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December 10, 2022 - 12:03am
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, Sports, schools, education.

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Press release:

The Byron-Bergen Senior High School proudly announces that every fall varsity Byron-Bergen sports team achieved the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Scholar-Athlete Team award. The fall sports teams are boys cross-country, girls cross-country, football, gymnastics, boys soccer, girls soccer, and girls volleyball.

“The District is very proud of these athletes for not only shining on the field or court, but working hard in the classroom,” said Byron-Bergen Athletic Director Rich Hannan. “It is phenomenal to have every sports team achieve a Scholar-Athlete Team award. Keep up the great work, Bees!”

The Scholar-Athlete program recognizes athletes for their academic success. NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete Team awards go to teams whose average GPA of 75% of the athletic team equals 90 or above.

Scholar-Athlete Team award recipients:

Cross Country – Boys
Cameron Carlson, Frank Henrsom, Samuel Hersom, Jackson Lundfelt, Lincoln McGrath, Bradley Pocock, Travis Shallenberg, Roman Smith, Solomon Smith, Gabriel Vallese

Cross Country – Girls
Cassidy Ball, Katelyn Ball, Dayanara Caballero, Hanna Loewke, Stephanie Onderdonk, Katherine Rogoyski, Zoey Shepard

Football
David Brumsted, Brendin Galves, Connor Moran, Malachi Smith, James Starowitz, Ruger Starowitz

Gymnastics
Samantha Copani Emily Salmonds

Soccer – Boys
Brody Baubie, Noah Clare, Kendan Dressler, Jack Farner, Colin Martin, Nathan Parsons, Haydin Perez, Brendan Pimm, Carter Prinzi, Colin Rea, Travis Shallenberg, Trent Sheard

Soccer – Girls
Grace Capostagno, Grace DiQuattro, Lea Donofrio, Gabrielle Graff, Ava Gray, Mia Gray, Mackenzie Hagen, Megan Jarkiwicz, Tori LaMar, Kendall Phillips, Novalee Pocock, Natalie Prinzi, Victoria Rogoyski, Elizabeth Starowitz, Emma Starowitz, Ashley Schlenker-Stephens Ava Wagoner, Julia Will, Rose Wilson, Megan Zwerka

Volleyball – Girls
Emma Balduf, Carlee Barons, Deborah Catalino, Chloe Gilbert, Makala Hoopengar, Ella Lewis, Lily Stalica, LIllian Walker

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December 9, 2022 - 7:12pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Batavia Middle School, schools, batavia.

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Lucas Hoisington was happy to be playing his cello during a concert Thursday at Batavia Middle School.

Unlike other concerts, though, this one was to commemorate the Ross Street school’s centennial birthday. That made the occasion even more special, the 13-year-old musician said.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said after the celebratory event.

Lucas, who is in seventh grade, was with his family, including his mom Meghan, who had also attended the city school district. A BHS graduate of 1998, with brothers Ethan and Jonathan, each who graduated in 1996 and 1991, respectively, the siblings would often reminisce their school days.

“I had a super positive experience growing up here and going to school here,” Meghan said. "We often compare our experiences, and my brothers are often sharing stories.”

They also contrast the differences between two dozen years ago and today, in the world that Lucas lives in.

“A lot has changed, in just being a young person today,” his mom said. “There was the pandemic … and just so many pressures they have that we didn’t. It was a cool experience to see Mr. Jakubowski again; he was a kind man.”

The event included introductions of current and former people of note, including former administrator John Jakubowski, BOCES Director of Instruction Jon Sanfrantello and Executive Principal Rachel Slobert, and school board members, including President John Marucci.

Members of the school’s orchestra, band and chorus performed seasonal favorites, with many students dressed in combinations of red, green, elf and Santa attire.

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Middle school principals Nathan Korzelius and John-Martin Cannon had the distinct honor of rapping the bells — one on each side of the stage — at the end of a combined performance of “Carol of the Bells.”

“To celebrate this, we have worked collaboratively with the community to bring back to you our school bells that were originally used to call students to the school 150 years ago,” Korzelius said.

A large silver bell had been located at a former “East” elementary school on East Main Street at the current location of Salvation Army, and the black bell had been on Ross Street inside a section of the “old-old” high school, and is now the middle school gym and new addition, according to history buff and native Batavian Jim Owen.

It was Owen and a school custodian that apparently got the ball rolling to restore the bells. Put away in storage, those bells had gotten dusty and out of condition. And then a conversation between the custodian and Owen struck an idea to pull them out of storage and see them go back to good use.

“I couldn’t imagine it would be that dirty,” Owen said of the silver bell. “I was really surprised when I saw it.”

Owen, in turn, credits Superintendent Jason Smith for working to “get the job done,” however, it also took other administrators and members of Genesee Valley BOCES Auto Body classes — instructors and students — to restore the bells to a glimmering finish.

Owen had wanted to be at the celebratory bell-ringing but was unable to make it. He shared pieces of research that he discovered during the project, including how many smaller schools there were throughout various neighborhoods — from the East school to a West school on West Main Street, to Pringle and Lincoln schools, and the Washington school that now houses Reed Eye Associates.

In 1922 the construction of Batavia Middle School began, and it was used as a Junior and High School until the construction of the current high school on State Street was completed in 1961.

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“Bringing these bells back to life was a collaborative effort. When I started here at Batavia Middle School a year and a half ago Jim Owen made me aware of their existence in our basement. He educated me on the significant history they represented to our Batavia community,” Korzelius said. “With the help and support of Mr. Smith, our Batavia Maintenance Department, and the BOCES Auto Body classes the process of restoring these historical bells became a reality. We couldn’t be happier with the way our Batavia Community rallied around the restoration.”

During Thursday’s celebration, Superintendent Jason Smith recognized the school for having such “a proud and rich history.”

“We’re proud to be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Batavia Middle School. The history of 96 Ross Street is the foundation of the Batavia City School District. Whether through the old Batavia High School building or the Middle School building we enjoy today, generations of Batavians, including myself, have passed through these halls,” Smith said. “Batavia Middle School is a jewel in our District, and we can’t wait to see what the next 100 years will bring.” 

He gave a nod to Kerry Boyle, a middle school maintenance worker, and to Owen, for their idea to resurrect the huge artifacts.

“As a fellow BHS alumni, Kerry was as equally as excited as I was. Coupled with some previous prodding by our good friend Mr. Owen, we undertook this project with our friends at BOCES to refurbish and display these wonderful bells,” Smith said.

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Top Photo: BMS students Aubrey Sputore, Meg Gahagan, Jenna Higgins, Ryan Bigsby and Ty Gioia unveil one of the two restored bells to be placed in the school's auditorium; School Principal John-Martin Cannon does his part by striking the bell at the end of a musical performance for the centennial celebration; members of the school's band, strings and choral groups, led each by directors Sean Williams, Gwenaelle Chevillard and Melzie Case, entertain an audience of family members, friends and alumni. Photos by Joanne Beck.

November 30, 2022 - 8:26pm
posted by Press Release in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, BOCES, news.

Press release:

The Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center Auto Body program, for the last three months, has been restoring two Bells that used to hang at the  Batavia Middle School.    The bells will be presented at the Centennial Ceremony at Batavia Middle School.  The Auto Body students, with help from Conservation Students, made platforms for the newly renovated bells to sit on.  Going forward, the bells will be mobile and will be around for a long time.  

One of the bells is made of cast iron, and one is made of brass bronze. The brass bronze bell was made at the McNeeley Foundry in Troy, NY.  The bell arrived in Batavia back in 1873, likely by horse and buggy. The bell will be 150 years old next year. The other bell was made in the early 1900s in West Seneca, NY.  

Auto Body Teacher Jeffrey Fronk received an email  From Rachel Slobert about the bells, and immediately knew this would be the perfect project for his students.  Fronk said he knew how valuable these bells were and didn’t want them falling into the wrong hands.  He knew how important it was to restore them and learned the rich history behind them.  He wanted the students to get a chance to restore something different, especially with this much history in the community.  The last time the bells rang was Likely in the 1930s.  

To restore the bells they had to go through two different processes since one is cast iron and one is brass bronze.  The project was completed by 15 students who tore them apart, disassembled, sanded, primed, painted, and hand-polished them.  During the bell restoration, students argued over who went to work on it because they all wanted to be able to help.  

On an average year, the students fully restore 15 cars and 25 smaller jobs.  By restoring something other than a car, the students are getting other hands-on experience in restorations.  This shows students that they have other avenues to learn and make money.   You will never hear an Auto Body student say they don’t have anything to do.  They continue to learn and work on several projects throughout the year.  

“I had a mentor when I was young, Rick Hoffman, who in my opinion, was the best of the best, and I only wish I could be as good as he was and pay what he taught me forward.  I absolutely love watching these kids grow to not knowing what they're doing to dive into this bell and wanting to be a part of something so cool,” stated Fronk.   Fronk is looking forward to hearing the bells ring on stage at the Centennial Ceremony.  All of the students and teachers have been invited to this ceremony. 

Special thanks to Ryan Ditacchio, Bernie Harwood and Ed Swain for the guidance and instruction of these great students.

November 28, 2022 - 12:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, Sports, le roy hs.

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The Le Roy Girls Volleyball team was honored at this past week's Le Roy Central School District board meeting for the team's Section V Class C championship.

It's the ninth straight year under Coach Sue Staba that the team has made the finals.

The Knights were 22-2 on the season.

Their second loss came in the Far West Regional Championship against Portville.

 "We can't seem to get past Portville," Staba said. "But it was definitely a huge accomplishment making it."

Staba was named the Class C coach of the year for Girls Volleyball, but she gave all the credit to her team.

"The bond that they have, the friendship they have, was -- I've coached 16 years, and it's definitely one of the best, if not the best, team that I had the privilege of coaching with their maturity, their friendship, the things they did with each other off the court," Staba said. "I mean, they're all together all the time, which I think made them play so much better on the court." 

The school's outstanding Cross Country runners also received certificates of recognition, including Aiden Soggs (pictured below).

Soggs finished in the Top 10 at sectionals for the third straight year. He's won four Cross Country patches, three individual and one team patch. He finished first in five regular season meets.

Also recognized was Charlotte Blake, who couldn't attend the meeting. She finished third in sectionals. It is her fourth consecutive Top 3 finish and the first girl in school history to win four Cross Country patches, and the second runner overall to achieve that feat.  She's the second girl in school history to win a Genesee Region championship.

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Photos by Howard Owens.

November 17, 2022 - 10:04pm

Press release:

The Byron-Bergen Central School District is pleased to announce that the Board of Education approved the nomination of Kristin Loftus as Elementary School Principal at the November 17th meeting. Loftus will fill the position left by Interim Principal Carol Stehm effective January 3, 2023.

“Kristin Loftus is an outstanding educator who is the best fit to lead Byron-Bergen Elementary School,” said Superintendent Pat McGee. “Her collaborative approach, along with her emphasis on putting our students and staff first, were key factors in her being hired for this important role. Our team is excited to welcome her to the District."

Loftus comes to Byron-Bergen from the Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts where she began as a Math Specialist/Coach in 2018 and worked her way up to Building Principal. Prior to the Renaissance Academy, she served as an Elementary School Classroom Teacher for more than a decade in the Warsaw Central School District.

“I am extremely excited to join a small-town school with a supportive and close-knit community,” said Loftus. “After spending the past 15 years in elementary education, I am thrilled to continue my leadership career at the Byron-Bergen Elementary School. I can’t wait to work with all the amazing staff and students that I’ve heard so much about!”

Loftus holds a master’s degree in Reading and Literacy and a Bachelor of Science in Childhood and Special Education from SUNY Geneseo. She received and Educational Leadership Certificate from the University of Rochester and the National Principals Academy Fellowship from Relay Graduate School of Education. 

November 15, 2022 - 2:41pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, education, schools.

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Ninety to 120 every day.

That’s a goal that Batavia Middle School has set for students: to do purposeful reading, writing and interactive talking for 90 to 120 minutes each weekday. Principal Nate Korzelius introduced that as one part of the middle school’s strategic plan.

“So we've spent a lot of time this year looking at and reflecting on our vision and mission, as well as our strategic plan and empowering students, and within the vision statement, working with the community, creating a nurturing environment for our students,” he said during a presentation to the school board Monday evening. “So that was our starting point, as we were looking at our middle school goals for the year. And then, in the past year, establishing the strategic plan: create and maintain a safe and orderly school environment, collaborative culture theory, accessible curriculum, and effective teaching in every classroom.”

A leadership team activity during the summer led middle school staff “to come up with tangible things to meet our students where they are, trying to adjust for some gaps that have occurred as a result of COVID.”

“And also just find ways that we can creatively build a culture of learning and also try to break down some barriers for students,’ he said. “So, beginning this school year, this was the goal that I outlined for the staff on day one. Our goal is to promote authentic literacy practices by increasing purposeful reading, writing and discussion as moments of both learning content and critical thinking. 

A daily dose of literacy
"So specifically, what we've worked on the most so far this year are ways we can ensure that students will participate in 90 to 120 minutes of purposeful reading, writing and discussion every day,” he said.

That’s likely good practice for anyone. A quick online search produces several articles about the benefits of reading, such as Healthline’s claim — using MRI scan results — that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As one’s reading ability matures, “those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated,” the site states. 

Teachers will introduce various methods for kids to accomplish the daily goal, such as having guest readers, creating reading quizzes, writing letters or a daily diary, hosting debates and asking open-ended questions.

“We have data meetings every couple of months. But then we want, now especially that we have more access to data post-COVID, to focus on those, and establish the needs for our students to make sure that we can individualize things as much as possible to meet students where they are,” Korzelius said. “Those teams are focused on the individual needs of students and customizing the approach for students within their teams.”

Beginning Tuesday (Nov. 15), students will have a task during Lunch Learning Lab, which means at the beginning of the second marking period, each student “is to drop everything and read” a book for 20 minutes. District officials contacted each household to notify parents of this initiative, and to encourage them to find out what might engage their child.

“Half the battle is to find something that they’ll enjoy reading,” he said.

Teaching strategies
The focus isn’t just on students, though. A shared Google Classroom will begin in the next month for all middle school faculty. It will provide a list of various strategies for teachers to try — one at a time for a month — and then report back on how it went and offer suggestions for improvement before selecting another strategy the next month.

leone.jpegA key piece that has become more prevalent since the pandemic is SEL: social-emotional learning. That piece includes providing useful resources for students to help manage their emotions, set positive goals, work on proper attitudes and behaviors, have healthy relationships, be able to feel and show empathy, make responsible decisions, plus an ideal academic correlation to each student’s SEL success, Assistant Principal Lindsey Leone said.

“And really, what I found through all my experiences, if you don't have that SEL piece, it's going to be really hard to get that academic piece. And I think in general, we've all learned that from COVID times, and so we've spent the last year or so really establishing our SEL committee,” she said.

Circle Up Fridays happens on the first Friday of every month, and includes an extended homeroom time so that students and staff can literally “circle up” to engage in meaningful conversations, she said.

This work is about “creating connections at school,” she said, amongst students and teachers. Two years of COVID, isolation and social distancing seem to be ebbing away.

“I really think they're excited that it feels a little bit more, a little back to normal for them like they have loved the opportunity to have dances again … and options to look at trips and those types of things. So I think it's a lot for them on an energy level, you know, it's a much different day coming every day to school versus some of what we were doing in a hybrid setting,” she said. “I think every day that we're getting better and more comfortable.”

Data — a huge component amongst school districts — has been part of the strategic plan, Korzelius said. Pulling people together through regular faculty meetings of about 80 people has also been a positive step, he said.

“We really try hard to focus on our strategic plan,” he said. “Where our goal of mission and vision is 90 to 120 minutes for every student throughout the school day.”

The mission is to empower students to achieve their maximum potential, and the vision includes providing a safe and nurturing environment. The targeted end result is to help students become socially responsible citizens who are able to successfully meet life’s challenges.

School board member Alice Benedict wanted to know if and how data would be collected to show how well the SEL lessons were working. Yes, it will be collected through DESSA, a social-emotional learning measuring tool, and student surveys, Korzelius said.

“It's something that I want us to build on, and just continue to find new and better ideas. I mean, this is a great idea, which is our first time,” he said. “We have to take a look at it at the end instead of just gauging success.”

November 10, 2022 - 12:53pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in John Kennedy School, news, schools, education, City Fire.

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A surprise ride to school on Ladder 15

Madelyn Alford, the second-place winner from John Kennedy School in Group 2 (2-3rd grade) of the City Fire, Fire Prevention Coloring Contest, had a big surprise today.

Alford received a ride to school on City Ladder 15 on Thursday morning.

First-place winner, Kylie Lutey of St. Joseph's School, who had won previously,  decided to defer her ride to the second-place winner.

Photo: Lt. Bob Tedford, Madelyn Alford, and Firefighter Brian Fix. Photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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November 7, 2022 - 10:23pm
posted by Press Release in pembroke, Pembroke Intermediate School, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

Sixth Grade students at Pembroke Intermediate School participated in the Korman Challenge Reading Contest during the month of October.

Students were challenged to read a book written by author Gordon Korman during the month to be invited to the Korman Party, which was held on Nov. 4.

By the end of the month, 24 students completed the challenge!

Students were invited to a special party where they watched a special video message from Gordon Korman himself! Students then received a special certificate recognizing their achievement.

To wrap up the special day, students enjoyed pizza generously donated by Homeslice Pizzeria 33! 

Submitted photos.

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November 7, 2022 - 8:41pm
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

On Thursday, Nov. 3, Byron-Bergen Elementary students took part in the Turkey Trot.

The annual run through the district’s scenic nature trail is designed to promote physical health, life-long fitness habits, and community service. The run is just under 1 mile and takes place during Physical Education class time. It is the culmination of a unit in which students train on the track and on the trails to prepare for the event.

“I love this event,” said Physical Education Teacher Danielle Carson. “I hope it helps the students realize that, if they work hard, they can do hard things. I also hope they understand that when we work together, we can help our community.”

In addition to taking part in the run, students were invited to donate wrapping paper or ribbon to the Byron-Bergen School District Holiday Gift Drive. The annual community service project provides holiday gift items to local families in need. Students have the rest of November to bring in their donations, but Carson has already collected over 100 items. 

Photos by Gretchen Spittler.

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November 2, 2022 - 11:53pm
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

Three Byron-Bergen students have earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. These National Recognition Programs connect underrepresented students who excelled in College Board assessments and schoolwork with universities across the country, helping them meaningfully connect to colleges and stand out during the admissions process.

Ava Wagoner was awarded the National African American Recognition Award. “I’m really excited about the award because with AP (Advanced Placement classes) you have to work hard,” said Wagoner, who plans to study engineering after graduation. “It feels good to get the recognition.”

“I’m really proud,” said Zoey Shepard who was awarded the National Rural and Small Town Award. She plans to study chemical engineering after graduation.

Dayanara Caballero was awarded the National Hispanic Recognition Award, National Rural and Small Town Award, and the National Indigenous Award. “Receiving these awards was really exciting for me,” said Caballero. “I’m looking to apply to college to study mathematics or government.”

To qualify for recognition, students have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams; and are African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, and/or attend school in a rural area or small town.

“Congratulations to these students,” said Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School Principal Ashley John Grillo. “They are dedicated to their studies and push themselves to be the best they can be. They should be very proud of this recognition.” 

November 2, 2022 - 11:50pm
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

The week of Oct. 17th was Digital Citizenship week. Digital citizenship is defined as using technology responsibly to learn, create, and participate. This year, all Byron-Bergen 3rd-grade students participated in a digital citizenship and digital literacy class taught by 3rd Grade Teacher Colleen Hardenbrook. The goal of the lesson was for students to use technology correctly and fluently, and included a group video PSA project.

“The class is based on Common Sense Media's curriculum,” said Hardenbrook. “It introduces fun characters that help teach students the essentials to being a good digital citizen.”

The characters are each named after a part of the human body. For example, “Head” teaches how to consume media in a critical way and “Legs” encourages students to stand up to bullies online. Each character embodies a key idea of digital citizenship.

In addition to the digital citizenship curriculum, students are learning digital fluency by practicing efficient computer use. This includes improving typing skills with a program called Keyboarding without Tears.

The students then created a group project to encompass the first unit on Media Balance. The students wrote the script, directed, and starred in the PSA-style video. “The goal of this program is to help teach young Byron-Bergen students how to participate in a digital world in a way that is safe, secure, and healthy,” said Hardenbrook. “Hopefully this video makes a lasting impression for our students and gets the message out for others.” 

October 28, 2022 - 3:55pm
posted by Press Release in FFA, Pavilion, schools, education, news, agriculture.

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Press release:

Evan Sidhu and Evelyn Northrup of Pavilion ranked seventh in the nation among Future Farmers of America for their agricultural science research project in the field of natural resources and environmental science.

The two students spent countless hours researching the effects of roadway pollution shown through the dissolved solids in snow.

Evan and Evelyn designed, organized, and executed their research project last winter. They placed first at the New York State FFA Convention in May 2022 and earned a spot in the Top 10 in the nation.

This fall the team competed in an intense interview regarding their research and conclusions. This earned them the seventh spot in the nation. 

"This is a great honor for the Pavilion FFA and Pavilion School Community," said teacher Kylie DeBerardinis

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October 27, 2022 - 5:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STEAM, Le Roy, schools, education, news, Le Roy Central Schools.

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Students at Le Roy Schools are getting broad exposure to STEAM skills and trades (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), STEAM teacher Luke Weaver told the Board of Education on Tuesday during a meeting.

Rube Goldberg Machines, computer coding, food sciences, robotics and drones, and environmental sciences are all getting covered with one class or another, Weaver said.

Superintendent Merritt Holly emphasized what Weaver illustrated during his introduction of Weaver to the board.

"We offer STEAM Club," Holly said. "We offer things in the library. We offer things in the summer. The kids have a ton of opportunities, so there's no like, I'll try this and then I don't care about it again for another year. It's a really a continuing program, which I think is really powerful."

Currently, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders are working on Rube Goldberg Machines and they're excited by the projects, he said.

For those who might not be familiar with a Rube Goldberg Machine, Weaver explained that it is an "unbelievably complicated machine to do an unbelievably simple task. So you would build something with pulleys, levers, catapults, dominoes knocking each other over to do something you could easily do by yourself."

(For an entertaining example of a Rube Goldberg Machine, see the music video below.)

He said when he first introduced the concept to students, they looked at him like he was crazy.

"They went from that mindset to kids coming in in the morning, before homeroom, coming in and start working because they want that extra half hour to work on their project, which is just awesome."

There are 46 students currently enrolled in a coding class. They're starting with blocks of code that fit together to make a working program.

"I've got two kids who are already done," Weaver said. "That is fascinating to me, to see kids who've never done this before, pick this up and be so cohesive going through the process."

The block program will move the students into coding languages commonly used in the business world, such as Python and C++, Weaver said.

The programming experience also moves the students into working in robotics and with drones.

Already this year the school has held a Manufacturing Day, which included a field trip to visit Orcon, Bonduelle, and U.S. Gypsum.

"The kids had an opportunity to see different careers and how many different types of jobs that can happen in one place, which I think is mind-blowing," Weaver said. "I mean, you had electrical engineers, you had manufacturing people, you had artists, anything you could think of at all of these different plants."

The stop at Bonduelle in Oakfield was interesting because spinach was being delivered from a farm owned by one of the student's father.

"So we got to like watch that and see how they go through that whole freeze-drying process and things like that," Weaver said.

An area of expansion for the program that Weaver is working on is aquaponics, he said. 

"Aquaponics is basically a huge fish tank that is fully cyclical," Weaver said. "The plants provide the nutrients for the fish and the fish provide nutrients for the plants. You don't have to clean the fish tank. You can grow vegetables, or fruit and grow flowers. They actually have huge systems where people grow or raise tilapia and actually have harvestable fish. We're going to take baby steps and start with a goldfish that are at my house, bring those in. But we're just trying to pull in other kids that might not have that engineering mindset, they might not only want to be tech-savvy, but they might like some natural science stuff."

Weaver also went through some of the entry-level STEAM projects being introduced at Wolcott Street School.

 "It's fun," Weaver said. "I love this stuff. I love seeing their faces just confused and excited at the same time. That's exactly what you're looking for."

Photo: Luke Weaver. Photo by Howard Owens.

October 12, 2022 - 12:42pm
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, news, schools, education.

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Press Release:

On Oct. 7, the Byron-Bergen faculty participated in a professional development exercise designed to raise awareness of the added stress community members experience when living near the poverty line. The training was provided by the Genesee Region Teachers Center. The goal of the exercise was to simulate the challenges associated with poverty.

Juanita Henry, Director of the Genesee Region Teacher Center and Pat Mullikan, Director of the Tri-County Teacher Center opened the training by sharing national and regional statistics. In the U.S., over 17% of people under 18 years old live in poverty. In the Byron-Bergen community, the poverty rate has risen 10% since 2013.

"This learning experience brings both our Elementary and Jr./Sr. High School staff together to gain awareness of the changing challenges our students and families face,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Pat McGee. “Hopefully, the poverty simulation brought to light the empathy and compassion needed to meet our students and families where they are."

The activity began with participants being assigned roles, either as members of a “family” or providing a community service. “Families” were given different resources and responsibilities and community agencies had set rules to follow with limited resources. Each “family” was tasked with balancing their financial resources, childcare, school, employment, and health care. By the end of the “month”, some “family” groups faced eviction, “students” had begun skipping school, and trying to navigate social services had become a major point of stress.

“I liken it to working with the foster care system,” said Byron-Bergen Art Teacher Sandy Auer. “Working within a public system is frustrating. Sometimes you can’t get the help you need and deserve. Students are coming from that place of frustration.”

Part of the training is to provide a heightened awareness of the stress students may be under at home. In the simulation, some of the “students” took on major responsibilities in their family group including providing childcare, shopping for food, and attempting to find employment.

While administering this simulation throughout the region, Henry noted that it is usually the stress level that teachers comment on most. “The expectation teachers sometimes have is that parents should be home helping their kids with homework and in reality, they’re holding the family together by making sure they have a house and food and the basics. They may feel education is very important but it’s not a priority on the needs list.”

“Children had roles and responsibilities we would not necessarily associate with their age group,” said Mullikan during the debrief after the simulation. The participants agreed that expectations for adult supervision were completely

October 12, 2022 Contact: Gretchen Spittler Byron-Bergen Communications Specialist (585) 794-6340 different. Some children had very adult jobs when they got home and, while at school, students were preoccupied with stresses at home.

In closing, the group was asked, “As educators, what is our role? Are we going to add to that stress?”

“When a student doesn’t have their work done, because of circumstances they can’t control, a little empathy may mean they can enjoy coming to school knowing that they are not always in trouble,” said Henry.

“The poverty rate in this district is currently at 43%,” said McGee. “We are committed to providing an equitable education for all our students. To meet that commitment and support the whole child, our team needs to understand that education isn't one-size-fits-all and consider the resources available to students outside of school hours.” 

Photos: Gretchen Spittler.

Top photo:  Pat Mullikan, Director of the Tri-County Teacher Center gives instructions at the poverty simulation 

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October 6, 2022 - 12:30am
posted by Press Release in Batavia HS, batavia, schools, education, news.
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Jack Pickard Lauren Reimer Nathan Canale

Press release:

Three Batavia City School District students have earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. These National Recognition Programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country to stand out during the admissions process. Only 62,000 students across the country have received this recognition.

  • Jack Pickard, Senior: National Rural and Small Town Award
  • Lauren Reimer, Senior: National Rural and Small Town Award
  • Nathan Canale, Senior: National Rural and Small Town Award

“We couldn’t be more proud of Jack, Lauren, and Nathan for receiving this tremendous honor,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “Their hard work throughout their time at BCSD has certainly paid off. I know this recognition will help bolster their college applications and make them truly stand out.”

“Bravo to these three exceptional BHS students,” said to Batavia High School Principal Paul Kesler. “Jack, Lauren, and Nathan exemplify the values and work ethic that we strive for at BHS, and we congratulate them on this wonderful achievement.” 

Eligible students have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams. Award categories include: National African American Recognition Program, National Hispanic Recognition Program, National Indigenous Recognition Program, and National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program.

Students are invited to apply during their sophomore or junior year and, after determining eligibility, will be awarded at the beginning of the next school year. Students will receive their awards in time to include them on their college and scholarship applications. 

September 21, 2022 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, education, schools, Le Roy, le roy hs.

Le Roy High School has long taken pride in its marching band and color guard but putting on a great performance takes dedication and hard work.

Video courtesy Le Roy Central School District.

September 21, 2022 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, wolcott street school, schools, education, news.

Video courtesy the Le Roy Central School District

Previously: Le Roy's numeracy coach finds creative ways to get students thinking about numbers

September 7, 2022 - 1:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wolcott street school, Le Roy, news, schools.

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Temprence Stack got off her first school bus ride at Wolcott School this morning, a moment her parents, Robert and Kimberly Stack, were on hand to document with their mobile phone cameras.

While the Stacks waited for the school buses to unload, with Temprence standing at the top of the stairs, ready to be the first one let off the bus, Kimberly said, "I'm probably more nervous than she is."

As Temprence entered the building to start her first day of kindergarten, Kimberly was overcome by emotion (fourth photo).

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Le Roy Central School District Superintendent Merritt Holly was on-hand at the school bus parking lot to greet elementary school students on their first day of class.

Holly said the start of the school year is always exciting but this one is a little more special.  Not only has Wolcott undergone some major renovations over the summer, it's the first year in a couple of years where things are back to "normal."

"I think it's it's nice that we don't have kids going through getting temperature checks," Holly said. "It's even better without having masks on today. It's good. That makes it that much better."

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At the school, some of the students walking past the renovated gym wanted to sneak a peek through the open door as they walked past.

"It's always exciting just to see the faces of kids coming in, especially with some of the new things and the Wolcott Street School building that they're able to see today," Holly said. "It's just seeing those smiles coming in that makes it all worth it."

PreviouslyClock is ticking as Le Roy's first day of school approaches and work remains to be done

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Teacher Ann Olivani's new kindergarten class. Olivani is pictured at the back of the class.

If you have first-day-of-school photos from anywhere in Genesee County that you would like to share with the community, email them to [email protected]

August 26, 2022 - 10:57am
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, schools, news, education.

Press release:

On Monday, Aug. 22, the Byron-Bergen Board of Education approved the appointment of Carol Stehm as Interim Elementary School Principal. Stehm will serve as Interim Principal from August 23rd to December 22nd during which time the District will conduct a thorough search for a permanent replacement.

“I am excited to welcome Mrs. Stehm to Byron-Bergen,” said Superintendent Pat McGee. “She brings decades of experience as a leader and an educator. I am fully confident that she will guide the Elementary School smoothly through this time of transition.”

Stehm retired from the Gates Chili Central School District in July of 2021 where she was the Associate Superintendent for Instruction. She served as Interim Principal of Northwood Elementary School in the Hilton School District during the 2021-22 academic year. In her 36-year career, she has served as an Interim Superintendent, Middle School Principal, and High School Assistant Principal. She has taught elementary and gifted education and currently teaches for SUNY Brockport as an Adjunct Professor in the Educational Leadership Department.

“I began my career in an elementary building so it will be fun to back with the younger students again,” said Stehm. “I have heard great things about the District and am excited to get started.” 

August 23, 2022 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, schools, education, notify, batavia.

dr._molly_corey.jpegAfter more than 18 months with three “key phases,” and input from dozens of administrators, teachers, staff, parents, students and community members, Batavia City School District is ready to launch its five-year strategic plan.

Such a plan isn’t required by New York State, but is a recommended “best practice” for any school district, said Dr. Molly Corey, director of curriculum and instruction.

“Our intention is to bring parents, community members, students, and staff together to plan and prioritize student success in every classroom,” Corey said in a press release Monday. “We’re still evaluating and discovering the depths of learning loss our students experienced due to the pandemic. A Strategic Plan like this will be a beacon grounding us during uncertain times, and it will allow us to comprehensively think, discuss, and prioritize the needs of our students.” 

A main portion of the report, referred to by staff as “a curriculum and instructional roadmap” for reaching each student’s goals, involves a family component, which undoubtedly is a valuable piece. That part of the plan is to ensure “Our families will: make education a priority in the household, support the school in promoting a good work ethic and personal responsibility, as well as encouraging health and wellness and provide the necessary time, space, and supplies at home for homework and studies to be completed.”

The Batavian asked Superintendent Jason Smith how the district plans to get families on board with the wellness aspect, given their busy lives, technology and such easy access to fast meals and sedentary lifestyles. Smith said that promoting health and wellness has become even more important post-COVID.

2022_jason_smith_bcsd_headshot.png“And we learned that loud and clear coming out of this pandemic,” he said. “We have Social Emotional Learning teams at each school that promote health and wellness among both our students and staff. Good nutrition and exercise are reinforced in our Phys Ed and health curriculum, and is a key part of the New York State learning standards.”

He also emphasized that family engagement will continue to be “an integral part of our mission at BCSD.” Therefore, two-way communication between schools and families is critical, he said.

“We encourage our families to reach out to us with comments, suggestions, and questions as we implement this plan,” Smith said. “Additionally, each school partners with our parent groups, and just this year we have added a parent representative component to our newly formed shared-decision making teams at each school.  We will also consider tools such as surveys and other feedback mechanisms.”

Even before COVID — about 26 years prior, to be exact — Smith said that he focused his teaching on individual ownership in one’s own behavior and contributions.

“Since I first began teaching in 1994, teaching students personal responsibility and work ethic has been a core mission of schools,” he said. “While it may be explicitly taught at times, teachers, coaches, and advisors continually reinforce this important message through high expectations and accountability, coupled with support and guidance.”

That’s how he expects to reach families, and therefore equip students to fulfill plan goals to: contribute to creating a safe and respectful environment; put forth their best effort; and be independent learners and competent problem-solvers who seek help when needed.

Four components of the plan include:

  • A safe and orderly school environment
  • A collaborative culture
  • Clear and accessible curriculum
  • Effective teaching in every classroom

There are benchmarks for every objective, such as planning for communication across all district groups, developing a schedule for progress checks, and creating an efficacy report by asking “how are buildings in the district doing?”

The Board of Education has approved the plan, which will begin to unfold this fall. While BCSD developed this plan to cover a five-year period from 2022-2027, school staff will continue to review and refine it to “achieve success for years to come.”

Even though Smith began in January at the tail end of the planning process, he has enjoyed the catch-up process of all that has been done, he said.

“I’ve been thrilled at the work Dr. Corey and all of our stakeholders have done in preparing this guide,” he said. “It shows a solid understanding of our students’ diverse needs and will certainly set every child up for success going forward.” 

Newly elected Board President John Marucci concurred, adding that Corey and her team “have been well ahead of the curve” by initiating the strategic plan in 2019.

“The Board of Education has been actively discussing learning loss with the administration since the height of the pandemic,” Marucci said. “We’re confident that they’re addressing the concerns that parents have expressed and will continue to evaluate their systems going forward to ensure BCSD continues to strive for academic excellence in every grade and every classroom.” 

The complete Strategic Plan, which runs from 2022 to 2027,  can be found on the Batavia City School District website here

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