Director of Academic Advisement and Learning Center teacher, Mrs. Gomez will become our Registrar and take on responsibilities specific to administrative leadership.

Amanda Coggiola has accepted the position of Administrative Assistant to the Office of Academic Advisement. Mrs. Coggiola comes to us with enthusiasm and we are pleased to welcome her to this position at ND. We thank Karen Rapone for her many years of service and wish her well upon her retirement.

Karina Treleaven has accepted the position of part-time Spanish teacher for our Junior High. In addition to her teaching duties, she is a proud parent of an upcoming senior and freshman at Notre Dame. We look forward to having her share her skills with our students and staff.

June 22, 2022 - 10:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pembroke Central Schools, schools, education, news, pembroke.


A lot can change in 52 years -- monumental world events like wars, recessions, and pandemics pass by, and new inventions like mobile devices and electric cars transform lives.

But some things stay constant.  

Love, for example.

That's the case for Greg Kinal, who grew up in Elma and then accepted a job teaching social studies at Pembroke High School.

"Prior to taking the job in 1970, I had never been to Genesee County," Kinal told The Batavian on Wednesday. "I didn't know Batavia was here.  "But once I arrived in Pembroke, I fell in love with the community. I fell in love with the kids. I fell in love with the school.  It’s hard for me to come up with the idea that I’m going to be leaving.  I just love this area."

In 52 years of teaching at Pembroke, Kinal said he's taught all manner of young people -- high achievers and those who get by -- but he's found, and it's the reason he loves the kids, that they are all eager to learn.

"Sometimes you get the impression, 'oh, social studies --  groan,' but when we learn about the Vietnam War, kids bring in their grandfathers' medals, or when we talk about World War I, they talk about their family history. There is always interest in the topics we go over."

Now it's time to slow down, said the 74-year-old Kinal, who has two biological children and two stepchildren, and four grandchildren. In retirement, he still plans to be a substitute teacher, but he wants life to move at a slower pace.

"I find that I come to school on Monday and the next day, suddenly, it's Friday," Kinal said.  "I want to take it easier and not have my whole life be in a rush."

Photo illustration courtesy Pembroke Central School District.

June 19, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, news, education, schools.


 Marsha Riggi chest bumps Oakfield-Alabama Superintendent John Fisgus during the high school's graduation ceremony on Saturday.  Riggi may have gotten the idea from Gaige Armbrewster, who chest bumped Fisgus when he accepted his diploma. 

Photos by Debra Reilly.







June 14, 2022 - 8:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, City Schools, batavia, news, schools, education.


Students at Jackson Primary School began their day today in patriotic fashion with a Flag Day ceremony that included members of the Genesee County Joint Veterans Honor Guard and Western New York National Cemetery Honor Guard.

The veterans shared some lessons about the flag.

Students sang "God Bless America" and "This Land is Your Land."

Frank Panepento, a technology teacher at Batavia Middle School, played trumpet. 

Members of the Muckdogs organization joined the celebration.

Photos and information courtesy Batavia City Schools  Top photo: Phil Gaudy and Carl Hyde fold a U.S. flag.


Jackson Primary students reciting The Pledge of Allegiance


Front row, Giavanna Shultz, Gabriella Zucchiatti, Ronan McCarthy, Janielynn Roque; back row: Maureen Notaro, Jackson principal, Carl Hyde, Jason Smith, Superintendent, Phil Gaudy, Tom Cecere


June 13, 2022 - 5:30pm
posted by Press Release in stem, GCC, schools, education, news.


Press release:

On May 21, 2022, Genesee Community College celebrated its 54th annual Commencement Ceremony with a group of 15 students from area high schools and homeschools deserving special mention. They completed their GCC degree requirements concurrently with their high school diplomas or New York State Equivalents. These 15 graduates participated in the fourth annual cohort of the College's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Enrichment Program through GCC's Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) Office.

These high-achieving individuals include the following: Alexander Wright (Perry), Chase Graham (Alexander), Corden Zimmerman (Byron-Bergen), Elizabeth McCarthy (Batavia), Elli Schelemanow (Byron-Bergen), Jordyn Tobolski (Oakfield), Katarina Luker (Alexander), McKenna Johnson (Oakfield), Megan Zakes (Medina), Rebecca Clemens (Lyndonville), Samantha Nusstein (Attica), Sarah Volpe (Elba), Sophie Fulton (Batavia), Zachary Neal (Homeschool), Bethany Faben (Homeschool) and Markus Faben (Homeschool). Emily Harling (Albion) did not take part in the STEM Enrichment Program, but did earn a GCC degree alongside her high school diploma.

The STEM Enrichment program began in 2012 allowing the students to start their college studies as early as the seventh grade. In addition to their traditional schoolwork, they enrolled in college-level coursework each year taking advantage of many academic opportunities and successfully completing all of the rigorous challenges of an associate degree.

"Once again this year, we are delighted to celebrate the achievements of our STEM program students who have worked hard to earn GCC degrees along with their high school diplomas or the New York State Equivalent, in the case of our homeschooled students," Ed Levinstein, associate dean of GCC's ACE program said. "I commend their hard work and dedication to their studies, as well as the excellent contributions they make to GCC's classes and college community."

Genesee Community College's 54th annual Commencement Ceremony was held in-person at the Richard C. Call Arena and featured special guest Keynote Speaker Daniel P. Ireland, President of United Memorial Medical Center. To view the ceremony, please visit: https://www.genesee.edu/home/events/commencement/.

June 13, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in schools, education, news, history.

I found a copy of the 7th grade Social Studies Curriculum on Local History amidst a group of old papers and books. To a fourth-grade teacher, this would be a valuable find. Unfortunately, this curriculum is no longer taught in 7th grade and has not been for many years. A local history curriculum was added to 4th grade many years ago. Unfortunately, today with all of the state mandates, very little time can be given to local history.    

This curriculum encompassed Genesee County and Genesee Country, which included some of the outlying areas of Genesee County. 

The student's objectives were listed at the beginning of the book:

The student (citizen–to–be) will know that school prepares you for social living. The church plays an integral part in your community life. (Before 1961 Separation of Church and State) Tolerance of others is fundamental to democracy. Students will be able to find facts in books, see the relationships between cause and results, and will be able to draw conclusions from the printed information. The students will appreciate the work of others, consider a point of view different from their own, and will be tolerant of people or groups whose beliefs or customs are different from their own

The students were first introduced to the Native Americans residing in the area. They were taught about Ely Parker and Red Jacket, to name a few. Everything was listed in chronological order. Listed were all the names of the Seneca chiefs and a biography on each of them. An extensive list of Seneca names and places was translated into English. Ge-nish-e–a, a clear and shining place (Genesee Country), ge-ne-un-da-sais-ka mosquito town (Batavia), and Ter-ner-sun-ta swift running water (Tonawanda Creek).

After the land purchase from the Indians was discussed, Paulo Busti, Robert Morris, and Joseph Ellicott's involvement in the purchase was explained. Later the settlement of the villages and towns of the county was described. Students would learn about the industries, manufacturing, and agriculture in every town in Genesee County. The chapter on public buildings was divided between descriptions of city, county, state, and federal buildings.

Joseph Ellicott's map, drawn in 1802, showed only five streets and two roads in Batavia.   Genesee Street was East Main Street to Jefferson. Buffalo Street is now West Main. Big Tree Street was Ellicott Street beginning at Jackson Street. Court Street was still Court Street, and Jackson Street was still Jackson Street.     

Interesting facts about the streets were South Main Street was called Tonawanda Street. Pearl Street was Buffalo Road. Oak Street was called Oak Orchard or Elba Street, Bank Street was Dingle Alley, and Tracy Avenue was named after Judge Phineas Tracy. Pringle Avenue was named after Judge Benjamin Pringle, and Evans Street was named after David Evans.

The last section in the book, called Interesting Facts from Genesee Country, was very intriguing.   

  • In 1801 the first doctor came to Batavia. He was Doctor David McCracken.           
  • The first church organized was formed by Presbyterians in 1809. 
  • A brewery on West Main was built from the stones of the old Methodist Church. 
  • Joseph Ellicott had many duties. He also served as the first county judge when the courthouse was built in 1803. 

On the veranda of the Holland Land Office stand two old cast-iron cannons that were housed in the Arsenal for years. One of them was used at the Battle of Lundy Lane in the War of 1812. Unfortunately, it had been "spiked," as was the practice with captured artillery. "Spiked" meant it was tampered with and could not be used in battle.

After the Arsenal was torn down, Dr. Charles Rand purchased the two cannons, removing them to his front yard on Liberty Street. After his death, they were bought by Baker Gun and Forging Company and placed on the factory's front lawn, now the Metal Company.           

  • President Lincoln stopped in Batavia in 1861. 
  • Lot # 25, bounded by Main, Jackson, and Center Streets, was bought from the Holland Land Company for $170.00. 
  • LeRoy was incorporated in 1834. The population of LeRoy in 1818 significantly exceeded that of Batavia. 
  • The New York Central Railroad Company paid $512.000 to lay its tracks in the Batavia area.

The first gas line through Genesee County was laid in 1870. Twenty-five miles of pipe were laid. The pipe was white pine cut into lengths from 2 to 18 feet and turned to the diameter of 12 1/2 inches. The pipes were joined with bands of shrunk iron and were tarred inside and out. Twenty acres of white pine were cut for these pipes. In 1872 the gas line was turned into the mains of the Rochester Gas Company.             

Salamanca is the only city in the United States built upon an Indian Reservation.

If you would like to take the 50-question test called the Batavia Historical Quiz, stop at the Holland Land Office Museum and be our guest. You might want to stop at The Richmond Memorial Library and the Genesee County History Department to brush up on your local history.

Here are some of the questions from the Quiz.

  1. What was Genesee County's first courthouse called in its later years?
  2. What company came here to make farm machinery and later sold it to the Massey-Harris Company?
  3. For what circumstance was Charles F. Rand mostly noted?
  4. For what circumstance was Ely Samuel Parker noted?
  5. In what year was the Land Office dedicated?
  6. In whose memory?
  7. What was present-day Batavia Street, formerly called Big Tree Street?
  8. What does the name Batavia mean?
  9. Name the U.S. General of the War of 1812 who recuperated at Joseph Ellicott's home in Batavia after being wounded by the British in Buffalo?
  10. From what language is the name Batavia derived?

Here is the word bank with possible choices.

Winfield S. Scott, the First Volunteer soldier in the Civil War, Robert Morris, Ellicott Street, Johnston Harvester Company, Seneca Indian, and in his handwriting, wrote the terms of surrender between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia 1865, October 13, 1894, Better Land, Ellicott Hall, Dutch.

Click on the headline above to view the answer key.

June 6, 2022 - 8:00am


More than 40 seventh- and eighth-grade students and family members not only celebrated the end of another school year recently but also their induction into the National Junior Honor Society. 

A prestigious club at Batavia Middle School, this honor society strives for "academic excellence and prioritizes leadership and community service," Honor Society Adviser Meaghan Tederous said.

This year the group's community service endeavors included volunteering at Family Nights, Warm the Night, and the Polar Plunge at John Kennedy Intermediate School. Members organized -- and two members even plunged themselves, for -- the Polar Plunge fundraiser. They collected more than $1,500 for the Special Olympics of New York, Tederous said. 

To be eligible for NJHS, a student must have a certain GPA, and the criteria differ depending on each grade. A student must also possess qualities of community, character and leadership, and obtain a teacher recommendation, she said.

"We are so proud of our inductees and look forward to another year of celebrating academic achievements and giving back to the community," Tederous said.

Members of the National Junior Honor Society in seventh  grade are: 

  • Phoebe Beal
  • Brock Bigsby
  • Ryan Bigsby
  • Mallory Boyce
  • Genevieve Clark-Scott
  • Parker Cohen
  • Augustin Crawford
  • Andrew Davis
  • Teegan Frens
  • Thomas Gaylord
  • Ty Gioia
  • Lillian Gray
  • Jenna Higgins
  • Nathaniel Kinsey
  • Casey Mazur
  • Emma McJury
  • Emma Moore
  • Brielle Ricks
  • Aubrey Sputore
  • Trey Tryon
  • Gretchen Weicher
  • Landyn Wood
  • Kate Woodward

And in eighth grade are:

  • Aaden Caletto
  • Alora Becker
  • Ava Darling
  • Andrew Hunt
  • Bella Moore
  • Elaina Stringham
  • Elizabeth Grazioplene
  • Ella Smith
  • Julia Plath
  • Kiana Beaty
  • Lakoda Mruczek
  • Lila Fortes
  • Madeline Smith
  • Marley Santos
  • Miah Jones
  • Misael Flores
  • Noah Richmond
  • Tabitha Jett
  • Nora Wood




Students at Batavia Middle School participate in the annual National Junior Honor Society ceremony as inductees of the club, which emphasizes academic performance, leadership skills and community service. Photos submitted by Batavia City Schools. 

June 2, 2022 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, arts, entertainment, news, schools, education.


Christina Woodrow gravitated toward art because it's what she grew up with.  Both of her parents are artists.

"I was just always coloring and drawing, always having supplies around, so art was very intriguing," Woodrow said. "I just grew up doing this. I always wanted to be good at art."

Woodrow was one of several seniors with featured displays, along with works by underclassmen, Wednesday night at Le Roy's Fine Arts night, which included live music from students.

The senior wants to use her drawing skills to use people's bodies as a canvas, becoming a tattoo artist. She will soon start an apprenticeship with Mark Fanara at High Voltage Tattoo in Batavia.  Eventually, she plans to earn a business degree because she would like to own her own tattoo shop.

Top Photo: Christina Woodrow and her mother Nicole Boyce.

Photos by Howard Owens










June 1, 2022 - 4:44pm
posted by Press Release in elba, Elba Central School, news, schools, education.


Press release:

The students in the junior and senior high school at Elba Central have engaged in a rigorous program designed to qualify them for a 4+1 graduation pathway or a special stand-alone designation on their diploma upon graduation. 

The Elba Central School District was selected to be a pilot school for the Seal of Civic Readiness program, which is a new initiative designed by the New York State Department of Education. 

NYSED had already established the Seal of Biliteracy, which is awarded to students who demonstrate fluency in a second language, as determined by a series of benchmarks.  Similarly, the Seal of Civic Readiness was designed to provide recognition to students who go above and beyond the standard graduation requirements in social studies, history, and service-learning. 

Acceptance into the pilot program was granted to schools that demonstrated academic and civic learning opportunities robust enough to meet the program criteria. 

Elba Central was selected as a pilot school in the fall after completing the application and selection process.  Throughout the pilot period, the committee of educators met frequently to revise capstone projects, review the curriculum, design project-based learning, and refine teaching practices to align with the program.  Additionally, the Elba committee met with other pilot schools in the Monroe 2 BOCES region to collaborate on promising practices in alignment with the goals of the Seal of Civic Readiness. 

Members of the Elba Central School committee are Sean Bryant (ELA teacher); Mike Cintorino (social studies teacher); Laura Williams (social studies teacher and service-learning coordinator); Alison Riner (HS counselor), and Gretchen Rosales (Superintendent). 

Rosales led the application process and credits the teachers for their willingness to critically evaluate their own teaching and to provide robust opportunities for students to engage in project-based learning, both inside and outside of the classroom. 

“Our teachers have put in countless hours analyzing, revising, and reconceptualizing what they do in the classroom to reimagine education for today’s world," she said. "Students at Elba can critically apply social studies, history, and research skills to the issues that need to be addressed in their own communities.  This is what education should look like.”

Working with Mrs. Williams, students in the middle school have engaged in the planning and implementation of projects designed to improve their school and community. 

Students administered surveys to determine needs and then researched, planned, and implemented project-based learning activities to meet those needs. 

Projects have included campus-wide clean-up activities; determining a need for community seating areas at the school (which included designing and building picnic tables), researching pet abandonment and securing donations to a local shelter; and implementing a composting program at the school in conjunction with Porter Farms, a local and organically managed farm in Elba. 

The middle school students have even connected with the youngest children in the building; noting a need for some positivity, the 8th graders record kindergarteners reading happy messages. 

Throughout the week, anyone can call in to hear the happy pre-recorded communications. 

According to Laura Williams, service learning coordinator, “it became obvious that the skills needed to become civically engaged at all levels of adulthood have to be fostered and practiced at an earlier age. More important than executing a perfect service-learning project is their own reflection of what worked well, what didn’t work well, what obstacles were overcome, and what could be improved upon the next time. Watching these young adults practice reaching out to community members and following through with their plans is something they rarely get to practice in a traditional classroom setting.”

Christine Radez, an associate at the New York State Office of Curriculum and Instruction at the New York State Department of Education in Albany, congratulated Elba Central and stated, “On behalf of our Civic Readiness Task Force members, I extend gratitude for your efforts to support this important initiative. Our vision is that the Seal of Civic Readiness is available for all students across New York State in the future. The steps you have taken towards the development of a civic readiness program and student credential are advancing that goal.”

Submitted photos.





June 1, 2022 - 4:31pm
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, news, schools.


Press release:

The Students Against Destructive Decisions Club sold yellow and blue ribbons for $1.00 each. A total of $450.00 was collected.  All donations were sent to ROCmaidan, a nonprofit organization providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, based in Rochester, NY.  Thank you to all who donated.

May 31, 2022 - 6:23pm
posted by Press Release in BOCES, DIGIES, news, schools, education.

Press release:

The Digies is an annual digital media conference and festival run by the School Library Service, a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The mission of The Digies is to strengthen the digital media continuum between Pre-K-12 schools, higher education, and professional institutions. The Digies recognizes student potential in an annual festival format and draws student entries from throughout the region and the Upstate New York area.

The in-person awards ceremony was canceled and an awards recognition video was created and posted to YouTube.

Emilee Williamson and Andrea Fetterly, Library Technologies’ Specialists, coordinate this conference. Fetterly shared that this year’s festival drew a record number of entries. “Creativity is intelligence having fun,” Fetterly said. “We are excited to celebrate the amazing creativity and skill demonstrated by the participants in this year's Digies festival.”

Congratulations to these imaginative students! 


  • Pre-K-3 1st Thomas Thering, Annalise Allen, Jade Rivera Rangel, Friendship Podcast, Geneseo CSD
  • 7-9 1st Bennett Wallin, Lucy McGrain, Mitchell Baker, U.S, Citizenship: Our Rights, Our Responsibilities (Voting and Taxes), Avon CSD; 2nd Kristen Thompson, Blue Journey, Alexander CSD; 3rd
  • Alexis Reamer, Amealia Kerr, Bridget Rehrberg, Olivia Wonsey, U.S. Citizenship: Our Rights, Our Responsibilities (Naturalization and Voting), Avon CSD
  • 10-12 1st Gadge Savastano, Lefthandshake, Mount Morris CSD; 2nd Mina Stevens, What Was I Thinking, Pittsford CSD; 3rd Caroline Ruof, Minecraft Music Tech Project- Reason, Orchard Park CSD

Graphic Arts

  • Pre-K - 3 1st Peter Boring, Double Exposure Self Portrait, Avon CSD; 2nd Cheyenne Claus, Double Exposure Photograph, Avon CSD; 3rd Caitlyn Lipome, Double Exposure Self Portrait, Avon CSD
  • 4-6 1st Isabella Ehrman, Eye Art, Southwestern CSD; 2nd Tianna Norman, Creative Name Card, York CSD; 3rd Annalisa Krug, Pixel Parrot, Southwestern CSD
  • 7-9 1st Fadwa Al Dulaimee, Two Faces, Rush-Henrietta CSD; 2nd Anna Holt, Nutella, Alexander CSD; 3rd Tori Jewell, Self Portrait, Rush-Henrietta CSD
  • 10-12 1st Quinn Carletta, The Road to a Cleaner Future, Brockport CSD; 2nd Paige Conley, Sustained Investigation, York CSD; 3rd Cameron Anderson, Untitled, Brockport CSD


  • Pre-K - 3 1st Maylen Aguilar Gutierrez, All About Candy, Geneseo CSD 1st Karma Chidsey, Nora Church, John Ciulla, Cheyenne Claus, Scarlett Claus, Donovan DeCarlo, Casen Frey, Keaton Griffiths, Spencer Hayes, Preston Michael, Ezmae Pizarro, Ilah Rene, Wyatt Swafford, Kayden Taft, Noah Wheeler, African Animals, Avon CSD; 2nd Nolan Boyle, Ethan Chan, Cliff Clarry, Sophia Cowan, Carter Driscoll, Jesse Dumbleton, Mabel Freeman, Bobby Hoffmann, Cora Jackson, Theoren Kearse, Olivia Koncilja, Flynn McMahan, Khloe Price, Pierce Schmid, Brian Stanton, Willow Cruz-Schell, Ian Segovia, Habitats and the Animals That Live There, Avon CSD; 3rd Oliver Clark, Lucas Daniels, Damon Davin, Bianca Estabrooks, Jordan Fayiah, Jayda Fears, Ryker Greene, Olivia Jeffries, Emmalynn Johnson, Wesson Pedro, Adlin Schultheiss, Nora Sherman, Bradley Spencer, Caleb Webb, Lincoln Wheeler, Ariana Crawford, Habitats and the Animals Around the World, Avon CSD
  • 4-6 1st Jack Spuhler, Inventor Room: Milton Hershey, Livonia CSD
  • 1st Arianna Scalisi, Inventor Room; Milton Braille, Livonia CSD; 2nd
  • Isabella Zygadlo, Inventor Room: Jacques Cousteau, Livonia CSD
  • 7-9 1st Ben Knapp, Monke Homecoming, LeRoy CSD
  • 10-12 1st Lillian Smith, Website, Rush-Henrietta CSD; 2nd Anastasia Fields, Website, Rush-Henrietta CSD 3rd Vicki Li, Website, Rush-Henrietta CSD


  • Pre-K - 3 1st QueenNira Bey, Nazir Bey, The Secret Room Virtual Tour, Monroe County Library System; 2nd Cameron Clark, Joey Backer III, Kaboom News, Avon CSD
  • 4-6 1st Anna Shumaker, Charlotte Jaros, Brooke Kiley, Nomie and Niomi the Two Hungry Animals, Avon CSD; 2nd Mackenzie Rogers, The Lollipop, Southwestern CSD; 3rd
  • Gavin Sterner, Stavros Kolokouris, Baylee Gilmore, Alien Abduction, Avon CSD
  • 7-9 1st Gabby Agyingi, Asher Eden, The Plant Growing, Rush-Henrietta CSD; 2nd Zendage Zia, Greyson Phillips, Mason Stock, Change the Formality, Rush-Henrietta CSD; 2nd
  • Ryan Zika, Double Crossed, Pembroke CSD; 3rd Ava Champion, Addison Colatoy, Brenna Krieger, Anna Leathersich, Out to Sea, Rush-Henrietta CSD; 3rd Halie Hassell, From a Future Congress Woman, LeRoy CSD
  • 10-12 1st Andrei Campbell, Old World, GST BOCES- Wildwood Education Center; 2nd Mina Stevens, The Sea Girl Animation, Pittsford CSD; 3rd Jared Berger, The Diving Board, Pittsford CSD
May 26, 2022 - 10:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education, le roy hs.
Video Sponsor
May 20, 2022 - 8:51am
posted by Press Release in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.


Press release:

Today was a day to celebrate some Oakfield-Alabama students. Senior class advisors Tracy Schlagenhauf and Kadi Hilchey organized “signing day” as a means to celebrate the future plans of Oakfield-Alabama seniors. Although not all seniors chose to participate in the event, those who did were called up to the podium and posed with family as they staged a “signing” off their future plans. 

Mr. Peterson, the principal at Oakfield-Alabama, remarked in his opening comments about the importance of this type of ceremony. Peterson told the students, “Some of you are off to colleges and universities where you’ll study a variety of fields. Some of you are off to the military to do your part to defend our nation and American values. Others are off to technical school to hone very specific vocational skills. Others will go directly to the workforce. ALL OF YOU will do your part to change the world and we’re proud to say that you got your start here at Oakfield Alabama.” Peterson, along with Elementary principal Lynn Gehlert, wrote personalized letters of congratulations to each student as part of the ceremony. 

Mrs. Hilchey remarked that “We just wanted to celebrate the kids and this was a fun way to do that. After two and half years of COVID, these kids have been through a lot. We were thrilled to invite parents to our school so that we could let the kids know that graduating and moving on to college and career opportunities is indeed a major accomplishment.” Mrs. Schlagenhauf, also a parent of two graduating seniors this year, remarked that, “As a parent, I cherish opportunities to celebrate my kids' accomplishments. We thought that an event like this would give parents a chance to do just that.” Hilchey and Schlagenhauf have also organized a host of activities for the class of 2022 as part of “Senior Week” beginning with a 2 p.m. Baccalaureate service on June 12th and culminating with Oakfield-Alabama’s commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on June 18. 

Photos by Debra Reilly.  Top photo: McKenna Johnson


Myia Lyons


Evelyn Rebert


Colbi Heineman

To view more photos, click the headline.

May 16, 2022 - 8:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy Central Schools, Le Roy, schools, education, news, notify.

Four people are each vying for one of three trustee seats on Le Roy Central School's Board of Education during Tuesday's school budget vote.

The two candidates with the most votes will be elected to the two three-year terms that are open, and the candidate to come in third will fill the remaining two years on the other available seat.

The four candidates are Peter W. Loftus, Randa Williams, Jason Karcher, and Rachael Greene.

Also on the ballot is the district's $27,708,988 spending plan.  Voters are being asked to approve a $10,663,025 tax levy.  In-district property owners in Pavilion, Bergen, and Caledonia are looking at a projected tax rate of $19. Property owners in the Town of Le Roy pay the same rate they did this year, $24.14. For further explanation of the tax rates and budget, see The Batavian's previous coverage: Le Roy trustees support $66,000 tax levy increase, still lowering tax rate for property owners with assessment adjustments

During the May 10 school board meeting, the four candidates were given time to introduce themselves:


Peter W. Loftus
Loftus has served on the school district board for six years and is seeking a third term.  He is married to Tammy and they have two children.   

He is an engineering manager at RL Kistler Inc.

"Kistler places a real high value on their employees giving back to the community and providing service wherever they can," Loftus said. "This has allowed me a lot of flexibility to get out of work when I need to, to get back here for any committee meeting, interview negotiations, anything like that that takes place in the normal working hours. My work is really understanding about that and provides me with that opportunity."

He said he learned two things when he first started on the school board. 

"The first thing that I learned is that it's just a massive operation," he said. "The running of this district is all the fast-moving parts. Everything's changing all the time. People are leaving. It's a natural path for people to come and go. So you're always filling slots. It's just the way it is.

"And the other thing that I learned -- and this is the biggie -- that they care; the education, and the life preparation of every student in this district, is what drives everybody here."

Six years ago, when he showed up at the Jr./Sr high school to participate in his own children's educations, he picked up a positive vibe just walking around the hallways. Loftus said, and he decided he wanted to be a part of it, so he decided to run for a seat on the board.

"Now, I do understand a lot of the challenges, and there are many things we need to do to be better," Loftus said. "It's not just a happy place where that vibe is going all the time. There are underlying issues. There are things that we need to improve."

And Loftus wants to help guide that improvement, he said, and his experience will prove to be an asset.

"My six years on the board equips me with some experience and some tools to be a more effective, more impactful board member," Loftus said. "I really look forward to putting that experience to use in a third term."


Randa Williams
Williams, a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother of Le Roy students, started her involvement with the Le Roy Central School District when her daughter entered kindergarten in 1976. She served on the PTSO and helped get the first playground built, and then a second.

She's been involved with Girl Scouts for 66 years.

"I think that the most important thing is to be involved in your community," Williams said. "I think that's what brought me here."

She thinks more people should get involved with their local schools.

"In a case like this, if you're involved, you know what's going on in your school. And it's very important what's going on here," she said.

Williams said she is excited to get more involved with the district through a seat on the school board.

"I'm very interested in what's going on and I would like to be involved in it," she said.


Jason Karcher
Part of what brought Karcher to Le Roy is that he married a young lady from the community and they both wanted a place with a strong sense of community and family.

The Buffalo native arrived four years ago and immediately got involved.  He joined the Le Roy Rotary Club and is now set to become president-elect in July. He's also been involved with the PTSO.

"One of the big things for me was about (finding) some place that I could actually dig in, get my hands dirty, and be a part of something that was larger than myself," Karcher said. "When we made the decision, it wasn't a foregone conclusion about where we would go, but it presented itself really quickly that, with family here, and with all the opportunities that are available here, to be able to come back here and (get involved)."

He and his wife Shannon have a daughter and it was his daughter's love of softball that got him even more involved in the community. 

"About two years ago, we had a huge opportunity where there was going to be no softball, there's gonna be no community of girls softball," he said. "That was a big thing for our daughter to make sure that ( girls softball) could continue on. So Shanna and I jumped in and we formed a 501(C)(3) and got it off the ground, and in two years. Now we have over 100 girls playing softball again here in the community, which we think is fantastic, and we're really excited about it."

The level of involvement led to Karcher being appointed to a vacant seat on the school board.

He works for Apple as an employee relations specialist.

"For me, it's about involvement," he said. "One of the things I would call out is, this is our budget meeting, this is where people could come in and actually get to know our candidates. And this is what we have to write (motion it the largely empty auditorium). And I'll call out, why aren't there more people here? That bothers me. So that's one of the big things, if ever voted on to the school board, is wanting to make a commitment that we need more people here."


Rachael Greene

Greene enters the race with more than two decades of experience in education. She started her career as a teacher in her hometown of Warsaw before becoming a principal in Mount Morris.  She was an instructional coordinator for BOCES (a position her husband, Peter, now holds) before becoming superintendent of the Stanley G. Falk School, which is a NYS-approved special day school that provides educational programming for students aged five to 21 who have special learning, social, and emotional needs.

"We have 600 students," Greene said. "We're the largest special education school in New York State -- seven locations and (there are) 44 different districts that we collaborate with. So when I think about what I could bring to the board, I think there's some insight and perspective in the fact that I've been able to sit in many of your positions within the district, not this district, specifically, but in a school system, and understand the roles that each of you plays to make decisions on what's best for kids. But also the perspective of being able to say, wow, you know, 44 districts, what are they doing with this?"

She said she wouldn't see her role as another superintendent in the district, a role Merrit Holly currently fills. 

"I think there's some value in being a thought partner at the table with the board," said Greene, a life-long resident of Le Roy. "In my experience, the other piece I think I would bring to the board is I'm a huge advocate for underrepresented students. When I look at our community of Le Roy and youth, and look at where we were 20 years ago, our poverty levels amongst our families and our students coming through our doors hovered around 10 percent. That trend line has done nothing but grow, where we are at almost 40 percent of our students that come into our school buildings living in poverty every day."

The Greenes have three children going to Le Roy schools, including Andrew, a ninth-grader who attended the meeting with his mother.

"I have a lot of confidence that he also will be in some form of leadership because he's class president, and now president of the Junior Honor Society," she said. "So I'm super proud of that. I think it's important for me as a parent to also model that when you're passionate about something, you want to have a seat at the table. So I'm super proud. He's here to support me."

 Greene said she would serve to support educators and see that both instructors and students -- especially those coming from poor families -- get what they need to succeed.

"I can tell you that our teachers in this district and our staff work so hard to do what's best for kids every day," Greene said. "So, as a board member, I'd want to think about what can we do, not just instructionally, but structurally to provide for what every kid needs in this district. Because the sad part is that two-thirds of those 40 percent don't pass the state exams. That tells me that there's a big gap there and it's our obligation, my duty, I would feel as the board member, and all of ours, to really look at what can we do to break down those barriers for kids every day."

Photos by Howard Owens.

May 13, 2022 - 1:32pm
posted by Press Release in BCSD Foundation, Batavia HS, batavia, news, education, schools.

Press release:

Nominations are being accepted for the 2022 BCSD Foundation, Inc. Scholarship.   This scholarship will be awarded to a graduating Senior from Batavia High School.  The nominee has been successful in their educational program and has sought out skills to further their career.  In addition, they exemplify our Batavia school culture and climate of “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe, Be Connected and Be Ambitious.”

Any local community member may nominate a Batavia HS Senior who meets the above criteria.  Nomination forms are available on the Batavia City School District website, https://www.bataviacsd.org/page/bcsd-foundation. You may complete the Google Form or the pdf document to nominate a deserving Senior.  All nominations need to be received by May 27, 2022.

A copy of the nomination form is attached to this press release.                 

May 12, 2022 - 7:00pm

Batavia City Schools leaders have a “robust” summer school plan, they say.

Summer session will open July 12 and run for a month, to August 11. It’s a countermeasure for the ill effects of pandemic shutdowns. Instead of in the past, when students went to central designated sites, they will go to their own schools this year. Lessons will be taught from 9 a.m. to noon three days a week, and breakfast, lunch and transportation will be provided, said Molly Corey, executive director of curriculum and instruction.

“We’re being deliberate, the kids will stay at their own school. So Jackson is hosting their own summer school program, and John Kennedy and the middle school are as well. And we added extra staff for those locations, and we're combining transportation, that's a big variable as well.” she said during an interview Wednesday with The Batavian. “We want to ensure that we get kids there. And right now our numbers are looking really good. At Jackson, it’s 150, where normally we would have 50 students.”

Those grades — Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade — are the “critical grades” to reach in July, she said. They will be taught basic literacy skills so that, by third grade, students are expected to “be reading to learn” and to enjoy learning to read.

“So we hired more teachers and we have a longer day than we traditionally have had. Last summer it was a two-hour program; this summer it's a three-hour program just so we have adequate time,” Superintendent Jason Smith said.

Strategies also include pairing students with trusted adults and an element of compassion for what the students have already gone through, Corey said.  The district is targeting 500 students for the summer school program in all three schools while extended days have already been implemented at the high school.

There will also be more teachers, albeit with a more summertime feel, at the middle school. Unlike a stiff remediation vibe, the Ross Street school will offer math and literacy camps with “high engagement” for middle school students and veteran teachers serving as coaches, Corey said.   

“It’s really just hooking them into the learning,” she said. “Giving them more purposeful practice while they do so.”

Smith believes it’s essential to not only bolster students but teachers also.

“Teachers have had very, very busy days, they make thousands of decisions every single day. So we want to give them support, so they can best support our students,” he said. “And one way to do that, one effective way to do it, is to appoint math coaches. We have literacy coaches currently in place through COVID funds as well. At the high school, we’re using the extended day to help kids recover credit from where they didn't meet the expectations during credit from the previous year.”

The district applied for federal COVID funds made available to New York State in 2020. Batavia was awarded $9 million over a three-year period to afford measures such as additional personnel, programs, extended school days and transportation and meals during summer school. 

Smith feels the district must be doing something right, given its recent ranking in U.S. News as being in the top 40 percent of schools in the country.

“So we're doing well,” he said. “We're on track.”

Enrollment is still open for summer school. For more information, call the district at (585) 343-2480.

May 12, 2022 - 6:56pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, learning loss, City Schools, notify, education, schools.


While teaching a third-grade class at John Kennedy Intermediate, Molly Corey noticed one particular little girl who said Batavia was not her first school district and most likely wasn’t going to be her last.

The third-grader was chronically absent — about one day each week — and didn’t seem terribly invested in her lessons.

“We were her fourth school, and she said she will be moving again. So her buy-in to wanting to do well really depended on the relationship. I had lunch with the girl, but teachers can’t do that every day. She thought it was special that I was working with her. Whenever she would see me she would light up,” Corey said during an interview with The Batavian. “You know what, it was that relationship that really just helped to keep hooking her; I know our classroom teachers are trying hard with that.”

dr._molly_corey.jpegCorey’s regular job is not as a teacher but as executive director of the district’s curriculum and instruction department. She taught for a while to get an idea about what teachers encounter due to family circumstances and, for the last two years, a change of learning methods due to the pandemic.

Finding meaning in 'Learning Loss' ...
Two phrases that have become the “buzz words” in many school districts are “learning loss” and “social, emotional learning.” But what do they really mean? How did hybrid and remote learning affect kids, and more importantly, what are the remedies being purchased with COVID funds?

Each issue has greatly impacted students across all grades, and perhaps most crucial for children just starting to learn foundational lessons, Corey said.

“So if we start with the littlest ones at Jackson Primary, the incoming kids are really the ones most ready to thrive. It really was merely if anything changed with loss, it was because of quarantines or them being out being sick with a positive (test). So, we really tried hard to keep them on track,” she said. “If you were the first-grader or the second-grader, kids who had gaps in learning from not being here full-time last year, and from the first year of closure, some of the foundation skills that you would expect them to receive, where they're learning to read, and they're learning about basic number zones, we didn't have the same amount of time.”

The focus for teachers has been to catch up those foundational skills that students need to get into their normal curriculum and grade level, she said. Foundational skills include knowing the letters in sounds and understanding how they blend together, she said, then putting them all together in sentences. Those skills are the basics of learning to read and write, she said.

There's a sequence of skills students have to have — the building blocks — needed in order to master those skills and “build upon one another,” Corey said. “And it's a purposeful practice that really helps them to become fluent readers.”

Superintendent Jason Smith said the evidence has been evident through observing students and having conversations with teachers and principals: there are gaps in all grades due to remote learning and losing the consistency of routine.

No matter at what age, even with a solid one-to-one teaching model, it’s a difficult task, Corey said. Just imagine youngsters, especially, sitting at home staring at the computer. Working with one person. All-day long. “You can’t,” she said.

High school students, meanwhile, are struggling with earning enough credits, passing exams and meeting specific criteria for graduating at the end. Although the state Education Department gave out “some free passes” in terms of easing up on requirements for Regents exams, students still needed to acquire certain levels of knowledge," she said.

“But the reality is, we need them to pass the class, and being in person is an important factor to really give them time to show us what they know, with regard to subject,” she said. “So we have benchmark assessments that have told us some of the assignments that they're missing when there's brokenness with their schooling. We were focusing in on our seniors, obviously, we want to help them, but we have a plan in place for what we can do with the other grade levels as well.

“So we're pairing teachers with students, by content, and we're using a credit recovery system called Apex; it guides kids through the course. Because the ultimate goal is to learn and be successful, but the practical outcome is to have X number of credits to get the diploma. It's that balance to give them the compassion that they need, and the motivation to keep them going,” she said.

For Jackson Primary, John Kennedy Intermediate and the middle school, there will be an offering of summer school, taught three days a week. (See related article, “Batavia City Schools on track for robust summer.”)

“But we have these funds available, due in large part, whose goal in large part, is to help us address those gaps or the loss,” Smith said.

The social-emotional learning piece is tied to the kids’ ability to recognize and better regulate their emotions and have ability to interact well with others. Smith learned first-hand just how out of balance some students’ emotions are. He found himself getting involved with a student whose difficulties were escalating, and a report was sent to the superintendent. He helped to connect the student with a social worker and wondered what might have happened if the distraught kid missed out on that needed counseling.

Then there was the fourth-grader who began to cry, and then sobbed uncontrollably. These instances are happening, he and Corey said, and there need to be remedies to help students adjust to more than educational losses; many have mental health needs as well. Some 100 of those students not only had a pandemic to deal with, but they were also part of an ongoing trend of transplants. Throughout the school year, a portion of those 100 kids moves into the district while another portion moves out. Those fluctuations add another layer of need to help acclimate them to a new school, Corey said.

That’s where social-emotional learning comes in. The pandemic didn’t necessarily cause mental health issues as much as it put a spotlight on that piece, Smith and Corey said. In addition to hiring four new teachers to help with the academic shortfalls, another social worker will assist with the mental and emotional issues.

Federal COVID-19 funds were distributed for school districts to play catch-up with gaps due to pandemic shutdowns. Districts in New York State had to apply for the funds, explain the loss, the solutions being put in place and how they would assess outcomes. Smith said that Batavia City Schools was allocated about $9 million for three years.

After nine years at the city school district, Corey is experiencing new territory.

“It's some of the extremes ... Things we've never ever seen before,” she said.

Top Photo: 2019 File Photo of a Moving Up ceremony at John Kennedy Intermediate. Batavia City Schools officials are stepping up lessons, personnel and amount of time available to students to ensure continued progress toward graduation. Photo by Howard Owens.

Inset photo: Molly Corey, executive director of curriculum and instruction at Batavia City Schools. Photo submitted by BCSD

April 29, 2022 - 11:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, reading, education, schools, news.


Children whose parents read to them at home are faster learners, studies show, which is one reason administrators and teachers at Jackson Primary School in Batavia put a strong emphasis on reading.

It's a goal of the school that no child graduates from Jackson to John Kennedy without reading at least grade level, said Principal Maureen Notaro.

"We're promoting early literacy with our "Wild About Reading " theme," Notaro said during the family reading night at the school on Thursday. "Family reading night brings families together to help kids be invigorated and show their love of reading."

Teachers and staff decorated the hallways in a contest to emphasize the "Wild About Writing" theme and Brian Sutton, Steve Hyde, and Officer Miah Stevens judged the wall art, with the winning team getting a pizza party.

This was the first event with a gathering of students and parents at the school in 2 1/2 years.

"Parents who read to their kids get them excited (about reading)," Notaro said. "Kids are so curious. So anything, anything you say or expose them to is just a wonderful experience for them. I always tell parents, any chance you get to read to your children, you know, do it.  Do it in the car, point things out, just involve literacy in everyday life."

Further reading:

Top photo: Miles McCracken, 5, shows off the book he chose to purchase at Jackson School's "Wild About Reading" night on Thursday.  He said, "Reading is cool." 

Photos by Howard Owens



Officer Miah Stevens.




Superintendent Jason Smith



Teachers with their favorite books from childhood were featured in pictures in the foyer of the school.


April 27, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, education, schools, Le Roy Central Schools, news, notify.


Le Roy Central School District is planning to increase the tax levy by $66,000 after calculating how much state aid the district can expect to help cover its $27,708,988 spending plan.

The good news for residents of Stafford, who this year reportedly saw a substantial increase in their property assessments, is that if the numbers hold, their property tax rate for public education will go down about $2.37 per $1,000 of assessed value. The anticipated rate is $19.80. That's 13 cents more than it would have been had the Board of Education decided to balance the budget with reserves rather than increase the levy.

Property owners in the district in Pavilion, Bergen, and Caledonia are also looking at a projected tax rate of $19.

However, property owners in the Town of Le Roy pay the same rate they did this year, $24.14. 

State law requires that all property owners in a district share the burden of education equally so a formula will be applied to Le Roy's tax rate to make it equitable.  

Business Administrator Brian Foeller presented anticipated revenue numbers to board members at a Monday afternoon meeting and then all members of the board participated in a discussion about the tax levy before reaching a consensus decision (no motion nor vote was required) to raise the levy by $66,000.

These are all estimates because final assessment numbers will not be available until July, which will affect the total tax levy.

The tax levy is the total amount of revenue raised through property taxes.  The tax rate is the amount per thousand of assessed value that property owners are billed to pay into the levy.

Board President Jacalyn Whiting (top photo) said she was confused by the Town's decision to forego assessment adjustments this year given the state's required equalization rate and that the town must eventually get assessments up to 100 percent of fair market value.

"How is this going to make things better?" Whiting said.

The spending plan is covered by $16,135,963 in state aid, $10,663,025 tax levy, and $910,000 in local revenues.

Local revenues are:

  • Fund Balance carried forward
  • Late taxpayer penalties
  • Out of district tuition paid by other schools
  • Interest earnings of investments
  • Medicaid
  • BOCES Refund

Budget increases include:

  • Professional support and staff salaries, $364,963
  • Special Education out-of-district tuition, $282,000
  • Staff health insurance, $150,721 (a 12.5 percent increase)
  • Grounds/facilities equipment, $81,000
  • Debt payment on existing loans, $56,611

The district is adding one full-time equivalent position, replacing a part-time BOCES employee due to an increase in BOCES attendance. 

A part-time BOCES speech therapist position is being eliminated. There is also a reduction in spending on COVID-19 supplies and several retirements, with not all positions being replaced.

"We've done our part to try and keep this in mind with rising costs," said Superintendent Merritt Holly. "It's tough. These are not easy decisions."

 Whiting agreed, saying the district has done the best it can to control costs.

"This is hard, because I feel we've done a really good job, even adding $66,000 to the levy to bring it to $2 lower per $1,000," Whiting said. "But the assessment part is out of our control. By the same token, you know, we have to balance out here, too."

One thing helping the district this year is the state increased the amount of state aid, a portion called Foundation Aid, to offset shortages to the district in previous years. The increase is only temporary and the district cannot count on it in the future.

Trustee Jason Karcher expressed concern that without a levy increase, the district will face a steeper hill to climb at some point.

"That's gonna be a shock to the system when, and we don't necessarily know when, that would happen," he said. "That's lovely."

Trustee William MacKenzie agreed.

"Eventually the Foundation Aid is going to go away," he said. "It's going to happen."

Trustee Denise Duthe said she believes the district has a history of being responsible for taxpayers' money.

"I think has always done a good job of keeping things basically straight or just a little bit up, not these kinds of wild gyrations," Duthe said. "Everything costs a little bit more. Keep in mind that we want to be as fiscally responsible as we can but we also don't want to do a giant jump next year."

The budget public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium.

The vote on the budget and candidates for trustees will be on May 17.

There are four candidates for three open seats.  There are two three-year terms and one two-year term open.  The candidates are  Peter W. Loftus (Incumbent), Randa Williams, Jason Karcher, and Rachael Greene.

Photos by Howard Owens


April 22, 2022 - 6:03pm
posted by Legal Notices in legal notices, Le Roy, Le Roy Central Schools, news, schools.


NOTICE TO RESIDENTS A Public Hearing to present information on the revised District Code of Conduct and District Safety Plan will be held on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium. The District Safety Plan is open for public comment from April 19, 2022, to May 18, 2022. Public comments may be made in the District Office or by attending the Public Hearing.

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break